Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Papa! I almost missed it. I had just taught class and was bustling down the hall going to my office to drop off my notes and to pick the sermon notes. I took another step or two and then realized the call had been for me. Papa! Papa! This time I stopped dead in my tracks. From around the corner came my grandson with a huge smile on his face. Our eyes met and he started jumping up and down. Papa! Papa! Papa! I reached down and picked him up. He looked at a person standing next to me and said, "This is my Papa." My heart was bursting with pride. What he said next didn't surprise me. After he had said, "This is my Papa," he looked at me and said, "Where's your Ipad?"

This short encounter made me think of several things. The first was my sheer joy at hearing my name being called. I couldn't help but think of how God feels when one of His own call His name and with joy are delighted to be in His presence. If I, as a earthly grandfather, feel the joy from such a simple act, think of how God must feel when He hears a child of His truly excited to call his name. How often do we with joy call out to God. The Psalmist said, "I love the Lord, for he heard my voice." (Psalm 116:1)

But the next statement, "Where's your Ipad," is not atypical of my grandson, nor is it atypical of us. I gladly share my technology with my grandson when it's possible (he's not even three years old yet!), but there is a sense in me that says he only loves me for my Ipad. I know that's not true. (I think!) How often, though, do we shout with joy to the Father only in the next breath to ask for something? I know, Jesus told us that we didn't have because we don't ask. But shouldn't we just bask in His goodness and His glory before we start asking for what we want?

You know what, though? I still love to hear my grandson (or my own children or even my wife) call my name. And I think God does, too. Perhaps we should call on Him more often! Maybe we should enjoy His presence all the time...even when there is nothing to ask for.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This really is my favorite holiday time of the year. It's not my favorite time of the year because it's too cold. But the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are my favorites.

I find it interesting to see the thanksgiving messages that crop up on social media during the month. Their sincerity is obvious and I do not judge them at all for the messages. In fact, I think it's good for us to have a special reminder to be grateful. Gratitude should and must be a Christian trait.

Jesus healed ten lepers one day. He didn't have to, but that was just the way He was. They stood back and warned Him of their leprosy. But Jesus touched the untouchables. He told them to show themselves to the priest. The Scripture says that as they went away they were praising God in a loud voice. You can imagine that can't you? Praising God, after all, is good. Only one of them, however, came and thanked Jesus. Interestingly enough, he was a Samaritan, a half-breed. Praising God--good. Thanking God--better.

Let us remember to ever thankful. Jesus calls us to never be in a place where we can't thank Him, even in the most dire of circumstances. I read a story of Corrie Ten Boom in the German concentration camps of World War II. Their beds were infested with lice making it uncomfortable to live, let alone to sleep. Because of the lice, the German soldiers did not do the horrible things to the women that are often associated with war. Corrie Ten Boom talks about their gratitude for the lice. Be thankful for everything....even if it's lice.

Enjoy the season. Don't let the gratitude end with the Thanksgiving meal. Be thankful every day!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Just Stay

This is one of those posts that may create some criticism, but that's fine. I'll take it. It seems there have been a number of posts about how the church needs to change to meet the needs of the post modern people who are coming to the religious world (terrible term, but it's the best I can do at this point) or those who have already belonged to a church, but have moved on. I agree, there are many changes that need to occur. We have looked at our vision on a number of issues and many times have just accepted the positions that our forefathers and mothers have taught. So the answer, at least in most of the articles I have read, has been to leave. Many either quit the church completely or go to another.

May I say this. Quitting changes nothing, nor does going to another church. You are more likely to exact change if you, in a humble and gentle spirit, continue to express your views from a biblical perspective and keep loving. Now, before you criticize, I have been there. I have left a church because things weren't going the way I thought they should. Guess what? That church is still bogged down in the same issues they always have been. Leaving changed nothing. Obviously, I don't live there any longer, but many of my friends still do. They, too, have left to attend other places.

What I find happening in most cases is once you go somewhere else, you find the aren't perfect either. In such cases, and I've seen this happen, people jump from church to church to church. In my humble opinion, they should have just stayed where they were. I know this sounds morose, but people die, and so do attitudes. The change that we want to see does not come over night. It is a process. And in some cases, it's a lifetime.

I understand that there may be a time to go. My encouragement to you would be to think long and hard. Think long term and not short term. Think of the good you can do. And if it is, truly is hopeless, then go. Our habit has been to leave at the drop of a hat. That's not good either.

My advice? Keep plugging. Keeping being what God intended you to be. Besides, the way you live in the world is more important. When we come together as a group, it is to encourage and to praise God. What we do the rest of the week (and when we are worshiping with our brothers and sisters for that matter) is to be Jesus to everyone we meet. Okay, blast away. I've been where you are. I love you and hope the best for you. Keep being what the Lord has intended you to be. JW