Monday, February 22, 2010


As I was driving in my car after work Friday headed to the zoo for my weekly walk, and with the radio blaring, I suddenly heard a thunderous POP!!

In the morning I woke up to an up and coming head cold of sorts and one of my ears was plugged up. This was before I took a shower so I knew it wasnt water in my ear. But nevertheless, I tried a few times to unclog it with my finger as you naturally would do when you have water in your ear. After awhile and once I got to work I just gave up on it. As a little bit of fear started to settle in, I just said,"Forget it! I have an extremely busy work day ahead of me and I dont have time to mess with this. God, I need you to take care of this!"

Throughout the day I saw no improvement whatsoever. My busy day ended up going pretty smooth however, and was able to get out and enjoy some of the nice, unusual weather we had.
That loud popping sound on my drive from work was my ear unplugging.

Now you may be wondering why there's a picture of a polar bear on this post. One of the reasons why I like going to the zoo in the winter is there's not too many people around so it's quiet and you get a different reaction from the animals. They like to see humans from time to time. Probably thinking of us as food possibly!
Well, my hearing improved so much that, with no one around, I was able to hear the grumbling, squishing, burping sound of this bear's stomach as he was waiting to be fed. Very loud stomach he has!

On this same day my brother found himself trying to catch an escaped Gecko in his house. Via his daughter, the lengthy green bugger apparently had squeezed itself under a crack and crawled inside the wall. My brother cut a small hole in the wall but couldn't find it. He stopped, said a little prayer, and there was the gecko, standing right beside him.

And just like the Geico commercials, I guess us believers in Christ can sing:

"I always feel like somebody's (God) watching me!"

It is only natural for us to freak out when something unusual and unexpected happens. But instead of having fear, our natural reaction for a believer should be to just give it to God. Our voice has the capability of changing the mindset of our thoughts dramatically. So the words we speak carry with them either a positive or a negative effect on our situation. When we turn it over to God our reaction of fear turns into an action of faith. And what may seem as impossible turns into possible.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free Lemonade,Free Trip to Heaven

Yes, it's true! On my way to church Sunday I passed this car wash that even offers a dog wash.

Now you may be asking yourself,"Won't the inside of my car get wet when I roll the window down so Duke can get his wash too?"

No, silly. What they have is a self service area inside with tubs and hoses to bathe our smelly dogs.

Today most businesses are finding unique and creative ways to attract customers.

One of the things I love about the Madea movies is her creative style of addressing the gospel. Here she is trying to reach a troubled teen in I Can Do Bad All By Myself:

"Now a storm rose up and Peter was frightened and Jesus called him to come out of the boat. As Peter began walking on the water he became distracted by Jonah riding by on Free Willey and so he started to sink. Now if Peter would've kept his eyes on Jesus he'd be walking on water. So when Peter started to sink he cried out,'Jesus, Jesus, help me!' And Jesus said,' I can't. I'm on my way to Canaan and then to the cross. But don't worry, I'm going to send you a comforter to help you in your time of need.' And so Peter kept swimming and swimming and then Jaws swam by and all these other Steven Spielberg sharks. And then, just in the nick of time, Noah and the St.Louis Arch came by to rescue him."

The point Madea was driving at was we can get easily distracted at times with the things of the flesh, lose our focus on God and then begin to sink away from Him. But when we call on God, He is there to rescue us. And He does give us a comforter, the Holy Spirit, to help us in our time of need.

One of the first thing I learned in Chaplaincy training was that care comes before evangelism.

This is a practice I think all Christians should follow. Instead of wanting to hammer others with the Bible we need to show love first. And then maybe find our own little creative way of giving them the gospel.

In the Indie drama Stolen Summer an 8 year old Irish-Catholic boy named Peter O'Malley goes on a quest to convert Jewish people to Christianity and get them into heaven. This in part due to the Nuns in the school who tell Peter he is a bad kid and is going to hell if he doesn't change his attitude and ways. So Peter decides to spend his summer proving otherwise.

Peter befriends a Jewish Rabbi at the neighborhood temple and tells him of his quest. The Rabbi lets Peter set up a lemonade stand in front of the temple:Free lemonade-Free trip to heaven. Peter doesn't get much business at his stand, which is a good thing, because he suddenly realizes he doesn't know how to convert someone.

Peter then makes friends with the Rabbi's son Danny, who is in remission with Leukemia. Peter O'Malley thinks he is the perfect subject to convert and get him into heaven and accomplish his summer mission.

Danny is okay with converting and so Peter creates a decathalon as his method of converting.

This decathalon consists of everything from: skipping pebbles, hurdling over people lying at the beach, hurling a rock as far as you can, to swimming out to a boughie in Lake Michigan.

Danny has passed all the tests except for the last one, the swimming part. He's tried it several times with no success. Then one day Danny visits the doctor for a checkup and receives bad news. He goes out on his own one day and finally succeeds the final test to get into heaven. A couple days later he falls ill again and passes away without sharing with Peter that he passed the test. Danny's father, the Rabbi, gives the heart breaking news to Peter along with the news that Danny swam out to the boughie and completed the final hurdle of their decathalon.

Now we all know it takes more than just passing a few tests to make it into heaven. When Peter asks his own priest how do you know if someone made it into heaven, his answer was simple: faith.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Is...

Love is not proud
Love does not boast
Love after all
matters the most.

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
locked inside.

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
at the end of time.

Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
when you don't.

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Amazing Love, Amazing Grace

When you find yourself driving up to a set of railroad tracks and the crossing gates are up, your natural instinct is that it's okay to cross. So you go ahead and drive through without even giving it a second thought. But what really is happening is you are taking for granted that those gates are working properly and there is no train barreling down at you at 60 mph.

In a somewhat similar fashion, those of us who are believers accept God's grace for granted on a daily basis (and rightfully so). We accept that He is there watching and protecting us, and showing favor upon us, and so we go on and live out our daily lives without ever considering what could happen just around the corner. In the grander scheme of things we are not only living fearlessly, but trusting God in those moments of our lives. Or, just plain old living in faith and grace.

On my ride to church this past Sunday morning the Chris Tomlin version of Amazing Grace was playing on the radio. This hymn of all hymns reaches many people differently.

For myself,aside from the saving a wretch like me part, it's:

The Lord has promised good to me
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.

It's great that I can go about my daily life knowing my hope is secure in Him. I don't have to dwell on what may happen around the corner.When God is a portion of your life, He pours His grace and love upon you more than you could ever imagine. When we stay close to God He remains in every detail of our lives. We don't need to try to figure it all out because:

1. His Word remains

2. His grace remains

3. His love remains

Preceding this hymn the local radio station had as their Word of the Day Mathew 5:8 from The Message:
You're blessed when you get your inside world
-your heart and mind- put right.
Then you can see God in the outside world.

I think God was trying to convey something to us when He added this piece of scripture to the verses surrounding it which make up The Beatitudes. Some refer to these as the how-to-be-attitudes.

The word blessed is a grace word that expresses joy and satisfaction to those who have experienced salvation. It also means: happy.

When your heart and mind are filled with the joy of the Lord you are then able to see God in your worldly struggles.

When we invite Christ into our hearts we are inviting Him into our lives. We should carry the attitude of blessed because with it God carries the attitude of grace.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hail Marys, Doritos, and Eye Black Patches

In honor of Super Bowl weekend here's some interesting nuggets:

1. The Hail Mary pass ( a last ditch effort pass downfield into the endzone from the quarterback in the last seconds of a game) was derived from Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys back in the 1970's. In the last seconds of a game and needing a touchdown, the All-Pro Catholic quarterback said a Hail Mary and then lofted the ball downfield into the endzone hoping one of his receivers would catch it. One of them did. Touchdown! And the rest is history.

2. Doritos held a contest where the 3 best ads created using the Doritos product in it, and voted by us online, would win a 30 second commercial spot during the Super Bowl and could win up to $2 million dollars. Of the six finalists is a Dorito ad created by a mega church in LA. It's called "The Casket", you can catch it on youtube. Very funny!

3. Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is known for the scripture verses he has printed on the eye black patches he wears during games. During his four year career his eye patch proclamations have been googled reaching over 100 million hits.

When asked how he chose which scriptures each week, his reply:

"I really lean toward something that's going through my heart. If there's something going through my heart that week, or what ever it is, I think people understand more and learn more from it."

This past weekend's Senior Bowl, where you are under the pressure of trying to impress pro scouts, Tim had a tough game, fumbling twice and threw no touchdowns. His choice of scripture was James 1:2-4:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Words of wisdom to remember in the game of life.

Enjoy the Super Bowl!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Expect Great Things

One of my favorite motto's is for Kohl's department store: Expect Great Things. When you walk into one of their stores you are guaranteed not only quality products, but great prices and there's always a sale going on of some discounted price.

When you go to the gas station you expect to drive away with gas in your car.
When you go to the supermarket you expect to come away with some kind of food.
And when you turn on the faucet at home you expect water to come out.

But how about when you go to God for something? Are you expecting Him to answer your prayer?

If there's one thing we all can agree on it's: waiting stinks! Especially when we are waiting on God to do something. But that's when us believers maturity as Christians grows the most, during the waiting process.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2Cor.4:16)

The three things I've learned and put into practice while waiting on God was:

1. Speak positively over the situation. When we do this our mindset changes from untrusting to trusting in God. I know it's hard to thank God before the answer comes, but when you do thank Him in advance you are building up your own faith and proving your trust in Him.. Paul gave us the cure for anxiety when he said:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God. (Phil.4:6)

2. Continue to pursue God. No matter what your struggle is you need to have the courage to just "chuck it all in" and run towards God and not away from Him. Seek Him out and put all your energy into a more healthy relationship with Him first.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.
3. Pump up the volume! Increase your listening to worship music to motivate you in the right direction. It sets your mind at ease to where you think less about your problem and more about the answer, which is God.

When I was a teen and my mom saw me being impatient with something, she would say,
"You don't have any patience!"
And to those of you that know my witty sarcasm, well, my comeback to mom was:
"I don't have any patients because I'm not a doctor!"

All kidding aside, we all deal with impatience in one form or another in our daily life. Waiting on God is hard. We don't know the plans that God has for our life. We just know that they are great plans. We just need to expect great things from Him.

Ironicly(or was it a spiritual coincidence?),while working on this post the other day, my 7 year old niece Bridgett came up to me and non- chalantly asked, "Are you ready for 2010? My answer was a positive one: "Heck yeah! It's going to be a great year!"