Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach.  Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids." -Quote about former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel from Sports Illustrated.

It has happened again.  Another person whom people propped up, or rather a person who propped himself up, has fallen.  The once flawless Jim Tressel is now a punchline and an example of what not to do.

Coach Tressel has fallen in front of a county.  The question folks now ask is this, "Was this man who professed Jesus a fraud or did he just make one mistake?"  I don't know the answer to that question, but the answer of fraud looks to be the most likely truth.

Now we must ask, "What can we learn from this?"

I think we can learn a couple of things.

1) Don't make people your idol.

As a kid I idolized athletes.  Many folks in Ohio and around the nation idolized the once squeaky-clean Coach Tressel.  While I would encourage you to have role models, I would discourage idolization.  The reason is simple: people mess up.  Idolize Jesus because He promises: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  He never fails!

2) Endure.

If you are a Christian and you try to leave a good life people will wait for you to fail.  People are watching you to see if you will fail all the time.  I'm not saying, necessarily, that Tressel was a great man who just happened to fail; but people love knocking down idols as much as they love putting them up.  If you claim to be a follower of Jesus you must act like it.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Hebrews 12:1

If there is something that would embarrass you if it came out in public, get rid of it.

Don't judge others, but learn from their mistakes.  Run the race with endurance today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Words of Wisdom for Graduates

Many high school and college graduations have already taken place this year (i.e. my two little cousins Jessica and Kayla).  Some graduations are still to come (i.e those of my little brother Patrick and friends still at Wartburg).  I want to first say, congratulations.

I also want to remind you of what the Bible promises you as you take your next big step in life.

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."- Joshua 1:9

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."- Psalm 199:105

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."- Proverbs 19:21

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."- Romans 8:28

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."- Colossians 3:12

Congratulations on graduating, but remember that you are nothing without Christ and everything with Christ.  Take Christ with you as you cross the stage at graduation into your new life.  And for those of us that have already graduated, do what you were made to do.  Glorify God today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Matthew 24- End of the World

It's funny how God works things out.  I got to Matthew 24 and was pretty well confused and thought, "how can I write about something I don't hardly understand?"  Then Harold Camping came along to help me out.

Harold Camping is the 89 year-old president of Family Radio who has announced today as the end of the world.  Which is a great excuse to listen to R.E.M. and a great way to talk about Matthew 24.

In Matthew 24 Jesus is talking both about the End Times and the destruction of the temple (A.D. 70).  It's very confusing to understand when Jesus is talking about the End Times and the destruction of the temple.

However, I do understand one thing clearly about the Second Coming in this chapter.

Verse 36 "No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

If Jesus didn't know when the Second Coming was scheduled, then I seriously doubt Harold Camping knows.  This chapter is not for the Harold Campings of the world to put a date on their calendar to expect the Second Coming.

However, I do admire Camping and his misguided followers in one way.  They are living right now as if Jesus is coming back today.  Friends we need to live like this.  Living like Jesus is coming back today does not mean that we quit our jobs and rent an RV to travel around putting up billboards scaring folks.  Living like Jesus is coming back today means not procrastinating.  Don't wait to share the Good News with your friends.  Don't wait to tell your family you love them.  Don't wait to feed the hungry.  Don't wait until later to do good.  Friends, He could come back right now... act like it.

Is what your are doing now what you want to be doing when the Master returns?

I want to leave you with Jesus' final warning in chapter 24.

Verses 45-51 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the Master has put in charge of the servants in His household to give them their food at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whose Master finds him doing so when He returns.  I tell you the truth, He will put him in charge of all His possessions.  But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My Master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.  The Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect Him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Don't try to predict when the world will end.  Rather, be ready for your Master's return today.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Practice What You Preach- Matthew 23

Take time to read this chapter in the book of Matthew.  This chapter is very much for those in the church, especially those who like to be in authority.

Jesus was talking about the teachers of the law and Pharisees when He said this: "...they do not practice what they preach.  They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

Practice what you preach.  If you prescribe a lifestyle, you'd better be willing to live it.

I'm a huge dc Talk fan.  In dc Talk's monster album "Jesus Freak" there is the following quote: "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is people who profess Jesus with their lips and deny Him by their lifestyle."  I believe this to be true.

However, do not use this to require perfection from your leaders in the Church.  Rather, use this verse to require progress from your leaders in the Church.  Meaning, don't expect them to be perfect today before teaching you, but expect them to be more perfect today than yesterday.

Jesus continues in this passage with more warnings for teachers.  Like, "... you hypocrites!  You shut the Kingdom of Heaven in men's faces.  You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

Or, "You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisees!  First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."\

Or, "You snakes!  You brood of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned  to hell?"

Practice what you preach, because Jesus obviously finds this of utmost importance.  Live what you say you live today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers' Day

Proverbs 1:8 "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."

The book of Proverbs starts by telling us how important wisdom is.  Immediately following King Solomon's statement of purpose for the book of Proverbs he starts into the meat of the book.  The first verse in the meat of the book is Proverbs 1:8.  Why is this?

Well, the further I get from my parents' direct control the more I realize how right they were.  Being as tomorrow is Mothers' Day, I want to give my mom the credit she deserves that I didn't give her then.

Mom, thank you.  Thank you for your teaching, much of which I am finally seeing the wisdom in like:

"Do your homework before you watch TV."  Boy, the TV is such a distraction for me.  I need to do the important things before I veg out in front of the TV.

"Don't go out of the house looking like that."  Thank you.  I've had to learn, and I'm still learning, that appearance is important.  In sales I have to take away negative first impressions.

"Wear clean underwear.  I don't want to be embarrassed if you you get into an accident."  Okay, this one I still don't get.  Mom, you seriously were worried about what underwear I had on when the EMTs came to my rescue?

 "Wake up and get ready for church."  My parents made me go to church when I didn't want to.  I usually wanted to because I enjoyed church, but on those days I didn't want to wake up she made me go.  Thank you.

Thank you Mom for giving me teachings that have stuck with me.

Remember to honor your mother today.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I was looking at this picture this morning.  I love this picture of my family.  This picture was taken right after my Grandma Ray's funeral last March.

This is, in my opinion, the best funeral picture ever!  This is how a Christian family responds to death.  Yes, we were sad to have my grandma leave us, but we know that she is now with God worshipping Him in person. Death does not beat us, death is actually now our friend.

Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Now that is confidence!  I pray you have that confidence today.