June 20, 2022

The Bible has a few references to angels, but to be honest there is not a lot of detailed information about what they can, or cannot, do. Of course, people have lots of theories, and there are numerous fictional accounts of angels that grab the imagination of the populace. Although the Bible is a bit skimpy on the subject we can gather a few things, that I believe are important for the believer.

  1. Two-thirds of all angels are under God’s direct command, while one-third, sometime in the ancient past, decided to rebel with the Devil, and are under his direction.
  2. All angels, good or bad, are only allowed to do what God allows them to do. So, while the Devil has control over one-third of the angel population, they cannot do just anything and everything they want to.
  3. In the physical realm angels can do impossible things that are beyond human strength or capacity. In other words, the limits we have as human beings are not limits to angels.
  4. The believer is not to pray to angels. If you want to pray, pray to God. Angels are God’s ministers and agents. In most cases, it is not important to know their names or identities. The Bible only describes very few angels by office or name.
  5. Angels are not sent to perform ‘magic tricks’. When the angel led Peter from the prison to freedom he did not make things appear or disappear. He did, however, cause Peter’s bonds to come loose, and he opened prison doors, and the door to the city. From this we gather that only those things that are necessary are performed by an angel. In this example in the Book of Acts, the angel did not make the bonds disappear, dress Peter, transport Peter to a different place, or tell Peter where to go.
  6. As best as we can understand, angels are sent to do specific tasks, or to minister in specific ways. They are given every authority to do whatever God has sent them, or directed them, to do.
  7. Angels are not sent to carry on a conversation with you in order to pass the time. They may be sent to help you, to instruct you, to perform specific tasks for you. In most every case in scripture angels go away (return to heaven) after their assigned task is completed.
  8. You may be helped by an angel and not even be aware of it.
  9. While there are conflicts (angels fighting angels) in the spiritual realm between good and evil, in most cases that is not something you need to delve into. To put it briefly, angels do not need your help in fighting their battles, but you may need them to help fight your battles.
  10. As best as we can understand, while angels are given authority to carry out their assignments, they do not simply act on their own, or decide to do something contrary to what God has instructed them to do. It seems to be pretty clear that when God sends them on assignment they are pretty clear what that assignment is.
  11. Angels act under the authority of God. Their power and authority is derived from God.
  12. There are rankings of angels, just like in our military, but we are not complete in our understanding of the levels, except where scripture makes this clear. For example, we know that Michael is God’s archangel, and is head of God’s spiritual angel army, and that Gabriel is God’s messenger angel, but beyond that things get hazy.
  13. While angels do a lot of things, it is explained in scriptures that their primary mission is to act as ministers to the believers. From the Book of Revelation it is clear they do many other things, but the Bible does not provide a detailed explanation of their activities or how it is all organized. In other words, it is not important for us to know.
  14. Although it is a bit skimpy, there does seem to be some foundation to guardian angles, or angels that have been assigned to believers. It is not clear if this assignment is temporary (as-needed basis) or is permanent. When Lazarus died he was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom, which gives some foundation to the concept that upon death the believer will be escorted by angels. Whether these angels were Lazarus’ personnel guardian angels is unclear.
  15. Angels, sent by God, will not say or act in any way contrary to God’s Word. It has been recorded that some serial or mass murderers have responded to a voice telling them to do those deeds. That voice is not from God or His angels.
  16. Angels are real and not imaginary or created from human imagination. However, human imagination has somewhat distorted, expanded, and created false narratives on angels, their purpose, and activities. This is apparently an attempt to fill in the gaps in our understanding of angles, but should be rejected by the believer if it is not supported by scripture. There are specific warnings in scriptures to not delve into matters where we lack understanding.
  17. Angels, when they appear to humans, may come in different forms, and may not even be recognized. In general, the reports we find that are credible about angel appearances seem to indicate they could appear in human form, and then as suddenly as they appear are gone once a task has been completed. There are numerous accounts of angels in human form appearing to people who are faced with life and death situations, many times to avert certain disaster. In other cases, angels may not be visible to the human eye, but may still be there. This appears to be up to God’s discretion. In other cases, some in recorded scripture, angels appear in bright clothing and are definitely recognized as supernatural beings.
  18. Be careful of believing all detailed stories, experts, and theologians when it comes to angels. What little we know, that can be counted on, comes from the scriptures. I’m not discounting eye-witness accounts, but warning that so called experts on the subject are often applying human imagination to a complex topic, and expanding far beyond what the scriptures tell us.

Tithing and Giving – Part 1

November 11, 2021

Why I chose to tackle one of the more complicated topics in Christianity is beyond me. Tithing and giving is one of those topics where among 1,000 people you will get 1,000 different answers. Anticipating that this topic might require several posts I’ve already made the title appropriately. I don’t want to get into all the scriptures related to tithing and giving, but needless to say there are more than a few in both the Old and New Testaments.

First of all, tithing and giving go back, way back. Most Christians relate the earliest references to tithing and giving to the Mosaic Law which laid out specific instructions on these topics, but it’s history goes back a great deal before that. For example, Abraham was recorded as giving tithes to the Melchizedek King of Salem back in Genesis. Paul the Apostle even describes that this tithe represented the giving associated with the eventual priesthood of Levites long before the tribe of Levi and the Mosaic Law existed. We could go back even further to the beginning of the human race with the offerings made by the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. Even at that early date, there was the concept of giving (sacrifice) that was accepted by God, and giving (sacrifice) that was rejected by God.

But, now to some general specific items that still confuse many Christians. According to scripture (I’ll leave up to the reader to look it up), there is a distinction made between tithing and giving. Tithing was (and is today) considered to be more closely tied to direct support of the ministry, whereas giving is more general. Tithing is still considered to be 10% primarily based on the original Mosaic Law which set down specific rules, guidelines, and laws concerning many things including tithing. This 10% was considered to be the priests allotment, salary, subsistence, or whatever you label it.

Giving, on the other hand, is more of a freewill offering that is offered as a token of our love and obedience to Christ. While offerings can be given in a number of different ways and means (helping the poor, giving to charities, missionary works, etc…), tithing is more directly associated with ministry, more specifically, the ministry where you are being fed, or the church where your membership is. Generally, they are one and the same (if you are attending somewhere where you are not being fed, then you need to find a place where you can be fed.)

To be more specific, tithing is more generally associated with those who minister the gospel, or those who are serving in administrative roles, or those holding paying positions within a ministry. On the other hand your ‘giving’ is what helps keep the lights on, the mortgages paid, the AC and heat turned on, the carpets cleaned, electricity bills paid, water bills, etc… Giving also supports additional works such as outreach, missions, food banks, helping the poor, and other freewill offerings or gifts.

Now based on the above you may getting a general picture that may differ from your viewpoint, and that is ok. I’m basing my post on my 45 years as a practicing minister, Bible teacher, Christian Education Director, my church denominational teachings, and my own Bible studies, but there are still varying opinions on this complex topic, and I know that.

Now for some interesting insights. Tithing is not really your job to figure out. It belongs to God. A true story is in order here. A long time ago I came into a rare chunk of money. I was, of course, very happy, and I began the process of figuring out how my tithes could be spent to help the church ministry. I could spend so much on needed sound equipment, so much on some remodel work, so much on missionary work, and so much to the poor. It was a fine plan, until I had a conversation with God. Here is a summary of our discourse…

The Lord: I understand you have a plan to spend your tithe money.

Me: Yes, Lord, I think I have it figured out.

The Lord: Sounds like a very fine plan, but one thing – but, wouldn’t it be better if use your own money for those things?

This produced a very big reset to my plans, and I had to admit I was dabbling with God’s money, which was not my position to do. If I wanted to parse and plan my spending, I needed to use my own money and not the money that rightly belonged to God. As you might expect this changed my view entirely, as it certainly was easier to spend someone else’s money than my own.

Now let’s be clear on this. Would it have been wrong to follow through with my original plan? No, but it wouldn’t have been the best plan. I’m only going to say this once – much of what you decide to do with God’s money whether it be tithes or giving is between you and God, but you need to include Him in the conversation.

Now, I can already here some of you saying – “But, I can’t afford to both tithe and give.” The truth of the matter is you cannot afford to not tithe and give. Tithing and giving is not for God’s benefit, or even the benefit of the ministry. It is for your benefit.

This is not a wrong or right type of thing. Let me illustrate. Imagine for a moment you are in a big greenhouse that has lots of glass and even a glass roof. Now imagine that the glass roof is made up of many glass windows that can either be opened or closed. We all want the rain of God to come into our life, and the goal would be that the more open windows we have towards heaven and God the more rain we will receive. How do we get these windows opened? We open windows by doing what God has directed us to do and being obedient to His Word. We close windows when we are disobedient. It’s not a completely open or shut situation, but something somewhere in-between. The more we follow God’s directives, including tithing and giving, the more windows we open and the more rain comes in. The more we do our own thing the more windows get shut and the less rain we receive.

Enough for now. Maybe for Part 2 we might cover the complex topics of what to tithe on (net or gross, other gifts other than money), and how giving is an added blessing we need to nurture and grow, if we want the blessing of God to rest on us. We might also cover what it means to be a faithful giver, and does it matter. To whom much is given much is required, applies to giving too.


November 1, 2021

I was asked recently about my best advice concerning relationships. Here’s what I said…

That’s a pretty hard question.  It’s hard because I think what makes for a good relationship varies from person to person, and we don’t really know the definition of what “relationship” is, any more than we can apply a definition to “love”.  Some people have a fine relationship only because they talk to each other frequently throughout the day, but others don’t talk to each other for extended periods of time and they still have a good relationship.  The common theories are that good communication and a willingness to forgive are the foundations of any good relationship, and while that may be true, once again, those things can vary from person to person.

But, to get to the point – I guess the best advice I can give on relationships is you have to give each other room to be human, which is to say, room to be imperfect.  We often blame others for things that we either also do, or that we are guilty of worse things.  We hold grudges.  We allow bitterness to grow.  We rub people the wrong way.  We throw up their faults to them, or remind them of past errors.  Needless to say, these things help to destroy relationships.

Many couples fail in their relationships because they don’t know how good they have it.  “The grass is always greener in the other pasture.”  So, they keep changing out partners looking for that perfect “Hallmark movie” person that never seems to be found.  We look for that relationship that fulfills the “and they lived happily ever after” fairy tale ending.  Too bad.  That’s not how things really work.  

Finally, relationships don’t tend to stay static and unchanging.  They evolve.  We generally don’t like things to change.  Sometimes things get tough.  Not everyone is on the same ‘wave-length’ all the time.  All in all, I think relationships are hard, but they are the best chance we have for happiness so we do the best we can.  Most of the failed relationships I’ve encountered had some things in common.  They tore each other down.  They had no positive dialogue between them.  They focused too much attention on their children, and not on each other, and then when the children grew up and left, they had nothing in common.  In some cases, one or the other wanted to dominate, and receive all the benefits, and eventually the ‘giver’ wanted something more than to simply be a slave to the other.  All in all, everyone has to want the relationship to succeed, or it is probably doomed.

What Do You Believe?

June 19, 2021

I’m seeing more articles, news-casts, emails, blogs, postings, etc… that want to tell you their interpretation of the Bible, and its stories and passages. Much of this is wrong, terribly wrong.

As an example the most recent thing I’ve seen tries to explain why David was an evil man, and that no one should use Psalms as it is mostly written by an ‘evil man’.

Actually, Psalms is a very good book to read, as are all the books of the Bible. So, what does one believe, and how can we tell the truth from the nonsense? How do we know if someone is giving us the right scoop on a Bible or religious topic? There is one simple answer – you must read it for yourself.

The preacher can help you. The Sunday School teacher or Bible teacher can help you. There are books and seminars, YouTube videos, blogs, and FB postings that can help. But, none of these will take the place of you reading it for yourself.

Most everyone knows about Psalms 23, but what about Psalms chapters 1 – 22? Those are pretty good, too. In fact, there is tremendous insight into the character of David presented in these writings, and it is certainly not evil.

Of course, for the Christian our foundational truths are outlined in the New Testament. But, this does not exclude the lessons that can be learned from the Old Testament. It all works together. Even the long list of ‘begats’ (so and so begat so and so, etc..) have a purpose. If for no other purpose they put names to people to show that these people actually existed, lived, and had a history.

A little study on your own can reveal many interesting things. For example, while most people know that Methuselah is the oldest recorded human being, dying at the age of 969, few know that Methuselah died in the year of the flood (Noah’s flood). We can’t say for certain that Methuselah died as a result of the flood, but it is interesting nonetheless. Is this in the Bible? Yes, it is, but you have to read it and do your own calculations from the information given.

How many other interesting things are there to discover? You will only know when you start to dive in and read for yourself.

Touch One Life

June 10, 2021

Life is complex. We set personal goals, business goals, family goals, short-term goals, long-term goals. We have things we must accomplish this month, this week, today. Things get messy, and there are times when we wonder if we’ve made any progress at all, or have we simply be going around in circles. Running through life, like we were on a treadmill, but not really going anywhere.

But, if we could somehow touch the lives of millions of people like Billy Graham did, we might be satisfied that our life was worthwhile. But, most of us realize that we may not have that opportunity, so we adjust our sights to just touch the lives of a few thousand people. And then a few hundred. And then a handful. And then maybe just our family, our children, or grandchildren.

At some point we may even wonder if we have helped anyone. Well, I’m here to tell you something amazing, something so profound, that it may seem untrue. You only need to touch one person. That’s right – one person.

Now I can hear the voices of my readers saying, “That simply doesn’t make sense. Just one person? That’s not very much.” Really? Not much? Then my counter question would be, “How do you know?”

By our simple act of touching one person, we may change the course of history itself. And, even if it does not change the history of the world, it might change the trajectory of that one life, and probably many more.

What does it mean to ‘touch’ a life? Of course, a good hug is always a good thing, but I’m talking about something else. To me a ‘touch’ means you have poured something into someone. You have given something you have and have shared it with someone. Of course, the most valuable things you can give someone is not money or possessions or things. It is something very personal to you. It is a part of you. It could be your advice. Your correction. Your attention. Your ability to listen. Your time. Your praise. Your encouragement.

Just one life. Are you willing to take up the challenge? Can you make a difference to one life?

Lessons from The Preacher

June 3, 2021

The book of Ecclesiastes is different. It is quoted in part in songs, poems, movies, and literature, but is mostly misunderstood. The book is attributed to King Solomon, written at a time in his life when things were not going particularly well. By the time he wrote Ecclesiastes Solomon had done everything, seen everything, possessed everything that could be possessed, and had power and position like no one had ever had before. He should have been on top of the world, but he was somewhat depressed.

Solomon had great wisdom given to him directly from God. According to the scriptures Solomon had wisdom greater than anyone before him, or after him. But, wisdom without God is one of torment and depression, which is exactly what Solomon got.

Now, we have to be clear here. Solomon was no pagan. But, he had drifted away from the God of his foundation. In this ‘drift’ he found himself with great wealth, privilege, and wisdom, but it was all for naught. One of the most common words in this book is ‘vanity’, or simply worthless, without meaning, without value.

So, when Solomon declares that there is nothing new under the sun, and that there appears to be no justice in the world, and all the hard work a man does is not worth anything, it is coming from a mind that has been granted so much wisdom, that it can only be harnessed and channeled by God, which Solomon had left behind somewhere in his life.

We might even go as far as to say he was close to madness. He still had his reasoning power, but from the standpoint of human perception and reasoning it was failing him. For wisdom without God could drive a person to madness.

Slow minded folks don’t have this problem. They don’t think deeply and simply take life as it comes. They don’t think too much about the future or the past, and just focus on the moment. This is truly a blessing, as those who are gifted with wisdom and deep understanding ponder those things that lie beyond the present, and even contemplate how the past factors into the present and beyond. In short, people gifted with too much wisdom and knowledge can find themselves simply too smart for their own good. In fact, it can become a torment, which is clearly evident in some of the passages in Ecclesiastes.

But, as you make your way through the book you find that Solomon eventually finds his way back to his roots, and an acknowledgement that a life without God makes no sense whatsoever. He even acknowledges that wisdom, although it can bring pain and sorrow, is better than being a fool. A fool may be happier, but wisdom is better.

Summary – wisdom and knowledge is a blessing from God, but apart from God it can embody it’s own torment and lead to depression. But, wisdom and knowledge PLUS God is truly the best combination, with God being at the top of the pyramid, holding everything together.

There are many lessons to be learned from this overlooked and misunderstood book of the Bible. One has to wonder why God allowed it to be included? It is not entirely an uplifting book, with many dark passages and thoughts. But, it gives us a glimpse that God understands our condition, and that life without Him is something that is not fun or hopeful.

Right or Wrong?

April 6, 2021

Most people would say that choosing between right and wrong is simple, straight-forward, and binary (it is either right or wrong, no in-between). While this concept works for many situations, life is actually a bit more complex than this and some decisions don’t fall neatly into one or the other.

This is not to say that I advocate ‘gray decisions’, or compromises of character or deceit. I only point out that our simplistic view of deciding right and wrong is many times more complex than we give it credit for. Maybe an example will help serve to illustrate my point…

Imagine that you are traveling down the road and come across a squirrel (or any other animal), that has been hit by a car and mortally wounded. The squirrel, however, is not dead but still alive. You stop your car and ponder what should you do? You have a few basic choices:

  1. Get back in your car and hope things turn out for the squirrel. After all, it is not your responsibility and it will either survive or die.
  2. Try to care for the squirrel in the hope that you can nurse it back to health, somehow.
  3. Kill it, and put it out of its misery, as there is little hope of recovery.

As you can tell right away, there is no real right or wrong decision here. There is a judgment that must be made based on your best experience and conscience. Killing the squirrel may be the right thing to do, but you may have reservations about killing a living thing. Trying to nurse the squirrel back to health may also seem the way to go, but if it is mortally wounded it will probably suffer and die anyway. Driving away is always an option, as you might be able to forget about it, and move on with your life. After all, there was really nothing you could have done, was there?

Why do I bring this up? I bring this up because we are faced with many decisions in life that fail to fall in the neat categories of “right” and “wrong”. They are typically hard decisions, ones with no clear answers or precedence. Do I put my ailing mother into a nursing facility? Do I take my father off life support? Do I pay down my debts now, or do I save my money for a rainy day? Do I invest my money in a new business, or do I put it away for my child’s college? Do I keep driving my car, and pay repair bills, or is it time to go into debt and buy a newer one? Do I chance that my roof will last another year, or should I go ahead and spend the money now?

While some questions might be answered through knowledge or experience, there are clearly some that defy any kind of clear “right” or “wrong” categorization. Life is full of these kinds of questions, but amazingly we mostly refuse to acknowledge they exist.

Interestingly, these types of decisions were not new to Jesus, who had to make many choices where the answers were not clear-cut. Of course, Jesus did not do anything wrong, but in many cases it was not clear to those around Him if His decisions were the right ones. When Jesus was 12 years old he wandered off from the caravan, and spent several days in the temple talking to the doctors of the law, while his parents were in despair looking for Him. Was this right?

When Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was sick, he stayed where He was for two more days before making the journey. During that time His friend died, and there was grieving and lamentation over his death. We know that Jesus later brought Lazarus back from the dead, but what about the grieving sisters and relatives? Was this right?

These examples show us clearly that sometimes the right decisions are not always the pleasant ones. In fact, at the time they sometimes seem like the wrong ones.

So, what do we gain from this? At least a few things:

  1. Not all decisions are clear-cut and fall into nice “right” and “wrong” categories
  2. Sometimes the “right” decision is not always the pleasant one
  3. We need God’s help in making the right decisions, as it is not always clear which choice is the right one

Little Things

September 24, 2020

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a posting. It is now Sep 2020 and what a year we have had. The only other time I can remember that has been even closely as chaotic as this year was back in 1968.

But, I don’t want to use this post to talk about ‘big things’. I want to look at ‘little things’. You know, the things that make up everyday life. The things that don’t seem to be important. The ‘trivial’ things.

The real mystery is that these ‘trivial things’ may be the most important things we do in this lifetime.

By way of example I use the following true story.

Back in the early 1990’s I was going to Taylor’s Bookstore to buy a technical book. As I got to the store I could tell buying a book was going to be a problem as there was a line a city block long, waiting to get in. I went over and asked someone what was going on. He said, “Margaret Thatcher is signing her book.” I said, “THE Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the UK??” “Yes”… so, I promptly got in line and waited my turn along with the rest.

As the line slowly inched forward we eventually made our way into the bookstore, but the line was still long and was people were stacked to and fro. But, it gave me a chance to see what the procedure was. You purchased a book, you handed it to Ms Thatcher, she signed it, you said, “Thank you”, and moved on. Simple enough, I thought. Too simple. I was not going to let this opportunity to meet a dignitary pass with only a “Thank you.”

As I handed my book to Ms Thatcher I casually commented, “Oh, I thought this line was for Ronald Reagan!” (For those who do not know, they were great friends as well as chief of states). She looked up, and for a moment I thought security was going to force me to the ground and put the cuffs on me. But, she brightened her outlook and began a conversation with me. “Yes, I just talked to him the other day. He is doing very well.” Just as if me and Ronny were the best of friends and simply updating another old friend. She chatted with me for several minutes, and I smiled and acted as if we had known each other for years. Security was annoyed, and the people behind me were not amused, but I had a great time, and so did she.

Afterwards I thought about this encounter. Why would someone so important take the time to talk to a ‘peasant’? After all, it was a ‘little thing’ wasn’t it? Was there really any benefit I could give to her? And then it dawned on me – signing books, one after the other, has to be one of the most boring jobs ever. I offered a moment where she could take a break from the monotony. Even though I was a ‘common’ person, it didn’t matter. She treated me as if I were royalty, and I immediately could tell why she was so popular and successful as a PM. Her discussion with me was not a ‘put-on’ but was real and engaging.

A little thing, right? But, then why would the memory remain after almost 30 years? It really wasn’t so little, after all.

What influence do we have on others? A word, a piece of advice, an encouragement, a thank you. Trivial things, or are they?

Who is God Looking For?

March 27, 2020

How audacious and arrogant I am to think I can answer such a question.  This is a question for the ages, and has been asked for thousands of years by millions, if not billions, of people.

But, I’ve never shied away from difficult questions, so why start now?  Only God can be the judge if I have stated things correctly or incorrectly, but He will bear witness that my intent has been clean and pure.  I just want to help people if I can.

Who is God looking for?  Well, first of all, it’s not always who we think.  God is not impressed with the things we count as important in this life, such as status, fame, wealth, charm, or physical beauty.  He is not swayed by our intelligence, wisdom, or ability to mesmerize the crowds with our humor or wit.  He is not impressed with even our Bible knowledge, or our ability to understand Greek or Hebrew.

I think the thing that confused a lot of people, including Christians, is that God can accept anyone, from any background, whether they seem worthy or not.  His ability to ‘bend’ the rules and accept people we deem unfit is what confounded the Pharisees, Sadducees and religious leaders during Christ’s ministry here on this earth.  Jesus accepted the poor, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers, those who did not have social status.  He also accepted the rich, the prosperous, the dignified.  He accepted those with physical handicaps as well as those with mental handicaps.  He accepted thieves who were condemned to death for their crimes.

Now, all this does not mean God is not strict, or has changed his rules of acceptable behavior.  It does mean that our view of what is ‘acceptable’ and ‘not acceptable’ is often different from God’s view.

If we were to examine closely who Jesus dealt with during His 3 1/2 year ministry we would find clues to what got and held His attention.  He was not impressed with the crowds, or those who wanted to ‘touch’ Him.  But, He was impressed with the woman with the issue of blood who wanted to just touch the hem of his garment.  He was impressed with Zaccheaus who was despised by the Jews, but climbed into a sycamore tree to see Jesus as He passed by.  He was impressed with blind Bartimaeus who yelled out for Jesus even though others told him to shutup.

When we take careful study of who Jesus paid attention to, we do find some common threads:

  1. People who were hungry for God
  2. People who had an open honesty, no pretense
  3. People who often had no hope, no respect in their community
  4. People who others despised, or found unworthy
  5. People who were persistent
  6. People who acknowledged their own failings and dependence on God’s mercy

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I will never forget the events I watched unfold on 9/11, and the horror of seeing desperate people leap to their death from open windows.  One individual forever sticks in my mind.  He stood in the window, smoke billowing out from behind him.  He crossed himself, in the manner of a Catholic and some other denominations.  He then jumped into eternity.  Some might argue that just crossing oneself is insufficient for entrance into the arms of God, but I disagree.  You see, people come to God in many different ways, and some of those ways are not ways we agree with, or align with.  But, it doesn’t make any difference.  If God accepts a person, that’s all that really matters.  It doesn’t matter what kind of life that man lived, it only matters that when faced with death, he turned his life over to God.

We need to be careful how we judge individuals.  It is God who is the great judge of the hearts of men and women.  If they have asked for forgiveness and mercy who are we to say they are unacceptable?

On that topic, what about the dope addict who asks for forgiveness every day of his life?  Are we so bold to declare that he is unfit for the kingdom?  Be careful.  But, for the grace of God, go I.  We need to understand that everyone falls short of the glory of God.  We stand by His grace and forgiveness alone, and not by any great works we have done.  There is no room for boasting, or for judging and condemning others, based on our own standards.

I have to admit this is a bit different than my normal posts, but I don’t apologize.  I ask you to think about these things, and judge within your own heart what is right, and if I have spoken the truth, or am I just a rambling fool?


You Don’t Have to Like Worms to Use Them as Bait

January 23, 2020

Now there is a title, if ever there was one.  This is a short note to the ‘church’ body, including leaders, ministers, and laity.

There’s a lot going on in the church world today.  We have sound systems, lights, cameras, production assistants, and specialists handling all different aspects of the service.  And, of course, there is a lot of resistance that goes along with all these changes:

  1. “We’ve never done it this way before!”
  2. “Why, it is disgraceful what they are doing!”
  3. “I don’t think the church needs to stand for this!”

Granted – the sanctuary needs to be treated with respect and not become a Hollywood production platform.  We don’t need to make ‘stars’ out of our music leaders or ministers.  But, on the other hand – and thinking about this differently – we also don’t need to like the ‘bait’ we use to catch fish.

Hence the title of this posting.  If a good music system and lighting is what it takes to attract people to the House of God, then we need to make some adjustments in our thinking.  You don’t have to like these things to understand that it takes bait to attract some people.

So, try a little tolerance, and be mindful of the fact that people are not attracted to a church if it is grimy, old fashioned, stodgy, discriminating, and filled with ‘exclusive members only – all others need not apply’.

Progressive music, and judicious use of new things – cameras, lighting, and sound need to be kept modern if we are to attract the lost.  This doesn’t mean we turn the church into a night-club or stage with performers, but it means we need to be mindful that if you are going to catch fish you need to use bait, and you don’t have to like the bait.