Thursday, May 29, 2008


(15 holes, 14 pegs, start with #1 empty)
4 to 2
6 to 4
1 to 6
7 to 2
13 to 4
10 to 8
2 to 7
7 to 9
15 to 13
12 to 14
6 to 13
14 to 12
11 to 13

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


A stonemason must have patience. He may hammer 100 times on a large rock and nothing happens, but with the 101st blow, the stone splits. An oil rig drills round and round, for days, weeks or even months. And then one day, in one final turn, the oil gushes up from thousands of feet deep inside the earth. In both cases, it wasn't the 101st blow of the hammer or the millionth turn of the drill that brought success -- it was all the work that went before, plus that last effort.

Consider parents on Graduation Day. A young woman crosses the stage to get her diploma and two people rise quietly from their seats as her name is spoken. The man raises a small camera and a tiny spark of light flashes across the arena, capturing the moment. How many other moments did they watch her, or how many decisions did they make, or how many times did they wonder if she would make it to this day? But there she is, a graduate, ready to leave home and become independent and on her own.

What are you hammering at right now? Or what work have you set in motion? What snapshot have you just taken? Are you depressed because there's no apparent difference on the surface for all your efforts? Are you repeating the same tasks over and over, with no noticeable results? Are you trying to get through to someone who doesn't seem to be listening to you?

When it comes to your relationship with God, you can be sure that your prayers are answered. You can trust that your offerings, your actions, or your worship is not unnoticed. God sees your heart. He recognizes your faith. He knows your needs and will provide you. The work you do for Him or for His people is never in vain. Your effort will achieve its goal, even if at times that effort seems futile.

In Christ, keep on keeping on!

Monday, May 19, 2008


What are you reading these days? This winter I finished "Fearfully And Wonderfully Made" by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancy, and am currently plowing through "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael J. Behe. Both books were supplied by my science teacher son and heartily encouraged by my vice president son.

And it's about time I did some learning about this. Somehow I got through High School and College without taking much, if any, biology, and reading about biochemistry, microbiology and cell structure at age 63 is fascinating, rewarding, especially since I have the time and interest to do it. Ben Stein's movie "Expelled" helped fan the flames too. He asked a simple question that science has never been able to answer, "How did it all get here?"

Though firmly believing God created the heavens and the earth, I've had periodic thoughts about whether or not evolution has any merit. But it's always been without good information on biology and Darwinism. After reading Brand and Behe's books and turning Ben Stein's question over in my mind, I have no longer have any doubt about the question of "chance." I know enough about mathemetical probabilities to realize there are too many variables and mechanisms for biological life to have come about by chance, without someone designing the process.

If you want to challenge that, read Brand and Behe first. Their scholarship should put to rest any doubts you may have about "chance" evolution. How did it all get here? If it was the Big Bang, who assembled the powder and who lit the fuse? Just how many tornadoes ripping through how many junk yards over how many millions of years would it take to create my Chevy Blazer? Or your little finger?

Some folks answer that God did it all in six days about 6,000 years ago. That is very possible with an Almighty God. Some don't want to use the word "g" word for fear someone might snicker or sneer (Let 'em!). But still others are breathing a sigh of relief to know it's okay to think about a Higher Power. They're not the only ones, inside or outside the scientific community, who know there must be Someone who designed it all.

It's amazing that the Bible with all its simplicity might be right about God being the Creator, just like it's already right about Jesus being the Savior. An elderly lady once said, "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that's that!" She's far closer to the truth than all those bright guys who refuse to use the "g" word.

You really ARE fearfully and wonderfully made!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Robert Merrill, opera singer and actor, worked in summer stock in the role of Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof." One night, according to the script, he was imploring God to give him a replacement for his horse which was old and had lost a shoe. At that very moment, a stray dog wandered onto the stage. The audience held its breath, wondering how the actor would handle the interruption. Merrill didn't even miss a beat. He looked up to heaven and said fervently, "Oh God, please try again!"

The situation was hilarious, but it's not too funny when we do that in real life. We ask God for something we want: a new job, a change of attitude in our spouse, a better relationship with someone, or an end to money problems. The list is as long as our imagination.

Then God sends His answer and it looks like the wrong one. He doesn't give us exactly what we want, or even close. It doesn't match up to our expectations. So we look up to heaven and say, "Oh God, please try again!" And we are serious, because this time it's not funny.

It takes time and experience to learn that God always has a perfect plan for our lives. What seems like a mistake becomes a perfect choice as we look back later. We must, however, look at life with eyes focused on more than just the exact things we want. We fit into a much larger picture of this world than we think.

A familiar hymn says, "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform."  What mysterious ways has God worked for good in your life recently? Are you looking for His eternal good in it, or merely your idea of what is good? 

Have you wanted to ask Him to try again? As it snows here today on May 13, I am tempted, but I know He has His reasons. So......

Thank You, God, for the snow that's falling outside my window.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


After last week's message on dealing with worry, I recalled that I had used that example before. How long ago I do not know, but since I've become a bit paranoid about repeating myself, the fact bothered me. All preachers and teachers must repeat themselves, and some stories are good enough just once.

But I have decided to stop apologizing for repeating myself. After all, how else do we learn? And how many times have parents had to read the same story over and over, begged by their little ones? Maybe it's because in this modern world we've come to think all things must be new all the time. But a wise old fellow named Solomon once said, "There is nothing new under the sun," (Ecclesiastes 1:9). So how can we help but repeat ourselves now and then?

We learn mostly by repetition. Every major new lesson in life comes that way. No one wakes up one day and decides to walk or talk. It starts with small steps or endless babbling of sounds, until one day a word is formed or a step is taken, then another, then soon they're walking and talking all the time.

The Bible encourages parents to teach children. Deuteronomy 11:19 says, "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." That's why the Gospel of forgiveness by faith in Jesus needs to be heard over and over. Jesus loves us and we need His forgiveness! Few important things are learned after hearing them only once.

So it's good and necessary to repeat some things. Not all things, of course - we've all told forgettable stories, and we certainly don't need to rehearse our aches and pains. But a good story bears repeating. So when you hear that story for the second or third time, smile and listen again. Maybe even thank the teller, because one day you will be there, too.

Did you hear about the lady who wanted to be buried with a fork in her hand?