Friday, April 4, 2014

A Nail’s Point of View

There I was lying on the ground because some Roman soldier had kicked over the bucket I was in. Now all my five inch brothers who are driven into a person’s wrist during a crucifixion were mixed together with my seven inch cousins who are driven into the feet. As I lay there on the ground in the dirt on “The Skull” I could see a shadow cast from a person who was about to be thrown down on top of the cross beam. He sure was a bloody mess; I don’t know how He was alive enough to be crucified?

I felt the strong fingers of a Roman centurion wrap around my body. I detected my pointed end go into a man’s flesh and blood squirted out all over me. The most painful part of this whole process for me is when the hammer comes down and hits me right on top of the head. This pain is inconsequential compared to the flesh of a human wrist that I rip through with no regard. The hammer stopped, my pain was over but His was just beginning.

  I noticed some cousins of mine where tapped into a sign on the cross that read King of Jews. Why would they crucify a King? We were up in the air now and I had a great view of the crowds that were passing by this King. They were cruel hurling insults at Him, “He saved others. Let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, his chosen one!” These people were surly not His followers. If they were I wouldn’t want to rule His
Kingdom. We would be up here awhile the King and I suffering until He would die.  

There were two others hanging by us that day. One of them was very bitter yelling at the King. However the other was quite kind saying, “we are getting what we deserve but this man did nothing.” Then I heard him say the words, Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom. So the Kings name was Jesus. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise.”

How could it be getting dark outside in the middle of the day? I had never in all my time as a nail seen such storm clouds approaching. The next three hours seemed like an eternity. The blood from Jesus was flowing less and less. There was a stream of it that slowly trickled to the bottom of the cross than onto the ground.  It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and He spoke, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” As soon as the last word left his month he breathed his last breath. Now when the centurion saw what happened, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was the Son of God.”

It was much later when I felt a crowbar dig into my body. There was a person tugging me out of the Kings wrist. He was collapsing into their arms. I flew to the ground and noticed them wrapping Jesus in  linen burial strips
with the aromatic spices. Now at the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried. They placed Jesus’ body there. A young man was starting to gather up all of us nails and put us in a bucket. It was probably a carpenter that would use us later in another project.

I felt my body being once again driven into a door jam. It sure was a nice looking room but no one was here at the moment. Around night fall I could see a bunch of men gathering for what looked like a meeting. They shut the doors and locked them so I had a better view now. All of a sudden Jesus the King appeared right before their very eyes. It surprised me as much as it surprised them. The last time I had seen Jesus they were pulling me out of the dead Kings wrist, how could he be alive. Surely it was a ghost and not really him.

Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to one of the men, “come and put your finger here and examine the hole in my wrist that the nail made. It was his right hand that he stuck out for this man to examine. I was the one who made that hole. It was Jesus, he had risen, He is surly a King. Then I heard Him say, “You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

No Reruns Please

No Reruns Please

Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus all seem to have offerings where you can watch reruns of your favorite TV series. But how much “Leave It To Beaver” (Ok I happen to like old wholesome shows) can a guy take? Then there is the current TV season. I believe they only make about 10 new episodes per show per season, which leaves you watching many reruns if you dare or care? I am usually anticipating the (N) (few and far between) behind the listing of our favorite show that signifies once again that we can tune in to finally watch a “new” episode.

I am personally not a big rerun fan of movies either. I don’t frequent Walmart to dig through the $5.00 DVD classics or some not so classic titles to add to my ever increasing movie collection. I can count on two hands the number of movies I actually have watched more than once. Besides how many times can a guy cry watching an animated movie for the 7th time (I would cry during all seven of them, even though I knew what was coming?). So why do we continue to entertain reruns in the viewing screen of our minds? Sometimes they are so popular to us I believe we probably would enjoy some popcorn with the experience.   

I don’t know about you but the movie/TV show that I experience to often (reruns) in the viewing room of my mind are usually negative, gross, bothersome, and problematic thoughts. The perceived consequences and results always make the top ten list in the prophetic dooms day psycho reel of my mind. There never seems to be a good ending with these scenarios’ we replay in our minds? The Bible tells us to hold every thought captive, yeah right, seems like I can’t hold one thought captive sometimes? Why do we linger too often on the XXX and R rated stuff that plays in our minds? 

Rehearsing our troubles results in experiencing them many times. God created us to go through them only when they actually occur. God says, “Do no multiply your suffering in this way! Instead, come to Me, and relax in My Peace. Joshua 1:9 says "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

We should try making friends with the problems in our lives. Every problem can teach us something, transforming us little by little into the masterpiece God created us to be. The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall, if we react with distrust and defia nce. The best way to befriend our problems is to thank God for them. Thank You God, but no reruns please.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hard Words   

The single sentence that blarred through the radio signal from almost a quarter-million miles from the Earth sounded simple, even routine “Houston, ‘we’ve got a problem. Hard words: “your fired”, not married; “I am pregnant”, “we are getting a divorce”, “I am gay”.  What would be hard words for us to hear? I am sure we have all heard “hard words” at one time or another in our lives. Our heart beat increases, our sweat glands go on red alert, we watch as our tear drops explode on the floor, anger and rage may start to rule the day. Sometimes these “hard words” we hear may cause us to consider whether we should continue in this relationship or not. Jesus often times said some things in the Bible that would cause those that heard them to pause, ponder and then decide to stick with it or hit the road to Samaria. 

John 6:60, 67-69 states, "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?.... "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God." After Jesus makes the statement, “You do not want to leave too, do you”, I wonder what the thought process was inside the heads of the disciples before Peter answered? Who is to say that Peter spoke for everyone with his Biblically correct answer? Have we ever answered correctly but in our hearts we weren’t 100% sure of our answer maybe not even 50% sure?

He does not promise ease and comfort on this earth. On the contrary, he promises hardship and difficulty. He promises persecution and rejection. He will tell us that if we really took him seriously, if we really obeyed his commands and followed his teaching, then friends will abandon us, family will hate us, and the world may prefer to kill us. Are we willing to follow Him after hearing more “hard words”? How have you been persecuted by following Christ? What have you given up after hearing and obeying His “hard words”?

It is interesting in the Great Commission the easiest part of being a Disciple of Christ is to be baptized. How much persecution did you suffer when you went down into the water? Probably none (oh I know some of you are thinking that water was awfully cold), it’s the coming up out of the water and learning all about Jesus and how to follow Him that’s challenging. That could be possibly one of the most shocking thing you have discovered in your life. Jesus didn’t say anything about it being hard to go to church and pray and study the Bible. In fact those are pretty “wimpy commands”. Let’s face it, if those things are challenging someone didn’t teach you about what being married to Jesus for life was going to be about, sad!

Can you imagine a modern day someone that would be really hard to follow. Just watch Inside Edition sometime, you could pick someone. How about Justin Bieber?  Of course we could take the really hard way to follow someone, just become a twitter follower, not much commitment there. It really is hard sometimes to follow Christ, but we have to remember, He is the Holy One of God. There is no one else we could ever pick to follow that would give us the protection and rewards that Jesus provides. Give us the strength to follow your ways no matter what hardships may come. Life in heaven for and eternity makes any “hard words” form Jesus well worth it.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now.....

Can You Hear Me Now…..

How many of you have been monitoring all the different phone options that have been introduced since Black Thursday. Where there any great deals on Cyber Monday? Between the specific phone carrier flyers and phone ads within store flyers there were plenty of options to choose from. It seems there are a few basic things to consider before one purchases a new phone plan. 

So which phone carrier do you use? Seems like we have a choice between the big four, right. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T Mobile. I assume you have made a choice based on the coverage area of each of these companies. The company you choose might also be determined by whether the coverage is 4G or 3G in your area. Oh, I almost forgot cost as a factor, we will talk about that later.  

The next thing we may consider is how long of a contract do we have to sign up for to receive the service we desire? This might depend on the services you believe you need. It seems most of the bigger companies try and bribe you with a two ye ar contract. Although the competition has now introduced a lot more pay as you go plans with no contract.

Choosing a phone might be the most difficult decision we have to make. I Phone or Smart Phone? Android or Flip Phone? Our choice of phone type might be determined by the apps we think we “need” to have? So many different colors and styles to choose from, it seems endless.

The last factor we probably consider is cost. The bribe with the two year contract usually makes us all feel good about purchasing a regularly priced $600.00 phone for 29 cents. The most expensive plan might be International coverage. Nationwide coverage would probably be the next costliest. A local coverage plan would save us even more dollars. The pay has you go plans seem the cheapest and are popular with companies like Virgin Mobile and Straight Talk. 
Jonah 2:7 states, " In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me." God is the ultimate Carrier. We all have lifetime contracts with God, we don’t have to renew after two years and pay more money. The phone, that’s a good one, with God’s plan all you have to do is open your mouth and talk he will listen. We already have all the features we need, and if we don’t know what to say the Holy Spirit will assist us. God’s plan is the only free plan on the market.

Some of us might feel we get a busy signal when we need to talk with God. Others of us want new phones and a two year contract believing this would help are chances of connecting with the big guy. We might even develop a specialized texting code just for God and wallah we are in. It's reassuring that in our distress we don't need a special phone, or a special phone plan or a god ordained text language. A simple plain landline will work and we will never hear a busy signal. We won't experience a dropped call either. "He" will always pick up.

“What we see in Scripture and across history is that men and women of great faith were always men and women of much prayer.” ~ Britt Merrick-Godspeed If there is one thing we could do more of in 2014 it is praying!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas for You…….

This will be the first Christmas since my wife and I have been married (for 34 glorious years) that we are both unemployed. It’s kind of odd when you think about it, that presents will have no significance for us this year since we won’t be getting each other any. A Christmas tree with no presents under it, things could be much much worse. Unfortunately we have eroded the meaning of Christmas too often to, “how much was your take” Don’t you just get a kick out of watching someone’s face when they spy out a price tag someone forgot to remove, hilarious. However, just the opposite took place with the baby in the manger. Christmas for Him was about giving up His take.

We both have been praying more often and pondering many things right now, which is a great thing. We discussed the other day after a trip to a homeless shelter how easy it would be for “people like us to end up there”. What kind of Christmas do homeless people have? The Shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth didn’t win the power ball jackpot and all of sudden fall into a bunch of dough, yet they rejoiced over the mini messiah in the manger. Christmas for them was about worshipping the new born King.

Even though there is no money coming in right now for us, God has stilled blessed us enough that we have money to give away at the end of the year. This usually happens every year and brings us great joy. The three wise men (I just had to write that to make some of you upset) traveled very far and made many sacrifices not to get something, but to give something to the future King of the Universe. Christmas for them meant giving not receiving.

My granddaughter and I are forgoing finishing up the story Black Beauty for this month and concentrating instead on Christmas books which we bring out once a year with our decorations. The really good books always end up connecting to the true meaning of Christmas at the end. The reason for Christmas which most of us realize is the Christ Child.

So as I get into a conversation with the brown eyes of a three year old boring down on me in all seriousness about what grandpa can get her for Christmas she ponders this Jesus child and thinks of her little brother who is four months old. She thinks to herself “no big deal grandpa” if Jesus is just like my brother. But she knows better as we both listen to her little heart speak during prayers at lunch in amazement. Christmas for my grandchildren will someday be more meaningful and majestic as they comprehend who this little baby really is.

Are we looking forward to this time of year? Some of might not be because it just means more busyness in our already maxed out schedules. You can literally be Christmas activitied to death. Church activities, TV Christmas specials, Christmas concerts, parties with coworkers, open houses to attend, oh and don’t forget the guys shopping for our wives on Christmas Eve. Many of you just collapsed on the couch just thinking about all that activity? So how do we all catch our breath and take some serious “time” to “ponder” this thing we call Christmas? We will have to be intentional and not feel guilty about saying n-o. How do you spend some time by yourself, clear your mind, climb up into your Father’s arms and ask Him, “Why did you send your son down to earth for us?” After we ask that question, don’t say anything else, just listen for a really long time! Christmas for us should be about listening to our Father talk to us about this baby!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Please No More Simplistic Sunday Answers

You walk into church and a person greets you with the typical, “how are you doing”? Sometimes I feel like they don’t want to know how I am doing unless I give the patented Sunday morning simplistic answer, “just fine”.  The reason I believe this is the case is because most often I don’t have that patented answer, some days even on Sundays I am not fine at all. I recently replied to that question with, I am not good at all, I am really hurting today”. The person got rid of me as fast as they could, I believe they saw leprosy forming on my limbs, he’s unclean, he’s unclean. Prove my theory right or wrong this Sunday when someone asks, “how you doing”, don’t give them the Sunday morning simplistic answer.

This phenomena isn’t just a Sunday morning church peculiarity. As most of you know I am in between assignments from God right now seeking His guidance and listening for His voice. The common response from most that talk with me is, “God has something better for you”. I believe their response is sincere, but not quite Biblically sound.  It could be as someone pointed out to me that, “they just don’t know what else to say and want the best for you”, I get that, and I am very thankful. In reality God might not have anything “better” for me in mind. He promises it will be better but that guarantee is only when I go HOME to live with HIM.

I was often guilty of this simplistic Sunday morning response as well. “I will pray for you”, was a common phrase that slipped off my tongue faster than the national debt climbs.  Prayer is powerful if one does it, which often times I didn’t and at the same time Matt 25:31-46 speaks to me that more than a Christian cliché is needed. Talking with that person who is emotionally spent, physically overwhelmed with dark circles under their eyes from a lack of sleep, and spiritually as dry as a desert because their 19 year old son has just committed suicide, I am sorry, “I will pray for you just doesn’t cut it”. So how do we overcome acedia in our lives and move past being the barriers of these Sunday morning simplistic sayings?  

Can we see in our minds eye that the best solution to this problem is that we will have to invest in other people’s lives just like Jesus did. We might have come to tears because of the overwhelming need someone has in their lives, just like Christ did. We might have to reach into our pocket books and help in concrete ways, just like Christ did. Our homes might need to be used for something other than our weekly meals and TV viewing. We might actually have to start caring about others more than we care about ourselves and our own needs.  We might have to cancel our own pity party when we realize how pitiful it really is compared to someone else’s situation. Tough stuff for all of us, including me, but being engaged and ready to act is what the body of Christ should be about.  Start today by swearing off anymore Simplistic Sunday Morning Answers, Amen!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Numbness No More

The recent shooting and killings at the naval ship yard
( has re-energized the dialogue on gun violence. We have long talked about the effects of TV violence on children, but what about the effect on adults? ( Many people who oppose “Christians” voicing their negative opinions about too much violence will often times point out how violent the Bible is. Therefore, what gives us the right to speak up about such atrocities? One thing we can all say with certainty is that the acts and severity of violence has been ratcheted up beyond belief ( In Gen. 6:11 the Bible states, “Now the earth had become corrupt in God’s sight and it was filled with violence.”  Have we become more numb to violence once again?

Jesus predicted that the end of time would be "as the days of Noah where" (Matt. 24:37-39). Though the earth will be filled with wickedness and violence, mankind will be preoccupied. Maybe this preoccupation is our way of keeping jaded about the frequency and severity of violence? We might not even want to face the definition of violence: Violence is "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation." (

I don’t want to regress to being quoted as a dooms day prophet but the world we live in is not getting less violent. I can remember being in a funk for about a month after the Sandy Hook school shootings. My heart was more than sick, thinking about elementary students lying dead in pools of blood where once vibrant conversations, curiousness about the future, and the talk about possibly being the next president of the United States took place. At the same time if I let every single act of violence in the world preoccupy my every thought, I would end up in a mental institution surely contemplating suicide. Why? Because maybe most of us hate this violence so much yet we can do so little to stop what started (sin) in the garden long ago.

But God's people will not be numb to the wickedness: they will "sigh and cry over all the abominations" (Ezk. 9:4). Violence should be a stark reminder of how a lost and dying world needs a Savior. Violence should pierce our hearts and shock our minds into the reality of how diabolical Satan is. Violence should also help us realize that with every act of violence there are victims who need the lifesaving blood of Christ.

May God grant us Christ's tender heart so that the wickedness and violence of the world will never become our new normal!"