Tuesday, December 27, 2011


As we come to the close of 2011, many people are concerned with what will happen during 2012. Each new year brings such thoughts and concerns, but 2012 appears to be especially important, almost pivotal. World economies, American politics and even doomsday predictions may make us pause to think, and hopefully pray about, what this New Year will bring.

Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick have written a lovely Christmas song, "All is Well." Some of its words are:

"All is well, all is well, Lift up your voice and sing.
Born now is Emmanuel, Born is our Lord and Savior.
Sing Alleluia, sing Alleluia, all is well."

To hear the words of this song at Christmas time is comforting. But some people are unable to absorb the message because their lives are in such turmoil. They've experienced the loss of a loved one, or persistent unemployment, or a reversal in life, or a serious illness or personal depression that will not go away. Their hearts cry out, "All is NOT well, at least not for ME."

This is when a simple understanding the birth of our Savior Jesus can bring light into the midst of our darkness. Jesus of Nazareth was born. He died for our sins and rose again so that we might rise. Despite our complex circumstances, all IS well because Jesus is our Savior and He is with us. We are not alone in our pain or trouble. Christ is here, even now on this mixed-up, confusing earth, beside us as our Friend.

Jesus promises never to leave us (see Hebrews 13:5). He promises that His grace will be sufficient for us (see Philippians 4:19), and He assures us we receive the gift of eternal life by faith in Him when our suffering of life is over (see John 10:27-28).

As you review 2011 and look forward to 2012, remember God's promises and blessings. Perhaps you can agree with the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote:


Cindy Hess Karper, a writer for OUR DAILY BREAD (available free at: http://rbc.org) gave me the idea for some of the thoughts I have shared with you today. Most of my WEEKLY MESSAGEs are taken from an idea, a story or an event that lends itself to a message for that week. 2012 begins my sixteenth year writing WEEKLY MESSAGE, and I am privileged to continue this ministry for the several thousand people of many nations who receive it each week.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, because Jesus is with us in 2012, ALL IS WELL!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I am always amazed at the generosity of American people most any time there is a need, and especially at Christmas. The church, non-profit organizations, and individuals give us so many opportunities to give. Every year millions of dollars in gifts passes hands, and boxes of food and decorated Christmas gifts go to people in need of all ages. Even the media features story after story about young and old sharing with others. All this makes Christmas the most heart-warming time of the year.

Giving and sharing are good anytime, but especially now. I saw this poem in the paper and wanted to share it with you. It's about some people who are… Well, you read it and decide what it's about. This little poem has quite a strong message.

"THE COLD WITHIN" (by James Patrick Kinne)
Six humans trapped by happenstance In dark and bitter cold.
Each possessed a stick of wood, Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs, But the first one held hers back,
For, of the faces around the fire, She noticed one was black.

The next one looked across the way; Saw one not of his church,
And could not bring himself to give The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes; He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought Of wealth he had in store,
And keeping all that he had earned From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge As the fire passed from his sight,
For he saw in his stick of wood A chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group Did nought except for gain;
Giving just to those who gave Was how he played the game.

Their sticks held tight in death's stilled hands Was proof enough of sin;
They did not die from cold without -- They died from cold within.

Because God gave us His only Son, Christians are the most generous of all. They understand the coldness of sin and the warmth of their Savior dwelling in their hearts. God grant this Christmas that everyone, whether young or old, families or single people, will have all that they need, including the gift of the Christ child of Bethlehem.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given." (Isalah 9:6)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I have often told people, "God doesn't care two hoots about my golf game." I've usually said that right after making a shot that causes a fellow player to comment, "You must have Someone Up There who likes you." People like to say that to pastors, even retired ones. So I usually respond, "Naw, God doesn't care two hoots about my golf game." And the way I usually play golf, I'm convinced He doesn't.

But this fall I've added, "or pro football." And yet after last Sunday and watching the Denver Broncos pull out another come-from-behind win, winning the 7th of their last 8 games, I am wondering whether or not that's correct. Maybe God does care about pro football and He is telling us something through it this season.

Now, hopefully you won't skip the rest of this WEEKLY MESSAGE, viewing it as just another article on a certain pro quarterback who has received more publicity than he probably deserves. But I would like to examine for a moment whether or not there is anything too small for God to be concerned with.

Articles on this person usually center on whether or not he should be so public and vocal about his faith. I think what he does - taking a knee after a touchdown or pointing to the sky - makes a lot of people uneasy. Most fans would rather just watch the game and then, 1) rehash it to show their knowledge of players and teams, or 2) give their most recent prognostication or the season's outcome, or 3) philosophize on pro football in general, especially on how it used to be, or how they'd fix it if given the chance.

But not some oddball (lucky?) quarterback giving God thanks! Can't a person have just one area of life that avoids God talk? Yes, we all know of a team that "really believed" and somehow lived the dream of the "impossible season." But can't we just leave God out of football? (God is surely not ignored in sports bars - you hear His name mentioned there quite often)

Leave God out of football? Go ahead and do it - you have my blessing. But there is still a part of me that asks, "If we really believe God is almighty and cares about us, is there anything too small or insignificant for Him not to be concerned with?" If He can number the hairs on head or keep track of those irritating dirty little sparrows, might He not also hear us and our prayers, even the ones about the outcome of a football game?

This young quarterback is just living his faith, doing what he's been doing since he was a child and gave his life to Jesus. Somewhere in life he promised to vocally thank Jesus whenever something good happens, and he's kept his promise. Like St. Paul says, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Maybe the armchair quarterbacks and those all-knowing sports pundits out there should chill out and let him play his game.

If God does care about every aspect of our life, maybe now's the time to thank Him for making a couple of teams really interesting to watch. By the way, Packer's quarterback Aaron Rogers is also a fine Christian, a man who has also dedicated his life to Jesus Christ. And so far his Green Bay team is undefeated, with a string of wins over two seasons longer than any team in NFL history. Some guys are just less vocal about their faith. I wonder how many other Christian athletes there are?

Maybe God really does care about my golf game - maybe just one hoot?

Monday, December 5, 2011


Every year at this time, I have urged readers to make a special Christmas gift to a charity, and this year the one I have chosen is, "OUR FAMILY IN AFRICA." About a year ago, our son and his wife blessed us with an adopted African granddaughter from the DRC, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chuck and Debbie applied to an orphanage there and Debbie returned with Anaya, now a smiling, energetic and growing sweet girl who will already be two years old in February.

Carol and I decided this year to forego giving adult Christmas gifts and are making ongoing contributions to "OUR FAMILY IN AFRICA," a group that is starting a new orphanage in Kinshasa, the DRC capital. With five million orphans in the DRC, and with 10,000 of them roaming the streets of Kinshasa, orphanages in DRC are badly needed.

The DRC has been at war nearly 15 years, resulting in a high infant mortality rate due to disease, abuse and rape. Existing orphanages there are overwhelmed. While we can't help them all, we have decided we can help some. Furthermore, adoptions from DRC have been nearly closed due to government problems there.

OFA is a group of American adoptive parents working through the United Methodist Church to refurbish an abandoned orphanage in Kinshasa. Debbie and Chuck are supporting OFA, and on their behalf, we are seeking the support of others for this newest Kinshasa orphanage.

The OFA website is: http://www.ourfamilyadoptions.org/. It will give accurate information, as well as buttons to other pages of information, including donations. Please note on your check or PayPal information that your gift is for the "Kinshasa Orphanage Project."

Carol and I are giving an initial gift plus a monthly gift through our credit card. We invite you to do the same, if not to OFA, then to another worthy orphanage charity. There are many, and all are in great need of our gifts.

John 1:12 says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Jesus came into the world that also had a high infant mortality rate. But through the loving care of his birth mother Mary and his adoptive father Joseph, He grew to be our Lord and Savior. When adoption becomes difficult, good orphanages are great blessings to the world and the Church.

May our Lord Jesus move you to share of your gifts this Christmas with orphaned children in need.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. On November 29, 1986, Carol and I were married on the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving in a happy and memorable ceremony and reception. Last Saturday afternoon we hosted a party for about 80 or more friends and family here at Palm Creek, and I can safely say, "a good time was had by all."

There are so many fine things that can bless a person in life, and a good marriage is right up there with the best of them. Loving family, faithful children, close friends and faith in Jesus Christ are all important blessings to one's earthly life.

This Wednesday (tomorrow) we swing into the season of Advent, the weeks before our annual celebration of Christmas. Advent comes from Latin words meaning "coming" and it centers on the First Advent of Jesus, God's Son, coming into the world some 2000 years ago. Christians also believe in the Second Coming, that Jesus will come again to judge all creation at the end of the world. So today we actually live between the two Advents.

These days Advent is mostly overlooked by a secular society which has become overcome with worries about its economy and politics. Some even think things are really bad in our world, that we are somehow on the brink of destruction. Indeed, 2012 is considered by a few to usher in the end of all things as we know it.

So what if it does? Are we ready for it? Readiness here does not mean having enough stuff or just being in the right place. It does, however, mean believing the right things, that Jesus is our Savior, that He died for our sins and rose again to forgive us and bridge the chasm sin has created between us and God. Being ready for the Second Coming of Jesus is a matter of the heart. "All who believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

It is not easy to keep faith in Christ. Satan and his evil minions try to tear the faith from our hearts. It is easier to ignore God than to ignore the clamor and glitter of secularism around us. We must be vigilant at this time of year. Observing Advent can help us with that vigilance.

Trinity Lutheran of Casa Grande, AZ, observes Advent with midweek services, and I will be leading those again this year Wednesdays at 4:00 & 7:00. I urge you to find a church that observes Advent and worship the Good Lord in those midweek services. If that's not possible, take time to read the Bible and pray to the One who first came to earth as the Christ child, the One who promises He will come again to receive all the faithful to Himself in heaven.

God bless you all this Advent!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Our earth is an active place. Not only do we have seven billion people living on its surface, underneath the earth's surface there is a whole lot more activity going on than we ever realize.

Earlier this year I discovered a website that gives a day-to-day report on the earth's most recent earthquakes with data from the NEIC, the National Earthquake Information Center, located in Boulder, Colorado. You can find it at: http://quakes.globalincidentmap.com/. It shows just how active our earth is beneath its seemingly hard, yet thin crust. The most dangerous quakes are not necessarily those highest on the Richter Scale, but usually those most close to the earth's surface.

What's surprising is not just the high amount of daily earthquakes that take place on the "Pacific Rim of Fire" (which includes America's west coast), it is also the frequency of earthquakes in the rest of the USA - along the Mississippi, on the eastern seaboard and in New England states. Of course, some parts of South Pacific are rattled nearly every day by deep and powerful quakes, and the people there have learned to live with the ground moving beneath their feet.

There are plenty of reasons for people to fear earthquakes, but there are more reasons not to fear them. This earth that God has given us is our home. It is the best planet in the universe to support complex human life. It is the planet Almighty God has richly blessed. God is watching over us all, and giving us all we need for life, whether we acknowledge Him or not. We people are all blessed by His almighty hand. That is a very good reason to give Him special thanks on Thanksgiving Day coming in a few days.

Last year we felt a slight tremor here in Arizona as a 3.0 quake hit near Yuma, 150 miles west of us. The mini-blinds swayed and our whole home moved just a little. Tremors hit people in many places - a bad health report, losing a job, losing a loved one, experiencing a great disappointment, or perhaps feeling like you're losing your faith in God. Whenever the earth trembles beneath your feet, just remember, "The earth is the Lord's and all that is within it." (Psalm 24:1)

This Wednesday I will lead Thanksgiving Eve services at Trinity Lutheran, Casa Grande (at 4 & 7 PM), with the theme, "God Is So Good." Do you remember the Sunday School song with the simple yet profound words, "God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He's so good to me"? Trinity congregation will sing that song Wednesday because it reminds us that God is good to us, even during the earthquakes of life.

Everyone experiences earthquakes in life, and God knows when they happen. He will be there to hold us up and bring us through. Whenever any earthquake strikes close to you, remember, "God is so good, He's so good to me." Then praise Him for His goodness!

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalms 107:1)

Monday, November 14, 2011


It is a fundamental necessity of civilization that the strong must protect the weak. Whenever the strong neglect protecting the weak, or take harmful advantage of them, then the stronger must be judged harshly. This is true of families and also of governing entities. If the strong harm the weak under their care, this especially worthy of judgment. We saw this graphically in recent events at Penn State.

America is a great nation. It is great because it guarantees basic freedoms and puts in place certain principles that protect its citizens. Whenever its leaders choose to promote self-interest above the good of its citizens, or choose to obey laws only selectively, they no longer deserve to be its leaders. There are, at this time, elected leaders who are ignoring laws with which they disagree.

Most of us wisely have locks on our doors. Without them, we leave ourselves open to lawlessness and injury. The doors and locks of our nation are its laws and the boundaries that protects its citizens, defining who they are and the freedoms they have. We are a nation of immigrants, but we want those who come here to live within the boundaries of law.

Living in Arizona makes one realize the importance of laws and locks, for they are not working here. Every day, a thousand or more people cross into Arizona illegally from Mexico. The locks on our nation's doors are broken, and our elected national leaders are blocking those who are attempting to fix them.

Imagine being told locks are not needed on your doors, or that you should not even close your doors to intruders who would enter your house, and possibly harm you or take your goods. Imagine strangers coming into your home expecting to be fed and clothed, some even telling you they had a right to take your possessions. Imagine being told by your government you it would be better if you gave them your possessions.

Then imagine being considered a terrorist by that government because you owned weapons to protect yourself, or assessed you fines because you tried to keep what was yours. Imagine being threatened with arrest or taken to court because you hired qualified people to uphold laws that your government failed to enforce.

These, my friends, are the realities that produced Arizona's law SB 1070. It was enacted by two thirds of Arizona's citizens to enforce national laws already in place, but which the federal government has neglected to enforce. Arizona is now being sued by that same government elected to protect us.

Our just and loving God says through the prophet in Isaiah 5:18-20, "Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness." Somehow, we Americans must see that we must be protected not only from our enemies, but also from some of our elected leaders.

Because we all are held to the same standard, we all need forgiveness in Jesus. But no one, no matter how high, is above the Law. "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers." (Psalm 1:1)

May God move us to protect the helpless and be protected from those who would harm us.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Carol and I returned to Arizona over the weekend and found lots of things to do - cleaning, unpacking, shopping, and setting up housekeeping. There were people in the office to see about mail and billing, and park friends to notify we were back. Sunday we worshipped at Trinity Lutheran and greeted our church friends there. It's always fun to get back to our Arizona winter home.

And there are always a few surprises. One was that my golf cart wouldn't run because its batteries were completely discharged. (Did I leave the lights on?) I hooked up my 36 volt charger to get some "juice" back in its six battery system, but found that when all the batteries are dead, the big charger won't work. There needs to be some small amount of electrical charge in the system to make the big charger "kick in."

I asked around and someone suggested I try my regular car battery charger to charge each battery. So I set that charger to "6 volt charge" and tried charging individual batteries, but that didn't work either. Then I found a website that said I should use the 12 volt setting and charge sets of two batteries (six times two still equals twelve).

That worked! After about an hour of 12 volt charging on pairs of two six volt batteries, they all had enough amperage that the 36 volt charger kicked in and got them all up to full charge. By yesterday afternoon, "Old Blue," my 1980 convertible Club Car, was charging down the streets at top speed - 15 mph! And all because its batteries need to get some charge in pairs, but not alone.

It's kind of like our relationship with God. Jesus once said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) In Luke 10, He also sent out his disciples in pairs to do His work. Jesus knew that alone we can falter and fade, but in pairs we have more strength.

People seem to work better in pairs. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!"

When it comes to those big batteries, two charge up better than one. And while one person alone can accomplish some good things, but sometimes two people are better together.

Do you suppose that is why God gave us marriage? And good friends?

Monday, October 31, 2011


October 31 is the day Martin Luther began the Reformation by posting his 95 Theses. I would like to introduce you to another important Reformer named Philip Melanchthon, scholar, writer, professor, humble Christian man, and close friend of Martin Luther. He was born Philip Schwartzerd ("black dirt") in 1497 at Bretten, Germany. He was 14 years younger than Luther and grew to be only 4 foot 7 inches tall.

Philip started Latin School at ten, but was enrolled at the University of Heidelberg at 12, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree there at 14 and his Master’s degree from University of Tubingen at 16. His brilliant mind was reportedly able to memorize entire books.

While studying under Erasmus, he changed his name to Melanchthon ("black dirt" in Greek), and became lecturer in the Christian faith and many secular disciplines. In 1518 (age 21), Luther invited him to study the Bible and teach at the “Laecorium,” the new University of Wittenberg.

In 1519, Philip attended the Leipzig Debate with Luther, helping him write parts of his defense against Johann Eck. During the debate, Philip spoke out several times, incurring Eck's anger.

In 1520, now full Professor on the Wittenberg faculty, Philip married Katharina Krapp, the mayor’s daughter. Elector Frederick gave them a house on Collegienstrasse next to the University which is today a museum. They were blessed with two children, Anna and George (died at age two). They adopted Philip's sister's five children when she died, and later adopted Anna's four children at her death.

Melanchthon worked very hard, his usual day being from 3 in the morning until 9 o’clock at night. He and Luther sometimes, though rarely, differed on teachings. He established the first public schools in Germany, and later organized new universities at Marburg, Koenigsberg, and Jena, besides revising courses and textbooks at Heidelberg and Tubingen. Philip valued the Bible most highly, but also urged the study of useful humanist writings.

He was invited by nearly fifty other Universities to be on their faculty, yet stayed at Wittenberg Laecorium the rest of his life. In 1530 he wrote and presented the Augsburg Confession in German and Latin. He also wrote commentaries on Luke, Matthew, Romans and Corinthians, and helped reorganize theology departments at major universities.

Philip got into conflicts with Amsdorf, Flacius and Osiander, and spoke against false doctrine of the Zwickau prophets who said the Bible was no longer necessary, that all should only follow the Holy Spirit. He was 49 when Luther died in 1546, thrusting him into leadership of the Reformation. In 1550, his Katharina died at age 49, and two years later, Luther’s Katie died, also at 49.

In his last years, Philip was saddened by the sorry state of the church with its disputes and weak leadership, but he took refuge in prayer and the Bible. Though some disregarded him due to his size and appearance, Luther said Philip was a giant and his pen made him more beautiful than King David.

Just prior to his death, Philip wrote a sermon in which he said, “In death we shall be delivered from our sins, as well as from the arguments of foolish people.” In early April, 1560, he lectured a few minutes in his classroom and collapsed. Asked on his deathbed if he wanted anything. he said, “Nothing but Heaven.”

Philip Melanchthon died at age 63, the same age as Luther. Both are buried in the Wittenberg Castle Church, Philip the teacher in front of the lectern, and Luther the preacher in front of the pulpit. Philip stands next to Luther and Calvin as a major protestant reformer and theologian. Among his many legacies, he urged the church not to confuse the Law and Gospel.

June 25, Luther’s traditional wedding anniversary, is also Philip Melanchthon Day in the Lutheran Church.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I enjoy reading fiction, but one of my favorite non-fiction authors is Deborah Tannen, a Georgetown University Professor of Linguistics. Her book, "YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND," became a 1980s classic due to its excellent explanation of how men and women process information differently. Her premise is true: men and women don't always hear the same message in the same words.

Dr. Tannen has written several other books, and one I am now reading is, "I ONLY SAY THIS BECAUSE I LOVE YOU," in which she explains how our conversation affects our relationships. She writes quite clearly on a topic that could be boring, but is surprisingly interesting and even humorous.

In our conversations, she says we need to realize there is both a message and a  "meta-message" The message is what we say out loud. The meta-message is the unstated meaning we glean from what is said. The message is the "word meaning," while the meta-message is the "heart meaning." The meta-message is often what triggers the most emotion.

For example, when a mother begins her conversation with, "I only say this because I love you," the daughter may know immediately she will be criticized, perhaps about her looks or behavior. The mother truly wants to help her daughter to improve and believes her meta-message will be heard. Her daughter, however, focuses on the message itself which comes across as criticism.

Reading good literature on how we relate to each other can help us avoid pitfalls in our relationships, especially those in the family. Looking past the initial words and realizing there may be another message won't eliminate pitfalls, but it can help us avoid them.

It can also help us in understanding God's Word. I often hear people say they don't understand the Bible, that its stories or passages are too difficult. Some parts of the Bible are indeed more difficult than others. But sometimes our inability to understand can come from our experiences or our unwillingness to look beyond the words themselves.

For example, one child hearing Jesus' prayer in Matthew 6, "Our Father who art in heaven…." would envision a wonderful God based on a loving earthly father. Another child, however, might see God as angry or hateful, based on an abusive earthly father.

Many people distance themselves from God's Word due to negative experiences in life. When something reminds us of physical or emotional pain, we naturally will back away from it. Other people, though, find the goodness of God explained in the Bible helps them get past a particular pain they've felt in life.

I urge you to consider how you relate to the Bible and why. Is there something blocking your need to read His Word? Is there a way to remove that block so that you can better hear what He is saying to you?

And in your close relationships, is there an important message you may be missing because you are considering only the words?

Jesus does understand. He gave us His Word because He loves us.

Monday, October 17, 2011


(First of all, I want to thank all who responded to last week's MESSAGE about my writings. I have been urged to write books for over a decade, and now that I've started, I hope some will read them. I appreciate your understanding.)

This week I would like to share some thoughts about the current protest demonstrations being staged around our world. Like many of you, I have mixed feelings as I watch the news showing people angrily shouting in the streets against injustice and greed or something written on their signs. I am sure it is exciting to be among those participants, but it is difficult trying to understand them.

One wonders if there is a point to it all, or whether it is protesting merely for the sake of being a protester. Unless people have valid reasons that can be stated and understood, it all seems a waste of time.

Perhaps some modern people feel they must stage angry demonstrations now and then, publicly venting feelings so that somehow wrongs will be made right. Maybe they just want to shout in the streets like they heard was done in past decades. Whatever their reasons are, it would be better if we at least understood them.

Mere ranting and raving accomplishes little. "I don't have enough." "They have too much!" "No one listens to me!" "Why isn't the government doing more?" "Why isn't the world a perfect place?" "Who's fault is it?"

Maybe I can answer that last question, but it won't be pleasing. We are all at fault. Because we are all sinful, that makes us all greedy and selfish and uncaring, etc. Furthermore, we frail, faulty humans can NOT fix everything to make our world a perfect place. It can't be done.

It is the immature child who cries, "Someone has ruined my life and must make me better." That child has not been taught the reality of sin. Our world today is filled with people who have been deceived into thinking we really can make this world into a perfect place. But perfection requires God, not street demonstrations or revolution.

Reality teaches us people of every generation will suffer. God's Word teaches us the only perfection there is comes from God in Jesus Christ. He died to deliver us. He rose again to bring us hope of heaven. Heaven will be perfect and will come only through Jesus.

There will be no lasting political solutions to our imperfect world. Perfection will only come in heaven at God's throne, a gift of God's grace in Jesus our Savior.

Certainly we must try to make things better. But unless we trust in God to help us, unless we place our faith in the One who is Greater and Higher than we are, we are destined to cry in the streets like spoiled children looking for someone to blame.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Rev. Bob Tasler
My Kindle Books:
NEW! "BOBBY WAS A FARMER BOY" (illustrated for children): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005TMN95M
"SMALL TOWN PREACHER" (My second church): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005G0FST2
"COUNTRY PREACHER" (My first church): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BZL3V4
"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" (Daily devotionals): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0
"MURDER AT PALM CREEK" (A fun "Whodunnit?"): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EMMBQU

Monday, October 10, 2011


As you may have noticed by my E-mail "signature" this summer, I have written several small electronic books on Amazon Kindle. This has been a fun and interesting experiment, as well as quite successful. So far I have sold around 150 Kindle E-books, as well as many in CD format. You can see all five with their website addresses below. You can click on any of those that are underlined, and you will see the nice way Amazon shows you their content.

My latest E-Book, "BOBBY WAS A FARMER BOY," is a children's book about my youth on our family farm. It is short and contains many simple illustrations. I think it is my best work so far, and costs only $2.99 for those with Kindles. You can look at its Kindle site (free) at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005TMN95M. 

I can also send you a computer CD copy to read on your PC. Additionally, I have an audio version for this and two other books as well. For these, you must contact me and I will mail you a CD written or audio copy for $5. I'm sorry, but there are no paper copies of my books. The cost of paper publishing today has become very expensive and risky.

If you do not have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle Reader for your PC or Mac at this address:

If you have a Kindle book or Kindle reader for your PC, I think you will find my Kindle books entertaining and inexpensive. Even if you don't wish to but one, check them out!

Next week I will return to my regular WEEKLY MESSAGE format. Thank you for understanding my periodic and shameless marketing!

Thanks also for being my faithful readers!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


People today spend much time planning their future, trying to make it secure. Investment ads and "how-to-retire well" stories are so numerous a first-time visitor here might think that's the whole point to life in America - to retire wealthy. Is your 401k doing well? Good for you! If not, your future is in jeopardy.

Far better that our future is secure because of our faith in Christ. In Philippians 3:7-9, St. Paul said, "Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him."

A Stock Market gain gives us hope; a loss makes us tense. But the materials things we gather for ourselves in life can be lost in a heartbeat. Knowing and trusting Christ brings a security that loss cannot take away. Faith in Jesus gives a life that goes past all phases of this one and brings us into the eternal presence of God.

I recently watched an interesting program called, "The History of the World in Two Hours" which, of course, started with a "big bang thirteen billion years ago." Oddly, in the program a secular scientist used the phrases, "Let there be light" and "creation of energy," freely borrowing Christian phrases to make his point about the beginning of things. He attempted to show how the earth, that third planet from the sun, Carl Sagan's "insignificant pale blue dot," could accidentally come to support life. As he did, he used biblical phrases without realizing it.

I marvel at how we humans can see everything but the obvious. The more we learn about the intricacies of complex life, the more it should drive us to seek Someone behind it all. But our sinful nature blinds us to God, or even to consider His possibility. We're content to ignore the facts, refuse the obvious, and be damned rather than admitting there is a God behind this marvelous thing called life. To the secularist, the future means knowledge and answers to more problems. Thus, a "secure" retirement becomes of paramount importance.

St. Paul had a good life before he came to know Christ, but lost it all the minute he professed Jesus. No Temple Pension, no Eternal IRA for him. He suffered the loss of all things material so that he could be spiritually ready to meet his Lord. He counted all that stuff as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus Christ.

Christ is the only secure future we can hope for. A financially secure old age is helpful, but it doesn't last long. And if we spend most of our lives amassing funds for the last decade or two, we may miss out on the real fortunes of heaven.

Faith in Christ makes our future truly secure.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



This is what the news desk people want us to think. This is what the environmental experts want us to believe. This is what religious skeptics think the Bible really says. This is what many struggling people see around them.


Is there really a lack of good news? Have we come to believe life today should have no troubles? Is God just a construct of our imagination? Should someone else fix our problems?


May you all have a nice day!

Monday, September 19, 2011


In a well-known children's book, someone says: "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Have you heard that phrase before? The principle character from Lewis Carol's classic children's book spoke those words, Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. Then this wise but confused little girl asks, "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

This reminds me of the true story about Dr. Albert Einstein who lost his ticket and was searching for it as he rode on the train. The conductor assured him not to worry, that he surely must have bought one, but Einstein kept looking for his ticket. Finally, the conductor said, "Sir, don't worry - we know who you are." Einstein responded quite firmly, "I know who I am also, sir, but I don't know where I am going!" It is possible to be brilliant, yet not know where you are going.

I wonder how many people reading this WEEKLY MESSAGE know where they are going. I say this not in jest or sarcasm, but in sincerity. It seems to me that more and more people in our nation do not really know where they are going. They may have a good idea where they are or what they are doing, but not what is coming, nor whom they should follow. I wonder how many would echo Alice's words, "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

And I wonder who will step up with God's answer: "TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST!"

Ann Graham Lotz, daughter of Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, is in the news again with her straight forward expression of Christian faith. On CBS's "Early Show" on Sept. 13, she said, "I say God is also angry when he sees something like this (the 9-11-01 disaster).  I would say also for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their fist at God and said, 'God, we want You out of our schools, our government, our business, and we want You out of our marketplace.' And God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life, removing His hand of blessing and protection. We need to turn to God first of all and say, 'God, we're sorry we have treated You this way and we invite You now to come into our national life. We put our trust in You. We have put that we trust You on our coins, and now we need to practice it."

Ms. Lotz' thoughts should be pondered by all believing Christians. She also believes Christ will return "In our generation," although I struggle with this in light of Christ's words of Matthew 24:36, "No one knows that day nor hour, not even the angels in heaven or the Son, but only the Father." Ms. Lotz' warning can remind us all to be ready by faith in Jesus, no matter what the time is.

If I am ready by faith, then I need fear nothing that is to come. I pray this for all of you.

Monday, September 12, 2011


"What were you doing when the towers came crashing down?" We've been asked that question often the past few days during the anniversary of 9-11-01. I was constructing the roadside sign for Epiphany Lutheran of Castle Rock, the mission church we had started in 1999. The roofer about 200 feet away called down to me what had happened on the east coast that morning.

What were you doing? A better question might be, "What have you been doing since then?" My pastor in his sermon yesterday spoke of our need to forgive our enemies, asking us to ponder Peter's question to Jesus, "How many times must I forgive my brother when he sins against me?" (Matthew 18:21)

I would like to re-phrase Peter's question: What does it mean to forgive my brother? What must I do when I forgive? What is forgiveness and what is it not? Let me try to help answer.

Forgiveness is giving up one's right of retribution, the right to strike back when evil has been done. Forgiveness is what the offended person does. Forgiveness is the hurt person releasing his/her hold on the one who has done the hurting. Forgiveness does not require repentance from the offender; it requires mercy from the offended. St. Paul showed us this in Romans 5:8: "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Forgiveness requires a change of heart for the offended person. This is why it can be so difficult, but also so liberating. But forgiveness is also necessary. Explaining the Lord's Prayer, Jesus made this clear: "If you do not forgive your brother his trespass, neither will your Father forgive your trespass." (Matthew 6:15) The unforgiving heart needs cleansing.

Withholding forgiveness does not harm the offender, it harms the offended. Consider the enraged parishioner, offended by his pastor or church, who shouts, "Don't give me any of that forgiveness junk!" Not forgiving hurts us and poisons our heart, not the object of our anger. Think about this, and then pray the words of this prayer:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Forgive us, Oh God, and search our hearts today. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free.  

Amen and Amen!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Today I have a question for those who are married. Do you recall how your marriage proposal took place? Was it in a staged special event, or did you "pop the question" in a quick and surprising manner? I am sure if all married persons reading this WEEKLY MESSAGE listed the way their proposal took place, I'd have a diverse list of romantic, surprising, glitzy, and even silly ways marriage proposals were made.

I have also heard of some very unique ways. In one case, there was no actual proposal (He: "When would you like to get married?"), no direct answer (She: "How about Thanksgiving?") That proposal occurred 25 married years ago. Another young man simply washed his girlfriend's feet and then proposed. His "modest proposal" showed he understood that humility would be one of the bases for their lifelong commitment.

Humility is significant in human relationships, and today it is often hard to find. St. Paul wrote, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition" (Philippians 2:3). Jesus said, "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4) Who but a true Christian would want to have that attitude in today's world of pride and ambition?

Last Saturday I watched the World Track and Field Championships from South Korea. I couldn't help but contrast Jesus' attitude with Jamaican sprinter Hussein Bolt, who, before and after each of his races, puts on such a show of braggardly flaunting that it's difficult even to watch. Another athlete, hurdler Sally Pearson of Australia, shouted and jumped for joy for several minutes after running a flawless race in record time, and that was fun to watch.

There is a huge difference between demonstrating the joy of winning and showing one's prideful conceit and self-promotion. There is an even greater difference between selfishness and humility.
What can you do today to humbly serve the one you love? What can you do today to humbly serve the Lord who, "…humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on the cross." (Philippians 2:8)

Placing someone else's needs before your own is the Christ-like way.

My Kindle Books:
"SMALL TOWN PREACHER":  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005G0FST2
"COUNTRY PREACHER":   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BZL3V4
"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS":  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0
"MURDER AT PALM CREEK":  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EMMBQU

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Now that we are past the imagined horrors of what Hurricane Irene (fortunately) did not deliver, many people who live on the east coast are deciding what they learned from the episode. I do not intend to demean the potential disaster that could have come from a worse storm, but it was almost painful watching the reporters try to fill in the gaps as the storm got better while they were prepared for it to get worse. Those who had spent days preparing the audience for a show based on things going bad had to scramble for what to do when things started going good.

Perhaps this points to the fallacy of planning our future when we do not have control over so much that happens in life. We may plan and do all the "right" things, get all the needed ingredients in place, and then have it all displaced by something unexpected.

The pastor of my teenage years had saved his funds, made his plans, built his retirement home, and then was run over by a snowplow less than a year after he retired. Another newly retired pastor friend fell over dead while mowing his lawn. Another fellow was building a house, backed up to admire his work and was killed when fell into the basement hole.

The lesson I see in this is that we can plan for some things, but not all things. More of our life is in the hands of God than we think. Some might call this chance and others luck, but I see it as God's plan. We need always to be ready by faith for what the Lord has in store for us.

My sister refers to these things as life's "pieces of the puzzle." We can only see how they fit together after awhile. Life looks like a jumble of puzzle pieces lying on the card table. "Why did this happen now? When will I know? What were we doing? Now what?" Only as the days unfold can we begin to see how this part fits with that part, and the picture begins to take shape. 

James the half brother of our Lord wrote in his epistle chapter 4, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit', yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

Which part of the puzzle are you working on right now? Which parts are giving you the most trouble? Have you see a few pieces nicely fall into place recently?

Have you given thanks to God for how He has fit the pieces together?

Monday, August 22, 2011


We are now in the hot days of summer. Some parts of our nation have been excessively hot and dry for weeks, hurting animal and plant food production. Our experience in life would tell us this excessive heat must be because we are closer to the sun in the summer than in the winter, but just the opposite is true. Right now in the summer, planet earth is 4% farther away from the sun, our heat source, than it is in the winter.

Today in the northern hemisphere, we are 95 million miles from the sun. In January, our coldest time of year, we are only 91 million miles away from the sun. So why aren't we hotter in January, since we are closer to the sun than we are now? The answer has to do with the angle of the sun's rays.

Heat is caused by the earth's absorbing the sun's rays directly, not by how close the sun is. When the sun shines more directly on the earth, not being deflected by angle or atmosphere, the heat is at its greatest. In winter, the angle of the sun's rays deflects the heat, and the earth and air are colder as the sun's rays bounce off the earth. In the summer, the sun's rays come at a more direct angle to the earth, allowing the earth to get warmer.

I think we can learn something from this about our relationship with God. Living close to a church, or having been brought up in the church, or even having a few Bibles in our house - none of these will bring us closer to God. We must be looking to God, seeking His will, praying to Him and being open to His blessings in order to get closer to Him. That is why regular worship is important. Worshipping God with other Christians gets us right in line with God's Word and helps our faith become stronger than if we are alone or separate from other believers.

Hebrews 12:2 tells us, "Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith." When we seek Jesus, fixing our eyes on Him and His Holy Word, we have a better chance of receiving His blessings and strength. True, just going to church won't make a person a Christian. But being in Church gives us a better chance of having our faith grow than if we are not there.

When I was young, most of us tried to get a dark tan in the summertime. These days we're warned that too much sun can be harmful, and even cause skin cancer. Conversely, it's extremely rare that we can get too much God, or too much church. The Devil, the world and our sinfulness will keep that from happening. But just as living in the darkness and away from the sun for long periods of time can be harmful, so also we can suffer from too little contact with God.

It's far better to be in line with Jesus and His Word, than in line with the world.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Carol, my wife, has had a small jewelry business for over 40 years, selling items made by other craftsmen. During that time she has collected quite a number of interesting pieces for herself, many of them made of sterling silver. One such necklace is both attractive and an example of the artist's ability to make something beautiful out of scraps. It is made of random silver pieces soldered together in such a way as to become unique and lovely.

I always find it amazing what a master craftsman can do with what others might view as useless. The leftovers and scraps in the hand of an artist can become a thing of beauty.

This is also how God can work in our personal lives. Our Creator God can take the wasted and broken scraps of our lives and restore them to a thing of beauty. All our bad decisions, poor choices, and even terrible deeds can become the mixture which the Supreme Artist uses to give us great worth and meaning in His kingdom.

This does not, of course, give us license to do evil, but it can and should encourage us that when we do wasteful and foolish things, God can still turn our life into a thing of beauty. He is the Master Craftsman, the potter who molds shapeless lumps of clay into vessels that are both beautiful and useful.

No matter what kind of a mess we have made of our life, God can re-make us good and useful for His purposes. When we confess those sins, and by His Spirit's power change those wrong ways, we will see our brokenness made whole and good.

Jeremiah 18:4 tells us, "That which the potter was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him." God sees what mankind cannot see. He knows what blessings we can become when we submit to Him in faith and allow Him to change us into the people He wants us to be.

Broken lives can become a healed blessing in the hands of the Master.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Very few of us are unaware of Monday's plunge of the Stock Market in the wake of recent decisions made by Washington leaders and Wall Street investors. Standard advice for most investors in such times is this: "Leave your investments where they are, because this will pass and things will get better again." It's wise counsel for most of us.

A long time ago when there was far less wealth among the faithful, Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth told His disciples, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven." (Matthew 6:19-20) This advice is as good now as it was then.

Imagine you're alive at the end of the Civil War. You are a Northerner but living in the South. You know the end of the war is near, and you plan to move home to the North as soon as the war is over. While in the South you've accumulated some Confederate money. What should you do with it?

Wisdom would dictate you should cash in your Confederate money for Federal money, which will have the only value when the war is over. But you would still keep enough Confederate funds to meet your needs while you are still in the South. To think your Confederate money will still have value after the war is foolish, because you know everything will be different then.

This analogy has meaning for us today. The Bible says there will be a time of upheaval before Satan is defeated and Christ returns to earth, making all things new. No one knows when this will happen. But we do know that all earthly goods we possess will become meaningless when Christ returns, or when we die, whichever comes first. Either event could happen to us at any time.

I am by no means an earthly investment advisor, and I know nothing of investment timing. But the Lord has given us a few trustworthy financial instruments to use while we still live here in the "South." We trust that the Lord will provide for our needs through them, and for that we give Him thanks and praise.

We all should remember that Jesus' forecast for this earth is bleak. He urges us in His Word to invest in things of heaven: faith, hope, love, sharing goods, and helping those in need. In His Holy Word, He instructs us to transfer our trust from things of earth, which are shakey, to the unshakeable things of heaven. Faith in Christ as our Savior is all we need for eternal life. Such faith is totally dependable, insured by God Himself.

There is nothing wrong with having Confederate money, as long as we realize its limits. Don't forget that its value is temporary. To accumulate earthly treasures that we can't possibly hold on to, is equivalent to stockpiling Confederate money even though we know it's about to become worthless.

Storing up earthly treasures cannot bring us heaven, but faith in Christ can.

Rev. Bob Tasler

My Kindle Books:
**NEW - "SMALL TOWN PREACHER": http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005G0FST2
"COUNTRY PREACHER": http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BZL3V4
"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS": http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0
"MURDER AT PALM CREEK": http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EMMBQU

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A few weeks ago my WEEKLY MESSAGE was about how we need to use the gifts God has given us. I told of how fixing a part on the sump pump kept my basement dry, and that it's not just our having gifts from God, but how we use them for others that counts.

I had more comments than usual on that story, but one from a friend named Mary was memorable. She wrote, "Thank you for your devotion. I am convinced you could make a devotion out of burnt toast." Well, yesterday morning I did burn the toast, and guess what, Mary? It reminded me of a story I once heard, told by a woman when she was a child. Here's what she said:

"When I was a little girl, my Mom liked to make breakfast at other meals every now and then. I remember one night when Dad came home really tired, and Mom had made us breakfast for supper: eggs, sausage, toast, even orange juice. That evening Mom placed in front of Dad a plate of fried eggs, sausage, and some really burned toast. I remember waiting to see what he'd say or if he even noticed.

"But all Dad did was reach for his toast, smile at Mom, and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that burnt toast and then eat every bite! When I got up from the table, I remember hearing Mom apologize to Dad for burning the toast. I’ll never forget what he said: 'Honey, I love burned toast.'

"Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really did like burnt toast or was he just being nice. He wrapped me in his arms and said, 'Sweetheart, your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And you know what? A little burnt toast never hurt anyone!'"

The point this woman was making is that life is full of imperfect things: imperfect homes, imperfect churches, imperfect pastors, imperfect children, imperfect government, and even imperfect husbands and wives! An important part of loving others is learning to accept each others' faults and differences, not the destructive ones of course, but those that make us different from each other. If we expect everyone else to be like us, what a boring and ugly world this would be!

Here is my prayer for you today, that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of our Lord Jesus. And then try to have an attitude of love toward those around you. Because in the end, Jesus is the only One who will be able to give you an attitude where burnt toast isn’t a deal-breaker!

Love and understanding are the true bases for all worthwhile relationships.

My Kindle Books:
COUNTRY PREACHER:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BZL3V4
DAILY WALK WITH JESUS: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0
**NEW -- MURDER AT PALM CREEK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EMMBQU

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I just finished pubishing my latest E-Book, a short novel I've written and called, "MURDER AT PALM CREEK." Palm Creek, AZ, is where Carol and I live in the winter. This fun book (fiction, of course) is now available at Amazon Kindle either by clicking on the website after my name below, or by typing in my name on the Kindle E-Book website.

But my purpose today is more than advertisement. I'd like to apply this to our understanding of God. If you have a Kindle Reader, you can order thousands of books, some free, and most for a small fee. My novel costs $3.99, inexpensive for a book, the cost of a small paperback.

A Kindle Reader is an Electronic Book. The most amazing thing about an E-Book is that when you order an E-Book, it mysteriously appears on your Kindle Reader in less than a minute. It comes through the air, right from New York or wherever Amazon sends it. And it comes into your home with no wires, no phone connection - it just arrives. And it knows exactly where to "land" - in your Kindle Reader. Wirelessly, perfect every time. Do you realize how amazing this is?

How did it know where to go? How did it keep from getting scrambled with the billions of other messages also flying through the air? How did that book, or your cell phone call, or that text message or that TV show arrive in your home in the exact same form as someone sent it? Why didn't it get mixed in the air waves on the way over?

So far I've not had one person explain this successfully. Of course they've tried: It comes electronically (How?) It comes via radio waves (Where are they?) It comes via satellites (From 220 miles up in space?) It comes via short wave, long wave or microwave (Could you point one of those out to me?)

So far, absolutely no one has explained how this can happen to me successfully. I'm not stupid, I just want to see one of those wave, and maybe touch one, too. I doubt anyone will be able to show me, because no one else has seen one either. We just believe these things happen, and we accept the process without even a partial understanding of how it happens!

But of course, we cannot believe in God, though, can we? That's too unreasonable. All the bright people in the world accept without reservation radio waves, invisible gasses, an invisible radiation field, but they can not - will not - believe in God. God is merely a creation, a figment of someone's imagination.

Here's my point: Until someone - anyone - can show me how electronics fly through the air and land in my Kindle Reader in perfect condition, without my touching, holding or seeing those radio waves, I will continue to believe in God who has made our universe perfect enough for complex life.

And until someone - anyone - can fully explain to me how even one human cell can continue living and doing its task well in my body, without anyone telling it what to do, or without any human man or woman being able to create another such cell (from NOTHING because that's what creation is), I will believe in a Creator.

And until someone - anyone - can fully explain to me why God would ever love such sinful, imperfect people who act in such murderous, lying, arrogant, foolish, idiotic, cruel ways, I will believe Jesus Christ came from heaven to save us from our sins.

We're not nearly so smart as we think we are!

**NEW -- MURDER AT PALM CREEK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EMMBQU
COUNTRY PREACHER: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BZL3V4
DAILY WALK WITH JESUS: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0

Monday, July 18, 2011


Too long. Too short. Too big. Too small. Too tight. Too loose. Too much. Too little. All these phrases describe much of the clothing we try on. Finding the "perfect fit" seems at times impossible but we keep trying, trying, trying. The "perfect fit" MUST be out there somewhere!

Finding a church that is a "perfect fit" poses similar problems for many people, but it isn't always the fault of the church. Every church has something that's not quite right. The pastor may not preach up to our standards. The Sunday School teacher may disappoint us or our child. The Church Council may do things too fast or too slow. Our gifts may not be appreciated. Others don't give enough. The music may not be to our liking. Certain liturgies, attitudes, programs or people may make us uncomfortable. Any one of these things, and more, may tempt us to stay away, or to seek another church, or to stop worshipping all together.

There is no perfect church, and we will never be perfect members. We know this, and yet we run from one church to the next, looking for the right size, the exact attitude, the right flavor, the perfect fit. Because we live in the age of Baskin-Robbins and their "31 Flavors," we want to keep looking till we find the right one, with the right taste and texture. Meanwhile, we fail God's Church by not using our talents, or we disappoint our fellow Christians by leaving them for greener pastures, or we weaken the church by our constant search to find the "perfect fit."

Does God want us to stay at a church where we are miserable? Of course not. But why are we miserable? Are we making other people miserable by our attitude? Are we really being the kind of Christian Church Members God wants or expects us to be?

St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:21-22, "In Him [Jesus] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit." That passage means you do have a place God has made for you, and it's time you occupy it.

What do you really want from a church these days? A safe haven? A hiding place? A mutual admiration society? A peaceful valley? A place of perfection? Or a place to be challenged and grow? A place where you can welcome all kinds of people? A group that knows it is weak and frail and needs the Lord Jesus? A small Christian group that needs you or a big church where you can be entertained?

Will you be a building block in your church? Or will you be a stumbling block? What does God want you to be in this life among His people?

Are you willing to become that person?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


It's not enough just to have life's resources, talents or vision; you also need to use them. Possession is only half the equation; utilization is the other half.

Yesterday it rained where we live. The Weather Service had promised it, but we had no idea it would be so much. It's really green in Colorado this summer, and that's been nice for our lawns or gardens.

At 1:30 PM it started to rain and in just one hour, we'd been drenched by two full inches of rain, plus drifts of marble-sized hail everywhere. The lights flickered off and on, so we unplugged the computers and TV and watched God put on an impressive show with His wind, lightening, rain, hail and thunder.

Storms like this make me uneasy. We live downhill from other homes, and our location has periodically resulted in water in our basement. I've installed a "french drain," doubled the number of down spouts and, best of all, put in a sump pump at a critical location, all of which have kept our basement dry for four years. But at Carol's suggestion during the storm, I headed downstairs to check the sump pump. Not only was it not working, its groundwater container was filling fast and we were soon to have some of God's rain in our basement once again. I pulled out the pump, grabbed a pitcher and bailed water with gusto. I was truly grateful Carol had suggested checking it.

When the rain let up and the bailing brought the water level down, Carol continued while I checked the sump. It needed, not a new pump, but a new electric float-switch to make the pump do its work correctly. A quick trip to Home Depot and a fast repair put the sump back into action. As I look back on last night, I am giving praise to God for our dry basement. A nicely finished basement needs no wet carpet!

As I was bailing, I knew there must be a lesson there somewhere. Then it came: It's not enough just to have something, we must use it correctly. It's not enough just to be blessed, we must pass our blessings along. The pump was in fine condition, in the right place, ready to work. But it was useless if the automatic switch would not turn it on.

You and I might be wonderful, gifted Christian men, women and children, but if we don't pass along the faith gifts God has given us, what good are they? James 2:14 tells us, "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?" Buried talents don't help anyone, only the used ones do.

"So faith without works, is dead." (like the pump, until switched on)

I INVITE YOU to Check out my recently published Kindle E-Bbooks
**NEW - "COUNTRY PREACHER" http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BZL3V4
"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Today I am sending you a reprint of a devotion I read in OUR DAILY BREAD, a fine daily devotional booklet produced by RBC Ministries. In their June 29 devotional, writer Cindy Hess Kasper wrote an excellent devotion which I'd like to offer this week. Here are her words:

"In his book, "Though the Valley of the Kwai," Scottish officer Ernest Gordon wrote of his years as a prisoner of war during World War Two. The 6'2" man suffered from malaria, diphtheria, typhoid, beriberi, dysentery and jungle ulcers, and the hard labor and scarcity of food quickly plunged his weight to less than 100 pounds.

The squalor of the prison hospital prompted a desperate Ernest to request to be moved to a cleaner place - the morgue. Lying in the dirt of the death house, he waited to die. But every day, a fellow prisoner came to wash his wounds and to encourage him to eat part of his own rations. As the quiet and unassuming Dusty Miller nursed Ernest back to health, he talked with the agnostic Scotsman of his own strong faith in God and showed him that - even in the midst of suffering - there is still hope.

The hope we read about in Scripture is not vague, wishy-washy optimism. Instead, biblical hope is a strong and confident expectation that what God has promised in His Word He will accomplish. Tribulation is often the catalyst that produces perseverance, character, and finally, hope.

Seventy years ago, in a brutal POW camp, Ernest Gordon learned this truth himself and later said, "Faith thrives when there is no hope but God."

"For we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5)

I can add no more to those excellent Words from the Lord through St. Paul.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


One day her husband of many years died, and on the clear, cold morning after his funeral, in the warmth of their bedroom, she was struck with the pain of realizing all the things that would be no more - no more hugs, no more special moments, no more phone calls, no more reminders when you didn't need them, not even any more occasional cranky remarks. Now she missed them - and him.

Sometimes what we care about the most - the love, the companionship, the ordinary, even the monotony - gets all used up and goes away, never to return. It can happen when we least expect it, and before we can say "good-bye", or "I love you" one more time.

So while we still have that relationship let's love him, care for her, try to fix what seems broken and heal what seems sick. This is true for marriage, parents, and children with bad report cards, friends, even old pets. We value them because they are worth it, and because we are worth it.

Some things we try to keep, like a best friend who moves away or a sister-in-law after the divorce. There are just some people that make us happy, no matter what. Life is important, like people we know who are special. So let's keep our loved ones close! In life, the good Lord gives us many people who are "keepers." Are one of those? Suppose one morning you don't wake up. Will anyone miss you, or will your friends know you loved them?

This is also true of our relationship with Jesus. Charles Templeton, a once powerful evangelist, lost his faith in Christ because he couldn't reconcile a "loving God when there was so much evil in the world." He admitted he fell from faith because he "could not believe Jesus was the only way to salvation."  He did not dodge those who questioned him about his loss of faith, and tried to remain open to God. Just prior to his death he sadly admitted he "missed Jesus." He wished he could have kept the faith and what it gave him. But once he lost faith, he never got it back.

There are some precious relationships that do not last, that go away and leave us. Jesus does not have to be one of those. Christianity is not based on a relationship with a set of beliefs, but with a real person, Jesus Christ who lived, died and rose from the dead. God calls us to trust Him, not a holy book or a doctrinal formula. God calls us to a relationship of faith in a person who truly lived - and still lives, His only Son. When we trust Jesus, no matter how terrible the world or life may seem, He will give us what we need.

Jesus gives us back what we have lost, and it will be so much better than we remember it being.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm a little late in getting out today's WEEKLY MESSAGE due to some house cleaning chores being tackled this morning. Now before husbands start groaning and wives get to telling husbands, "See, he does it!" you need to know this kind of cleaning is done to avoid spending. Our house is about 25 years old and we've never redecorated the main floor interior. We like it pretty much the way it is, so to avoid the cost of papering, painting, etc, I purposefully give it an annual housecleaning - walls, windows, floors, etc. That's why I'm late today; enough said!

But at least I spread it over a day or two rather than do it all in one day like I used to. It's a basic human trait to take things to an extreme. If a little is good, we think more must be better. If soon is good, quicker must be better. But often we find this leads to doing things wrong. I recall once in haste tossing out a boxful of items that I had to replace for a few hundred dollars. Or getting that day what I could have gotten at half price the next day.

We are encouraged these days to plan ahead, and that only by careful planning can we maximize the best use of our time or resources. But we seldom know all that is coming. We wake up with a list of important things to do and have an auto accident on the way to work. We carefully work out a schedule for the day, then break our ankle walking down some steps. It reminds me of a good poem I read recently. It's called:

"IN HIS HANDS," (by Betty Purser Patten)
We know not what tomorrow brings Although we plan ahead,
For only God alone can know The pathway we must tread.

We cannot know the future, Not one minute nor one hour;
Each circumstance that we must face Lay only in His power.

It's vital that we live by faith From minute unto minute,
And trusting that each step we take He's walking with us in it.

We cannot see the future, Nor the trials we must face;
But in all things, God promised us Sufficiency of grace.

This alone should give us hope, Whatever be our plans,
In knowing that our future lies In His great, loving hands.

The Apostle James (Jesus' half brother) once wrote, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that'.” (James 4:13-15) Enough said there, too!

I probably should get back to house cleaning. The rest of today and all our tomorrows are truly "In His Hands." May each of us find time to give Him thanks they are.

"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS", my Amazon Kindle book is available at:
If you do not have a Kindle Reader, you can download a free one for your PC or Mac at:  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Do you "Jumble?" Every day most newspapers in the comics section will have a list of scrambled words, and the game is to unscramble them. That's called Jumbling, and I do it almost every day now. At first unscrambling even one word took awhile, but with practice I learned to do them more quickly. Most times now I can unscramble all four words in about a minute. Jumbling keeps my mind alert, and Carol says I need that. 

Of course, there's that "impossible" word, at least until the solution becomes clear. Then I'm surprised how obvious that word was. It was so simple - how could I have missed it? I've also found that jumbled words are easier to solve if you put the letters in a circle. Little helps can solve big problems.

Often our life can seem jumbled. We can see the parts, but they don't make sense. We may believe there's a solution, but we can't see its purpose or meaning. That's when we need a little help (nd I don't mean a computer "unscrambler"- that's only for emergencies).

A jumbled life makes more sense if we look into the Bible. There the solution becomes more obvious if we will trust Him and His Word. God may not give us a clear answer, but His Word guides us to make more correct decisions or actions. I've found the more I seek God's Word and ways, the more clear life's solutions become. 

Some problems are always going to jumble our lives, because they may well be impossible to solve this side of heaven. We will always make mistakes, so we will always need God's forgiveness. The most obedient Christian can still stumble and fall down, usually when (s)he is self-satisfied and least expecting it.

But we don't need to stay down. When we fall, God or His people can lift us up again, dust us off and point us in the right direction if we will let them. That's why the Bible tells us, "God's Word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path." (Psalm 119:105)

Please show me the way, Lord!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Christians believe there is a heaven, but most are unsure what it is like. Last week I read "HEAVEN IS FOR REAL," by Todd Burpo, the story of his four year-old Colton who had a near-death experience during surgery, and who later said he had visited heaven. His parents are convinced he really did visit heaven because of three things: 1) His knowledge of what was happening in the hospital during his surgery, 2) His claim that he met a sister he never knew even existed (his mother had miscarried before he was born and had never told him), and 3) His declaration that he met his great-grandfather, a man he'd never met but later identified from photographs of the man at a young age.

What amazed me was that Colton was only four years old when he describes in great detail his visit to heaven. Most four year-olds are just learning to talk in sentences, let alone describe complex scenes. He is certainly a bright child, but there is more to his descriptions than mere intelligence. The other element, witnessed by dozens of medical personnel at the hospital, was the amazing recovery of this boy who was given little chance of survival after living five days with a ruptured appendix.

Needless to say, the book's premise, plus its success (nearly four million sold, three weeks #1 on USA Today's Best-Seller list), has created an enlivened discussion among both believers and skeptics. Even the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking got into the discussion, saying since there is no heaven or afterlife, the book "...is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

I believe there are only two ways one might approach this: 1) Colton's father invented the story about heaven, or, 2) Colton's experience was real and true. Only this family and the Lord know the full story, but a reading of the book could also spark a discussion about the nature of heaven.

What do you think heaven in like? Can we find reliable information about it from sources other than the Bible? Is heaven for most people a compilation of information and imagination? The question for me is can I believe a child's vision of heaven is true? There is a little skeptic in all adults, yet there are so few reliable accounts of heavenly visions that we must look to what others with experience have to say.

I think the boy's vision is true, and therefore I must accept that he was for those few minutes in heaven. What he described could not have been invented by a four year-old child who had never been previously told what he saw and/or described. But it's doubtful many will believe his story. We adults are more content to accept what we know than what others, especially children, tell us.

Yet it was our Lord Jesus who told us, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:13)

I think I will pray for the Stephen Hawkings of this world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The previous week has been fun and busy with family visiting us for the Air Force Academy graduation of our niece, now a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. For five days Carol and I hosted up to nine family members each night and enjoyed their visits immensely, something rare for us being this far from most of our midwestern family. The events included a big Saturday meal, Sunday Baccalaureate service (and another big meal), Monday Cadet Parade and picnic, Tuesday's host family lunch, Cadet Commissioning and dinner at the Macaroni Grill. It was all capped off with Wednesday morning graduation of 1020 US Air Force cadets, and (of course) a late afternoon lunch. Graduating from the AFA is hard on the waistline!

Sunday morning in the magnificent AFA chapel, we worshipped with a full house, and in his message the Chaplain said. "No matter who we are or what we have achieved, we are entitled to nothing. We are, however, privileged to receive God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ." My niece stated it somewhat the same once when I asked her how her accomplishments at the Academy would affect her future in the Air Force. She said, "Uncle Bob, after graduation I'm at the bottom just like everyone else. What I did here will not affect how I am treated in the future. I'm on a level field with all my classmates."

This attitude is certainly not universal today. Far too many people believe they are entitled to all manner of special things in life just by being alive, whether or not they have done anything to merit them. While we Christians know we can never earn God's salvation, neither are we entitled to His mercy. Mercy and grace are God's gift to us in Jesus, gifts He chooses to give us. God's grace means there is no high or low ranking - we're all on the same level field.

Because of our sin we should all receive nothing whatsoever, and we are surely not entitled to anything special merely by being alive. God in His mercy chooses to give us the marvelous gifts of earthly life here and eternal life there because that's the only way we can have them. To presume we are entitled to anything special in life is a mistake.

In 1 Corinthians 13:10, Paul wrote, "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect." All people of the world, especially Christians, need to recognize we are what we are because of God's grace. As the Chaplain said, "No matter who we are or what we have achieved, we are entitled to nothing. We are, however, privileged to receive God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ."

Great words to live by!

"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS", my Amazon Kindle book is available at:
If you do not have a Kindle Reader, you can download a free one for your PC or Mac at:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Families get together. The past few days Carol and I have enjoyed having family members stay with us for the graduation of our niece at the US Air Force Academy. Kaylyn, our lovely, bright, committed, talented Christian Minnesota farm girl, graduated 6th overall in her class of 1030 cadets, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, her first assignment being Vance AFB, OK, for pilot training. "Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family." (Proverbs 27:10)

Families pray together. The family of like-minded Christians in a congregation often become more than mere friends. Together in the love of Christ, they become like family to us. Their joys and hurts become our joys and hurts, and we pray for their needs as fervently as for those God has given us in our families. "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:10)

Families bond together. Sometimes we find extended family at college, in church, neighborhood or even at work. These associations can be as important as our blood relatives. While we usually find the greatest bond with relatives, we can be blessed with a dear friend who can become closer to us than a sibling.  "A friend loves at all times, and a brother (sister) is born for a time of adversity." (Proverbs 17:7)

Families rejoice together. Most often we gather for weddings, anniversaries, graduations and reunions. Too often it only is for funerals; too rarely we gather just for fun. Families are a fantastic gift from God. True, not all family members are loving or contented. Families can be torn apart by strife or misunderstanding, but still God has placed us into families, and we must not forsake this great gift. "God sets the lonely into families." (Psalm 68:8)

Families gather together. Is it time to connect with your family? Is it time for you to pray together with your Church family? Is it time to forgive someone in your family, or to stop worrying about a family member and commit them to Jesus? Is it it time to bring someone special with you into your family? Is it time to find a way to show more love in your family? Is it time to thank God for your family?

"For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you'.” (Psalm 122:8)

Monday, May 16, 2011

DAILY WALK WITH JESUS - a devotional E-Book

Do you own a Kindle or other kind of Electronic Book reader? Microchip technology has made it possible to have a whole library at your fingertips in a unit weighing only a pound or two. True, it's not the same as the "feel" of turning the pages of a book, but have a couple of hundred (thousand?) books in one small, light unit is a fascinating and fortunate thing. Like much technology, it can be for you a blessing if used often and rightly.

This past weekend I published my first and perhaps only E-Book on Amazon Kindle. It is called "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" and can be purchased on Amazon Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050VRJX0 Or http://tinyurl.com/3nvpywj, for $5.99. You should be able to "click" either of these websites and be taken directly to Amazon - no need to copy and paste the URL address.

"DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" contains over 365 daily devotions, one for each day of the year, and is comprised of edited versions of my past fifteen years of WEEKLY MESSAGES. Many of you have asked me to re-send you certain devotions. DWWJ probably has that one, and you can look it up with the finder tool. If you choose to purchase DWWJ, I pray it will be a blessing for you and yours.

A few years back I sent out a similar E-Book free to my WEEKLY MESSAGE reader list, and received back some encouraging responses. This version is more complete, has fewer mistakes, and has a Bible verse or two for each day's devotion and your spiritual edification. Why am I charging for it? Amazon Kindle requires some kind of charge for its downloading services, and considerable time and effort has gone into publishing this newer edition. I greatly appreciate assistance from my friend David Menges, a fellow Amazon Kindle author, who spent hours formatting DWWJ.

Another reason for a modest cost is that people tend to value and use more often that which costs them something. While writing can have many purposes, an author writes in order to be read. I sincerely hope DWWJ will benefit many individuals and families.

Isaiah 30:8 tells us, "Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness." May "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" be an everlasting witness to the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ.

I hope you find "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS" to be a blessing each day you read it.

Monday, May 9, 2011


As modern Americans, we take so many amazing things for granted. We flip a switch, always believing the lights will come on. We turn on the faucet to get clean, safe water, heated via natural gas or cooled in a refrigerator containing good food easily purchased in well-stocked stores. We take medicine knowing it is safe and consistent with the label content. We slip into comfortable, inexpensive clothing others have made, and sit in an easy chair with a favorite book or TV program. All these things are there for us, and we don't think a thing about them until something doesn't work as planned.

Computers, cell phones, airplanes and comfortable automobiles take us places unimaginable a few decades ago. The things we complain about are minor compared to other nations or times. True, some of us must deal with poor health or floods or bad weather or unemployment or shortages, but these things will pass. We have so much, yet become so easily upset when things go awry. Sewers can clog, people or products can disappoint, and plans may not work out, but all in all, we count on abundant blessings regularly present in our lives.

God has given us a life far better than we deserve. Carol, Brian and I attended worship Sunday and afterwards enjoyed a tasty Mother's Day Brunch at a busy cafe. Far from our minds were those making it all possible: night workers, police, fire and medical personnel, delivery people and truckers, as well as the soldiers, sailors and airmen who protect our nation. It's all part of a life we assume all should wake up to every day.

All these are ours in a nation basically free from tyranny or inconvenience. That's why so many people want to come here to live. There will always be days of sadness, sickness, unfairness and disappointment. But we have so much less evil to contend with than those living in other countries. We have so much more good than bad in our lives. 

The next time you complain about a product, a service or a politician, think where you might be living, rather than in the United States of America. And think what life would be like if you did not have the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, heavenly hope that makes earthly life worthwhile. All this and God's love, freely given.

Try to remember these words of St. Paul: "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." (1 Timothy 6:6-7)

God really is very good to you!

Monday, May 2, 2011


It is now less than two days since one of America's most elusive enemies was killed in a military fire fight. I will add nothing to what has already been said about that event, but I would like to tell you about another person's death, a child of God who died one week before, on Easter day. Her name is Margaret Walther Holz.

On Easter Sunday, Margaret went to eternal glory at the age of 97. She worshipped and received Holy Communion Easter morning with her son and his wife, Rev. Richard and Eunice Holz, had lunch with them at her assisted living home, lay down for a nap and went to be with her Lord. Margaret was a direct descendent of Dr. C. F. W. Walther, a founder of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and spent her entire life serving the Lord as she was so very capable.

Her grandson Greg Holz is a missionary to Cambodia, and has set up the Margaret Holz Open Bible Project in her memory. Its dual purposes are to remember Margaret Holz, and to make Bibles available to Cambodians who need one. Information and photos of the Margaret Holz Open Bible Project are available at: http://www.transformasia.us/open-bible-project. Direct donations are easy to make at that site, and I urge you to join Carol and me in doing so, that many Cambodians may have the Word of God and come to know Jesus.

Margaret was a member of one of my former congregations. Her going to heaven on Easter Sunday was a gift only God could have arranged. In her fine family, having a son become a pastor and grandson a missionary made her especially grateful, yet humble and willing to serve the Lord as long as she was alive. It's an honor to be able to give Bibles to the people of Cambodia in Margaret Holz's memory. I hope you will go to the Open Bible website above and give as you are able.

There is a lot in the world to give us cause to be concerned. In the Battambang area where Greg shares the Gospel, political tensions and even gunfire have been increasing. But God is there also, with His holy Word of forgiveness, and so is our Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace. God's people are there, also, seeking His mercy, helping His people, sharing hope where it is so badly needed.

Our Lord Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." (Luke 6:38) Giving Bibles is a good way to give thanks to God this Easter season!

Thank You, Lord, for all Your faithful servants!