Monday, June 27, 2016


        I have always admired accomplished musicians who have learned to master their instruments and make wonderful music. Whether it’s the violin, trumpet or even bagpipe, hearing a professional musician perform is a thrilling thing. I once heard a husband-wife tuba duet during a concert of the Denver Brass. I have a CD of that performance and enjoy their duet each time I hear it. I am told most professional musicians still rehearse daily.
        Midori is a Japanese violinist with a fine international reputation because she still practices. Because of her rigorous schedule of 100 or more performances each year all over the world, Midori practices an average of five hours a day. “I have to practice for my job. It’s not really the hours but the quality of the work that needs to be done. Students may play and say it’s practicing. But if you have your textbook open, it doesn’t mean that you are studying,” she said.
        In college I was required to take piano lessons for two quarters, and was trained by Barbara Nymark, a petite woman with very small hands. One day I heard her playing in a practice studio and marveled at how well her tiny hands made such fine music on the keyboard. She later told me practice was required because her hands were so small. She said, “If I don’t keep them working, they won’t do what I need them to do.”
        The same principle could be applied to our faith in Jesus. Paul once wrote young Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
        Paul was telling Timothy the importance of working hard at being a new pastor. “Do your best,” he told him, as one “who correctly handles the word of truth.” Working to improve requires continual effort and leaves little room for carelessness. Doing our best should also relate to our relationship with God. He has given us His best through His Son Jesus. We can give Him our best, also.

To what are you giving your best efforts?

Monday, June 20, 2016


       A May 19 story this year in London’s Daily Telegraph, reported that ISIS Jihadi fighters arrived at a home in Mosel, Iraq, and told the woman she had two choices. "Either you leave your home now or you must pay the Jaziya." (Jaziya is a tax imposed on non-Muslims in ISIS controlled territories and is calculated according to their estimated worth.)
       The woman told the Jihadis she would pay and asked for a few moments to get the money and also her child. Instead, the Jihadis lit the house on fire with both mother and daughter inside. The mother managed to pull her 12 year-old daughter from the burning house, but the girl died from burns a few hours later. Incredibly, the girl with her dying breath said to her mother, “Forgive them, Mommy.”
       How could it be possible for a girl to ask her mother such a thing? Because the girl and her mother were Christians. They knew what Jesus said about loving their enemies, and they were living their faith in Him.
       Jesus urged His disciples in Matthew 5:43-44, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” But plainly, is not Jesus asking the impossible from us? How would this sweet, dying girl want her killers forgiven?
       More to the point, how can we forgive our enemies? Only by loving them. Love is the only answer to the world’s wickedness and bloodshed. And prayer is the only way to learn that love. We must pray, pray and pray some more.
       Sin and rebellion against Almighty God have taken over the very soul of mankind, and unless Christians pray desperately for help to love and forgive the enemy, their evil will triumph and they will overtake us all. From the cross Jesus prayed for us all, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
       A leading Baghdad cleric, Father Martin Dawood, said the country’s ancient Christian population could disappear within five years due to ISIS. He said he used to advise members of his congregation to remain rather than flee their country, but now he urges them to leave.
       Chaldean Catholics, Syrian Orthodox and Eastern Assyrian Christians numbered 1.3 million people 20 years ago, but are only 400,000 today. Father Dawood said: “We know not every Muslim here is a terrorist, but there is a culture rising, not only here in Iraq, but in the whole world, and we will be burned in this fire in the future.”
       So Christians there pray, and they teach their people to forgive. And so should we. Yes, we should pray fervently for our nation and its future, but our best prayers are to love our enemies and to ask God to turn their hearts from hatred to love Him, and us.
       My friend, Rev. Cliff Haberstock, wrote, "ISIS cannot stamp out Jesus. Without Him they can only live in fear and hatred." Let us pray for them to find Jesus, and for God to change their hearts. Let us also pray for our soldiers who stand in the gap between us and the enemy.

“Lord, teach us to love and forgive our enemies, at home and abroad. Amen”

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, June 13, 2016


Dear friends,
    During the past week, Carol and I had the interior of our house painted, so we had to take everything off the walls. While putting my office back together, I hoisted up my world map, concentrating on just where it would go to be straight, stapled it firmly to the wall, and then stepped back to look at my work. Something wasn’t right. The world was in exactly the right place, but it was upside down!
    That may be a better example of our present reality than we think. The news this morning tells us of yet another tragic mass killing, but still our leaders won’t admit why it was done. Instead of blaming the shooter and his motives, they blame what he used to shoot. And despite ISIS publicly patting the shooter on the back, we are told not to blame Islam, because what happened is called anything else except what it is, another Islamic terrorist attack.
    Once again, Common Sense is buried under the ever-growing pile of PC words. It’s probably because the world is upside down.
    John Walsh, in a commercial, stands at the top of a fifty story building and says, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go through life without having to worry?” Then he jumps off the building and lands with his parachute in the middle of a street. He’s selling “Great Call”, a service that can track us and take our calls for distress at home, car or anywhere, at any time. Our own personal GPS will take away our worries!
    As if just knowing where we are will keep us safe, or help us make good decisions. But location isn’t our problem, nor is our lack of another gadget. Bullets aren’t the problem either, nor is a gay night club, nor even our refusal to deal with a warped view of an eastern religion.
    Our world is upside down because of mankind’s rebellion towards God. And it spawns ideas like there’s only one God with different names, and that notion that all roads lead to heaven. That that ain’t true, no matter who says it.
    Someone might wonder, “Where is God in all this tragedy?” Well, maybe He’s left us. After all, we’ve done a pretty good job of kicking Him out of government, school, morality and relationships. If we were treated as He is, would we want to stick around?
    It’s a really, really good thing that Jesus doesn’t pull the plug on us and walk away. Despite our refined human intelligence and our all-wise rulers, He’ll still be there forgiving our foolish sins, as well as our incredible cruelty and blind stupidity. I don’t know how He can do it. He said in John 6:37, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
Jesus doesn’t know when to quit, and I’m sure glad He doesn’t.

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, June 6, 2016


        We are having having most of our house interior painted this week, so everything is a mess. It almost looks like we're moving. So many things are where they shouldn't be, awaiting tubs and boxes for temporary storage. Our biggest irritation is the dust of fifteen years that is getting into our noses, making for some huge and comical sneezes. No matter how careful one is to keep it clean, a house accumulates dust invisibly until a project like this.   
        But something joyful happened. We found the key to our Arizona golf cart! It was right here on our Colorado key rack, right under our noses because we weren't looking for it here. I spent many hours last winter looking for that key in Arizona, but it wasn't going to be found in Arizona. For some reason I'd brought it up here, but thought it was down there. So the "lost" was not really lost. We were looking in the wrong place.
        We were pleased to find it because that company is no longer in business and the cart shop wasn't even sure they could order a new key system that could replace it. But it doesn't matter now, because the lost key is found. That has a biblical ring to it, doesn't it?
        The woman in Jesus' story in Luke 15 swept her house until she found the lost coin. She needed that coin and when it was found, told her neighbors to come over and be happy with her at her discovery. "Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost." (Luke 15:9)
        Forty-six years ago this summer I helped a family find their lost seventeen year-old son. He was angry at his parents and the world, and so ran off from his Minot, ND, home. After a few months being lost, he called his parents from Boston and wanted to be found again. They were so pleased that they invited me to meet him at the train station, and I got a Christmas card and a thank you from them several years afterwards.
        I can't remember his name now, but I do recall the look of joy on his father's face when he told me his beloved son was coming home. It must have been like the look on the woman's face when the lost coin was found. It is a true blessing of life to find something that has been lost.
        If you are ever lost, God will try to find you. He will because He loves and treasures you and wants you to be with Him always. That is His wish and His promise. God finds His lost children and wants them to come and be with Him.
        Our house is too messy for you to come over right now to celebrate, but we still want to share our happiness at finding something lost.

What have you found lately that is a blessing to you?

Rev. Bob Tasler