Memorial Day Hallelujah

Today is Memorial Day and I would like to share a video Diane and I really enjoyed this morning.   It was Hallelujah Veterans Version from Sailor Jerri.   When we listen to this it really reminded us of the Service Men that paid the ultimate price for our Freedom (we were in tears).   Enjoy:
[button link=”” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Memorial Day Hallelujah[/button]

I will be gone for 3 weeks on vacation = so no more blogs until then….    Thank You.

Love God with all of my Heart!

I went to a Men’s Retreat (Advance) on Friday night and Pastor Shaun was the main Speaker.   He was using the Love Chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 to describe how we are to Love and he came up with 4 categories – two of them are below.   His talk about how we are to Love God is what got my attention and challenged me.
Most of the time when we read this passage of scripture we look at how we are to Love each other and not on how we are to Love God.
So I took each of these attributes of Love and looked at how I can Love God in each of them:
Love is:

  1. Patient >  I need to be patient in what God is doing in my life – His timing is different than mine and the outcome is much better then when I try to do in my timing.
  2. Kind >   When I do not like the results of what is happening in my life. I am not to respond in anger and think that God has done something bad – but I am to respond with Kindness and thank God for the Trials I am going through.

Love Does:

  1. Rejoices with the Truth > This one can be hard for me – When God is speaking to me and it is not what I want to hear – I need to rejoice in the Truth that is being presented.
  2. Bears all Things > I know God has a plan for me and in obedience I must bear all the trials that I am going through and those around me knowing He is there to help me.
  3. Believes all Things > I need to have a positive attitude in all that I do and Believe that God has set the path for me.   Sometimes I get discouraged about the unknown on where my journey is going and it is believing that God will use me where ever I am is extremely helpful.
  4. Hopes all Things > Hope is that major part of my existence on knowing that God has a final resting place for me in the end and I will be there someday with HimJ.
  5. Endures all Things > When I look at the World around me I have to remember that God is in control.   So knowing this I can endure Life.

Well this was my response on how I can Love God and enjoy what he is doing in my life.   When you look at my response they are about how I encounter what is happening around me.   It is now so much an Action but a Relationship that I have with God and out of that how I am to respond.
So Please take these 7 items and make them personal to how you can Love God in your life.

Battle Ready!

I am finishing the book “The Last Arrow” (Saving nothing for the next life) by Erwin McManus and the last chapter is called “Battle Ready”. It is a great way to finish the book and makes you think about if you are called on by Jesus to do something extraordinary today: are you ready?
I would like to share some parts from the book.

  1. When I take on the hard work of being faithful in the small things, I am preparing myself for something greater than I ever could have imagined.
  2. When we finally get there, we need to be ready. We need to be ready for those unexpected moments when we’re called to elevate, those moments so much bigger than we can hardly breathe. We must be battle ready.
  3. Failure is rarely about the challenge we face: rather, it is about our lack of preparation. You cannot know every challenge you will face, but you can know who you are when you face the challenge!

As I look back at my life I can see the molding that it took to get me ready for Battle – it was through all the small tasks – the hardships – the relationships past and present that have molded me into what I am today.    There is much more that Christ has done in my life that impacts on who I am today, but it was His process in making me ready for what is to come.
In the back of the book Erwin shared a few scripture verses….

  • Luke 16:10 > “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
  • 2 Kings 13:18 > Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped.
  • 2 Kings 13:21 > Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
  • John 19:30 > When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
  • Matthew 25:21 > “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


So the question today is:           Are You Battle Ready?


The Seven S's

A friend of mine (Steve CZ) suggested a book that I might enjoy reading “The Way Back: How Christians Blew our Credibility and how we get it back”. He was right I really enjoyed it and it challenged me in several areas.
The first part of the book went back to the beginning of how we became Christians and what they did to have an impact on the World.   Basically they did not try to impose their beliefs on others but were an example of what Life should be like.   They met the needs of all of those around them so that people looked and knew there was something different about them that they wanted.   They also suffered for their beliefs.

They were examples of Christians who loved and served.

     The book gives seven examples of what we as Christians can do to get back our credibility and live the example of what a Christian life should look like. We need to just not talk the talk but actually live the talk.
The Seven S’s

1.  Surrender:
·       Is Jesus really the number one Priority in my Life?
·       What are examples?
·       How often this week have I allowed outside distractions to become my first priority?
2.  Scripture:
·       How many times this week have I spent significant time in the Word of God? Is that amount of time growing as time goes by?
·       How often do I explore Scripture for answers before I consult other sources?
·       Am I reading randomly, or do I have a structured guide to help me study?
3.  Submission:
·       Am I honestly submitted to the authority of Scripture?
·       Do I respect and submit to my Pastor’s authority?
·       Am I submitted to my spouse and family?
4.  Service:
·       How do my actions reflect my faith?
·       What have I done this week for someone who could never pay me back?
·       Do I have any friends who can do absolutely nothing for me?
·       Do my nonbelieving friends notice that there is something different about my life?
5.  Sacrifice:
·       Is there anything in my life that has a stronger hold on me than Jesus?
·       Would I be willing to answer God’s call even if I knew it meant losing everything?
·       When was the last time I fasted or gave up something important in exchange for finding a deeper relationship with God?
6.  Simplicity:
·       Do material things have the right priority in my life?
·       Does work, food, alcohol, hobbies, possessions, or anything else stand between me and God?
·       What can I give up that might be a distraction from loving others?
·       What does my bank account say about my Christian life?
7.  Suffering:
·       How often am I sharing my faith with others?
·       Have I done anything this week to help those being persecute in other places?

As you can see that I bolded one item out of each of the Seven S’s that I would like to work on.   I would ask that you to do the same…. and maybe buy the book and read it.

Making a Stand when we are fearful:

Our Tuesday night Men’s study we have been going over the book “The Last Arrow by Erwin McManus” and we covered Chapter 7 this week (Stand Your Ground).   I have to tell you this was a convicting chapter for me and I questioned myself if I was in a tough situation would I Make a Stand.
In this chapter he talks about one of David’s most trusted men – Shammah.   Here is the verse.

2nd Samuel 23: 11 & 12 > Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.

As you can see when Israel’s troops were fleeing Shammah  made a stand and defeated the Philistines.   This must have been really hard to watch all the warriors you are fighting next to flee and leave you by yourself.
So this has challenged me to look at what is really important to me that I need to make a Stand on even if it means that I will be in Danger.   Shammah took his stand knowing that there was a good possibility that he would die.   I also have to be willing to make that stand on my own even if the warriors fighting the battle with me refuse to stand beside me.
Making a stand for me could be:

  1. Telling my sons about the need for Jesus in their lives.
  2. In today’s world we are encouraged to be Politically Correct – I need to make a stand against this when it contradicts what the teachings of the Bible.
  3. When I need to be bold and just share my faith.

This is just a small list for me and it and not too dangerous – my list is longer by the way.   I do not have to be as courageous as Shammah but it is a list that I need to stand for.   I just need to start working on my fears and start making a STAND to overcome those fears.

So where do you need to make a Stand?

Have you got a list you can work on?


Suffering and be Glad in it!

I went to Spearfish SD this weekend to visit with my youngest son and we attended his church.   Pastor Steve preached on ‘Suffering for God” and utilized the passage that we all enjoy.   You know the one about being glad in your suffering – It is one of those hard passages that is difficult to live up to.   I do know that when you are going through those hard times it helps to be positive through the experience and it helps those who surround us.
Here are the verses: 1 Peter 4:12-19 >

Suffering for Being a Christian

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Pastor Steve shared a couple of other verses that helped..

  • Acts 14:22 > strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
  • Philippians 1:29 > If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Pastor Steve did finish with an uplifting line:   “Through are suffering this will put us exactly where I am supposed to be. God I working through me…..”
I do not know what you are going through at this time – it may be:

  1. A death in the family.
  2. A family member or friend who is really sick.
  3. Someone who has betrayed you.
  4. Financial difficulty.
  5. Someone close who is having problems with drug, alcohol or some other type of addiction.

**The list goes on.   **Some of these are current to me.
I would tell you to listen to the words from Peter above and remember God has a purpose and will get you through it. Peter is speaking from experience…  I do have to remember to be Positive when I am going through the molding process and know that when it is accomplished I will be much stronger.

A day without Complaints!

I was reading an article in this morning’s paper titled “Can your family handle a day without complaints?” by Danny Tyree.     I really had to think about that – Could my family handle a day of just being positive or can I handle a day of just being positive.     The article was a fun read (you can read it at the bottom).
I do have to confess that the reason this article got my attention is that I have noticed in the last couple of months that I have been more negative than positive.   I have been complaining about:

  1. The Wind is blowing too much and I want to walk more outside.
  2. My boys play to many video games.
  3. My brother is recovering from a Knee replacement and he is not doing his rehab correctly.
  4. The team is not doing what I want them to do.

***My list can go on for a very long time….
So when I read this it convicted me into start having more days of being positive and stop complaining………..
I looked up some scripture to help me correct my behavior – here the are:

  • Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • Romans 12:2  do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
  • Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things
  • Ephesians 4:31-32  let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Matthew 15:11  It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
  • Proverbs 15:1  a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger
  •                            ****There were several more verses but you are getting the point…. It is extremely helpful to look up scripture when I want to have a day of being Positive and eliminate all my complaints….   We will see how it works tomorrow, I have already blown it today and this week.


So I encourage you to take the challenge of no complaints and being positive for a whole day…   Then a week – then a month – all the time…


“Can your family handle a day without complaints?”

Did you notice that Thomas Lickona recently adapted a portion of his book “How to Raise Kind Kids” into the online Time magazine article “How to Raise Grateful Kids in An Era of Thankless People”?
My own son Gideon is a gentle, cheerful, kindhearted lad; but I set aside the time to read the essay because I realize he is still a work in progress.
Even though Gideon has mostly outgrown the “This is the worst day of my life” tantrums, he is still prone to swiping my French fries, neglecting “thank you” notes, delivering perfunctory prayers (“Thank you for our food and our beds. Amen”), procrastinating about his burdensome chores (which require half a hand of fingers to count) and whining about clothes shopping trips that last longer than unlacing the left shoe.
Among the suggestions in Lickona’s essay was to take “the no-complaints challenge.” In this exercise, everyone in the family must agree to go 24 hours without complaining about anything.
Raising the issue of going cold turkey on negative vibes can stir up a storm of discord all by itself. (“Did someone say something about ‘cold turkey?’ Is the microwave busted again? Didn’t that thing come from the Pilrgrims’ yard sale? The neighbors have a new kitchen and a new car, and probably Paula Deen and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to manage those necessities for them …”)
Yes, if you’re going to plunge into smiley faces and fortitude instead of slowly weaning your family from self-centered habits, you need to find ways to lessen the shock. You might want to set the mood by streaming something like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or “Man, they said we better accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.”
Your little cherubs will probably gush an enthusiastic pronouncement such as, “I’m so glad that Bobby McFerrin and Johnny Mercer aren’t here to get their feelings hurt when I crank up Black Sabbath to drown out their music!”
Break out all those uplifting posters, such as “If you can’t say something nice about suppertime telemarketing calls, the Washington, D.C., swamp, Fluffy’s hairballs and the creepy neighbor boy with the binoculars, don’t say anything at all.”
Of course, a little common sense is required if a family is to go all-positive. Or when the kids laugh about the 24-hour “ordeal” afterward, they’ll say something like, “Ha! Ha! I wanted to complain about that suspicious-looking mosquito crawling up your arm, but I just zipped my lip and went to my happy place.”
Classmates and teachers will notice a changed attitude in youngsters who have learned to eliminate their egocentric bellyaching. (“What do you want to be, Johnny — the class president or the captain of the football team?” “Nah, I wanna be a Stepford Wife.”)
I just hope that complaint-free days can be the beginning of a lifetime of putting things into perspective. If, instead, they become like Lent, followed by an outpouring of pent-up desire, things could get nasty.
“Why does the sun have to come up so early? Why does it have to be 93 million miles away? Why does it have to possess a mass 330,000 times that of Earth? Why does it have be a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process???”
Danny welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

Jesus Christ Superstar Musical..

I finally watched the Musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” last night – I cannot remember seeing it in the 70’s, I suppose I was one of those kids that their parents refused to let them watch it. After watching it I would have to say that I probably am not a big fan of it and one of the major reasons is that it was unfinished.   **No resurrection….
My wife helped me understand the impact that this musical had in the 70’s. This was during the hippie revolution and when the musical was played it started a Jesus Movement that was unexpected. Allot of the people who watched it wanted to know more about this Jesus and what He was about. The Jesus Freak movement started… By the way I enjoy being called a Jesus Freak even today.   So I am hoping that it has the same impact today.

          I was moved by a few parts of the Musical…

  1. Jesus was a person who loved people and when it came time to be crucified you could see the anguish that he went through as he went through the process of going to the cross. Very moving….. And through it all His major concern was doing the will of His Father.
  2. Peter’s response to denying Jesus 3 times showed what an impact it had on his feelings after he had done what was prophesied.  Very repentant afterwards.
  3. Mary Magdalene:   I did question what they were trying to show as a relationship between her and Jesus – But throughout the Musical she was trying to understand why her life had changed so much and what was this deep new feeling that was inside of her….
  4. Judas – I have heard but do not know that he was saved when he died. I enjoyed the fact that if he was saved, in the end he was worshiping Jesus in a powerful way. This was a new light on seeing the character of Judas.


So after watching this I had to ask myself.

  1. When I go through a major crisis in my life and through all the anguish: Do I make sure that I am in the will of God?
  2. As Peter I have blown it several times but am I repentant of what I have done and changed my life as Peter had done.
  3. Do I feel that change in my life and know where it is coming from? The Holy Spirit works in all of us in a powerful way.
  4. Am I worshiping God with the same passion as Judas did at the end of the Musical?


I can only Imagine!

If you have not seen the movie it is a must. This is a powerful movie on Forgiveness – how Christ can change even the hardest hearts – Grace – Not giving up – and more…….
When the movie was over you could see the impact it had on the people who attended…. allot of the audience did not want to leave and did stay and visit for a few minutes with those who were there.

Enjoy the following Video’s:

Movie Clip:  [button link=”” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Movie clip on I can only imagine[/button]

Song by Mercy me:  [button link=”” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”]I can only imagine[/button]

It would be great to post some of your comments on what you thought of the movie:

How many times would you strike your Arrows?

I am attending a Men’s study on Tuesday night and we are reading the book “The Last Arrow” by Erwin McManus. Last night we had a great discussion on the first chapter and there is one part of the Chapter that talks about the Prophet Elisha sharing his wisdom with the king Jehoash.  Elisha was telling the king what it would take to be successful.   Read the story below.

2 Kings 13: 14>20 Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.” Elisha died and was buried.

The wisdom that Elisha passed on was an act of Obedience on the part of King Jehoash and the king did in great on the first portion of the instructions.   Now when he was told to strike the ground with his arrows that is when he lost the full blessings of God.
Our discussion was. How many times would I have struck my arrows to the ground? I have to tell you that I may have done what the king did – it did not make sense and a few times would have been enough.   When God is calling on us to do something – how many times do we just go far enough?   I believe God is calling us to go farther and not stopping at a point that is comfortable.
The first chapter talks about being Average and how comfortable we become by not going farther.   We like that spot of being average when God is calling us to be extraordinary.
A couple of quotes from the Chapter are:

  1. We are to shoot and strike, but we are what we are not to do is stop.
  2. I wonder how many times in my own life I thought I failed but actually the only thing that happened was that I quit.
  3. We are living a life that is uniquely our own.

So I am back to the original question:  

How many times would you strike your Arrows?