Monday, October 31, 2016


Dear friends,
        I chuckle now and then at how enjoyable life’s little turns can become. On a dry and sunny fall day earlier this month, I was driving to the store with all my windows down. I had turned up the radio to listen to a peppy classical number which I knew quite well. Its energy and bright, melodic theme are always fun to hear. 
        But as I listened, a certain musical line in it was new to my ear. It was in the correct key, on the beat and tempo. It was fun to hear, almost happy, but new to me. After a minute or so, the musical line happened again, and then a third time. 
        Then it occurred to me. I’d forgotten to buckle my seat belt and was hearing its warning chime in the music! Antonio Vivaldi a la seat belt dings! I arrived at the store, but left the radio running one more time to hear the peppy new arrangement. 
        Now before you chide me for not wearing my seatbelt, consider the blessings God gave that day. The totally unexpected blended in; the mistake became a perfect match; the coincidence provided a memorable song, one neither I nor anyone else will probably ever hear again. God gave a totally original gift!
        Some reading this and say, “Oh, get a life! If that’s all it takes to get you excited, you need to get out more.” Perhaps so, but recalling that fun little accidental piece brings me a smile every time. That’s getting turned on for good reason. And now I always wear my seat belt!

“We will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord.” (Isaiah 38:20)

Rev. Bob Tasler

Sunday, October 23, 2016


         This past weekend the Chicago Cubs won the National League pennant for the first time in 71 years. Cubs fans cheered and partied all night long. If the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians, their fans will be ecstatic, since it will be their team’s first World Series title in 108 years.
      Some might ask, “Does God care who wins?” Our secular winning-is-everything culture may infer that somehow God smiles on winners. A Pew Religion Research article reported that up to 60% of Americans believe athletes of faith are rewarded with better success than others. It’s probably based on the idea that God blesses the righteous with victory and leaves the less righteous wondering what they did wrong.
      Winners and losers of wars and athletic contests may both pray, “Thank You, God, for being on our side.” I find myself happier if my team wins and a bit depressed after a big defeat. Rather silly, isn’t it?
      Truth is, God has a history of allowing his people to lose so they can somehow win in the bigger arena of life. The life of Joseph (Genesis 37–50) comes to mind. The pharisees, too, thought they had won their battle with Jesus. But we know they did not.
      Does God care who wins? It may surprise you, but I think the answer is yes. He does care, but not in the way we think, and surely not in the way implied in some post-game interviews.
      Scriptures tell us God cares about everything that happens in the universe. His divine power is as concerned with the sub-atomic particle as with an entire solar system. He doesn’t have a junk-pile mentality that considers some people as waste material, like “unwanted” babies or non-productive athletes. The earth and its people were not made to be tossed out.
      God’s concern extends far beyond our ideas of victory or defeat, success or failure. He cares who wins because games help us enjoy life. We may attach esteem or identity to scores, but God gives us a win simply because He loves us. God also cares because game outcomes can give us an opportunity to glorify Him.
      He blesses winners and losers with another opportunity to thank Him for life and service to Him with our bodies and skills. He may even use the outcome of a game to allow non-Christian players to realize their need for their Savior Jesus.
      Everything that happens can point us toward Jesus. He cares about our game scores so long as they contribute to His Lordship over us all. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!” (Psalm 126:3)

In Jesus Christ, we are all winners!

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, October 17, 2016


        My young neighbor friend is having part of his house remodeled. He invited me in this morning to show me the progress, and I was struck at how different his formerly warm home now looks with damaged walls and bare floors. His uncarpeted subfloor is cold, squeaky and shows cracks where the plywood sheets join. The furniture is gone and walls no longer have pictures or other decor as before. The torn-up stairway has no railings, and parts of the ascending walls have been cut out. It was very much usual for a remodel - a dusty mess.
        But in the adjoining room were oak flooring, railings and other items ready to be installed. Wallboard, drapes, paint and other items will be brought in, but only after all the prep work is done and the rebuilding begins. In a few weeks my friend’s house will become a home again, newer, brighter and far more inviting than it is right now.
        People may also find their lives in a state of remodeling. Changing of jobs or relationships can make one’s life look confusing, and the death of a loved one can make days cold and bare. Plans may be made, but until put into practice, life may seem uninviting, torn-up, a mess.
        1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
        Just as a house being remodeled looks humble and messy, so our life may seem humble and in need of cleansing. Thus we must seek the help of Jesus, the Master Builder, who will forgive us our sins, help us get rid of the old and put on the new. When we trust His almighty power, Jesus will help us arrange our lives better than they have ever been, and we will praise Him for giving us a new start in life.

We like our redecorated house and know our neighbors will like theirs, too.

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, October 10, 2016


            In 1948, after numerous defeats and imprisonments, Mahatma Ghandi failed to survive the last of 6 assassination attempts. While never holding an elected position, he is still considered the liberator of India from a century of British rule.
            In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa after serving 27 years as a political prisoner for his actions against apartheid.
            In 1989, Vaclav Havel was elevated from ten years as political prisoner to becoming the first elected president of present-day Czech Republic, leading that nation just out of communism for 14 years.
            Each of these three leaders was acclaimed as a person who "brought the light to places in deep darkness," as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said at Havel's funeral.
            What these world leaders did for their nations, Jesus of Nazareth did for the entire world. He brought light into darkness at the dawn of creation. At His birth He brought light into a world darkened by sin and evil. John 1:4-5 tells us, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
            John the Baptizer came to prepare the way of the Lord and to bear witness to Jesus as the Light of the world. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
            Like John, we, too, can bear witness that Jesus in the Savior who brings light into the darkness of peoples' souls and also into the hearts of nations when its people turn from the darkness of sin to following the Light of the world.
            In our world today, where good is often considered bad and bad is seen as good, where good and evil are interchanged and mingled, people are seeking direction and light for the darkness. Perhaps today you can be the one who shines the light of Christ into someone's heart.

Rev. Bob Tasler,

Monday, October 3, 2016


        Americans today are bombarded with the drama of the presidential election. Information about it has become so intense and yet trivial that most of us can't wait for it to be over. We are told our choice may determine the life or death of our nation itself. Yet none of the candidates seem worthy of being elected. 
        We may, however, do well to ask just how important, in the scheme of things, our leaders really are? And how important is our government? If the "wrong" leader is chosen, will America really fall into ruin? All governments eventually fail and fall. Although ordained by God, none will last forever. 
        In the 1981 historical film "Chariots of Fire", Christian athlete Eric Liddell preaches a sermon to a Christian congregation on the Sunday he was to have raced in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He had refused to compete because he believed it was wrong to do so on the Christian Sabbath. Historians are unsure of the content of his message, but it is reported to have been based on Isaiah 40, probably from the following verses:
        "Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales... All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are accounted by Him as less than nothing and emptiness... He brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness." (Isaiah 40:15, 17, 23)
        We are tempted today to believe that the most important thing in our future is who runs our government. However, while good government and faithful leaders are great blessings, we cannot place our faith in them. 
        All leaders, no matter who they are, can and will fall and fail. But our Lord God will not. We would do better to remember verse 28 of Isaiah 40, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth." 
        Our weariness of this election will pass, and we will learn to deal with the outcome. Whatever our wishes may be, let us trust God completely, for we can do no better. Cast your ballot as you wish, but never forget it is who governs our souls, not our bodies, that really matters.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31)

Rev. Bob Tasler