Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of special people. Aboout 30 people (young and older) are part of a group called NETT. They are so awesome. Some people might sell them short, thinking that they do not have alot to contribute to a church, a school or even a family. They are the most loving and accepting group I have ever been around. No agenda's or demands... just love. Over the past few years, they have come to our church for special nights every month and a week long camp during the summer.

There are several adults and teenagers who work with them year around...I just love those adults and sponsors... they have such a love for what some might call "the least of these."

Anyway, our theme was "born to be wild." I know this may be a surprise, but I am not exactly a "wild and crazy" guy. But we did some funky and fun things... and then talked about the "wildest" guy in the Bible. John the Baptist had a weird wardrobe, ate some really strange food, and lived in a place no one wanted to live in. But the wildest thing about John was that he always pointed people to Jesus. That was a wild message! It was all about Jesus.

My friends loved the story. They listened so well, laughed hard and they got it! We did motions, told stories and reminded ourselves that everyone needs to talk about Jesus more than they talk about themselves. In the middle of my talk one of the guys burst into tears. I kept going, but one of the sponsors took him out and talked with him. Then following my talk, she came to me and said that he wanted to talk with me. So we went into a side room and talked about his life. It is a tough life. Not alot pretty about it all. Except for one thing. He said to me, "I saw Jesus and He told me that He would be with me. I don't need to be afraid."

WOW! I had tears in my eyes. So much to to deal with, and yet it all boiled down to what Jesus had told him. That was what was getting him through the day.

We prayed, talked some more and he seemed better.

And so was I. I was not the teacher today... I was the student. I needed to hear Jesus what Jesus said to my new friend. "I will be with you. You don't need to be afraid."

Alot of you have HUGE things on your plate... and I know that you sometimes wonder...really wonder... "Is Jesus there?" I have been there. Self doubt, hurtful friends and family, disappointment, goals not met, and sometimes just the junk of life overwhelm us all. And we wonder...

There are some big things on my plate right now... but alot of people have ALOT bigger things on thier plates. The great thing is that there is no plate too big for Jesus. He keeps everyone of his promises...all the time.

"And I will be with you always...even to the end of the age." He said that to some disciples right before He went back to heaven. But he meant it for me... for my friend... AND FOR YOU.

Special thanks to my new friend was my teacher today....:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on things that change and things that don't...

Mark Beeson is a preacher in Ohio who writes a blog that I follow. This week he made the following comments....

* In 2000, we sent 12 billion emails in a day. In 2010, we daily send 247 billion emails
* In 2000 there were 4 reality shows on TV. Today we have 320.
* In 2000, we sent 400,000 text messages. In 2010, we will send 4.5 billion.
* In 2000, we did 100 million Google searches a day. In 2010, we will do 2 billion searches every
* We performed 0 ITUNES downloads in 2000. There will be 10 billion ITUNE downloads in

The digital revolution has changed so much about our world. There is no real way to escape it. It does not mean that we have to succumb to all of the temptations and negative things that the digital revolution brings. But the truth is that our world now thrives on instant communication and information. It has changed our economy, politics, and ministry. We will never go back to the way it was.

I think about this in relation to preaching. There is so much more out there to study from, to listen to, and to read. Christian bookselling has become a mega business. Now, E-Books are actually outselling the "old fashioned" kind of books. ( I do not have an E-book reader yet.)

All this change unnerves me in some ways. I find myself captured by the technology of our day, but still drawn to the simple things. There is a tension there that I am continually trying to balance. I am uneasy when I think about the next 10 years, wondering what kind of effect technology will have on my kids and grandkids. Will be good or bad? The likely answer is the same as what we could summarize about the last decade. It will be both. Technology is a tool. It is not the end itself. It can be used for good. ( i.e. communication with family, friends, missionaries across the world and more) It can be used for bad. ( huge time waster, pornography, false blogging etc.)

I know alot of people who have such difficulty with the pace of change in our culture. I am with you. I would like things to stay the same, as long as I get to say how things will stay the same. Somethings I want to change, other things I don't. Some technology I love... ( Skype, my IPHONE, IPOD, computers, and so much more. ) Some technology I do not like.

Today, I was listening to John Ortberg, ( On my IPOD while walking... talk about technology... I would have never been able to listen to a preacher from SF on my phone 10 years ago!). Anyway, in a sermon last fall, he said the following.... "I want to begin with two foundational truths that we all need to remember. First, "God is God," and second, "I am not."

It was so simple... yet it stopped me in my tracks. I needed the reminder. I think we should remember that technology is not God. But it is influencing our culture to the point that the church needs to leverage that technology or it risks being left behind... at the starting line... with no hope of catching up.

We also should not take our eye off the ball. As much as some things change, alot of things will never change.
- Man needs an answer to His sin and separation from God.
- That answer is Jesus.
- Grace rules the kingdom of God.
-Transformation can not happen alone, but only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still about a Cross, about a Savior, a loving God and a needed
response from mankind. ( you and me) .
-Salvation is still about faith, repentance, confession and baptism. It all fits together just as well
today as it did in the first century.

So when you think that everything is changing, would you remember what is not changing. Even in the church, we are constantly changing things...( They are called methods.) But the MESSAGE... that is another story. It does not change. The old time gospel message has been around for 2000 years and will be around until the day Jesus comes back.

So hang on friends... go with the change and technology... just remember that God is in control... and what is most important in life will never change.

Beeson closes his post out with these words from scripture.

"When God wanted to guarentee his promises, he gave his word- a rock solide guarentee- God can't break His word.And because His word can not change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives for God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It is a unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God. " Hebrews 6:17-20


Thursday, July 22, 2010


I continue to marvel at how our world has changed. I am old enough now to begin to say, "Back before..." Back before cell phones, toll roads, 200 channel cable companies, email, back before power point. ( Yes there was a day when I preached and all I had was a Bible. No screen, no chair, no video nothing but the Bible)

I was trying to access a website recently and it asked me for my username and password. Now if you are under 25 years old, you have never known a life without a username and a password. Us old guys remember life without those dastardly little requirements to get to anything of value in our life. . Want to use your ATM card? (I know some people are convinced that the ATM card is a tool of the Anti-Christ.) Got to have a password. Want to find out what your bank balance is on the computer? Username and Password. Want to talk to your health insurance agent? Username and password. Want to go to ITUNES and download some music? Username and password.

I am all for security. The problem is that I can not remember my usernames and passwords. (This is a stunning admission!) I have multiple usernames and passwords. That is because everyone has different rules. Passwords must be 6 characters, numbers or letters, or a combination of both... but not symbols like $ or # &. But another site says that the password must be 10 characters long . Another website says, "Your password is not sufficiently strong enough." Apparently other people can figure out the password that I can not remember. And that concerns all the security nuts that are out there trying to save me from myself and the bad guys.

So after three attempts, I have to make a new password. That really complicates matters. Now I have variations of the original passwords... multiple variations... which only confuses me more.

I want to get rid of all passwords. Tim, my friend, coworker and resident computer whiz had the best solution for me when it comes to our network at the office. "The Password is Password."
Dont try to access it, it only works for me... and on my computer... no one else would be dumb enought to try it... but I am. It saves him alot of time with me.

I do have a list of usernames and passwords... It is on my computer... but the problem is that the list is , you guessed it, PASSWORD PROTECTED. Errrrr.....

So I have an old fashioned piece of paper with all of them on there ( I think )... but I can't tell you where they are because if I told you I would have to..... well you know.

All of which leads me to appreciate God even more. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and give you rest."

I am so glad He did not say, "Come to me , all you who are weary, and bring your username and password, and I will give you rest. Don't mess up, or spell it wrong, or we will have to start all over. You only get three tries... after that, it gets really complicated"

Aren't you glad that even in the age of computers and technology, God decided along time ago to keep it simple? "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."

By the way, there is a password phrase to get into heaven... It is 21 letters long... "The blood of Jesus Christ." I thank God everyday for Him...The Way, the Truth and the Life.

I think I can remember that one... and if there is a day where I can't, I know He remembers Me.