Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Highway

With the engine of my Harley screaming loudly (I like it like that....loud pipes save lives) I rolled down highway 60, a definite back road, for 994 miles to visit my daughter and grandchlidren in Tyler, Texas. There are two things, (well there a whole bunch more) that can happen on the road. You can sit and just enjoy the ride or you can contemplate God as well as enjoy the ride. I chose to do the latter. Somewhere in New Mexico I

stopped to take some pictures of a beautiful array of clouds that had positioned themselves around a fantastic mountain in the not too far distance.

I shouted with glee and praised God for His mighty wonders. (Big bang indeed) and I rode on. Not too far from that I came upon the U.S. government's Very Large Array of radio telescopes. (It's where the movie "Contact" with Jodie Foster was made) It is our governments attempt to discover sounds, contacts, etc. from aliens and extra terrestrial beings. A fantasmagoric waste of taxpayer dollars. (I took some pictures there as well)
As I contemplated the incredible contrast between God's beauty and man's inability to accept God on His terms, I decided to go with God. Now, I know that some who may read this will think, "Well he's just another religious nut." I used to go with the array of telescopes rather than the beauty of the array of clouds of the world, but as I began to question my own existence and why we are here, it all began to make sense. God gave us what we see as a gift. We could not, cannot, nor will we ever be able to create anything that can come even close to the beauty of His creation. If you aren't aware of HIm and what He did, do a little research on your own. But you have to be objective and look at every angle. Perhap it will make sense to you too. I hope so.
By the way, the visit with my daughter and grandchildren was great, but they sure keep it hot and muggy in Texas.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Letting Go

It's the middle of the night and I just can't sleep. I have so many things going on in my life and all I can do is bounce from one to another and hope I get some of them right. I'm leaving tomorrow morning to spend the weekend with 450 teenagers. I love youth councils (the Salvation Army name for this gathering of kids, some of whom know and have a relationship with the Lord and some who don't) Most come from difficult, to say the least, situations. Typical of Salvation Army youth. Poor, neglected, absent parents, who may be there physically but not involved with their kids for a million different reasons. To reach some of these kids is pretty tough. They have their walls built and they, without being aware of it, are headed toward a repeat of their parent's lives. (Aren't we all?)
I have been praying that God would use me to help facilitate a change so at least one or some, learn to make good decisions.
My disaster crew is feeding 250 firemen who are doing a weekend long wildland fire exercise. I really wanted to be involved with this, but can't be two places at once. I know my team can do it alone, I just can't let go. But this is not their first rodeo and they will do fine.
My first love is teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus, though and I won't be able to do that this weekend either. I'll be with those kids. My wife is not quite ready to preach yet after her cancer treatments, so I am letting a lady who is quite capable, preach in my stead. It's her first time in many years. (She was once a Salvation Army officer) but hasn't stood behind a pulpit for quite a while. But God has put her in a place to be the one who can shine His light in our little Outpost this weekend. I know she will do well too!
I have also been tossing and turning all night wondering what I have forgotten for our motorcycle rally at the end of May. If anyone has any tips for letting go of things, please let me know. I'm not a worrier, and I try not to be a micro-manager, but why tonight??? Well, I just don't know.
So I will depart tomorrow morning on my motorcycle for a 5 hour journey across the beautiful state of Arizona and let those things I cannot be present for physically be taken care of by the One who is really in charge. What a great life I have.
Thanks for being a shoulder.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sadness and Joy

I'm a biker. OK, I admit it, not the ride into the village and burn everything you see kind of biker that's portrayed in some movies, but one who more like all the bikers that are out there kind of biker. We are normal, loving, compassionate and pretty nice people. Today, after chucrh, I attended a memorial service for a fellow biker who was killed last week when the rider, for no apparent reason went straight as the road curved. They hit a wall and Kathy was killed. She was on the back and her boyfriend, Jimmy was very seriously injured. I only knew her slightly because she worked at the hospital where I was a chaplain. I had spoken with her only briefly a few times. I never shared Christ with her and I am told she knew the Lord so at least I won't have that to live with.
We are all diminished by someone's passing. And in the biker community, we grieve greatly for the loss of a brother or sister. But as I told a few today our loss is heaven's gain. But as I thik about the few meetings I had with her, I keep asking myself, "Why didn't I ask her if she knew the Lord?" Isn't it my duty (I preached on that today) to tell everyone about Jesus? It's not only my duty, it's an honor to tell others about the joy I hold in my heart. And I am joyous, I am so elated that God calls me "son" and if I am so happy, why isn't that the first question out of my mouth when I meet someone? If that the thing that makes you joyous, don't you want others to be joyous too? Wouldn't you tell someone if they were blind and about to walk off a cliff?
If they are offended by the question, just apologize and move on, but according to Peter, we should always be ready to show why we have hope... 1 Pe 3:15
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
We have Christ. Let us no wane in our efforts to show Him to a world that doesn't know and fails to understand such a wonderful savior.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pick up that cross

In Matthew 16:24 it says this; Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
A lot of folks think this means that you must live a tortured existence filled with self denial in order to follow Christ. I'm pretty sure that's not what He meant.
We can look at this statement by Jesus both literally and figuratively. And as I read many of the statements made by those who had written commentaries on this verse, I was surprised to see that the majority had looked at this verse only in the literal sense, which means that Jesus was saying that, “if you follow me you will more than likely will be killed because of it.”
Now although it may be true that there are certainly many people who have been killed because they were Christians, I don’t think that Jesus meant that most or all of those (look at the word ANYONE) who would follow Him would die a tortured death. But I do believe that Jesus was trying to get across to us the point that to follow Him meant that there must, and I don’t mean should, but there must be a lifestyle change. A follower of Christ must have a heart that thinks more highly of others than himself, a heart that is more prone to giving than taking. A heart that is passionate about loving his neighbor. That’s the denying himself part.
Now the take up your cross part: I have heard many people say that to take up your cross is to bear patiently those trials we are given and so it is, but there is so much more than that. If all we did was to endure the trials laid upon us, then we are like bridges that many people pass over yet the bridge gains nothing from the experience. I don’t think that is what God intends for us through trials.
When Jesus said that His followers would “take” up their cross, it implies that there is an action involved. That we would rush to the cross and I am certain that the cross of which he spoke is merely one’s duty. You see, the cross of Christ was His duty. It was that thing for which He had come to earth. It was only through this implement of death, this implement of torture that He would be able to accomplish the mission for which He had come. He had heard the voice of His Father and He knew He must obey that voice with all He had. He was to embrace His cross. He was to run toward His cross and secure salvation for all mankind by that one act.
For each of us, our cross will be different. But it is important that we embrace it and hold it close to our hearts every day of our life, for in that embrace, in that closeness we will discover the fullness of what it means to bring God into our life. Perhaps your particular cross is to become a missionary. Perhaps your cross is to work in the arena of social services. And perhaps your cross is to become a doctor. Whatever it is, it is your mission as a Christian. And it has been put in your life or will be put in your life in order to accomplish two things. And I promise you that your cross, your mission, the goal that God has set for you will always do two things.
Your cross will always help you to show that you love God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. You see, that's what the cross of Christ showed us. That He loved His Father with all His heart, because He obeyed Him and He loved us because He died and rose again to open a door that no man could close. Without His cross we could not enter into rest and without our cross we can not show someone else that kingdom.
So run over and pick up that cross. If you're a mom, be the best mom you can. If you're a janitor, be the best at it that is possible. No matter what you do, do it as unto the Lord and it wil show up that you love your cross. Doesn't matter if it's a trial, tribulation, your job, your mission or just something you do. Hold it close and enjoy it so that one day you will be able to hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

Friday, January 14, 2011


One of the most amazing things to me is that there are so many people in this world with so many God given talents and abilities and they either fail to even recognize their own abilities or to use the ones they have. I mean it would be a shame to allow someone to perish as you sit idly by and watch them.
I watched the news the other day and they showed a person in Austalia floating in the water, holding her little dog,on top of her house, as her house was being moved through an incredible and destructive force of nature. A helicopter floated over her and she made a desperate grab for the rope that dangled from beneath the chopper. She hung on, but lost the dog in the unbelievable raging torrent in which she found herself.
I watched helplessly in my living room at this horrific event. What if the pilot, though aware of what was happening beneath him, just watched and waited for the poor woman and her dog to disappear below the surface of the water. It was because he used his ability to maneuver a machine into a place where it could be used to save the life of this woman that she was somehow spared and saved to live another day. Her dog was lost, and that's sad, but her life was saved. (maybe the dog found his way to land as well, I don't know)
How much is this story like those who call themselves Christians yet watch as those who have no idea of eternity wash away into an eternity of destruction? God has given us all the ability to throw a rope to those who may be sinking beneath the waves, yet some would rather watch as the one in danger floats on by. As we explore our own lives we would do well to do what we can to discover and understand the spiritual gifts with which we are bestowed. And I'm certainly not speaking of the people who harrass you on street corners or come to your door and tell you that if you don't believe their way you'll burn forever in eternity. God will put in your path the ones who need saved. You don't really need to go a-hunting. Just a-looking. Be aware and use your talents and abilities with which God has blessed you to be a hero. Someone was a hero for you just as that pilot was a hero for that lady. If you are paying attention, you might be a hero for someone else and one day you will hear the Lord of Lords speak to you as He puts His arm around you, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." It takes courage to be a hero, and a bit of boldness. But if you truly believe, why would you ignore what your Master has told you? Now get on out there and save someone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who's in Charge?

Well, I thought I should update the world on news of my wife. I was encouraged by someone who had read my last blog and decided that it was only right since I opened this can. She is doing much better. She went into the office today and actually worked a few hours. (second time this week) She really has a strong desire to get back to normal and I would rather encourage that than discourage it. She tires so easily though. During her initial surgery she had a stroke and that coupled with "chemo-brain" (yes it's an actual term) her mind is not where it was prior to all that has happened. But I remain confident that God will restore her to her previous self and even if He doesn't, I'm sure He has His reasons. I have learned not to second guess Him. He's God, I'm not. With only two more chemo sessions to go, I'm quite excited to see how it all comes to pass. I just know that He is good and that He is in charge.....which brings me to another event that happened this week.
No doubt everyone has heard of the lone gunman who attempted to assasinate Gabrielle Giffords, killed 6 and wounded many others. Since I live in Arizona, it was an event that affected all who live here. Deeply. Arizona is a place where you can get a gun easily. You can carry a concelaed weapon without any prior training or license. Everyone I know (or very close to it) owns at least one weapon. I own some. That being said, I don't know anyone who has thoughts or desires to ever use their weapons on another human being. If I were protecting my family or myself, I might, but I have not sat in a dimly lit room, rocking back and forth, relishing the thought of taking another human's life. Jared Loughner is a sick person, and I pray for him, his family and those he harmed and their families as well. Who's to blame? Well, when you get right down to it, I believe that all evil comes from satan and is a direct result of his plans and desires to destroy the truth and the light of Christ. God is love and anything short of love does not come from Him.
I am asked often why God allows things such as his to happen. God turned the operation of this world over to our enemy a long time ago. That will change, but that's how it is now. Our job is to focus on truth, and on the light of God. Our mission is to show that light, shine that light and to bring that light forth in all we think, say and do. WE cannot judge nor can we bring forth judgment (at least eternal judgment) on the likes of Jared Loghner, Adolph Hitler or me or you. That is God's job. I preach a lot of funerals. Never have I said that the person who had passed is in heaven partying with God, nor have I said that the deceased is in hell suffering eternal torment. It's not my job. What I have said is that they are in the hands of a merciful God. And that is the truth.
When I think of the way my life and Tina's life has changed so drastically in the last few months, I am just not able to decide how I should feel. I wondered at first why God allows such things to happen to such wonderful people. Would I change all bad things if I could. Probably, but would I make it even worse? Probably. I have trouble running a small operation whose intention is to assist as many people as we can with the limited resources available to us. Not sure I could do a good job with a universe... or even a planet. God is in charge and we are His servants. Seems like a good way for things to be.