Thursday, March 29, 2007


In the gospel of Matthew, chapter7, we are told in verses 1-5,
"1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." We love to be so quick to judge, and yet we forget that we ourselves are not blameless. God gives us forgiveness, and second chances, and calls us to do this with others.
The other day I came across a poem called "The Dusty Old Shoe." It is fairly long, but a good read: My alarm went off...It was Sunday again. I was sleepy and tired, My one day to sleep in.
But the guilt I would feel So I'd go and I'd pray. I got there and sat In a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in prayer As I closed my eyes, I saw the shoe of the man next to me Touching my own. I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side, I thought, "Why must our soles touch?" It bothered me, his shoe touching mine,But it didn't bother him much.
A prayer began: "Our Father" I thought, "This man with the shoes has no pride. They're dusty, worn, and scratched Even worse, there are holes on the side!"
"Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on. The shoe man said a quiet "Amen." I tried to focus on the prayer,
But my thoughts were on his shoes again.
"Aren't we supposed to look our best When walking through that door? Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought,
Glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended And the songs of praise began. The shoe man was certainly loud, Sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters, His hands were raised high, The Lord could surely hear The shoe man's voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering And what I threw in was steep. I watched as the shoe man reached Into his pockets so deep.
I saw what was pulled out, What the shoe man put in, Then I heard a soft "clink" As when silver hits tin...
The sermon really bored me To tears, and that's no lie. It was the same for the shoe man, For tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service, As is the custom here, We must greet new visitors And show them all good cheer.
But I felt moved somehow And wanted to meet shoe man. So after the closing prayer, I reached over and shook his hand.
He was old and his skin was dark, And his hair was truly a mess But I thanked him for coming, For being our guest.
He said, "My name's Charlie, I'm glad to meet you, my friend." There were tears in his eyes
But he had a large, wide grin.
"Let me explain," he said Wiping tears from his eyes. "I've been coming here for months, And you're the first to say 'Hi.'"
"I know that my appearance Is not like all the rest, But I really do try To always look my best."
"I always clean and polish my shoes Before my very long walk But by the time I get here, They're dirty and dusty, like chalk."
My heart filled with pain and I swallowed to hide my tears As he continued to apologize For daring to sit so near.
He said, "When I get here, I know I must look a sight. But I thought if I could touch you, Then maybe our souls might unite"
I was silent for a moment, Knowing whatever was said Would pale in comparison. I spoke from my heart, not my head.
"Oh, you've touched me," I said, "And taught me, in part, That the best of any man Is what is found in his heart."
The rest, I thought, This shoe man will never know. Like just how thankful I really am That his dirty old shoe touched my soul...
I pray that today we would seek to love and learn from others instead of judging. Wouldn't our world be such a better place if we did this.
Tell me your thoughts by clicking on the "comments" button below. Blessings

Monday, March 26, 2007


Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

We are called to sacrifice ourselves for God. But what does that mean? Obviously, it doesn't mean to lay down on a stone table and give our lives for God. But there is a call from God to us to find ways to give of ourselves freely and fully.
Especially here in the United States, most people do not know what it means to sacrifice. We have everything we could want and need; AND USUALLY MORE! Actually, the people who show sacrifice the best are mothers. Most mothers, after they have a child, give up their needs and wants, and focus on the needs of their child. They give up their time, their sleep, their money, and their freedom to care for their child. This is a beautiful picture of sacrifice.
So, how can we turn this picture to us, as God's children? The truth is, we should be more concerned with what we can do for God and the kingdom of God than we can do for ourselves. As the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:33- "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." We don't need to worry about our own lives. When we give ourselves to God, God will take care of us. We need to give generously of our time, our money, our energy, and our resources to God's work. Could you imagine what kind of work we could do if people sacrificed in this way?
So why is it so hard to give? The fundamental reason is because of sin and selfishness. We are very selfish people. We are more concerned with what we can gain and what we can possess. Consequently, we struggle to give of ourselves in a way that we could call "sacrifice." So my challenge to you is this; FIND WAYS THAT YOU CAN SACRIFICE FOR GOD. What could you do that would be a sacrifice for you, but would benefit God's kingdom? Are you willing to do it? When will you start?
Click on the "comments" button below to add to this discussion. Blessings

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Social Justice

Isaiah 61:1 says- “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” The Lord set apart the church for the specific call to care for those who are oppressed, poor, marginalized, and struggling. The church is to come alongside to help and to be an advocate for those who can’t always help themselves. This is an example we saw in Jesus when He was on the earth. Jesus often taught, or healed, or blessed someone before He preached to them. We as the church, the visible sign of God’s presence, should be seen caring for those to whom Jesus did. When Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus was referring to the outcasts and the downtrodden.
I am thankful for how our church seeks to respond to social justice, and yet I know there is always so much more that we could do. Currently we
have a small food pantry, we give away free loafs of bread, we served 140 people at our Thanksgiving dinner, and we seek to help people with their special needs when we can and in the ways we can. I am the moderator of the Evangelism committee in our Presbytery, and we are seeking to team up with the Social Justice committee to find ways to combine social justice acts with the message of God’s love. These 2 go hand in hand, and the church is remiss is she fails to do both.
Many Christians are fine with focusing on themselves and not worrying about the social justice issues. But I don't think this is what God desires from us. We need to seek to do our best with the resources we have available to us. What do you think Christians should be doing in this area? Click on the "comments" button below and tell me what you think.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Smoking and Drinking

A few months ago I had the opportunity to be part of a question and answer column for clergy in the Long Beach Press Telegram. One of the questions asked of the clergy was:
Since it has been medically
determined that things like smoking
and excessive drinking is bad for one's
health, what are your views on leaders
in the church who do either and do you
believe this sets a bad example for their followers?
Here is how I answered the question:

The Bible instructs us that the body is a gift to us from God. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we are told: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Above and beyond being a leader in the church, we are all called to care for our body. I do believe it is not a good thing to smoke or drink excessively, because it harms this holy temple God has given us.

Even more, the Bible speaks to those who are leaders to set a greater example. In 1 Timothy 3 it is said that leaders are to not be “drunkards” or to have much “wine.” In Titus 2:7 we are told: “Show yourself in all respects a model of good works…”

When I was a youth pastor, I decided that even though it was legal for me to drink, and seeing that many youth struggle with drinking, it would not be a good example for me to drink. So I decided not to drink alcohol at all. This was my choice for myself, and not one that everyone needs to make. But there is always the temptation to drink too much, and so moderation is important.

In regards to smoking, it is quite addictive, and I know many good people who want to stop, but cannot. This is not good, because it will affect their health negatively. When others see them smoking, it could cause another to stumble by leading them to smoke as well. So I do believe that it is not setting a good, healthy example of how God wants us to live.

And yet, those who struggle in these areas would do well to speak to others about their struggle and how they desire to do well by God with their body. Being a good example would mean for them to learn moderation for themselves, and teach moderation to others. I believe this is important for not just leaders in the church, but for all Christians. Share your thoughts on this by clicking on the "comments" button below.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Friendship is important. God has created us with the need to be in relationship with others. When we have close friends, we are blessed in so many ways. Close friends can strengthen us, encourage us, challenge us, build us up, give us confidence, help us to feel loved. When we have healthy friendships with others, we will experience strength and blessing in our lives. As Ecclesiastes
4:10-12 says: 10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I want to lead you through an exercise. Write down 5 - 10 names of close friends. Now, if you talk to them at least once a week, circle their name. Now if you think that they would write your name down on their list, underline their name. Now, did you put Jesus on that list? Many times in life, we forget that Jesus considers us a friend. Jesus would put your name and my name down on a list of friends. As we are told in John 15:15, 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
I want to encourage you to think about Jesus not just as Lord and savior, but as your friend. God is daily inviting us to be in friendship. We accept God's invitation when we read the Bible, live out the dreams God gives us, listen to the small voice of God. And with Jesus as our friend, we can overcome the doubt, fear, insecurity, confusion, and frustration that can wreak havoc in our lives.
What do you think about friendship? What do you think about Jesus as your friend? Let me know by clicking on the comment button below. Have a blessed day. Chris

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Chance

In the Bible, the gospel of Luke, chapter 13, Jesus tells a story of a fig tree which is planted in a vineyard. The owner of the vineyard comes to visit, but there is no fruit on the fig tree. The owner wants to tear the tree down and plant something else that will make good use of the soil (since if a fig tree has produced in 3 years it probably never will). But the caretaker of the vineyard talks the owner into giving him one more year with the tree. The caretaker wants to do 3 things. These 3 things I believe give us an important lesson for our lives as well.

1. Work the soil- The caretaker wants to first work the soil. He believes that
by preparing the soil, the tree will have a better chance. The truth is, without good soil, a tree cannot produce. This is true for you and me. If we don’t have good soil (which Jesus likened to our hearts), then we will not be able to produce. So we must make sure that we are letting God soften our hearts to care for others around us.

2. Fertilize- Second, the caretaker wants to fertilize. Fertilizer helps to put nutrients into the soil that will make the soil more able to nourish plants and trees. For us, fertilizer is the word of God and Christian fellowship. When we are reading the Bible and when we are around other Christians, we will be more likely to live in a way that will bless others around us, and help others understand the need to believe in and follow God.

3. Extra care- Last, the caretaker wanted to give the tree extra care. Sometimes extra attention can help provide the right conditions for growth. Maybe there are insects that are affecting the tree. Or maybe the tree isn't getting enough water. That extra attention can make the difference. This is true in our own lives. It is good to have someone in your life who is making sure that you are doing the things you need to do to grow. It is important to have someone checking up on you, in love, so that you might become all that God created you to be.

This is a parable of second chances. This tree was given another chance. Jesus wants us to know that He gives us another chance. So if we stumble, if we fail, if we stray, if we sin, if we feel like we don't measure up, Jesus is there to pick us up and help us move forward. Are you in this place in any way? Do you need this reminder that you get another chance? Who do you need who might need this message? Pass it on. And if you want to add to what I have said, please click on the "comments" button just below and share your thoughts.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Do we need to go to church?

It is interesting how our society has gotten to the place where they don't think that going to church is that important. I have had many people tell me that they are Christians, but don't feel they need to go to church. They have many reasons. Some just like to stay home and watch a church service on TV. Others think that it is their only day off, and so they want to sleep in and take it easy. Or they think that church is boring, and they don't get anything out of it. Others think that they will be judged at church. Still others want to watch the football game or go to the beach.
There are many problems with this thinking. I want to just mention a couple. One is that God created the church as a place of worship. While we can worship God by ourselves, worship is also designed by God to be a corporate experience. There is something that happens in the presence of other believers that helps to draw us closer to God. When we worship with other believers, the presence and power of God can and should be experienced in profound ways. It is more than just singing songs and hearing words spoken. It is being touched by the Holy Spirit in an environment where God's people are drawn together. There is a mystical experience that happens when God's people join together in giving praise and glory to God. As Psalm 95:1-2 says, "O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." Do you see that the psalmist says "us" and not me. The psalmist uses the plural. This regularly is spoken of in this way in the psalms, because worship is something that God's people are to do together!
The second is that God created church to be a place of fellowship. The church is the body of Christ, and the place where we are to use our gifts. It is completely apart from God's design to use your gifts on yourself. The gifts you have been given have been given for the purpose of being a blessing to the body of Christ; the church. When we use our gifts apart from God and God's work, then we are just bringing glory to ourselves, and not to God. As we are told in 1 Corinthians 12:7, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."
As a place of fellowship, the church is to be a family. In any family, there are going to be gatherings that aren't the most exciting. And there are people in the family that we don't always like. But we are still a family. And if a member of the family doesn't come to a family event, then that member is missed.
If you are not a part of a church, or if you are not going to church regularly, then you are keeping others from being blessed by your presence, and you are missing out on the kind of worship and fellowship you created to have.
Tell me what you think at

Sunday, March 04, 2007

As I talked about in my last Blog, there is going to be a documentary on the

Discovery channel about some lost tombs, one of which they believe to be Jesus Christ’s, one they believe to be Mary’s, and one they believe to be the son of Jesus and Mary. This show is one of many events where people are trying to bring forth evidence that they hope will show that Jesus is not God in the flesh, and that Jesus was not resurrected.

Many do not believe in the resurrection. They think it is a fictional story. I mean, all people die, and once they are dead, they are dead. Right? So a story about someone dying, and then coming back to life has to be fictional. Doesn’t it?

Illus. You might remember the television show “The Twilight Zone.” Each week

the crisp voice of Rod Serling would come out and set-up the show. And his last words before the show started were always: “As we travel into another dimension known as….The Twilight Zone.” And each week the show would indeed take us into another dimension where things would happen that could never happen in our dimension. The events of the show were bizarre and wild, and led us into facing our fears. But the truth of the show is that it was not real; it didn’t happen.

That is what so many people believe about the resurrection. It wasn’t real; it didn’t happen. Something like that could never happen in our world. Death is final and cannot be changed once it happens. Even scripture affirms this:

Genesis 3:19- “You will have to work hard and to make the soil produce

anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed…”

Ecclesiastes 3:1- “There is a right time for everything: A time to be born and a time to die…”

Hebrews 9:27- “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.”

So if scripture itself teaches this, then how could we believe that Jesus could have been raised from the dead?

To believe this would mean that we would have to go into a real twilight zone; a dimension apart from our own. And to do this, we need to follow the thinking, the teaching of Jesus Himself. Jesus Himself would talk often in ways that didn’t fit into the thinking of this dimension. Jesus often made statements that sounded other dimensional.

Let’s look at a few of them: (John 18:36)- Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Jesus tried to tell people that earth was not where He came from and not

where He was going to stay. He had a mission, and after that mission He would return to His place; heaven.

Then in Luke 7:21-23, 21At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 23Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

Now even though Jesus didn’t raise anyone from the dead in this passage,

He did start to speak about this possibility. Matthew 17:22-23, 22When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.”

Here Jesus straight out gives the statement that He would be raised from death to life. The disciples were filled with grief because they did not believe it could be possible. Others I’m sure just scoffed at His statement. But Jesus is talking about accessing a power beyond this world; the power of God that can bring people back from death to life.

It is important to understand that Jesus’ death and resurrection make the difference, because when He died, so did our sin. And when He rose, so did our hope. When Jesus rose from the grave, your grave, and my grave, and the grave of everyone who believes was changed. It was no longer a final residence, but temporary housing. When we die, our permanent address will be heaven, and our permanent place will be in God’s glory. Share your thoughts on this (

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lost Tomb of Jesus

As I write today, I want you to know I am not writing in any way as an expert, but as one who is passing on my thoughts and information. A couple of days ago there was an article in the paper about some filmmakers who are doing a documentary on "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." They believe that researchers have uncovered 2 ancient stone boxes that they say may have once contained the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. If this is true, it would make the New Testament non-valid.
Many scholars have already come forward to deride these claims as unfounded and contradictory. But on March 4, on the Discovery channel, Oscar-winning director James Cameron is producing a show that will talk about this finding. As Cameron says: "There's a definite sense that you have to pinch yourself."
However, the evidence is very sketchy, and not to be believed. If you want a more scholarly take on this, you can go to Ben Witherington's blog ( In his blog he shows how these "ossuries," as they are called, are not to be received as Jesus' remains, and that the proof is not there.
Above that, if you were to understand the evidence that shows Jesus being resurrected, and appearing to hundreds of people, and the fact that His remains were not found in the tomb he was buried in, then you would understand that this "lost tomb" idea could in no way be true. The evidence about Jesus' death and resurrection is overwhelming. For more on this thinking a great book is Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ." Also, you can go to Mark Roberts blog and see several blogs about Jesus' death and resurrection (,
I am amazed at how people are trying to prove that Jesus was not God in the flesh, and that Jesus did not die on the cross for our sins, and that Jesus was not raised from the dead. In fact, people seem to get excited if they think they come across information that contradicts this teaching (i.e. The DaVinci Code). And yet, the truth remains that Jesus is God in the flesh, He did die on the cross, and He was resurrected, and He did ascend into heaven. Jesus is alive, and is our Savior and Lord. The Bible talks extensively about it, and history supports it.
What do you think? Let me know (