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John 5:24

John 5:24…. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Grace… incalculable and eternal… for so deep in the heart of God we cannot really comprehend it…. Love as deep as space and time itself… limitless…

That the God of the Universe, the creator of all things, the Alpha and the Omega could look down upon me and say that if I simply hear his word and believe in God…Jesus Christ we have eternal salvation and will not be condemned….

And that upon my death I will pass back into life… This is one of the most profound statements in the bible…. on a par with John 3:16 that God gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 

The heart wrenching simplicity of that revelation… That the eternal God…. loves each one of us individually… enough to have allowed his only son to pass through the horror of crucifixion in order that my soul can live on with him. 

Who am I Lord that I should merit such favor?  The answer is simple… I am no one…. no better than the next man or woman… much worse than some… yet that is the gift… The greatest gift of all times…

The little video I am going to post is hard to watch… as would have been the crucifixion… as you watch the anguish in the father’s face reflecting the torment in his heart… perhaps it will be put on a more human and, thus, understandable scale….

A worth of Sacrifice



There was a moment I had really wanted my mom to see…. though it was not to be in her physical life I know she has seen it through Heavenly eyes…. that day was the day I would be ordained in the service of Jesus Christ. 

That day came yesterday, December 13, 2010. 

I owe Him everything… His mercy… His grace… His forgiveness… above all his way back to God he has afforded me… for I do say with Paul, I am the chief of sinners…

Lord use me… let me follow you where you lead… let me hear your voice… your urgings… and give me the courage to do what you call on me to do… the words to say… the heart to love… the intelligence to honor you….

My best friend has this on his signature line for his email… Courage is when you are scared to death; but you saddle up anyway.

Lord I’m scared to death; but I’m going to saddle up anyway.  Lead me and teach  me Father.

Gratitude Monday August 23

Well, another Monday is here.  Time to list some things for which to be thankful and to give thanks…   you can never think of everything but here are a few…

for the first day of school

for teachers who give everything to their kids

for kids who try to learn and bring their best every day

for administrators who make that possible

for  home schoolers all over america and the world

for parents who have the caring and the courage to home school; the best education possible

for parents who give their children their very best everyday

for cakes to auction

for birds in a wildlife sanctuary

for quiet afternoons with the camera

for finding a new and beautiful place to communicate with God

for an incoming front

for a magnificent thunderstorm

for rain on a 100 degree day

for a new trick my dog has learned

for midnight calls to ministry

for a friend who trusts me well enough to make the request to come at midnight

for a friend who is a minister, he just doesn’t know it

for a young man who has the courage to face his problems

for the same young man who has the courage to take the steps to conquer those problems

for 24 hour IHOP restaurants

for persimmons

for fresh tomatoes and mozzarella

for fresh peas

for churches that care about those who go to them

for churches that feed the poor

for ministers with the courage to lead

for Sunday lunch after church

for men who will get up before daylight to cook and grill so that all can have food

for other young men who overcome

for hundreds of FB friends who chat

for a young relative in Ireland who chats everyday

for technology that allows us to connect with the rest of the world

for cake auctions after church

for another minister who makes and enthusiastic auctioneer complete with smart remarks to the bidders

for a friend who is a leader of men who takes charge of anything

for opportunities to minister to kids

for a doctor who cares about you as a human being

for brilliant surgeons who are also human

for the grace of God who brought me through to the completion of recovery after an accident

for honesty

for a new vehicle that is a duplicate of the old one I loved

for truly good friends who care

for swamps and walkways through their wonders

for little league baseball champs from Pearland, Texas

for alligators who investigate so you can take their picture’

for cypress trees and cypress knees

for Spanish Moss and mystery

for Jesus Christ

Inspiration in song…

I’ve been listening to music all day.   I would like today to leave you some music to inspire you… to warm your soul.  These are particular pieces ones I particularly like.

One of the most moving videos I have ever seen…. Let’s Forgive…

And finally a touching video called “Can” which testifies to the love of a father and son….

The Christian wisdom of Mahatma Ghandi


 I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.  ~Mahatma Gandhi 

I came across this quote of Mahatma Gandhi posted by a friend on my Facebook account.   This quote stunned me and convicted me.  

I am a youth pastor so I get to talk to many kids of all ages.   Many churches have high numbers of very young children who may have to come because their parents come.  Attendance falls off typically in middle school then more kids drop out in high school.  According to recent studies many members of youth groups leave high school never to return to church.  I have pondered this prayerfully and long.  

I spoke with a few kids in the last few days about why they don’t attend church when they say they are Christians.   The answers I got were ones, honestly, I expected.  

“I don’t feel like anyone there cares about me… no one ever talks to me”,  said a young lady who seemed very depressed.  “I don’t care anyway”….. 

“Churches don’t like us”…. a young man said… lip piercing… pierced ears.. ” Someone always has to have some crap to say about my piercings… why would I want to put up with that…. yea, I believe, but I don’t like all the junk that they have to put on me.” 

                                                                              I know this feeling….. I lost a job in a church largely because I seemed to attract the wrong kind of kids for the church…  many of them were the outcasts…. the abandoned…. one was living at his home alone at the age of 12 while his single mother was in the hospital.  Everyday this young man got up and got himself off to school.  He was regarded as one of the hard cases at the church.   

I found it hard to get the church to look at the kids as people rather than noisy, sometimes running, sometimes sulking inconveniences…. perhaps I should not have been surprised since the average age difference was between 40 to 50 years between the kids and the church.  

The thing that brought an end to my tenure there was defense of the kids.   For some reason, I attract the kids who are different….. the ones with purple hair, piercings, tattoos, disheveled hair, ripped clothing… all the things that so many people seem to …. yes…. fear.  

Mahatma said something very perceptive I think… “I like your Christ….but I do not like your Christians,  your christians are so unlike your Christ.”… . 

Your christians are so unlike your Christ….. yes…. I agree with that…. 

Christ selected his disciples not from the best of the world but from some of the worst…. people we might not associate with willingly today… he selected them to show us the power of his message… the change…  He changed them by simply being Christ… 

Christ would greet people in his church like long-lost friends…. they would immediately be offered coffee… a soft drink… a person to show them around…. He would make sure himself that he made the person feel as if they were the only person he was listening to at the moment…. he would have loved them….. 

He would not have made unkind remarks about their dress…. or not made eye contact as if they weren’t there… He would have hugged them and welcomed them like the prodigal son…. 

His church would take care of the old…. they would be checked on everyday….. new members would get calls just so they felt that someone cared that they came to the church…. 

The ill would have someone to sit with them…. a person taking care of an aging parent would be given a weekend off while the church members cared for her… young mothers might have free sitters… substitute grandparents to rock the baby to sleep while mom had time for a moment with her husband… 

Those who were very different in looks, style, body art, and other things that were not in the traditional vein of the church would be accepted… and the true loving gospel of Jesus Christ would be preached…. 

The hungry would be fed…. those with few clothes would have new clothing to wear…those without air conditioning would have a cool home… those with roof leaks would not have to worry about roof leaks any more… perhaps more money would come in if people saw the money fulfilling the mission of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves…. 

The most difficult thing is the true imitation of Christ…. but it is the only thing thatwill evangelize non-believers, keeps kids in church… attracts seekers to churches and gives kids the reasons they need to stay in church… 

It is service, and love, and hope, and actual help that kids and the young are looking for in a church… 

How vibrant would a church be if we actually built the church around the true Imitation of Christ…. to do anything else is to have a social club instead of a church. 

The real Imitation of Christ


Tonight I have the most complete case of writer’s block I have had in a long time.  It’s one of those strange days when there are many things swirling around in my head but nothing I can get a grip on to put into electrons….

I guess it is because I am still wrestling with how I feel about some things..  Ever have a time when something was eating at you but you couldn’t figure out what it is that is bothering you… well bothering is not really the right answer…

But I am confused.  I have a dear friend who I communicate with on Facebook… lately it seems that every time we pass notes to each other it seems to evolve into an argument… about faith, about the government, about almost anything….

We are at opposite ends politically, in matters of religion… I am a devout believer and he is an atheist…

And it seems that every time we speak it ends in a flame war, a fight….

And I fear losing him… we lost each other for over 20 years after having a great friendship in college.. I was best man at his wedding… and yet as he said a couple of posts ago, I have hardened my thinking….

That made me start thinking… have I?  Am I the same flexible thinker I was when we were in college int he early 70’s…  and I realized that I am not…. He is right…

When I was very young… I was very concerned with what everyone thought of me… so in the academic environment I was a closet Christian.. I was also a closet conservative… my faith and values were extremely important to me but I lacked the courage to stand up straight for my Lord rather than just shifting in my seat…

At that time I was the lukewarm Christian in public that our Father says he will spit out… yes, I have changed…

I am no longer lukewarm… with age has become boldness… and also understanding… I walk the walk now… and for that…

I am thankful….. 

I can no longer understand how someone can not see God in the universe, in nature, in everything…. in DNA, in the logic of creation…

I cannot understand how someone can look at the same organized data and say it isn’t organized, that it just happened…

But much more important than that I want him to understand the joy and peace I have with God…

I want him to feel the transcendence I often feel…

I want him to know the joy of realizing that our lives have special meaning …. that we all have a special purpose for being here….

I want him to feel the presence of the infinite with me…. I want him to have the feelings I feel on the top of the mountains… for all I care about now are mountain top experiences…

I want him to have these things with me because I love him as my brother…. he is as close to a brother as a real brother could be….

I want him to know the assurance and the love that is in my heart…

and so I am thankful for loving concern… may it always be so….

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujucic is my hero…everytime I need to hear that I am able that I shouldn’t worried I turn to him….