Wednesday, July 28, 2010


“To get to where you want to go you've got to know where you are.”

It’s no secret to most of you that I am a pastor (and have been for over 25 years now). With this calling have come some tremendous responsibilities, but also some incredible privileges. While I would never want to try and “rank” either one of those categories, I think it would be safe to say that one of the greatest privileges has been getting to spend so much time in God’s Holy Bible.

I can honestly say that no other book has impacted my life so greatly as this one authored by godly people inspired to write as God’s Spirit led them (2 Peter 1:21). In it I have found comfort, courage, strength, hope, peace, wisdom, direction and perspective (that’s the more “fun” stuff). But I also have found conviction, correction, rebuke, an awareness of sin, and what I believe to be one of the most important, yet troubling aspects of God’s Word: an extremely clear view of myself.

This two-edged sword of the “clear view” has caused many people over the years just to not read God’s Word at all, as they have been uncomfortable with the way this “mirror” reflects the condition of their own hearts, minds and actions. Thus, they set out on life’s journey, goals in mind, but rarely if ever take a look in the “mirror” to see how they’re doing, and as the quote above reminds us, in order to get where you want to go, you must know where you are.

Several years ago, my wife’s grandmother went in for cataract surgery at 85 years old. It wasn’t more than a few minutes after the eye patches were removed that we found her yelling at the doctors for what they had done to her face! The reality is that it had been so long since she had seen herself clearly in a mirror, she had no idea what she really looked like (and the last 10 years had added more than a few wrinkles!). Thus, it must be the doctor's fault!

I want to challenge you to take a good, long, thorough look into the “mirror” of God’s Word. Yes, it can have some uncomfortable moments as you see yourself, but you’ll also gain great comfort in recognizing that the road He has planned for you will take you where you want to go, and help you become what He has designed you to be!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eggs Or Ham

I recently heard a person on TV ask the following question of a friend: "Are you eggs or ham?" I didn't get it at first, but have come to realize that underneath this simple query is a much deeper issue.

Now, you may be way ahead of me, but the facts are this: to get an egg, it is necessary for a chicken to be involved; to get some ham, it is necessary for a pig to give its life. Obviously, the latter requires much more than the former.

Everyday we are asked to give of ourselves to causes, organizations, and needs by surrendering at least portions of our time, talents or resources. And if we're not careful, we can easily confuse which ones should be given how much.

Frankly, I see all around people who have gotten this out of whack - and occasionally, I am one of those people! Some things just need us to be involved - giving of ourselves as we can (not going to venture into which ones for you). Other things require that we be totally committed - you know, changing our schedules, rearranging our priorities and such.

The challenge is figuring out which ones are which - highly motivated by understanding what's at stake if we confuse the two. For me, I love playing sports, and there are numerous benefits at my being involved...but they're at the "eggs" level in my life. But I also love people, and the ripple effects of being involved in relationships with people far transcends that of playing sports. Thus, they're at the "ham" level in my life.

I don't have the answer to your balancing act, but I do know who does - Jesus Christ. And I invite you to seek His wisdom regarding your "eggs" and "ham." Quite possibly, there needs to be a little rearranging to be sure we're not treating "ham" things like "eggs" and vice versa.

Regardless of how we choose, the reverberations will be felt for years, so as the infamous Yoda stated, "Choose wisely, young Skywalker." Better yet, as God's Word says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oil & Water

Sorry I missed you last week - actually got away to Indiana for a few day. It was the first time we'd seen my mother-in-law there since she lost her husband on Good Friday. A great time together, but quite busy and emotional...both to be expected.

While traveling, the Lord and I were having quite a dialog regarding some things in my life that are needing tuned up. We're just not happy with the level of excellence He's getting from me. In this midst of this listening (my part) and speaking (His part), He used a potent illustration to help me grow.

We're all familiar with how incompatible oil and water are: they just don't mix. Matter of fact, a few weeks back I had talked about this in a Children's message at my church, reminding our kids of the importance of having good Christian friendships. Little did I know then that the teaching was going to continue in my own life (not that I'm surprised).

God continued my education with this illustration by helping me to see that it goes way beyond just friendships: it goes to the things of God and the things of this world...period. Let me try to clarify. When I (or any one) attempt to live a life that is a swirling mixture of both what the world embraces and what Christ embraces, my life is no better than a mixture of oil and water. If I (or anyone) insist on trying to maintain this mixture, I end up with a combination that has lost ALL of its usefulness.

Think about it: apart, both oil and water are quite useful, oil as fuel (among other things) and water as a source of life (among other things). But if I insist on combining them, I lose both, ending up with a mixture with no usefulness as fuel (it will ruin an engine), and actually deadly in regards to sustaining life (a tablespoon will contaminate thousands of gallons of water). Trying to live off of this, it doesn't take long to find me without any usable fuel in my tank and dying of thirst in my soul.

How about you? Are you trying to live life on a deadly mixture? Wondering why there's not more power in your tank? The "oil" of the world and the "water" of Christ are not intended to mix! I invite you to take a good look at what you're trying to live on, and if you find this deadly combination, determine to once again drink deeply of only the water of life that Christ provides!