Monday, November 30, 2009


An old pioneer traveled westward across the great plains until he came to an abrupt halt at the edge of the Grand Canyon. In amazement he looked at the magnificent chasm a mile deep, eighteen miles across, and more than a hundred miles long! The old pioneer gasped, "Wow - something musta happened here!"

In a similar way a visitor to our world today would view the lights, decorated trees, parties, festivities, and the religious services and would probably say, "Something must have happened here!" Indeed, something did happen. God came to our world as a human being on the first Christmas.

Have you ever wondered, why all the fuss? Why special midweek services? Why remember a baby born in an obscure Middle Eastern village and why a huge festival just to honor His birth? Why? Because something happened 2,000 years ago. The Son of God came to earth in the first Advent and that's enough in itself.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. His purpose is to save the human race. Environmentalism won't save us, and neither will politics or science or economics or morality - only Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one will come to God the Father except through Him.

Last Sunday the season of Advent started. Advent means “coming,” and usually refers to the three weeks before Christmas. You and I live between two advents - the first Advent of His coming at Bethlehem, and the second Advent is when He will “come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead,” as we say in the Apostle's Creed. Advent is the time for Christians to prepare to celebrate His first coming. Advent is also a good time to prepare us for His His second coming.

Not all Christians observe Advent, but all of them know Jesus will come again some day. Let's be prepared by trusting Him. Let's be prepared by worshipping Him and serving Him. Let's be prepared fror His second advent by sharing our faith in word and deed, helping those less fortunate than ourselves. May all Christian churches so celebrate this season with faith and joy that a new visitor might be moved to remark,

"Wow - something must have happened here!"

Monday, November 23, 2009


God has abundantly blessed us all, so it's time to give Him thanks. Many among us will soon be enjoying American Thanksgiving Day with food, family and football. Some will be too busy, too distracted or perhaps too ill to give thanks. Some will be spending Thanksgiving Day in uniform, at home or abroad, helping others, providing needs, and protecting freedom. But we all can give thanks to the Lord this week.

People have been giving God thanks since the beginning of time. Cain and Abel gave thanks to God for their harvest, Abraham gave thanks for his firstborn son Isaac, and Jacob gave thanks his son Joseph was alive. David gave thanks for offerings to build the first Temple, and Paul gave thanks for offerings to stave off starvation in Jerusalem. Whether 2,000 years ago or this week, giving God thanks is stitched into the fabric of humanity.

Historians tell us the first American Thanksgiving was not the happy occasion we've been lead to think it was. Elementary students today are taught the first Thanksgiving was the Europeans giving thanks to the Indians. An issue of "Smithsonian" magazine describes a meal built on invasion, slavery and oppression. The article has Native Americans as winsome, happy folks while Europeans were unkempt, greedy invaders. The article says about the only thing Europeans brought to the first Thanksgiving was disease. The truth about the first American Thanksgiving, of course, is between the two extremes.

President Lincoln made American Thanksgiving Day official in 1864. Amid the horrors of the Civil War, this remarkable man reminded a faltering nation of its duty to give God thanks. Today, despite the fact that God has been all but eradicated from from the public square, America still observes Thanksgiving Day. We haven't yet abdicated this important holiday and I pray we never will.

How will you spend the day? Will you take time to attend a church service to give your thanks? Some churches have Wednesday Thanksgiving Eve services for those who will spend Thursday preparing food or doing other things. If this is true of your Thursday, I encourage you to take advantage of a Wednesday service. There is no valid reason not to give God thanks this Thanksgiving Day.

"Give thanks unto the Lord for He is Good - His love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today I write you from our winter residence in Casa Grande, AZ, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. Yesterday Carol and I drove the 900 miles from our permanent home in Castle Rock, CO, bringing all those "necessary" things with us. It seemed like a longer trip this time.

Yet 150 years ago the settlers drove covered wagons over plains, mountains and deserts, seeking their new home. It would have taken a pioneer family three months and lots more money to travel what we drove in just one day. And we had a home waiting for us when we arrived. Maybe next time we'll leave the car in Arizona and travel by plane. One shouldn't waste time traveling the long way, should one?

We are all travellers between homes. We all have some kind of home here on earth and we're all heading towards another home after this life. People who trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation have a fantastic new home awaiting them. It is all paid for, just the right size, needs no upkeep, has all the modern conveniences, and our neighbors will have no faults. Come to think of it, neither will we. Sounds like heaven!

As we travel the road of life, let's keep our eyes and ears open and stay on the right road. This time we took a slightly different route across country that cut some miles off our trip but ended up taking us on unknown mountain roads at night - not very smart! 

Our GPS came in handy. When we veered from the path, it either scolded us to get back on the "right" road or showed us a new road to our final destination. It almost seemed like a pastor! Best of all, the GPS told us we couldn't get there by going the wrong way. No matter what road we took, we needed to keep heading southwest. You can't get to Arizona by driving to the north Pole, and you won't arrive anywhere unless you keep going.

Lots of folks today are on the wrong road, headed for mountains of trouble. Some think all roads lead to the same place, and even a child can tell you that's not true. Some roads lead to danger and others even to death. True, sin makes us veer off the road now and then, but Jesus helps us get back on again. Sometimes the right road seems uninteresting, but if we keep our eyes on the goal, Jesus Christ and the home He's prepared for us, we will achieve the best destination.

God is with us every mile of the way. He nurtures and guides us with His Holy Roadmap. He talks to us in His Word and wants us to talk to Him (and each other) as we go. That's why the Psalmist said to God, "Your Word is a lamp for my feet, and a light to guide me." (Psalm 119:105)

Get on the right road, fellow travellers!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Last summer Carol and I drove to the top of Mt. Evans. Driving those tight turns up to 14,000+ feet made me wonder if I'd be able to stay on the road. But what a majestic drive! Another winding, twisting road, the one up Pike's Peak, is even more majestic. Some say the only way to get a thrill in life is to drive a dangerous road now and then.

This reminds me of a school district in West Virginia that was interviewing prospective bus drivers. Since they would be driving narrow mountain roads, each applicant was asked, "How close can you drive to the edge of the road?" Some said, "If I keep good hold of the wheel, I can get within six inches." Others tried to top that by saying they could manage four inches. But those who got the jobs usually answered, "I keep as far away from the edge as I can."

It seems today that such a sensible answer - staying away from the edge - is hard to find. Too many people prefer living as close to the edge of life as possible. Whether it's temptation or curiosity or the wish to live life to its fullest, some of us feel compelled to creep as close to the edge as possible. But the closer we come to the edge, the more we put our lives and souls in danger.

Proverbs 1:10 says, "My child, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them." That means watch out for temptation! Temptation comes to us all, but we need not always give in to it. We may think we can resist it, but we're not as strong as we think. Life can be lived just as well away from the edge as next to it.

None of us, no matter what our age, wisdom or abilities, is smart enough to stay always on the road. None of us can keep such a grip on the wheel that we won't at some time go over the edge. We all fall in life because we are weak and sinful.

But Jesus walked our road of life. He knows how we are tempted. Thus He will also be there to catch us when we fall and keep us from harm. If we turn to Jesus in faith, He will pick us up, clean us off, and help us back on the road again. He'll help us to stay there, too, if we let Him.

As you face today and all it brings, why not keep a safe distance from the edge?

Monday, November 2, 2009


Last Saturday, like most Americans, we set our many clocks back to Standard Time. (It's said that a man with many clocks never knows what time it is.) Did you happen to count how many clocks you had to re-set? At our home the clocks number 16, including two computers and two cars. Actually, the computers re-set themselves, as do our cell phones every time we turn them on. It's amazing that we now can have our clocks set exactly to other clocks around the world.

Time may march on, but sometimes it seems to fly. Then again time just drags. The New Testament speaks of "time" in at least two ways: "Chronos" is clock time ("It's time to eat!"), and "Kairos" is general time ("It's about time you did that!"). In any given day each of us is given 24 hours of "chronos" to use as best we can. We also have important periods of "kairos" in life: Time to make a decision, time to fix that problem, time to do what's right.

Time is a bank account we're all given, and none of us knows when the account will be closed, so we need to be good caretakers of our time. It's sad when we hear someone say they have "time to kill," as if those minutes or hours were worthless. Yet we all waste some time, don't we? Waiting may seem like time wasted, as can time spent in uncertainty or indecision. All time is valuable and irreplaceable.

Psalm 31:15 says, "My times are in Your hands." St. Paul warns us there will be terrible times in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1), but Nahum the prophet encourages us, "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." (Nahum 1:7) Here's a poem with a great thought:

The clock of time is wound but once, And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop, At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you have; Come now and do God's will.
Wait not until tomorrow, for Your clock may then be still.
Let your time count for God and His people.