Friday, February 24, 2006


The first verse of Psalm 127 says "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."

We live in a society where marriage and families are in crisis. Too many marriages end in divorce. Too many families are broken. Too many people are not part of a loving family. This is a shame because marriage and family can be a great gift. God wants us to live in homes of love and joy.

If we allow the Lord to "build" our house, and be the foundation of our marriages and families, we are blessed. A family centered on the Lord can withstand the ups and downs of life and at the end of the day individuals can look back and see just how rewarding family is.

It's not easy being a husband and a father. I have had to give up so many things I used to do because either there is not enough time or not enough money. I have also been forced to do many things I would rather not be doing. (I still don't enjoy the whole bathroom thing with my kids.) But yet, even so, I know my family is my greatest blessing from God. Why, you ask?

My family has taught me what Jesus has been trying to teach me for 33 years... Real joy in life comes from being selfless and loving other people. I am a better Christian because of them. My faith is stronger because of them. They have also helped me grow from a child into a man. Through them God has given me maturity, responsibility, and meaning. As a selfish child I was lost and alone... But now as a husband and father I have more confidence in myself, knowing just what God has called me to do in this life.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Forgiveness is Tough

When four friends bring a paralyzed man to Jesus in Mark 2, they expect Jesus to heal him. He had already healed many people, so why not their friend? But instead Jesus says to him, "Son, your sins are forgiven." This caused some in the crowd to grumble because only God can forgive sins.

Jesus came to the world to save God's children. He accomplishes this through forgiveness of sins, offered to all people through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Forgiveness was and is tough, but we fall into the trap of thinking its not a big deal. This happens because we are afraid to face the reality of our sin and accept the life changing gospel of "your sins are forgiven."

Want to know how tough forgiveness is? Confess your darkest sins, not just in prayer, or in general during worship, but your specific sins to a Christian brother or sister. You will discover quickly how tough forgiveness is, but you will also experience the great power of "your sins are forgiven." It might be one of the most moving events of your life.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Run To Win

Today is the first full day of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. This provides a nice break from the everyday as athletes from around the world compete for metals in various sporting events. Some of these athletes have trained for years, every day, to get this point. And for what? A metal and good story to tell. But there isn't an athlete in Torino who will not go all out to get that prize.

Paul must have been a sports fan himself. When he writes to the Corinthians he cannot help but bring up a reference to the biennial Isthmian games that were held eight miles from Corinth in the first century. He compares living your faith in Christ to training as an athlete for the games. "Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. (1 Cor 9:24)"

If athletes will "enslave" their bodies through rigorous training to win a simple and ultimately worthless prize, how much more dedicated should we be as we live our faith in Christ with an "imperishable" prize of salvation awaiting us?

Using the tools of faith training: prayer, study, worship, inviting, love, giving, and service... our bodies become spiritually fit. Not only do we have an "imperishable" prize to look forward to, but we are better able to embrace the blessings and tasks God wants for us today.

As a Christian you are already in this race of life... so lets listen to our coach and run this race to win!

Sunday, February 05, 2006


On February 4, 1906 Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born... 100 years ago yesterday. He was a German protestant pastor with great skills for ministry, writing, and teaching. Before he was 30 he was teaching in seminary. At 31 he wrote "The Cost of Discipleship," the most important book of the twentieth century.

Bonhoeffer lived in a dangerous place during a dangerous time: Nazi Germany. Such a setting forced him to make many important ethical and spiritual decisions during his life. The Protestant Church of the 1930's began to give in more and more to the will of Hitler and his Nazis, but Bonhoeffer refused to bow to such evil. The lives of Bonhoeffer and other like-minded Christians were soon threatened.

In 1939 he fled Germany to safety in New York City, but within weeks he was on the last ship back to his homeland. Like Jonah in the Old Testament, Bonhoeffer's conscience would not allow him to flee his call and stay in the United States. God had called him to proclaim the gospel to his brethren in Germany. He accepted his obligation and returned. After his return the Gestapo continuously harassed Bonhoeffer and soon he was forbidden to teach or publish his writings. He was arrested in 1943 and imprisoned for fifteen months. On April 9, 1945 he was murdered by the Nazis in the Flossenburg Concentration Camp.

How blessed we are to live in freedom today. But being a Christian is not always easy, even in the United States in 2006. Just two days ago five Baptist congregations in Alabama were burnt to the ground for no good reason. More and more Christians are the object of ridicule and prejudice in our society.

But Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:16 "If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no reason for boasting, for an obligation has been laid on me, and woe to be if I do not proclaim the gospel." Bonhoeffer lived by these words and as an obedient servant he proclaimed the gospel to his Christian brothers in Nazi Germany. God was his strength and guide through those difficult years. When things get tough for us as well today, God is our help. While it might not be easy we all are called to proclaim the gospel.