Sunday, November 30, 2008

Normal-No-More infomercial...

After hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of work, my eldest daughter's speech class project is finally done. I think you'll agree that all the time and energy put into this short film was worth it. If you don't agree, please don't comment.

Pirate Christian radio...

Three links away from my blog I found this interesting Christian radio station. It's operators describe it like this:

Pirate Christian Radio is an online radio station that is free from the scurvy plagues of pop-psychology, goofy fads, self-help, pietism, purpose-drivenism, the prosperity heresy, contemplative mysticism, seeker-sensitivism, liberalism, relevantism, Emergent nonsense, and the sissy girly Oprah-fied religiosity that is being passed off as "Biblical Christianity". This station proclaims "Christ crucified for our sins" and exalts and defends THE historic Christian faith.

Click here to visit the site and listen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Phone a sheep...

Have you ever wondered what happened to all those old phones with cords and rotary dials?

Evidently some of them were put out to pasture...literally.

Call me crazy, but I think "Baa Bell" might be making a comeback.

State your problem...

There’s a verse in the book of Philippians that tells us just what to do with the stuff that bothers us so.

Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

“Do not be anxious about anything.” That’s a pretty tall order. There are so many things in this world to worry about.

“Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Loans and tee ball and bills! Oh dear! Lines and tivo and boys! Oh no!” (My apologies to the folks in Oz.)

How can we not stress just a bit?

“Do not be anxious about anything.”

All anxiety belongs to God. You are his child. He cares for you.

“Do not be anxious about anything.”

Instead, “in everything, by prayer and petition…present your requests to God.”

Problems with relationships. State your need. Problems with school work. State your need. Problems with finances. State your need. Problems at work. State your need. In everything – that leaves nothing out – state your need.

“This guy at work is making my life Hell. How do I deal with him?”

“God, I’m struggling with geometry. Help me to remember what I’ve learned.”

“Here are our bills, Lord. How are we going to pay them?”

“My wife doesn’t understand your love and it makes her angry. How can I help you help her know your grace?”

By prayer and petition present your requests to God. Prayer is the state your need part. Petition is the trusting question part.

You caught the important word, right? Trusting. Trusting even when life doesn’t make sense. Trusting even when questions fill your mind. Trusting even when stress threatens to undo you.

State your need and ask trusting questions. Prayer. Petition.

And do it all with what? With thanksgiving, right? I love how God snuck that phrase into this set of instructions on prayer and anxiety and all.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

In a bad situation? Pray. Give thanks. In good times? Pray. Give thanks.

And what will be the result of presenting all this to God with thanksgiving?

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Peace is God’s promise to all who are not anxious about anything, to all who present their requests to him with thanksgiving. You want to live without fear? You want to be free of worry? You want to live anxiety free? God’s told you how. In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. That is the path to peace – peace so amazing it will blow your mind.

Are you ready to take God at his word and put what you’ve learned into practice? It’s time to act. It’s time to take our problems to the Lord and get that peace that passes all understanding. You want that right? You’re tired of losing sleep over troubles you can’t seem to fix. I know I am.

So pray and petition God. State your problem to him. Ask him trusting questions. Remember, no complaining. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Now give thanks. God is in control. He can handle what you’ve given to him. Give thanks for the work you know, by faith, he’s going to do. Give thanks in your circumstances.

You can take this with you wherever you go. You can obey God’s word every day this week. You can bring every need to him, stating it to him and trusting him to deal with it. You can thank him for his goodness and care. You can have peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remember those in chains...

Sarah – that’s not her real name – is a Chinese follower of Jesus. I heard her story a few days back when Vic Mitchell came to talk to our youth group about the persecuted church. Sarah was an editor of an underground Christian newspaper that surreptitiously circulated to persecuted believers in her home nation. The words she published encouraged her brothers and sisters to remain strong in their faith.

One night, government operatives broke into her home and kidnapped her, taking her to a secret location where she was offered freedom if she would sign a statement refuting her faith and indicting her friends. She refused to put her hand to the document and suffered for her choice. She was burned with cigarettes. She was tortured and beaten. She wondered if she should sign and be done with it. She prayed for strength to resist the temptation and God answered in an interesting way.

Sarah was forced to walk all night long with heavy leg irons around her ankles. The rough metal of the cuffs cut into her skin and she began to bleed profusely, leaving a trail of blood on the cement floor of her prison. She looked at the crimson streaks on the floor and remembered Jesus’ death. Surely, she thought, he left a trail of blood when he walked to the cross. This idea gave her the strength to endure not only that night, but the many nights of torture and forced labor that followed. She held joy in her heart as she made thousands of Christmas lights to be sent to America.

This Christmas as you celebrate with your family around your sparkling tree, remember your Chinese brothers and sisters. Pray that they would have the strength to remain strong in the face of fearful circumstances. Thank God for his provision of a Savior for them and for you.

(Click on the picture at the beginning of this post to download a wallpaper picture that will remind you of your persecuted brothers. To download other images in various resolutions from Voice of the Martyrs, click here.)

You've got problems...

I’m going to take a wild guess. Some of you have problems in your life. I’d say all of you have problems, but I suppose somewhere in this world there’s someone who has no worries and it’s as likely as not that they’d be someone I know as someone I don’t. So my guess is some of you have problems.

Maybe they’re relational troubles. Marriages a prone to crises – there are men and women involved after all. Parents and teens tend to see things differently – at least once in awhile. Teachers misjudge students’ attitudes and students their teachers’ motives. Employers expect a lot of their employees – sometimes more than anyone could possibly do. Employees are sometimes lazy – doing just enough to get by.

People are people wherever you go. You’re going to see your share of problems if you’re around people much. That’s a fact of life in a fallen, sinful world.

Maybe your trials are not relational at all. Some students have difficulty at school in math or English or chemistry. Tough decisions must be made at work all the time – they go with the territory. Paychecks tend to be issued three days after the bills are due. Health issues are cause for concern with great regularity – look at our prayer requests. Inclement weather wrecks havoc on field work at harvest time and planting time.

Troubles always cropping up. Hang around long enough and they’ll find you no matter what your station in life. That’s a fact of life in a cursed, decaying world.

“In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33, NIV) That’s what Jesus said. Trials – part of this world. Sorrows – part of this world. Difficulties, persecution, tribulation, pressure, affliction, anguish, burdens, battles – all part of this world.

“In this world you will have trouble.” But Jesus said more than that. “But take heart!” he continued, shouting it out for all to hear. “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

That’s good news, isn’t it? It’s not the good news – you can be saved from Hell through faith in Jesus – but it ranks right up there with the best news available to man.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus can handle your problems. Relational difficulties. Spiritual issues. Financial woes. Strong temptations. Health complications. He dealt with them all when he walked the earth as a man. He can deal with them now. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. At least that’s what my Bible says. Check yours.

Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV)

Let me ask you a question or two.

Has Jesus helped you in the past? Think back over the past month or two, the past year or so. Go back as far as you can recall. Hasn’t your Savior come through for you time and time again? Has there ever been a problem too big for him? Think!

If he’s handled all your circumstances past, why aren’t you trusting him with your circumstances present?

I’m asking myself the same question. God’s seen me through tough times in the past. He proved himself faithful over time. He has never failed me, never forsaken me, never ever, ever, ever walked away in the middle of a storm. Not once has he let me down.

I’ll bet it’s the same for you. How could it be otherwise? He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hey! Future problems? He’s got those under control too. So trust him.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

95% is a lot...

Vic Mitchell, a friend who works for The Voice of the Martyrs, came to speak to our youth groups last night. His presentation on the persecuted church was wonderful and awful. I cried silently for a fellow pastor in China. I hurt for "Pencil" who starved to death rather than stop preaching the good news in prison. My heart ached for Sarah as she was kidnapped then beaten. At the same time, my spirit soared. These men and women showed me what faithfulness looked like.

This morning, I pulled on the "Pray for China" prayer band that Vic gave me last night. I've prayed for my brave brothers and sisters numerous times as the band has flopped around on my skinny wrist, it's touch reminding me to cry out to God. This silver LiveStrong knock off is doing it's job.

A believing friend asked me about the Chinese characters on the band this afternoon. I told her about our beaten and battered relatives in Christ. I told her that 95% of the world's Christians have little or no freedom to worship as they please.

"So we're only 5% of the church," she said.

"Yep," I affirmed. "We in the West are only 5%."

Only 5% of the church can publicly proclaim the good news. Only 5% can meet together on Sunday morning without fear. Only 5% do not suffer grave consequences when they choose Jesus.

Pray for the persecuted church.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Intruder...

From the slightly demented minds of the Neifert girls comes this YouTube release, The Intruder, complete with original music and dental floss special effects. Pretty low-budget, but loads of fun.

With friends like these...

I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking about a good friend of mine over the past couple of days.

Russell was a member of my first church in Indiana. He was a great guy. Can’t say enough good about him. He loved Jesus, cared about the truth. He was dedicated to the Bible, studied it regularly, was faithful to the church, seldom missed a service. In the ten years I was at Arba Friends, he was absent from fewer Sunday morning worship services than I was. His family was all there. He had no reason to go traipsing across the nation on vacation, so he stayed put. Sat with his wife, Maxine, near the front on the right side in the same pew every week.

I mentioned that Russell was a good friend, right? We were friends, but Russell and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. On important things like Jesus is the only way to salvation or God created all things, we were two peas in a pod, but on just about everything else, on nearly all the little stuff, we differed. It wasn’t that either of us was promoting heresy, we just had opposite opinions on trivial stuff. If I interpreted a passage one way, Russell saw it another. If I thought worship should change in any way, he thought I was out of my mind. With Russell and me my black was his white and his black, my white. I saw gray. He saw burgundy.

One Sunday I remember looking out at the congregation after making what I thought was an excellent point only to see Russell scowling at me. I mean literally. Brows furrowed. Lips scrunched up. The whole bit. It threw me off my rhythm. I stumbled in my delivery. What had I said? To this day, I have no idea. I seldom looked Russell’s way again while preaching.

On another Sunday morning near the end of my time at Arba, I finished my sermon and stepped down from the platform to go to the door to do the “nice sermon” line thing. Russell stopped me as I came abreast of his pew. “That sermon was a bit long, don’t you think?”

Without thinking I shot back, “Yeah, and you used to complain about my sermons being too short.”

I smiled and Russell chuckled. “Yes, I guess I did.”

I wish everyone could have a friend like mine. Friends like Russell are great. Really! They challenge you. They make you think. They are a gift. Thank God for your contrarian allies.

That’s what Russell was to me. He was on my team even as we argued. He loved Jesus and suspected that I might too. So he put up with me and my new fangled ideas without a lot complaining. When he did let a small gripe slip from his lips, I listened. He was an influencer at the church. Most generally, what he said went. And he was a godly man. He’d been following Jesus longer than I’d been alive.

I don’t know why, but I wanted you to meet my friend. I’m thankful for Russell and look forward to meeting up with him in Heaven where he's gone to receive his reward.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Satan's inconsistent lies...

Humans have an innate desire to appear consistent with prior statements we make, but Satan or his demons will tell you whatever lies you are most likely to believe, such as:
  • You don’t need to be forgiven and an eternity in Hell is not the consequence for your sins - he’ll point you to the culture or any number of liberal churches that teach a false Gospel.
  • You can’t be forgiven - your sins are too great - he’ll be glad to reinforce that with grace-less churches.
  • You can earn your salvation - he’ll send cultists or false teachers your way or send you their way.
  • There is no God - he’ll send you to the culture or teachings that the universe came from nothing, life came from non-life and evolved to what we see today, forgiveness is not necessary, that these random evolutionary forces invented religion and the concept of God, etc.
  • God is here to make you prosperous and solve all your problems in this life. Don’t worry about eternity.
  • That all religions lead you to God.

[Satan will] do anything to keep you from the truth: You are a sinner in need of a Savior. You can’t fix or forgive yourself. You need to trust in Jesus and what He did for you on the cross.

He hates you and hates your soul and wants to keep you from Jesus. If you have been saved by Jesus, then he wants to distract you to make you ineffective for the kingdom or to make your ministry ineffective.

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)

-Guest Blogger, Neil

Trying to say no...

Mark Hoover, pastor of Newspring Church in Wichita, did not want to come to Argonia Friends Church. That's what he admitted during worship Sunday morning. He explained that he doesn't usually accept outside speaking engagements because he doesn't like to be away from his congregation. God just wouldn't let him say no to this request. Mark confessed, "I planned to send Mike my standard, 'Sorry, I can't because I'm in the middle of a series,' email early on, but God wouldn't let me do it."

I understand Mark's desire to be with the part of the church God's put him in. I love the part of God's church that I've been assigned to lead. I miss my special brothers and sisters in Christ every time I'm away on a Sunday morning. I love them so much.

Well, I suppose you've figured it out: Mark said, "Yes." (I'll have to admit that I was a bit of a persistent pest.) He agreed to come to Argonia not because he wanted to, but because God said, "Go!" I'm glad Mark was faithful to obey.
Mark blessed our church this weekend with great messages about Heaven. We all left Sunday's worship service excited about our eternal Home and even more excited about the people God brought our way because Mark was here.

Thanks, Mark! Thanks for being sensitive to God's leading.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More on The Shack...

I've heard good and bad about the book, The Shack, from friends and family members. Some give rave reviews. Some not so rave. Here is a doctrinal talk about part of the book. Mark Driscoll, from Mars Hill in Seattle, does a great job of pointing out error. If you like this, go to the church's website or Mark's blog. Lots of good stuff in both places.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back in the 90s...

Had a great time tonight with Mark Hoover from Newspring Church. He's in Argonia teaching at our church on Heaven.

The funniest thing he said came in the middle of a serious story about leaving his father-in-law in Texas after a stroke. He talked about how he called a doctor friend in Wichita as he headed north, asking his friend if there was anything he could do. The physician said to call him back in a bit.

Then Mark said, "This was back in the 90s when cell reception wasn't as good as it is now. There were lots of dead spots."

I heard snickers - I mean I literally heard them - throughout the sanctuary. Argonia - and most of the territory between here and Wichita - is cell hell. You can't get good reception most of the time no matter who your carrier is. The Verizon guy asked, "Can you hear me now?" here and got no reply.

Anyway, what Mark had to say the rest of the time was great! He's coming back tomorrow night and then he's preaching on Sunday. Can't wait.

The trumpet will sound...

I’m on call with Argonia EMS two or three times a week. For twelve hours at a time, more if I’m working a double shift, I wear an EMS uniform shirt and carry a pager on my belt. My portable radio is never far from me and I’m ready to drop everything and run for the ambulance barn at a moment’s notice should the need arise.

The need seldom arises. Most of the time, a day on call in Argonia is like any other day. Get up in the morning. Get ready for the day. Eat breakfast. Go to work. Eat lunch. Work some more. Come home. Eat supper. Get a test page and go off call. That’s normal. Most on-call days are call-free, but I still have to be ready to respond when it’s my turn to serve.

Most of you, I know, are not officially on call for anything, but you understand being ready to respond. You have a cell phone. When it rings or beeps or whatever it does, you’re ready to respond. You’re ready to answer the call or reply to the text. You have an alarm clock. When it rings or beeps or whatever yours does, you’re ready to respond. You’re ready to jump out of bed and smash the nasty thing. You have a child. When he yelps in pain or she cries for help, you’re ready to respond. You’re ready to comfort or correct at a moment’s notice. You have a job. When your boss asks you to do something, you’re ready to respond. You’re ready to say, “Yes, sir! Right away, sir!”

One day, in the not-so-distant-as-you-think future – Jesus predicted it – a trumpet blast will sound.

“At that time,” he said, speaking of the earth’s final days, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31, NIV)

Paul refers to this final clarion call too.

“We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I get excited thinking about that day. I can’t wait to fly! Can’t wait to see Jesus! Can’t wait to be with him and his church forever and ever and ever!

How about you? Are you excited?

If you’re not, perhaps it’s because you’re not sure you’re ready to respond to the heavenly trumpet, not sure you’re ready to leave this life behind. Are you ready?

In order to be ready, you must first believe on Jesus.

The Bible says on more than one occasion that believing on Jesus is God’s requirement for admission to Heaven.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV)

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31, NIV)

If you have believed on Jesus for your salvation, you are ready for his return. And if you’re ready, you should eagerly wait and watch for his quick arrival.

How do you wait and watch?

Paul gave these words of guidance at the end of his discussion of the resurrection:

“…my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

We were saved with a purpose:

To serve God by working for him.
To do good.
To love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us as much.

“…it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

You see it? You believe on Jesus. You gain salvation by grace, through faith. Then you serve. You do the good works that God designed you to do – the good works prepared for you to do before you even knew who Jesus was. That’s how you watch and wait.

Jesus said, concerning the last days and his second coming that, “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing [his work faithfully] when he returns.” (Matthew 24:46, NIV)

Believe on Jesus for salvation. There is no other way to enter the Father’s house.

Believe on Jesus and follow him. Serve others faithfully.

Are you ready? The trumpet is going to sound soon.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Monday, November 10, 2008

The family...

We took family pictures recently. They were really good. Hope you enjoy seeing them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

House in Massillon...

Ok. So I went to see House while I was in Canton, Ohio, for EFM Board meetings. It was showing in nearby Massillon. The joke running around our board before I took off was, “Hey! You want to go with Mike to an R-rated Christian horror movie?” Pretty funny, huh? The film was based on a novel by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker, two of my favorite authors. That’s why I was dying to see it.

I talked three others into going with me. We headed out around 8:50pm. Would’ve been plenty of time, if I hadn’t gotten lost once. Streets in Ohio are not straight east and west or north and south like in Kansas, so I got a bit turned around. We stopped at Walgreens, got our bearings from a friendly clerk and made it to the theater – Massillon Great Escape 12 – just a few minutes late. We paid for our tickets and walked in during the final two previews. Perfect!

The movie began with an odd scene that I don’t remember from the beginning of the book, kind of a back story it seemed. I suppose the added it or moved it to the start to get intense really quickly. It was effective.

After the opening scene’s darkness and death, House settled down for a minute or two – a couple arguing with each other while lost in the backwoods of rural Alabama. We knew it was Alabama because of the map the guy was trying to read while driving. The woman was a less than famous country singer. Her husband didn’t appreciate her music much. Turned off her CD the second she started it.

So they encounter a weird police officer and a weirder accident on the highway the puts them on the road to the house for which the movie’s named. Some nasty metal objects have fallen off a truck on the dusty “shortcut” they take to make it to Montgomery on time and they end up with two flats and no cell signal. Imagine that. Must be a horror flick.

They walk up the road in the rain – a thunderstorm of course – and find this creepy bed and breakfast all lit up, welcoming them. The lobby is empty when they enter, but another couple’s names are on the guest register. They meet them soon enough as they descend the staircase from the second floor. No one knows where the B&B’s proprietors are. It’s hard to find good service in an R-rated Christian horror movie, you know.

A while later, after a short electrical blackout, the owners show up. Creepy folks they are – Betty, Stewart and Pete. The kind of folks you meet in a thunderstorm on a back road in the middle of nowhere if you’re cast in a thriller.

Soon things get really intense. The arguing couple whose accident the audience witnessed try to make a phone call from the desk phone. No dial tone. They try to leave the house. Big guy with a shotgun standing in the yard. Lots of screams and looks of horror. This is a horror movie after all.

Stuff gets really wacky after this. The gunman climbs on the roof and stomps around, scaring everyone silly. The sends a message written on a tin can down the chimney to the people he’s trapped inside. “Give me one dead body by sunrise and I’ll let the rest live.” Not the most comforting words.

So then we follow everyone as they fight with the creepy host and hostess and in separate rooms live through traumatic events from their past like their real and happening again. Jack, the guy from the original accident, in his wanderings through the house finds a young girl. Her name is Susan. She looks a bit scary, dark circles ring her eyes, but she’s friendly enough. She helps Jack and Stephanie – that’s the country singer’s name – in the end to destroy the shotgun-toting Tin Man. She tells them that light will destroy him.

I won’t ruin the ending by telling you more about the final show down or the fate of the two couples, but I have to tell you it was a good redemption story. Better than I expected from Hollywood. The movie did justice to the book. Glad I was in Canton to see it since it didn’t open at home.

After the show was over, Matt, one of the guys who went with me, said, “So that’s what an R-rated Christian horror movie’s like.” We laughed. We talked a little about the storyline on the way back to the hotel, but only a little. Chelsea said her favorite part was at the end. “That was the only good part,” was the joke. I laughed too. There weren’t many happy moments.

We didn’t get lost on the way back. No Walgreens stop. I arrived back in my room around 11:00pm and fell promptly to sleep. No bad dreams. Just a little sleepy in the morning.

And that’s it. Go see the movie…or better READ THE BOOK!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Given over...

I awoke this morning again with God on my mind. My thoughts were not joy filled as yesterday's were, but sobering. I thought of the words repeated several times in Romans 1 that speak of God's wrath being poured out on a people.

"He gave them over to..." (v. 24, 26, 28)

As I watch the celebration of Americans and think of what Obama stands for, I wonder if God has given us over to our own wishes - wishes to be left alone on moral issues like abortion and formalized homosexual relationships and to be free to pursue greater pleasure and wealth. Has God given us over to all these things in order to bring about our destruction?

"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (v. 28-32)

God will not be mocked.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Run for Missions done...

Here's what Adam wrote after he finished his Run for Missions...

I finished the 104.2 mile "Run for Missions" from Wichita to Haviland this morning in 26 hours and 12 minutes and 10 seconds! The finish line celebration had several hundred cheering friends and spectators in front of Phillips Hall at Barclay College. Allen Smelser bravely gutted out 101.1 miles (!) in approximately 29 hours and 15 minutes. What an incredible day (and night and day)!

We've now raised over $11,500 for Missions Scholarships and rising! Praise be!

"And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

(A full report with lots of pictures available on Adam's blog.)

Glory in the highest...

I woke this morning with a song of praise in my heart - Mercy Me's powerful and uplifting You Reign. As the words spilled over me, my heart swelled. Though the man elected President of the United States was not the one I would have chosen, I know that he is God's choice for this nation. The Bible is clear that God lifts up rulers and deposes them. I will submit to that God today and praise his name. He is still on the throne of Heaven, the only seat of power that really matters.

"You reign glory in the highest You reign let creation testify by Your name every knee will bow and every tongue proclaim that Jesus reigns."

(Posted at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Running for missions...

I got an email around 1:00 from Friends Ministry Center in Wichita. The staff there had heard from Adam (pictured above finishing a previous ultrarun) and Allen at 12:15. The two were nearing the Kingman county line out by Cheney Lake on 21st Street. They were at mile 25 of their 100-mile "Run for Missions" which began early this morning.

A total disregard for life...

If you want to know why I am not voting for Barack Obama, watch this video. His complete disregard for the value of life is appalling, inexcusable. He has promised that the first act he will sign into law is the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill designed to overturn every restriction on abortion and infanticide. Wake up, people! God will not be mocked! We will, as a nation, reap what we sow!

No House...

No House for me. I was planning to watch it this Friday while I'm in Canton, Ohio, for board meetings, but I just got word from the theater there that it will NOT be showing this Friday.

The movie is not coming to Wichita. (At least not yet.) It is not going to be showing in Canton. I guess I'll just have to wait and see it on DVD.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who's in charge?

Who’s in charge in the political realm? It’s not the Republicans. Not the Democrats. Not the voters going to the polls this week. God is in control.

It is God’s prerogative to exalt the next president or tear him down. If our elected leader rebels, he will be humbled. If not now, in eternity. If our elected leader promotes evil, he will be judged. If not now, in eternity. God’s desires will win out in the end.

“Do not be deceived,” Paul warned. “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8, NIV)

So we have nothing to fear politically. Nothing. Not an Obama presidency. Not a McCain victory. Not a Democratic congress. Not a Republican take over.

Fear not! God is in charge! He is working out his salvation. He is doing everything necessary to bring himself the greatest glory. He is building his eternal kingdom. He will not be defeated.

Even in the last days at the end, when things are darkest for those of us who follow Jesus, God will reign supreme. When the whole world, it seems, has run off after Satan, God will still be on his throne. He will overthrow the lawless one with the breath of his mouth. Poof! And the madman is gone. He will destroy the devil’s work once and for all time and the church, God’s bride, will live forever with him.

And you think God is troubled by anything Obama or McCain might do once seated in the Oval Office? Get real! God is in control! Is today. Will be on Wednesday.

So what do we do between now and when the people have spoken?

We pray.

We ask God to work out his will, holding our own idea of what that looks like as loosely as we possibly can. We trust God and plead for mercy and grace and direction and the defeat of evil.

We thank.

We express our gratitude to God for his power and majesty and might. We thank him for the peace that knowing he’s in charge gives us as we face the unknown.

We vote.

The Bible doesn’t address voting directly – people didn’t vote for their leaders at any time during its writing. Does that mean, as some claim, that we shouldn’t vote? I do not believe so. If you have sought God’s direction, I urge you to go to the polls Tuesday.

We wait.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31, NKJV)

Finally, we keep praying.

No matter who comes out on top in the race for president, when it’s all said and done we get on our knees and pray for our leader.

“I urge,” Paul wrote Timothy, “first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV)

That is our calling even when we do not like the man or woman over us. God – the one in charge of all things – has given us this duty.

May we be faithful to obey. May we be free from fear. May we always glorify our God.

It's a beautiful day...

As I walked across to the church early this morning, the sun was rising and I started singing this song. Funny how Mr Rogers, my childhood buddy, showed up and brought a smile. Hope his greeting song makes your day too.