Friday, July 30, 2010

Click on Her Pic

I just wanted to draw your attention to the picture and link to a women named Tamara Lowe.  I saw this "one minute sermon" on Facebook and knew that I needed it on my blog.  If you click on her picture it should take you to youtube and her video.  I hope it works for you!



Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Voice of God


     It has been five days since I have returned from leading my senior high youth group back from mission trip.  I have to be honest and tell you that I am still exhausted.  I am not sure whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual exhaustion but it's one of them...or maybe all of them.  However, after replaying the trip in my head and in my heart I have come to the conclusion that it was one of the best trips I have ever been associated with.
     Before our trip began I had prayed that God would give me clear direction in my leadership.  He accomplished that by giving me three outstanding adult leaders.  Christine and Cassie and Brian Elder served with servant hearts.  They made it possible for me to do what I needed to do on this trip.  God was so good to us as we served the Lamar Hospice.  I believe that each one of us gave all that we had on that trip and I believe that God was glorified.
     Now, as I get back to the normal day to day workings of the church I feel as if I need to hear the voice of God.  I know that's a strange phrase and rarely does anyone hear it without some sort of snicker or eyebrow raising.  I think that most people believe that anyone who hears the voice of God either belongs in a psychiatrist's office or in jail.  I sometimes wonder why that is the case.  As Christians we are called to listen for the voice of God.  It was by His voice that the universe was spoken into existence.  It was by His voice that the prophets were called to speak and it is by His voice that we are called to action.  Hearing the voice of God does not make you crazy it makes you a better Christian!
     So, after completing my 18th year of mission trips I felt like I needed to listened for God to speak.  I have always loved being a part of senior high mission trips.  The energy and excitement, camaraderie and companionship, are things that I will never forget.  Still, since my brain surgeries I have found it harder and harder to answer the call of mission.  The toll that mission takes on my body, mind, and spirit has become almost unbearable.  So, the time has come for me to ask God if He is still calling me to mission ministry.
     Ten years ago I would have told you that nothing could keep me from going on mission trips.  However, that was ten years ago.  A lot has happened since then.  Sure, the surgeries and constant pain play a part but I truly believe that God has equipped me in other areas since then.  I feel a calling to teach and preach His word more than I ever have before.  I feel a calling to help people to grow in their spiritual giftedness and apply those gifts  in ministry in the church.  I feel different than I did ten years ago.
     I want to do what God wants me to do.  The words, "If He wants you to go on mission then He will give you the strength to do it", ring in my head.  I know those words are true and, yet, it does not relieve me of the obligation to ask the question.  I have to take time to hear God's voice! 
     My journey home has not been a straight and narrow path. Nor has it been a primrose path.  My journey home has taken me beside the still waters and deep into the valley of the shadow of death.  The same mouth that I have used to praise God is the same mouth that I have used to curse Him.  Yet, throughout this journey I have learned that God is with me and He is guiding me.  I have learned the sound of His voice and I have recognized it as my shepherd.  It is that voice that I will listen to and it is that voice that will guide me. 
     Am I afraid of what He might say?  Of course I am.  I am afraid He will say that my time as mission trip leader has come to an end and I am afraid that He will say that it hasn't!  Yet, through it all I have the joy of knowing that there are only two voices that I must obey...God's and Christine's! As my journey home approaches this fork in the road I would ask that you would pray for me.  Pray that I will hear the voice of my Master and pray that I will obey!
     If God does call my mission time to an end and Mission 2010 was my last trip I have the joy in this...I gave everything I had for as long as He gave it to me...I left everything on the mission field!

Untill next time,


Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Learned...


Well we are back from our mission trip and we had just a few minor scrapes.  Jessica had five stitches in her arm, Jenna stepped on a nail, we ripped the handle off the door of my van, and we picked up a crack in the windshield of our van as well.  With all of that said I also marvel at the blessings of the week.  During our six days together we found love for each other, focus on our mission, and we came to see that God's love surrounds wherever we might be called to serve.

For all that we learned and for all the scrapes we endured each one of us took something from mission 2010 back home with them.  If I might I would love to share with  you the truths I have taken from mission 2010.  I might say that "All I needed to know about life I learned on mission 2010."  Many of these truths will only be understood by those who traveled beside me to Lamar.  Don't worry over the next few eeks I with strive to explain each one of them to you.

1.  I learned that tearing something down takes just as much planning as building something up.
2.  I learned that death is just another part of life.
3.  I learned that the serving size that they put on the back of food is a lie.
4. I also learned that anyone who uses the suggested serving size on the back of food to determine the amount of food to buy will be mocked for the rest of their life.
5.  I learned that "mission" isn't some place you go, rather, it is something you feel inside.
6.  I learned that glass shower doors break easy and, sometimes, toilets are the toughest things to take out.
7.  I learned that you have to pay attention just as much when you are tearing things down as when you are building things up.
8.  I learned that, for anything thing to work, you have to first trust God.
9.  I learned that anywhere God calls you to go He will come with you!
10.  And, finally, I have learned that God is good, love is real, friendships made in Christ last forever, and, God can be found in the strangest places in your life.

I learned so much more on this trip than I ever have in 20 years of ministry.  I pray that the blogs that are to come will be an inspiration to you.  But, until then, may God richly bless your life and the life of your family.

Forever a servant in Christ,


Friday, July 23, 2010

I Have Seen by Jacob Hutchison

The following is taken from Jacob's mission journal:

I have seen a man who loves.  I have seen young adults, listeners, and missionaries.  There have been achy knees and confused brains.  All within the first day of mission!  I have seen a devoted pastor teach to ready and able ears.  I have felt the sting of tears in my very eyes.  No son wants to watch his father break down.  I have felt the brush of angel's wings and a voice spelling out mission.

I have seen a rejuvenation of spirit.  I have seen fear wither.  With that also came a sense of abandonment.  Not in Christ, but in seeing the hotel that we would be working on.  Souls seemed to be left in an old motel where we called work.  I have seen a man battle through pain to be with his team.  In my father I have seen a new man.  In the face of my friends and family members here I have seen God. 

The legions of angels aided our intentions and Jesus Christ was strong in our hearts.  I have seen fear, pain, and hopelessness...but we have made a choice to make actions and decisions that will alter our futures in a positive way.  I have seen the sun rise on a day where God was in action.  I have felt the brush of angel's wings and have seen my Father God alive and working within each soul here.

I have seen forgiveness.  The willingness to forgive  without being asked for it.  Grace like rain falls down us.  All our stains are washed away.  I have seen the day greeted with a forgiving spirit.  I have felt the brush of angel's wings carrying the Savior's warm breath of forgiveness.
I have seen.  I have seen heaven.  I have heard the rumble of Gabriel's horn and seen the might of Michael's sword.  I have seen a choir of angels led by Christ surround us.  Our God is an awesome God., for I am one tear in a driving rain.  My voice carries to the make of the stars.  I have seen the persistence of faith.  I have seen demons flee from our spirit filled hearts.  The lightning will dance and the thunder will roll for the Lord is at hand.  The least that matters is the score at halftime. 

In the hall of forgotten things you will not see my name.  The persistence of faith keeps me strong.  I have seen heaven on earth.  I have seen Christ in others.  I have seen a new man, father, and friend, in one man.  I have seen and the Lord has seen me.  In my heart...I know that He is pleased.

Jacob Hutchison

One More Day

Good morning from Lamar, CO,

Mission 2010 begins its final day!  Today we will be going to the site and finish up demolishing a room then it's clean up and back to the church so we can clean.  Believe me when I say this...the rooms where my troopers have slept are perhaps more wrecked than the building we are gutting.  Talk about some strange smells!

Last night was moving as we heard Debby Pelly, the executive director of Lamar Hospice came and shared her testimony with the group.  What a story she has!  Tonight we will be having a bar b cue before we gather for our awards and communion time.  It's been a long six days and I am blessed to see it come to and end.  However, there is work to be today's breakfast and a drive to the site!  Keep praying for my troopers!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Bet They Are My Troopers!

Mission 2010 entered its fifth day and the focus was a little loose this morning.  However, once the group got the routine of busting the cabinets down and breaking the toilets up they were working like a well oiled machine.  Thursday night brought us to the swimming pool at Randy's (this great guy in charge of the demolition) father's house.  The kids swam, had diving contests, and played pool baseball.  I have to say my troopers earned it.

Throughout the week I have referred to the senior highers as my troopers.  I do that because that is what they are.  As the leader of senior high youth group mission trips I have sent my troopers into battle in many different states and sometimes outside the states.  I have sent them to battle hurricane ravaged homes, inner city Vacation Bible Schools, as well as Mexican orphanages.  I have deployed them to from Indiana to California and from Montana to Texas.  And each time they have been deployed they have served admirably and with distinction.

My troopers are commanded by a Living God and they battle His enemy.  They liberate people, not from war riddle countries, but from the pain of nature's destruction.  Their ammunition is not made up of mortars and M-15's but of God's and His promises.  Children have been entertained with the stories of God.  Nature's wrath has given my troopers all it could muster and my troopers have come out victorious.

Is serving on a mission really a battle?  the answer is yes.  We battle the fear of the unknown.  We battle fatigue and sometimes we battle each other. But in the my troopers come home with the great satisfaction of a job well done and victory in their hearts.  You bet their my troopers and I have been privileged to serve beside them for almost 20 years.

We began this mission with doubting whether you could really be on a mission serving a town 36 miles away from your town.  We forge into the final day knowing there is no other place we would have rather served. 

Praying for one more day!


PS.  I have placed a link on the upper right hand of this blog.  It links you to the Lamar Ledger and a great story about some people who came to Lamar and changed this town forever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jess vs. Glass door! Door Wins!


Mission 2010 is continuing to be a huge blessing for every team member.  The Lamar Hospice is a Godsend to the people of Lama and the valley.  As usual, nothing was usual today. Jessica has a run in with a glass shower door...and lost!  Took five stitches to bring her back to her fighting weight!  She was a trooper.  Oh, and by the way, we threw in a Tetanus shot for good measures.  It was heart warming to have the executive director of Lamar Hospice come to the er and give Jess a hug.  Debbie is a true leader for this hospice organization. 

Other than the exciting event with the stitches we continued to gut the old building that is going to become the new building!  Toilets, cabinets, sinks, carpets, and anything else that wasn't nailed down...well, strike that, some of the things that were nailed all goes.  We are being truly blessed as we serve God in this fashion.  If you are getting this by e-mail go to the actual blog site to see Jess' stitches.  Until Later on !


A Forgiving Spirit


Mission 2010 is in full swing as the group continued it's work on refurbishing the Lamar Hotel for the use of Lamar Hospice.  Hammers, crowbars, nails, and sweat were flying as the group continued maintained their "destruction mode".  Cassie Elder, one of our adult leaders, took a group to do yard work at the homes of some of the hospice patients.  What a job they did!

We continue our work today in the hotel as we set off to tear down cabinets and toilets!  Our group has always been much better at tearing at destruction rather than construction.  I suppose it's just one of those spiritual gifts that God has deemed necessary in our group.

Christine and Stephanie arrived last night so our evening gathering time was back in swing with awesome music.  Last night we began talking about forgiveness.  We are making our way through the seven decisions that Andy Andrews writes about in The Traveler's Gift.  Last night we talked about why it is so important to have a forgiving spirit.  We shared with each the struggles that each one of us have in the area of forgiveness of others and to ourselves.  It is so important for our group members to come to realize that forgiveness is not something we hold on to like a prize that others are not worthy of receiving from us.  Rather, forgiveness is a  gift given to enable us to accomplish all that God wants for us.

The group is really beginning to gel with each other.  God has gifted each one of my troopers is such special ways that it is quite easy to see His work being done in the lives of these young adults.  I pray for an anointing upon our work and upon each of them as we seek to forgive, to be people of action, and to come to terms with the realization that we are responsible for our pasts and our futures.  In doing so, we become better people, better neighbors, better brothers and sisters, and better children of God.

Please continue to pray for us as we seek to fulfill the call we feel God has placed on our group.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Troopers!


I wake up this day so proud of my youth group troopers.  Yesterday they worked pulling weeds and moving furniture and supplies from an old motel so they could make room for construction of a new Hospice building.  Some of the work was tedious and some of the work was tough but my troopers gave it their all.  I am excited to see what today brings.  God is good and is work in the midst of our group.

We came home dragging yesterday.  What testament to their hard work.  I wake this morning a renewed sense of excitement.  We played laser tag last night and I think that was just the thing to get them fired up for today.  A new day, a new battle!  I felt God's presence last night as we talked about being a person of action.  We have all agreed to be people a Godly person of action in our lives.  When an opportunity comes before us where we have to make a decision we will choose not to sit back and see what happens but make that decision and then follow where God leads!

Make sure to check out some of our pictures on our facebook page  at and search for firstpreslafacebook.  You can also follow us on twitter.  If you search for firstpresla.  You can also go to my blog site and see other pictures.  Well I smell the pancakes burning so breakfast must be ready.  Make sure that you pray for troopers!

Until next time!



Sunday, July 18, 2010

God's Mission: Guest Write; Jessica West

Oh my goodness it is my senior year. It is the last year that I will partake in the merriment of mission with my friends from Las Animas Presbyterian Church. Not only is it my last, but it also the first year I've ever had mission with my pastor and my uncle; Deke.
I believe this is my first time I've ever "officially" blogged IN MY LIFE. I must apologize in advance; if you were looking to get something meaningful or something that will induce deep-thought; you might want to look else where.
Not saying that I have nothing meaningful to just hasn't happened yet.
We arrived at the First Pres church in Lamar and quickly realized something very strange: IT LOOKS JUST LIKE THE CHURCH IN LA JUNTA. And if you have never been inside the First Pres in La Junta; imagine the sanctuary with thin wood panels lining the ceiling, long wooden pews with red velvet cushions, red plush carpet, a balcony in the back with a few pews and where the "sounds guy" sits, and behind the pews is a wall with large windows separating the "cry room" where you take your fussy baby to cry and still pay attention to the sermon. Everything here in this church is mirror to everything in La Junta; save for the lighting which are large cylinder shades with small crosses on them (La Junta had giant spheres).
When Uncle Deke said we had to have mission at home, I didn't realized we were going to stay in a church that looked like the one at home. (After we figure out this technology we'll get some pictures up)
I am currently sitting in the chapel; which happens to be a lot less creepy then the one in Las Animas, probably because there is a large portrait of Jesus to my right and two large stained glass windows of Jesus and a few lambs to my left. I think we need more pictures of Jesus in our church.
I knew from the start that we were going to have problems with this "mission starts at home" business. Me and Steph were the ones who put up the biggest fight. It was our last mission! But after dwelling on the subject I figured I would just take what I was given and not ask any questions. So we all jump in the van to get something to eat. Cassey gives us a little tip, saying there is a place in Missouri called Lamar. Lonnie, Jenna, Eli, and I then come up with an idea: If we can psychologically trick ourselves into thinking we were in Lamar, Missouri; we wouldn't put up any more fights against Uncle Deke. When approached with the idea, Uncle Deke quickly shut it down.
I am actually at a loss right now. I feel like I'm missing a piece......STEPH! SHE'S NOT HERE!! This child who has been on every single mission since she was 8 months old is missing the first 2 days of her LAST mission. She is in Greeley right now, going through orientation with hundreds of others who will join us at the end of summer at the University of Northern Colorado. I can't wait for her to get back, she's my better half! Steph, if you're reading this in Greeley: I MISS YOU!!
Sitting here, I realized that quite a few people are going to read this: well, at least everyone in my family. I almost feel like I'm on TV.....I'm tempted to say, "Hi Mom!"........Hi mom.
I don't know if you got anything meaningful from's nothing like what Uncle Deke writes; but oh well, I'm no "Uncle Deke".
Here's to a hopeful and fun mission in Lamar, Missouri--Colorado!!
And this has been a Pie-Cheese Production.

Life Goes On!


On behalf of my family I want to thank all of the wonderful calls, cards, and prayers that have since the passing of my Uncle Mike.  I continue to pray for my Aunt Pat, Paula, my father, and all who are grieving his loss.  But, as my father has always told me following tragedies, "Son, the sun will still come up tomorrow".  Indeed it will.  As a pastor, I experience loss quite frequently.  Whether it be from the loss of a loved one in my congregation or a loss of my own family I have come to realize that the the adage, "Life Goes On!" is so true.

Today I begin my week long mission trip with my senior high youth group.  The way that I know that life goes on is by the fact that life didn't wait for me to get ready for the trip.  With the packing, planning, and perspiring that accompanied me trying to get ready life ran right over me. Our group will be working this week in Lamar, CO and even though Lamar is only about 36 miles from Las Animas the same type of preparation is required.  We have made it safely to the church we are staying at and we now begin the 6 day journey together!

The reason I tell all of you this is that you will, soon, be listening to another voice on my blog.  I am sure that is the not the correct description of what will be happening but I leave it out there for all of you to ponder.  Over the next 6 days you will have the great privilege of reading what goes though a teenagers mind during a 7 day mission trip.  I feel like there should be some sort of warning label affixed to your computer screen right now but I am not quite sure to warn you about.  Nevertheless, I encouraged to stay tuned for words and pictures that will record, for all of the world to read and see, our Mission Trip 2010.

Good Luck and may God have mercy on our souls!



Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Family Mourns


I have written so many times about pain and grief, trials and tragedy.  All families have them, it is unavoidable.  Yet, the difference between families lies in the fact that families who are filled with God's presence grieve in a different way.  Those families grieve with hope, hope that they will see their loved one again.  Although it isn't always realized by families that are grieving, it is the presence of God that brings a sense of peace when death and tragedy invade the life of a family.

This day, death has come to our family.  My father's brother, Mike, died from a blood clot that entered his lungs.  I loved my Uncle Mike very much.  He and my Aunt Pat were always present at family gatherings.  Whether it was a birthday of a nephew, niece, great niece, or great-great niece they were there.  Growing up he was a constant presence in my life and I will miss him dearly. 

As I mentioned earlier tragedy and death come to all families and ours is no different.  We have felt the sting of death far too many times and through all of it our family has endured.  We have weathered the storms of life because our family is strong.  Uncle Mike was a part of that strength.  He has left us and our family is lessened because of his absence but our family will endure.  The very strength that Uncle Mike shared with each of us  is the strength that will bind us together.  This day a great sadness falls upon our family.  We have lost someone whom we have loved for so long but that love does not die for it lives in each of us.  So as we live Uncle Mike lives in us.

That's the way it should be.  Each branch that stems from our family tree widens the strength of love within that family.  Loved ones die but the tree lives on.  Scripture tells us not to grieve as those who have no hope but grieve with the hope of one who is in Jesus Christ.  I pray this day for my aunt Pat, my cousin Paula, my father and  his brother Gary, my aunt Sue, and all of our family.  Our strength comes from God and it is upon Him that we shall find our peace.

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant, Mike, with all  the saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more;
neither sighing but life everlasting.

David Harkins wrote:

“You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he would want of you :
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”
Today I remember a part of my family, my Uncle Mike.  A man who loved as much as he was loved.  I shall miss him but I will see him again.  I look forward to that day!
May your family be blessed this day,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Prodigal Son


For those of you who have kept up with my journey know that I have been writing a memoir of my life.  I have worked on it for almost a year and I am getting very close to having it finished.  For the next few weeks I would like to share with you some excerpts from this project.

...Many days and nights following my second and third brain surgeries I struggled to come to terms with the person I had become.  My head told me that I had no reason to demand anything from God.  He had been with me through all of my surgeries and He would be with me after them.  My head told me that but my heart told me something else.  I would never try and justify the anger and resentment that I felt towards God.  That would go against everything that I had believed in.  I knew that I served a God of love and grace.  I had felt that love many times in my life.  Yet, deep down, in places we don't talk about, I also felt that my service justified a better result than I was experiencing at that particular moment.  I truly believed that God owed me something.  I wasn't quite sure what it was exactly but I knew it wasn't what I was getting.

Following my second and third surgery the pain was almost unbearable.  It still is to this day.  It was in the midst of this pain when I decided that God owed me and it was time to cash in.  Luke 15 tells of a son that decides he has had his fill of work on the farm and has decided to cash in his inheritance.  He was asking his father to give him something that, at that moment, was not rightfully his.  He wanted to take what he thought he was owed and head out into the big, bright world.  After all, the blessing was going to be his anyway sometime, some day.  But the fact was it wasn't his right now. 

Looking back I see myself as the prodigal son.  I wanted what I thought my father owed me.  I wanted relief from pain, a better day, a moment of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual peace.  I am not sure if it was what I was owed but I know it was something I couldn't demand.  I often wonder if the prodigal son really knew what he was asking.  I imagine that he presumed that life in the big city would be a better life.  It wasn't what his father wanted for him but the son never stopped to consider his father's plan.

That happens to us so often.  In the midst of pain or trials, persecution or tribulations, we decide that we know what is best for us.  Very seldom do we stop and consider the plans that God might have for us. 
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."(NIV)  Did you catch it?  God has a plan for us, He has a plan!  That means that His plan is what is best for us.  It is a plan that calls us into communion with Him.  It is a plan that provides prosperity and hope in our lives.  Looking back I see the arrogance of my actions.  How haughty I must have been to think that, when it came to my life, I knew better than God.  I was the prodigal son!  But, by the grace of God, I made it through the pain and realized that it was time to come home.  I didn't know what kind of reception I was going to receive from Him but I didn't care.  I needed to find my way home.  Little did I know that the journey home would be so hard!

I pray that each of us would realize that God has a plan for our lives.  It is a plan that takes us into the very heart of God.  I am blessed to be able to share with you my struggles of finding my way home to the Father.  I have come to realize that the choice of recycling our pain brings hope to others.  May your journey home begin today!



Monday, July 5, 2010

A Christian Nation


As the fourth of July comes and goes I want to take just a moment to reflect upon some of my thoughts for this holiday we observe.  This day has always been a day when we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy and the birth of a new nation. We all have a tendency to agree with those ideas.  Where it gets a little sticky is when we have to, somehow, agree about how it was founded.  Some people believe that the independence we sought from King George was strictly about taxes and, no doubt, it played a major part. Yet, for whatever reasons, we wanted freedom and we got it!My comments, this day, address not the desire for a new nation but, rather, how that nation was built.

For over two centuries we Americans have debated whether or our nation began as a christian nation.  Some say yes and some say no, some say they don't care!  In my opinion the history speaks for itself.  However, for every piece of evidence that I can produce I am sure that some one of a differing or dissenting opinion could produce evidence in favor of their stance.  So, you need to decide for yourself.  Here we go!  These items were taken from a number of different sources ranging from other sermons to books.

*In 1776, 11 of the 13 colonies required that one had to be a Christian to be eligible to run for political office.

*In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase Bibles for distribution in the nation.

*The GETTYSBURG ADDRESS states "...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..."



*On that First "Thanksgiving", who do you think the people were giving thanks to? To God!

*The famous "Liberty Bell" has part of Leviticus 25:10 inscribed on it: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

*Part of the Scripture Proverbs 14:34 is inscribed above the L.A. city hall door: "RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTETH A NATION: BUT SIN IS A REPROACH TO ANY PEOPLE."

*An image of Moses carrying the tablets of God’s Law faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

*The entering President takes his courtroom OATH OF OFFICE with his right hand on the Holy Bible, and concludes his vow "So help me God."

* The Supreme Court itself begins each of its sessions with the phrase ’God save the United States and this honorable court,’

*First Vice President and Second President, John Adams wrote in 1798:

     "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the         government of any other."

* President Thomas Jefferson:

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - 1781

*Our sixth President, John Quincy Adams said:

"No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon as the Bible." -

*At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin said,

"God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"

*The Christian writings and pronouncements of our 16th President Abraham Lincoln would fill an entire book. He said this when he assumed leadership over a nation on the brink of civil war:

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." - 1863

*Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th President, wrote:

     "In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down-grade." - 1917

*Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President and Governor of New Jersey, said this:

     "America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture." - 1911

*Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, said this about our founding fathers:

"They were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance with the principle of self- government. They were an inspired body of men. It has been said that God sifted the nations that He might send choice grain into the wilderness... Who can fail to see it in the hand of destiny? Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence." - 1923

*Franklin Roosevelt prayed this prayer on a national radio hookup on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as our troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France:

     "Almighty God... with Thy blessing we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogance. Lead us to the saving of our country. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen."

*Harry Truman, our 33rd President, not known to be a committed believer, understood the spiritual heritage of this nation:

     "If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear”

*Gerald Ford, our 38th President, quoted a 1955 speech by Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 5, 1974:

     "Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first - the most basic - expression of Americanism. Thus the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be."

*President Ronald Reagan:

    "If we ever forget that we are ’One nation, under God’, then we will be one nation gone under."

These are just a few of the indicators of how and why our nation was birthed.  They are not open to speculation due to the specific nature of their application.  The founding fathers, perhaps not all but most, believed that God had ordained and blessed the forming of our new nation.  And in appreciation for this new nation they also believed that we should thank and honor God for that blessing.  Our country was founded on Biblical principles!

I am not sure why people are so angered about that statement.  It's a fact, we were birthed as a christian nation.  It does not mean that government that existed in Great Britain at the time of the American Revolution somehow was transferred to our new government.  According to our Constitution's "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof Bill of Rights ".  However, that's how people want to get you!  Cries of, "You see! We couldn't have been a christian nation we made a law that government can't tell you what kind of god you should worship" come flying at you.  The fact is, they are right!  Our government can't tell you what god to worship.  But that has nothing to do with the fact that we were birthed as a christian nation and that the majority of our founders believed that we should be a christian nation.

In all honesty my concern is not how were founded or whether George Washington was a Christian, a Buddhist, a Mason, or an Atheist.  What concerns me is our nation today.  Yesterday we celebrated our freedoms but we did not take the time to thank God for our freedoms.  I said yesterday in my sermon that God is the soul of America and that America is in danger of losing it's soul!  Our country, in a very short period of time, has gone from a nation who embraced God to a nation of people who profess to be God.  We have lost our way and God is watching.

This day brave men and women put their life on the line to defend our nation's freedoms.  Yet, in my opinion, we don't play our part.  We have forgotten our freedoms and from where those freedoms are derived.   We lack the moral backbone to stand and say that there is a right and wrong, a good and bad, a moral and immoral.  We have embraced all choices and have called it tolerance.  We have worshipped idols and have called it being enlightened and we have replaced Almighty God with the almighty buck.  America is losing it's soul.

Yet, if I standby and watch all this happening I would be a hypocrite.  If Christians believe that America is in danger of losing it's soul then we have a duty to respond.  No longer can we sit back and let life just "happen" to us.  We must stand up and speak up.  We must share the good news of Christ with others.  We must hold fast to the idea that we used to be a christian nation and that we can be one again.  So many people Christians are afraid to to take a stand in fear of upsetting the beliefs of someone else.  And while I am not going out of my way to offend others the truth of the gospel must be said.  Like it or not, and I happen to like it, according to my God there is going to be winners and losers.  Righteousness will prevail.  The only question we have is what side our nation will fall.  II Chronicles 7:14 reads, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (NIV)  I don't think those are just Old Testament words.  I believe they apply to us today.  Brothers and sisters, America is in danger of losing her soul!

Let us not be a people who give thanks for our freedoms and forgets the one who gave us those freedoms in the first place.

Until next time!  Blessings!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Congrats to Laura

A BIG shout out goes to my niece, Laura, on her big wedding day!  Congrats to Darrin and Nancy!  One down....well, let's just say a bunch more to go!  We love you guys and wish Laura and Jake a beautiful life together.



Thursday, July 1, 2010



Certain things in life are meant to be shared.  A great joke, a warm blanket in the midst of a cold football game, and great stories!  Well, being that I am a great sharer I have one of those things for you...A great story.  Now, before I begin I must admit that I was told this story.  Unfortunately, I did not witness it first hand, but oh how I wish I could have!

This story begins with a girl, a sprinkler system, and a very, very scared snake!

Earlier this morning my daughter Stephanie was heading off to her 8 to 5 job at PRG.  As she does every morning she got up, took her shower, fixed her face ( whatever that means) and bounced out the door bubbly and ready to face the world that was her's this day!  Now, as I said before I was not at the house at that particular time.  I had decided to go golfing.  For any of you that golf you will appreciate my next statement.  As much as I love golf I would have given anything to be home at this particular time.  Anyway, Stephanie comes out the door and steps off of our cement steps.  Well, it just so happened that there was a snake coiled up in the corner sunning itself for what, I believe, was a busy day for the snake.  Just as Stephanie steps off of the first step the snake decides that she has just entered into it's "space".  Being a snake and reacting as snakes are suppose to react it snapped at her.  I use the term snap because I am not sure that the snake was big enough to be considered a true "strike".  Well, whether it was a snap, a strike, or just a nice gesture by the snake to start an other wise bad day, I believe that Stephanie interpreted it as an attack of epic proportion.  You know how the media says that the true purpose of terrorism is to cause terror?  Well as silly as that sounds, if that is true, I believe that Stephanie considered that snake enemy number one, the Ace of spades, the spawn of Osama Bin Laden!

So, the "strike" has occurred and Stephanie freaks!  She begins screaming and running, running and screaming!  As she tells the story she can't remember how she got to the tree in the middle of our yard but she did.  Whether she ran, hopped, pranced, or was somehow transported there, she ended up on a burm in the middle of our front yard.  What she later learned, but was oblivious to at the time, was that she was standing in the middle of my sprinkler system!  Oh for a camera and the address to "Funniest Home Videos"!

What makes this story truly hilarious, or horrifying (you pick), is that my daughter is deathly afraid of snakes.  Wait, I am not embellishing her fear, she is DEATHLY AFRAID OF SNAKES! I mean she can't look at them in real life or on the TV.  She won't talk about them, joke about them, or be amused at anyone around her that does.  She HATES snakes.  So, you can imagine her terror at being in the midst of a "SNAKE ATTACK".  Now, for those of you who are, at this very moment, thinking to yourself that I am an uncaring are probably right!  If it would have been a rattlesnake I am sure that I would have had shovel in hand as I searched for the snake in my garage.  The truth is it wasn't a rattlesnake and, because it wasn't, that makes this story hilarious to me.  Call me an uncaring father, call me a real jerk, call me anything you want but don't call me until I am done laughing!

So, the snakes attacks, my daughter freaks, the snake panics, my daughter panics, the snake books it for the garage and my daughter books it for the tree!  That's pretty much how it happened!  What I didn't share, and the thing that makes this story a keeper, is the scream that Stephanie let out.  My wife described it as "real fear", my son, on the other hand, thought it was two dogs fighting each other for their lives.  In fact when Steph came inside and was holding her trembling little face in her hands my son, who has the appropriateness of a two year old says, "Did you hit one of the dogs with your car?".  My boy, you have to be proud!

Not long ago I spent some time on my blog talking about Andy Andrew's book The Noticer.  The book talked about looking at life from a different perspective.  I suppose that's what I did when I was told this story.  I knew how scared my daughter was but I began to wonder how scared the snake was.  I mean, the snake didn't charge Stephanie, she entered his space.  The snake, who by the way we named Bobby, was only reacting the way a snake is suppose to react.  I began to imagine, just as Steph had done, that the snake made it back to his, or her, family and began to tell a horrifying story.  "Do you know what happened to me today?", the snake might have said.  "I was sunning myself on the cement steps and this giant human, and you know how afraid I am of humans, attacked with no provocation.  I was terrified!  I was so scared I jumped  of my skin and screamed as loud as I could.  I think it must have thought that I was trying to bite her because she ran to a tree and starting to get a stick so she could kill me.  Mom, I was so afraid!"  Well, if there is any justice in this world then I hope that the Dad of that snake had a good laugh!,

Perspective, it is what turns a terrifying experience into a life learning experience.  Am I glad the snake didn't bite her?  Sure I am.  I am not that mean of a father.  The only thing that I hope is that they both, Stephanie and the snake, learned something.  I hope that Stephanie learned that as scary as the snake attack felt it didn't kill her.  For the snake, I hoped it learned that not all humans immediately go for shovel!  Nevertheless both the snake and Steph live to run another day!

I pray that your days will be filled with perspective.  Some look at their lives and grieve what could have been and know that things will never get better and can only go downhill.  Some can look at the same life and be excited that things can never be worse and that there is only up.  May your lives be filled with the UP!

Until next time or until another "ATTACK" may your lives be blessed!