Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God's Way

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

The way of human ingenuity and discernment, according to the Bible, leads to death. This verse is often applied to salvation, but it is much farther reaching than that. It applies to all of our choices. We are confronted with constant decisions between self will and God's will. And the choices may be much more subtle than that: the easy way versus the hard way, small compromises versus absolute truth, or any other such confusing fork in the road. We don't realize the gravity of our direction. Man's way leads to death, while God's way leads to.......well, death.
Have you ever considered that? If we serve ourselves and cling to our false values, we will die. If we submit to Jesus, we must die. But the outcome is not as uniform as it seems. This world offers us "life" and then "death"--forever. God offers us "death" and then life--forever. Fools choose the life of this world, the "life" of the party, the "life" of freedom from responsibility. The wise choose God. Yes, it does mean a cross now....a daily cross, a painful cross, a difficult path of aversion to our own wills and submission to God's. But in the end, it leads to LIFE!
God is constantly calling us into His will. But we are afraid of Him. We've been convinced by a hostile world and lying enemy that God's will involves untold sacrifice and pain without a corresponding benefit. We think it's all pain, no gain....or a lot of pain with a very uncertain gain. We just can't see the blessing beyond the cross.
But do you think you have a real alternative? That cross we carry may be painful and sacrificial--It is not the easy way. But it's the only way. The alternative is to live outside the will of God, which equals a thousand deaths, each a thousand times worse than the blessed life of submission to our compassionate Lord. What "life" are we really embracing when we opt for self will? A momentary sense of satisfaction, perhaps. But that won't last. God's Kingdom will. It's where life will live forever!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

David's Armor

As we have been talking about the armor of God lately, something else came to my mind that I would like to share.....

1 Samuel 17:38-39
Then Saul gave David his own armor-a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. "I can't go in these," he protested to Saul. "I'm not used to them." So David took them off again.

David, the young shepherd boy, heard the challenge from the Philistines to send someone to fight Goliath. No one volunteered to fight except David. King Saul reluctantly....but finally agreed and offered David his armor. David put on the weighty equipment, but quickly discovered he couldn't fight in this heavy armor.

God equips each of us in such a way that is unique to our strengths and abilities. David was trained as a shepherd to use another weapon. For David, it was a slingshot. David showed great maturity in realizing he could not be effective with Saul's armor. God called David to be David....not Saul. What are the gifts and talents God has given to you? Have you ever tried to accomplish a task with tools you were not trained to use? God allows each of us to develop skills that are unique to our life. He will not call you to use someone else's tools. He is a very personal and amazing God!

However, this is only half of the equation. These talents must be mixed with faith. Talent alone is not enough. Faith alone is not enough. It is only when the two are combined that God's power is unleashed and manifested. Mix your unique gifts with faith today and watch in amazement at the power of God that you will flow through you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is reality?

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!"

One the great acts of the prophet Elijah took place at Mount Carmel where he called down fire upon the altar of Baal and slaughtered 400 prophets of Baal. Once the miracle took place Elijah was forced to flee because Jezebel swore to take his life for what he did.

Elijah went into depression after this event. He fled to the desert and sat under a broom tree and asked God to let him die. He was so discouraged because he felt he was the only godly prophet left in the land of Israel. This is often what happens after God does a significant work through us. Satan comes along and wants to steal what God has done and bring the servant of God down. Satan makes us believe a lie about our situation. This was the case for Elijah.

Elijah's perception was not reality. He thought he was the last of the prophets. He could not see what God was doing. God informed Elijah that there were actually seven thousand of His representatives in the land who had not bowed down to Baal. Now give some thought to that statement. Elijah thought he was the only one left. God says there are 7,000 left! What a discrepancy in perception and reality.

This is often the case for you and I. We look at our situations and conclude based on the circumstances that reality must be this way. But God says, "No, you do not see what I see or what I know or what I am doing. The situation is very different than what you are perceiving."

Be careful not to draw conclusions about your situation that may not be based on truth. God always has a plan for His servants that we may not know about. Ask God to give you His perception of the situation, not yours.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reflecting God's Glory

Psalm 145:11-12 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign.

How do you measure your effectiveness in God, or should you even be thinking like this? The early Church turned the world upside down in that first century. What made them so effective? Was it their theology? Was it great preaching? Was it due to one man's influence apart from Jesus?

The Scriptures are clear as to what made the early Church effective. It is at the core of God's heart, and it is quite simple. God desires to reflect His nature and power through every individual. When this happens, the world is automatically changed because those who reflect His glory affect the world.

We serve a jealous God. He is a God who will not share His glory with anyone. God sets up situations in order to demonstrate His power through them. He has done this since the day He created man. His desire is to reflect His glory through you and me, so that all men may know of His mighty acts and the glorious splendor of His Kingdom. The apostle Paul understood this principle:

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

If you do not see His glory being reflected through your life, then you need to ask why. He has promised to do so if we will walk in obedience to His commands.

Do me a favor....Pray this prayer from your heart and watch Jesus come alive in your life!

Father, I present my body to you as a living sacrifice. Please help me to be holy and acceptable, which is my reasonable service according to your word in Romans 12....Guide and direct me. Protect me from harm and evil, and shine through my life to influence the world around me for You. May You be glorified and may the lost be pointed to Jesus through the testimony of my life. Please keep me pure and forgive me Lord for my sins and my failures so that I might start fresh again today. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

God's Plans

Psalm 37:4 Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you what you want.

When we submit to God's plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God's plan and our pleasures. What do you love to do? What brings you joy? What gives you a sense of satisfaction?

Some long to feed the poor. Others enjoy leading the church....each of us has been made to serve God in a unique way.

The longings of your heart, then, are not incidental; they are critical messages. The desires of your heart are not to be ignored; they are to be consulted. As the wind turns the weather vane, so God uses your passion to turn your life. God is way too gracious to ask you to do something you hate.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rust-Proofing Your Treasure

Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:20-21

It was a large crowd; people were hungering to hear words that would make a difference in their lives. They left homes and jobs to go to a mountain to hear the Man everyone was talking about. They were not disappointed. Using just the power of His voice and a charisma that could not be ignored, Jesus laid out practical truth for everyday living. He spoke of relationships, prayer, and even financial matters.

On the grassy hill, Jesus brought a unique teaching to these matters. Those around Him were concerned with meeting the day’s needs and acquiring tomorrow’s wealth. Jesus spoke of riches with eternal value; He spoke of treasures that were not subject to the destructive forces of this world.

People spend a lot of energy acquiring the necessary “treasure” to live. You work hard, you save, and you count what you have. The things you value become your treasures.

Your riches can be art, precious stones, or valuable metals like gold and silver. Whatever form they take, however, they are all subject to the forces of nature. They deteriorate, rust, and corrode; at the very least, they remain earth-bound. Jesus spoke of a treasure more secure than the gold in Fort Knox.

The treasure that lasts is work done for God and on His behalf. How do you build an eternal, rustproof treasure? By expressing the love of God in all that you do and say. Each kindness done in God’s name builds a treasure that is indestructible and a wealth you will enjoy in this life and the next……Your most important treasure won’t fit in a safety-deposit box, but it will fit in your heart. Build on faith and invest in love.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Luke 11:1
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."(NLT)

When you consider that Jesus was the greatest miracle worker who ever walked the earth and the greatest preacher who ever lived, it is amazing that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Why didn't they ask Him to teach them how to work these miracles or how to preach and amaze the people with their doctrine?

It's because Jesus' prayer life was even more powerful than His miracles or His doctrine. Indeed, it was His union with the Father that gave Him His power to work miracles and His authority to speak as no man had ever spoken before. Jesus said repeatedly that it was His Father who was doing the miracles through Him and that His doctrine was not His own but the Father's.

The same holds true today. Jesus said in John 15:5 that without Him, we can do nothing. There are many things that we should do in addition to prayer, but there is nothing that we can effectively do without prayer. Prayer is one of the main ways of abiding in Him (John 15:7). Therefore, our request should be like these disciples' — "Lord, teach us to pray."

We should come expecting to receive answers to prayer. The Father is ready and willing to answer our prayers. Just ask and you shall receive.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

God is in charge

God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

Satan has no power except that which God gives him.

To the first-century church in Smyrna, Christ said, "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer for ten days. But be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10

Analyze Jesus' words for a minute. Christ informs the church of the persecution, the duration of the persecution (ten days), and the outcome of the persecution (a crown of life). In other words, Jesus uses Satan to fortify His church.....Even when Satan appears to win, he loses.

Praise our mighty God!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

God's Authority

There is a constant war waging inside Christians....A war waging between good and evil. In Christians, the Holy Spirit of God seeks to direct us to be under the authority of our heavenly Father. Every person is under some sort of authority whether you like to acknowledge that or not. It is just true! If you are not under the authority of God, you are under the authority of Satan. We are to be Christ followers, correct? Doing what He did! Jesus lived under the authority of His heavenly Father. He made no independent decisions. He, unlike us, was sinless and always remained under His Father's authority. He acknowledged that the prince of this world has a hold on many, but did not have a hold on Jesus.

The prince of this world....that rat we call the devil, Lucifer or Satan has his hold on many in our world. Especially as Americans, we long for freedom. Freedom to make our own decisions...to do what we want. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the decision was made to exercise a personal choice. And we know how much joy and freedom that has brought, huh?

Each day we must choose if we will be under the authority of the Father and the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is a choice each of us must make. It is a choice that actually leads to freedom, not bondage. Choosing to live under the authority of our heavenly Father frees us to gain the greatest fulfillment in life....It is the little decisions of daily life that reveal whether we truly live under His authority or not. What will you do with this decision in your life? It's a choice you will make. Please follow Jesus!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day.....The specific day set aside for us living Americans to honor and remember those military men and women who have served with honor protecting our rights and privileges and have now died. The purpose of this holiday is to pay honor and set aside time to remember the contributions of our military members. I am hopeful that we all do that. Yet, I am a realist. Now, I know that there are exceptions to the norm, but what I see even within our church are people who simply take advantage of another holiday. A day to focus on self and feed our own desires and wants. This case and point fits well with my sermon yesterday about really quenching the thirst of Christ by not only receiving the life He offers, but to be life giving people...sharing what we have with those who are far from God. Sound familiar? This holiday is not for us. It is for those who have served our nation with honor and are no longer with us. Show honor to them today. Don't miss this one....

Father...Thank you for your love. Thank you for our country. Thank you for the freedoms we enjoy today as Americans and thank you Father for the men and women who have served and died allowing us to worship You freely without fear of persecution. Bless the military members serving our country right now and the families of those brave men and women. In Jesus' name, we pray....Amen

Thursday, May 6, 2010

True Worshipers

As I sit here this morning offering Jesus my worship from my easy chair in my "shack"....Some of you may be wondering, "What is my shack?". I am so glad you asked. We built an addition on to our house last year. It's a cozy room where I can escape from the noise and clanging. I at first named it the "Man Cave". Cool name, huh? But there was one problem.....Maddie didn't like that name cuz the name "Man Cave" would thereby exclude her. So she came up with the name, "Sugar Shack" Yeah, that's what I thought too...... "What kind of name is that? How manly is that to say to your fishing buddy, 'hey, I'm going to go study in the sugar shack'?" So, long story short....I shortened the name to shack. Now aren't you glad you got the whole sordid story on how the shack became the shack? Anyway, where was I? Ever do that where you are just so scatterbrained that you forget like who you are? Oh yeah...worship. That's what I was going to blog about. Ok. Here we go. Ready? Good.

As I sit here this morning offering Jesus my worship from my easy chair in my "shack". See, now you can feel the picture, huh? Oh yeah, focus, Milt. As I sit here offering Jesus my worship, I find myself always getting distracted and I just wished that I could really visually see Jesus sitting here with me. You know what I mean? I am praying and singing a song...(You probably don't want to put audio to that thought)and reading the scriptures and I can't help but long to see Jesus face to face. What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see. When I look upon His face....the One who saved me by His grace. When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the Promise Land....what a day, glorious day that will be. Hopefully by now you just stop reading for a moment and close your eyes and picture Jesus Christ, the Righteous, taking you by the hand and leading through heaven...wow. I'll be right here when you finish your stroll with the Savior.

While you were strolling, I got a fresh cup of coffee. Mmmmmm. I love coffee in the morning. But not just any coffee. Oh, here ya go again, Milt. Focus, dude!

John 4:23-24
But the time is coming-indeed it's here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."(NLT)

God is scanning the earth this morning and He's looking for true worshipers. Those who will choose Him over everyone and everything else. Must we remain so stoic and dignified? I long to just worship the way Jesus longs for us to worship. What does that look like? Great question! And I'm sure great Bible scholars will have 834 different answers to that. But since I'm the author of this blog, you'll get my thoughts. I believe that Christ is looking and scanning the earth for people who will put Jesus first in their lives...above their jobs, above their families, above their hobbies, above their bank account, and above their macho or dignified image. I believe Jesus wants us to become even more undignified than David was...Huh? What are you smokin'? Well, read 2 Samuel chapter 6 and read it closely. Then tell me how dignified the King of Israel, David remained. Hint.....pay close attention to verse 20. If you have any questions about this, let me know and I'll be happy to elaborate.

My friend, what I am saying is this....Don't get all uptight about how worship looks or feels. Don't worry about what others tell you that you should or shouldn't do. You do what God tells you to do. You lose that fear of what the person next to you might think. You and I certainly are not gonna stand before the person next to us one day. Nope....We'll stand before the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords and I long for Him to one day say, Milt.....you can't sing or dance, but I'm glad you offered your best!!"

But the time is coming-indeed it's here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.

May He have all of you today and everyday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Have you ever called "911"? As a former police officer, I have responded to hundreds of "911" calls. They varied in severity and type. But the bottom line is that it was an emergency for the people who called. It was their crisis moment.

I went on a lot of calls for runaways. Parents would call the authorities to report that their child had run away from home. Perhaps there was a disagreement and the child didn't like the result so they grabbed some clothes and out the door they went. Perhaps there was some discipline and they didn't like being punished so they hit the road. Perhaps they felt like they were the "blacksheep"....always picked on and the only child who had to do this or that. They felt like they weren't being treated fairly so they take their toys and move along. I gotta tell ya, I rarely felt much sympathy for the child. I would defintely hear both sides. I would hear what the parent had to say and then I would find the child and hear their side. Most often times, I would simply find a child acting childish. A child who didn't get their way and acted out. A child who became extremely disrespectful, disobedient and self-centered. More times than not, it was the right thing for the parent to call the "authorities". Sometimes with a little firm discussion, they saw the light. Sometimes it required some paperwork and they were entered into the court system and placed on probation to try to get their attention. Sometimes this child had some previous experience acting out childishly and they were awarded a night or two in JDC (Juvenile Detention Center).

Why am I blogging about cop stuff and runaways? Right? I hear ya and now it's time to pull a "Paul Harvey and the 'rest of the story'".

Can you imagine if children were free to just pack up and say, "You know, Mom, Dad....I'm just not that happy here, so I'm gonna go live with someone else." The rules and atmosphere here just don't please ME that much....I think I'll go live with my friend where I will like it better." "You know, dad....I just don't like where I live. I mean, all my friends live there, so I'm gonna just pack up and move somewhere more convenient to my friends and school." WOW! What chaos we would have if we allowed such nonsense!!

Yet, in God's family, this seems to be the accepted norm. We are called brothers and sisters in Christ! We do life together. We worship our God in the same place and we laugh together and cry together and grow together. We are family. That is what we are called to do and be!

I know there are lots of churches out there. There are growing churches. There are dying churches. There are traditional churches. There are contemporary churches. There are deep and meaningful churches. There are entertaining churches. There are small churches. There are large churches. There are churches that tell the truth and there are churches that tickle your feet. Your options are endless! I am very grateful for Quarry Rock Church. For all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who worship at Quarry Rock, I love you and am so blessed to be your pastor! I long to do the right things and do things well. I am, however....human! Perfect? Not even! I would like to leave you with a poem that I love to use often:

The Perfect Church

If you find the perfect church without one fault or smear,
For goodness sake don't join that church, you'll spoil the atmosphere!

But since no perfect church exists made by perfect men,
let's cease looking for that church, and love the church we're in!

So, remember....there is no perfect church! Love the one you are in. And by the way, you made a great choice in my biased opinion by choosing Quarry Rock. If, however, you try running away, I'm calling the authority! "Father!!!"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Entertaining Angels?

Hebrews 13:1,2 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

Wow.....(large sigh) What a day!! It is Sunday and we experienced our largest attendance of our church history....186 people. God is just too cool! I can't wrap my brain around how awesome Jesus really is. Suppose God was impressed today? Was He impressed with 186 people coming to Quarry Rock today? Was He impressed that we held church and sung some songs, heard a message from God's Word? I'm not sure God is all that impressed by our accomplishments! But what i want to share today in this blog/devotion is not about 186 people. I want to share about one man. We'll call him Mike....cuz that is what he said his name was.

As church ended this morning, I happen to notice that a young man was standing in our welcome area. He appeared a bit unkept. That is the polite way to put it, isn't it? He had hair in dreadlocks, wearing a blaze orange stocking cap, jeans and a jacket of some sort. See how observant I am? Not that good for being a former cop, huh? Oh well...anyway, Mike was speaking to Isaac and Isaac called me over to introduce Mike to me. Mike told me that his brother was critically ill and was awaiting a serious surgery to save his life. Mike went on to explain that he was on his way to Washington, D.C. to see his brother but had run out of gas money to travel on. He stated he spent the night in his car across the street from our church. He walked in a little after 11am. I told him that we could get him a tank of gas. I gave him directions to the gas station and told him to go in and state his name and the type of vehicle he was driving and I would call in to "OK" the gas assistance. Mike shook my hand and walked away.

Within a few minutes, he walked back up to me and said, "What was the name of that gas station again?" I told him, shook his hand again and he started to walk away from me for the second time. God spoke straight to me and told me to stop Mike. I yelled, "Mike!" He kept walking.....(About now, I am suspicious his name is not Mike). "Mike!?" No response. "Mike!" This time, he turned to me. I said, "Would you like some soup before you go on in your trip?" He lit up like the sky and said yes. He walked back up to me, shook my hand and I escorted him to the snacks, sandwiches and soup. He got some food and disappeared. I got distracted by some other people who had talked to me in the line. I frantically scanned the room for Mike. Then I saw him sitting down in a booth eating his soup and snacks.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. All alone like he has leprosy. Poor guy isn't even noticed in this room full of people. Oh....my worst nightmare as a pastor!! How embarrassing to lead people like this, right?

No!!!! That is not the picture I saw. When I scanned the room for Mike, I saw him sitting at a booth eating and talking to a family that just invaded his space. They loved him like he was one of the family....Indeed he was! There was Lance, Kim, Alex, Derrick, and Austin....all about Mike!! They laughed and talked with Mike. I was deeply moved as I watched. To think I almost sent him out with a lousy tank of gas!!!

Mike had something magical about him. He captured the hearts and attention of about everyone in our fellowship hall. They weren't staring like "who's the dude with the cap.... Oh gross!" No, not at all. It was more like, "Hey pastor, who is the guy in the orange hat talking with Alex? What's his story?" He moved everyone in the room. It was........well, really it was weird. In a cool sort of way.

Fill his gas tank and fill his belly. Cool. Now send him on his way, right? Nope, not yet. Our church wasn't done yet. People almost in a line kept filing by Mike, giving him a hug and a wad of cash.....yeah, for real!! Hugs and cash. Then someone went to the food pantry and packed a box of groceries for him as he travelled. Mike was speechless. He received the soup, the gas, the groceries and the cash. But what really lit Mike up was the hugs. I wonder how long its been since he felt that. On second thought.... I don't want to know how long it has been. But today........today, he got hugs. He saw, tasted, felt and experienced Jesus in a very real and raw form.....It was indescribable. I have tried in this blog but there is no way possible to fully describe what happened here in our church today!!

Mike.....(If your name is Mike) and really, I don't care what your name is. I don't care if you have a brother or not. I want you to know I love you, man!! Jesus loves you. He died for you!! You are amazing! You are God's handiwork! And you have changed my life. You touched our hearts and my prayer for you, Mike......My prayer is that the love of Jesus will fill your heart at this moment and I can only hope that we blessed your life half as much as you blessed ours!

Talk about a proud moment!!! I wouldn't change places with any preacher in the world. I have the greatest congregation of lovers of Jesus and lovers of God's people. Way to go, Quarry Rock!!!! You rocked my world today. I am so proud!!!

Mike, I will look for you every time I see a blaze orange stocking cap or dreadlocks. Travel well, my friend.

Hebrews 13:2 Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


My, how we become busy! There are things to do with every turn of our heads, isn't there? Especially now with the snow melting. All of the remains from a harsh winter remain after the snow disappeared....mud, ruts, debris. There is spring cleaning to do and preparations have already begun to plant the garden...or not. Time to get the lawn mowers out and get things cleaned up and tuned up. Should we paint this year? Maybe.... And then if there are children involved, you have to think of track events, and softball, baseball, drivers ed.....It could really make a person lose their hair....Oops. Too late! And we are still expected to take care of the normal daily routines...cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning the house, going to the job site...... Is there no time to rest?

If there isn't, you are living in a lifestyle that is less than pleasing to God. The devil tells you to hurry, go faster, do more, tomorrow..yeah, tomorrow there will be time to rest. God says something much different, doesn't He?

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength......... Sounds nice, huh?

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

So....let's stop fretting. Do not listen to the devil. He is not the boss of you.....he better not be!!!! The Lord Jesus tells us to come to Him and find rest.

The schedules stay busy but remember that God gives you the same 24 hours He gives to everyone else. Use it wisely. Put Him first, not in the "if I have time" category. He comes first and then it is just amazing how He allows us to get done what He wants us to get done. The rest......Well, i guess it wasn't His will to get that done today.....because He wants you to have "The Rest"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Only Way

And Jesus said unto His disciples, "Go into all the world, teaching all men to live any way they want, and urging each to find his or her own path to God. Let not any one of you make someone feel inferior or victimized because of their beliefs. Above all, be tolerant. Verily, verily, I say unto you that what you believe and how you live do not matter, so long as you are sincere."
Leaving that place, Jesus led His disciples to Jerusalem where they broke bread at Club Upper Room. There He addressed them again, saying, "I am one of the ways, one of the truths, and just one possible life. If you are basically a good person, you're okay in my book. And if you choose to come to the Father (or Mother, if you prefer) through Me, that's cool. Now go forth to live according to whatever feels good to you."
And there was much rejoicing.

I promise you that you won't find that passage of scripture in any Bible translation. But there are plenty of people today who live as if that's exactly how the Bible does read.

In the 21st century, everybody wants to be cool with everybody else. Nobody wants to offend others or be thought of as narrow minded or intolerant. Ours is a live-and-let-live world.

It's tough to be a Christian in that kind of culture, isn't it? You want to follow Jesus. You want your friends to know about Him, too. But whenever you start talking about the Bible and what's right or wrong, everyone jumps up and calls you a judgmental bigot. After all, who are you to say what's right or wrong?

The TRUTH is out there.....and Jesus is that Truth. Jesus didn't say He was one of the ways to get to God; He said He was the only way. When it comes to being intolerant, Jesus is the leader of the pack. He will not let you stay on a fence.

Choose today who you will serve......As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Jesus is the Truth. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. We should be intolerant of being held captive by people, world views and even our own fear....fear of being labeled a Jesus Freak. I can think of no greater honor. How about you?

I pray that you receive courage, strength, and a holy boldness to stand up for Jesus this week. Stand up and speak up! Time is drawing to a close. And then no more.....
"If only I had talked to him/her when I had the chance..." I don't want you to ever have to say or think that. This is your chance....Go for it!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Dash

Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews tells us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Imagine walking through a spiritual "hall of fame". You read the names. You scan the faces. You see on every plaque those two dates that indicate when the person's race began and when it ended......with a little dash (-) in between. Then you come to your plaque. What does it say?

I would like to invite you to personalize this. Take a piece of paper. Write your name at the top. Under your name, write the date you were born, a dash and then a "?" for the date at the right. Something like this:


________________ - _______?________

You had no say at all in the number on the left. You arrived on this planet one day without being consulted at all ahead of time. Ready or not, here you came. You did not get a vote on your parents, your birthplace, your family order, or your DNA. All of these were chosen for you. You were made the bearer of a human soul, created in the image of God, destined for an eternal existence.

You may be very happy about having entered the world, or you may feel that your life is a crushing burden. But you should know this: God is very pleased that you exist. He "knit you together in your mother's womb." That year when you were born is one of His favorite years.

One day the question mark on the right will be replaced with a number as well. We don't have much say about that number either. This is part of what gives life its urgent value. We have one shot at it.

That brings us to the great question: What are you going to do with your dash? What will you do with the turns you get to play the game? That little dash is yours to spend: to shape character, to give allegiance, to choose hope or cynicism, to seize initiative or resign in passivity; to grow stagnate, to be known or to hide.

And the range of what is possible in one life is staggering: Adolf Hitler, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Attila the Hun, my grandmother--each of these was given a single dash.

And now....ready or not.....you have been given a turn. The bell has sounded. It's your race now. What will you do with your dash?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can we see the forest for the trees?

My wife and I are in Rapid City, South Dakota for pastor's retreat. A few educational sessions, some encouragement sessions and hopefully somewhere in here will be some relaxing sessions. This afternoon, God really spoke to me and I felt I really need to share.

A few questions were asked that prompted my thinking in this direction. The questions were: 1)What are your greatest hopes for God's Church? 2) What is the local church doing to spread transformational hope and holiness? And 3) What barriers prevent or hinder this?

I don't think my answers to those questions would win me any profound answer awards, but I just have to ask, "Are we making this thing too difficult? What is my greatest hope for God's Church? For me, a Wesleyan....my hope is that the Wesleyan Church will be what people turn to. It will be what people take comfort in BECAUSE of our stand on holiness, not in spite of it. I believe we are living in the last days and that people are hungrier for truth and holiness than ever before...or at least for many, many years.

Answer to question #2...What are we doing at Quarry Rock to spread transformational hope and holiness? I believe I must not only be a pastor to Quarry Rock, but I must be a pastor....a trusted shepherd to Dell Rapids and the communities around us. Serving outside our 4 walls is imperative. We absolutely must continue to love and accept people just as they are. Christ certainly did. Christ did not condone sin. He hates sin, but he loved and accepted the sinner...thus our motto: Come as you are in every way....spiritually, physically, emotionally. It doesn't matter, just come!

And #3...What barriers prevent or hinder this? Well, I think it is just too obvious. Instead of focusing on all the negatives.... "Well, if only I had this" "Well, we can't do this because..." But.... but....but.... forget all the excuses! What is hindering the progress? What is preventing a spiritual stir and revival from shaking us to our core? How about this? I believe it is the absolute truth and I for one am sorry. I am. But I want you to hear me really well. It stops now! What prevents or hinders this work of holiness?

A lack of prayer!
A lack of faith that God just might do something awesome and amazing before our very eyes!

2 Chronicles 7:14
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.(NLT)

John 14:12-14
"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!(NLT)

Everything else you do will be burned up...It will amount to nothing. But what is done for Christ will last forever. Please...... for the sake of the Kingdom, let's be a people of faith and prayer. Pray for the lost people you know to be saved. Pray for God to turn our city upside down with the love and power of Jesus Christ. Pray and then believe it to fruition.

Email me or post on my blog if you are seriously willing to commit with me to seeing this happen. God bless and let the Spirit of God fall heavy upon us!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Johnny the Bagger

This blog is a story taken from John Ortberg's book, "When the game is over IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX" May you be blessed by it as much as I was.

Let me tell you one of my favorite stories of someone searching for a mission...the story of Johnny the bagger.
Johnny works at a grocery store. One day he went to a training event led by a speaker named Barbara Glanz. She was talking to 3,000 front line workers for a supermarket chain--truck drivers, cashiers and stockers.
Barbara was speaking on how people can make a difference....Isn't that what we are about at Quarry Rock? She described how every interaction with another person is a chance to create a memory, to bless some one's life. She talked about how important it is to look for those moments. She placed on the walls, as she always does when she speaks, posters with inspiring sayings. She told some stories and then went home, but she left her phone number behind. She invited the people at the conference to give her a call if they wanted to talk more about something she said.
About a month later, Barbara received a call from one of the people at that session, a 19 year old baggger named Johnny. Johnny proudly informed her that he had down syndrome, and then he told her his story.
"Barbara, I liked what you talked about. But I didn't think I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I'm just a bagger." Then he had an idea: he decided that every night when he came home from work, he would find a "thought for the day" for his next shift. It would be something positive, some reminder of how good it was to be alive, or how much people matter, or how many gifts we are surrounded by. If he couldn't find one, he would make one up.
Every night his dad would help him enter the saying six times on a page on the computer; then Johnny would print 50 pages. He would take a pair of scissors and carefully cut 300 copies and sign every one.
Johnny put the stack of pages next to him while he worked. Each time he finished bagging some one's groceries, he would put his saying on top of the last bag. Then he would stop what he was doing, look the person straight in the eye, and say, "I've put a great saying in your bag. I hope it helps you have a good day. Thanks for coming here."
A month later, the store manager called Barbara. "Barbara, you won't believe what's happening here. I was making my rounds, and when I got up to the cashiers, the line at Johnny's checkout was three times longer than anyone else's. It went all the way down the frozen food aisle."
The manager got on the loudspeaker to get more checkout lines open, but he couldn't get any of the customers to move. They said, "That's okay. We'll wait. We want to be in Johnny's line." One woman came up to him and grabbed his hand, saying, "I used to shop in your store once a week. Now I come in every time I go by--I want to get Johnny's thought for the day." Johnny is doing more than filling bags with groceries; he is filling lives with hope.
My prayer is this: Lord, may everyone who reads these words realize the potential they have to impact some one's life in a positive and eternal way. Lord help us to speak words of encouragement. When we think something good, God help us to say it. You can be a difference maker and a world changer right where you are. Go for it!!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Integrity is more than knowing the right thing or knowing what the rules of the game are.

A man is being tailgated by a woman who is in a hurry. He comes to an intersection, and when the light turns yellow, he hits his brakes. I know...many of you hit the gas, but is that the correct response??? Anyway, he hits his brakes. The woman behind him goes ballistic. She honks her horn at him; she yells her frustration in no uncertain terms; she rants and she gestures. You can fill in the blanks.

While she is in mid-rant, someone taps on her window. She looks up and sees a police officer. He invites her out of her car and takes her to the police station where she is searched and fingerprinted and put in a cell. After a couple of hours, she is released, and the arresting officer gives her stuff back to her and says, "I'm very sorry for the mistake, ma'am. I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, using bad gestures and bad language. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do?' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow me to Sunday School' window sign, the Christian fish emblem on your trunk, and I naturally assumed you had stolen the car."

My friends, the world gets pretty tired of people who have Christian bumper stickers on their cars, Christian fish signs on their trunks, Christian books on their shelves, Christian stations on their radios, Christian jewelry around their necks, Christian videos for their kids, and Christian magazines for their coffee tables but don't actually have the life of Jesus in their bones or the love of Jesus in their hearts.

Integrity is much bigger than simply avoiding breaking the rules. It is becoming the kind of person who does the right thing. It means actually becoming the kind of person who wants to do the right thing as well. May the grace and love of Jesus Christ rule and reign in your hearts, minds, and actions today......and tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dead.....but oh so ALIVE!

Sometimes we aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, are we? I mean, we read the Scriptures. We know what the Good Book says. Yet we get upset and mad at God when things aren't always going our way. We experience a trial and what is our first question? "Why, God?! What did I do to deserve this?" Right????? You know what I'm talking about. If things don't go according to "our plan", we get frustrated and think either God is punishing us or simply ignoring us. Do you sometimes feel like if God really loved you, He wouldn't let these things happen to you or come into your life? I don't want you to feel alone in your confessions of guilt. I feel that way too. I am human and I live in a fallen world. A world that is dripping with sin and evil. We look around and see the wicked prosper. We see people who don't deserve blessings receiving them and "we"...who deserve God's best suffer and live with trials and heartache and health problems and death and poverty, right??? Let me share a few things that really helped me this morning. I am praying at this very moment that it will speak life and hope into you as well. God bless you, my friend!

1 Peter 4:12-14
Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad-for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.(NLT)

2 Timothy 2:12
If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us.(NLT)

John 15:18-19
"If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.(NLT)

Galatians 2:20
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.(NLT)

Colossians 2:13-15
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.(NLT)

Monday, January 25, 2010

God still reigns!

Well, to all my fellow Minnesota Viking fans, I feel your pain. I really do. Last night when the game was over I sat in my chair and actually felt sad and maybe a bit depressed. Sounds kind of silly coming from someone who "should know better", huh? Well, I'm just being honest.

I remember being a Vikings fan since I was just a little boy. Year after year I'd repeat our famous quote..... "There's always next year!" Man, I got tired of saying that.

Finally, in 1998 when they lost the NFC championship game to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, One game away...one field goal away from a trip to Miami and a Superbowl, I decided that I was done. No more would I be such a fan to be let down that hard. Then this year, we acquired Brett Favre and I thought, "Come on, Milt....This is the year. This is the one." So, I got my purple clothes out again and I routed for my team....just like the good ole days. It appeared Brett was going to do it. We might actually make it to the big game again....and hopefully this time, we will be world champions.

Well, irony came knocking and last night we lost the NFC championship in overtime, one game away....one field goal away from yet another trip to Miami for Superbowl 44. I was crushed. How could I have allowed myself to feel so much passion for a game in which all the players get paid way too much money and....well, really it has no eternal consequences, does it?

I say all that to say this: I am human. I got caught up in the moment... a chance for glory with the Minnesota Vikings....And once more, we did not get to taste that sweet victory. We were not victorious in the game, however Brett Favre is a champion. Whether he returns for another season or not, my hat is off to him. He did all anyone could have expected. He took 16 hard hits last night and he isn't exactly 21 and bullet proof anymore. Brett Favre is a champion...because he brought the Vikings to another NFC championship game? No. Because he broke almost every record possible as a quarterback? No. Because he took Green Bay to world championships? No...He is a champion because he made a split second decision. Not a decision to scramble or stay in the pocket but the decision to trust Jesus Christ with his future. He could walk across the field last night and congratulate the vicorious team with a big smile because he knows what really matters. He knows he has a home in glory and he knows whom he has believed in. One day he will tread the streets of gold and I'm guessing he will still be wearing a jersey that reads "4". And I'm pretty sure it will be purple.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Defeating the Divide

Knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

Standing before Jesus was a man who had three hard strikes against him. He was blind, mute and possessed by a demon. Still he had some friends who led him to Jesus. Jesus wasted no time in casting out the demon, healing eyes that had ceased to work, and freeing the tongue that had never spoken.

The crowd was impressed and began to ask if Jesus was the Son of David, a reference to his being the long-awaited Messiah. When Jesus’ heard this praise, they snapped back, “This man casts out demons by the ruler of demons.” In other words, Satan. Their logic was critically flawed, and Jesus made that clear. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus was the only person to live a perfect and sinless life. Still His enemies created reasons to be critical. Even in the face of great healing miracles, His adversaries used the sharpest words and the most cutting remarks to turn people against Him. Many of the greatest lessons for life came from these confrontations.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln used Jesus’ words to highlight the danger of a nation split over slavery. The logic was undeniable. Division is always damaging. It is true for countries, families, individuals, and people’s own minds. Unity is strength; harmony is powerful. This is true for groups and it is also true for the internal conflict people often feel.

The divide of heart and mind must be defeated, and Jesus stands ready to help, just as He stood ready to heal a man with three crippling strikes against him. Seek unity of mind, of family, of business, of your spiritual life.

One final thought….. A divided mind and heart is a slick slope, but a determined and unswerving person stands stronger than all others. Division can be healed.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Wow! It is so weird to be in a new decade already, isn't it? I mean it seemed just yesterday that the whole world was in a panic about what was going to happen when we left 1999 and entered y2k....Remember? And now we are in another decade, 2010. I have been reminded of scripture in 2 Peter, chapter 3 lately as several people have asked me the question, "So tell me preacher man.....when is Jesus coming back anyway?" laugh, laugh, chuckle..... I find it very soothing and calming when I get persecuted for standing up for Jesus, don't you? It makes me smile to know I am in the same company with Jesus Himself as well as many great men and women of the faith who were mocked and persecuted. "Where is the promise of His coming?" they ask. I encourage you to take a few minutes of your day today and read these verses of scripture and be reminded that this life....this earth is just a moment. We must be preparing for eternity. God....please bless those who read these verses. In Jesus' name....Amen

2 Peter 3:1-18
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles. Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, "What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created." They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, the Lord's patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him- speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.(NLT)