Life Stinks

One of the blessings of being a pastor is getting to know people and this increases joy. At the same time, getting to know people is a curse as you suffer with them.

Scripture talks about bearing your burden and allowing Christ to help you so you can help others bear theirs. People have burdens. When you get to know people you get to know their burdens.

It’s so sad what happens in life. It beats you down and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. You sit and watch. You watch and pray.

The easy answer is to deceive ourselves and pretend everything is happy. And, when reality crushes that, we get busy trying to distract ourselves. If you are always telling people you are “busy,” your life is not being lived right.

“The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else—we are the busiest people in the world.” So says Eric Hoffer, who was a wise man.

Life stinks. Romans 8 says we groan and suffer in this life waiting for the adoption of our bodies. Christ endured the cross for the joy set before Him. We endure life for Christ’s joy, not fully realized until later.

We’re not here for ourselves. We’re not here to make ourselves happy. We’re not here to be busy. We’re here for others. To love one another, because you’re dying and dying people want to be loved.

If It Sounds Like A Duck

Mel Gibson thinks Michael Richards is a fine fellow and he can sympathize with him for his racial tirade.

“I felt like sending Michael Richards a note,” Gibson says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly’s Dec. 8 issue. “I feel really badly for the guy. He was obviously in a state of stress. You don’t need to be inebriated to be bent out of shape. But my heart went out to the guy.”

The 50-year-old actor-director added: “They’ll probably torture him for a while and then let him go. I like him.”

I suppose that is very Christ-like of Mel, except for the anti-semitism bit anyway.

Jesus Ran Stairs

Sylvester Stallone is coming out with yet another Rocky movie. I don’t know if this was an effort to attract the Christian moviegoer, but Stallone now admits that his character is based on Jesus Christ.

And he has now revealed the reasoning behind the film’s opening shot of a painting of Jesus Christ looking down at Rocky fighting in a gym. The 60-year-old says, “It’s like he was being chosen. “If you look to God, you can overcome your past.”

Sounds a little fishy to me but I’ll take his word for it.

By they way Jesus II will be much better than Jesus I.

Children’s Prayers

I’ve been putting small children to bed for about 7 years now. My wife or I usually pray for them but they will occasionally venture into the praying pond to get their feet wet. Each of my children start their prayers the same way.

I can’t figure out why they start this way. Neither my wife nor I start this way. They were never really listening to each other much when the other ones would pray. But each of them starts their bedtime prayers with

“Thank you for God.”

That always cracked me up. Thank you for God. But when I think on it, that’s not a bad thing to say by any stretch. In fact, it’s a downright wonderful thing to pray.

Most of the rest of what is prayed escapes me. My two youngest children both have speech impediments and I have no idea what they are saying. Groanings which cannot be uttered.

But they all say with crystal clear clarity, “Thank you for God.” And, indeed, we are all thankful for God. The prayers of little children are more than likely His favorites.

Tis The Season Part 3

The UK is close to banning all office Christmas parties for two main reasons.

1) To not give offence to non-Christians–employees can display Christmas decorations as long as they are secular and not overtly religious.

2) Many bosses have been or may be in the position to be sued and or legally responsible for the actions and injuries of inebriated employees after such parties.

Companies “have a “duty of care” to inebriated staff, and that they could end up on the wrong side of the law if they don’t make sure that those employees get home safely, or if their employees get hurt while stumbling out of the party drunk, falling over in the street, or getting knocked down, reports the Daily Mail.”

Yup. Boycott the UK. No wonder we rebelled. Everyone has the right to injure themselves while inebriated while celebrating an overtly religious holiday in public.

Tis The Season Part 2

Urban Outfitters is selling a Christmas ornament this year that is drawing criticism. The ornament is a glittering gun that is less that 5 inches in length. The store has sold out most of them.

The product description says “bust a cap in your tree with this glittery ornament.”

“I don’t like guns. I don’t like weapons of any sort, and they don’t belong in the tree or in my house,” Ethel Robinson said.

Ethel, and other people like her, are now boycotting Urban Outfitters. I’ve been boycotting Urban Outfitters for some time now. Can’t say I’ve ever been in one.

Tis The Season

It’s that time of year again, time for all Christians to get in a tizzy about the “persecution” they are enduring because they have to attend “Holiday Programs” instead of “Christmas Programs.”
This stuff really annoys me, it really does. The fact that Christians really seem to care is what annoys me.

Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. In fact, calling on my reading of Dead Little Fish, “One of the most popular religions in the Roman Empire during the first two centuries AD was the cult of Mithras, which can be traced back several centuries before Christianity. Mithras was born of a virgin on December 25th. His followers celebrated his birthday by singing hymns, ringing bells, lighting candles and giving gifts.”

The truth is that Christianity stole the holiday from the world. If they want it back, I say, “Let em have it.”

But alas, for some odd reason, God won’t allow me to run the world. So, the season of stupid Christmas outrage begins.

A Christmas celebration in Chicago has been ordered to remove advertisements for the new movie “The Nativity Story” because it’s about the birth of Christ. The city of Chicago cannot have non-Christians being offended by this (That explains why the Bears lost to the Patriots).

So, Christians are, of course, outraged. Get this one. “The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ,” said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association.

Oh, now I just love this one. I won’t let them get away with this. Let me take you back to last Christmas. A lovely day it was. It happened to fall on a Sunday. Remember that? Hmm, what church was it again that cancelled all services on Christmas? Hmm, let me think a minute.

Shut up all ready. My goodness. At least be consistent. You may not like my point but at least I am consistently annoying about it.

Sillier Than It Looks

The pope is in Turkey, making nice with Muslims. Pope Beni said the following:

“Peace is the basis of all religions.” Um, not mine. Christ did not come to bring peace but a sword, not to unite but to divide, look it up there Ben, Matthew 10:36-38.

“All feel the same responsibility in this difficult moment in history, let’s work together.”

“We know that the scope of this trip is dialogue and brotherhood and the commitment for understanding between cultures … and for reconciliation.” I suppose they are brothers, they both have the same father.

The Soul’s Quest For God

RC Sproul is a Reformed theology feller so he and I wouldn’t agree on some things. However, the book I just read by him was pretty good. The Soul’s Quest for God was, ironically enough, all about the soul’s quest for God.

He talks about why the soul wants God, how the soul can be fed, the barriers that stop the soul from getting to God and the eternal destiny of the soul that finds God. He did a fine job I thought.

One problem I would have is that he got a bit carried away quoting Calvin and Edwards. If I wanted to read Calvin and Edwards, I would read Calvin and Edwards. Sproul gave some real good insights into a few passages that really opened them up for me, I wish he had done that more and left Calvin and Edwards in their own books.

I would also add that there were a few things I vehemently disagree with. Like the time he told me that church architecture was a means of grace. Huh?


A survey of the religious habits of the young in Australia has revealed two interesting things.

First, youngsters are attracted to high-energy worship services found in Christian Pentecostal churches, what is called “spiritual aerobics.” Mega-churches with exuberant music are pretty much where all “Christian” church growth is.

Second, all other religions (Buddhism, Scientology, Islam, Wicca and witchcraft) are growing by astounding percentages.

The article does not tie these two points together in any way, so I will take the liberty of doing so. Having a fun time at church is good. Go for it. But if having fun trumps finding God, there will be problems. There are problems. I’m just sayin.

Jesus Don’t Float

A church has gotten in trouble over the float they put in their town’s Holiday Lighting Parade. The float depicted a crucified, bloodied and battered Jesus with the words “The greatest gift–His blood.”

“It’s a lesson learned and we apologize to anyone offended. That was sure not our intent, and it was not on the entry form,” said Terry Cooper, executive director of the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association.

Potter’s House Pastor Chris Wendt said the church did not intend to offend people, but the cross and blood of Jesus are polarizing. “You are either for it or against it,” Wendt said Monday.

How can they say they didn’t intend to offend anyone? Paul calls it “the offense of the cross.” Paul was even handling it rightly, unlike this church and their little stunt. Just because Mel Gibson thinks it’s good to splatter blood everywhere doesn’t mean we need to do this.

Foundational Thinking

Looking at the parable of the wise and foolish builders in Luke 6:46-49, a new insight hit me, actually it was pointed out to me, sort of, by a book by RC Sproul I am reading.

In order for the wise builder to build on the rock, it says he had to “dig deep.” In other words, he didn’t just find a rock sitting there and build on that. Nor did he make a rock or pour a solid foundation. He dug down and found one.

Verse 47, I think, tells us what Jesus thinks “digging deep” means in a Spiritual sense.

First, people have to come. Everyone knew where Christ was, they knew what He stood for and some of the stuff He said. All they had to do was go to Him to find out more. He didn’t have to go anywhere; they had to come.

Second, they had to hear. It was important to get beyond the amazing things Jesus was doing. All the miracles and wonders He did were signs—things that got people’s attention and pointed them to hear what He was saying. His miracles were not the “miracles of life,” but what He said were “the words of life.”

Third, they had to do what they were told. Hearing is fine and dandy, but if you don’t act on what you were told it doesn’t do you any good. Just having knowledge of God’s Word in your head accomplishes little. Acting on what you know changes your life.

In order to withstand the storms of life a person must dig deep. The foolish builder just put up a house wherever he wanted, no effort was put into the foundation. His house was probably done earlier and probably looked just as good. But it’s the storm that tests the foundation.

No building is stronger than its foundation. Life stinks, is your foundation handling it? If not, start digging. You’ll hit rock bottom one way or the other, might as well do it voluntarily and skip making your life a disaster.

A Pet Peeve

The Trinity is one of those things. Scripture clearly says that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God. Scripture also clearly says there is one God. It makes as much sense as the idea that all believers are one in Christ.

However, since scripture says it, I believe it. As Christians have developed the concept of the Trinity, I think we have gotten a bit flippant in our discussions of it.

People like to simplify things but often in our simplicity we misstate things. There are three persons in the Godhead. I often hear people rank the persons of the Godhead. The First person is the Father, the Son is the Second Person and the Spirit is the Third Person.

That bugs me. There is no ranking like that in Scripture. It makes it sound like the Spirit is the least in importance and the Son is tucked in between somewhere.

I beg to differ. They are all essential, necessary and equal. There is no ranking system. God is not subject to the BCS. It’s a three-way tie for first.

Boycott Money

I’m outraged. Simply outraged.

The US government, recently taken over by Democrats, is going to issue new “presidential dollar coins scheduled for release to the public Feb. 15, 2007.”

The outrage lies in this, “In God we trust” will not be seen on the front or the back of these coins. Instead, it will be barely visible on the coin’s edge. This is only one step away from complete removal and one step closer to enforced atheism.

That’s it. I’m done. No more money for me. From this point forward I move to the barter system. I will not stand by and fall into the usage of the antichrist as he seeks to unite the world’s religions and economy.


Mary Winkler

The pastor’s wife who shot her husband is still awaiting trial. Meanwhile, she appears to be living a quiet and peaceful life. She is living near Nashville with some friends working at a Cleaners Express.

Cleaners Express owners Matt Hash and Paul Pillow say the response to Mary Winkler has been positive.

Hash says everyone from church members to strangers have come by to see Winkler, and many have given her money.

So much a guy could say, but I’m feeling especially under the influence of the Holy Spirit this morning so I will remain mute.

Better Sinner Than Jesus

Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus can sympathize with us because He knows what temptation is. He was tempted in every way as we are but He never sinned.

Is that really true?

I found an exception, I think, maybe it’s an exception that proves the rule.

Ever get defeated because you just sinned? You know you just blew your testimony? That you just did something really dumb and it leads you into a whole other slew of sins?

I know what that is like. Can Jesus really sympathize in all points?

He doesn’t know the disappointment of having blown it. He doesn’t know the pity party of guilt. He doesn’t know the pain of having let people down because He sinned in front of them.

I do. It stinks. Does this prove Hebrews 4:15 is false?

PETA At The Manger

The pastor of Anchorage First Free Methodist Church received a letter from PETA “which admonished him for subjecting animals “to cruel treatment and danger,” by forcing them into roles in the church’s annual manger scene.”

There was one problem though, the church has never used animals. “It’s rough enough on us people standing out there in the cold. So we’re definitely not using animals.” said their pastor

PETA checks up on churches all across the country and tries to intimidate them out of using live animals in manger scenes.

“Those animals are subject to all sorts of terrible fates in some cases. Animals have been stolen and slaughtered, they’ve been raped, they’ve escaped from the nativity scenes and have been struck by cars and killed. Just really unfathomable things have happened to them.”


British Airways Caves In

The employee of British Airways that got busted for wearing a cross has finally won. After receiving tons of criticism for their decision to forbid the wearing of a cross, BA has given up.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who had spearheaded the attack on BA, greeted the climbdown with relief. ‘Amen,’ he said. ‘This is excellent news for Nadia, BA and society as a whole.’

Seriously, all society is better because of this?

The airline had faced four days of angry condemnation from an overwhelming alliance of Cabinet ministers, 100 MPs, 20 Church of England bishops and, finally, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Are there not better things to do, like halting the raping of manger animals?

The bottom line is that this “devoted follower of Christ” was breaking the rules that forbid the wearing of any visible jewelry while working. She broke the rules. This wasn’t about a cross, it was about a rule they had that little Ms Jesus Lover broke. Ah, but all society is better off now that Christians no longer have to follow rules.

Thankful For So Many Religions Of Peace

A Jordanian accused of opening fire on Western tourists in Amman’s Roman amphitheater, killing a Briton and wounding six others, insisted in court Wednesday that “God blessed me when I killed a British man and hurt others, because they are fighting the Prophet and his soldiers since (the) Balfour Declaration.”

He rejoiced in attacking the British because they “insulted the honorable Quran and women who wear the head cover.”

Ah yes, I just bask in the warmth of such shining examples of fundamentalism in the world’s religions. I am also grateful that our president tells me that Islam is a religion of peace. It’s so nice to read such happy words and not have to be ruffled by reality in any sense. I am truly grateful.

Thankful For So Much Tolerance

Michael Richards, the “comedian” who played Kramer on Seinfeld, got himself in trouble last week with some racial comments directed at some members of his audience.

Well, this has reminded folks of another racist rant Richards went on a few years back, when A Jew heckled him. As part of his racist remarks he said, “You people are the cause of Jesus dying,” before storming offstage.

Richards later said “I’m not anti-Semitic. I was playing a role and poking fun at the rednecks.” Ah yes, hatred is only good if it’s funny.

I’m just so grateful for the stress we’ve put on harmony and tolerance in our world lately because it really seems to be working well.

Thankful For Christian Unity

The Reverend elected to take over as president of the Christian Coalition of America said he will not assume the role because of differences in philosophy.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood’s Northland, A Church Distributed, said Wednesday that the national group would not let him expand the organization’s agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative political group Jan. 1, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.

Nice to see the Christian Coalition coalitioning with everyone who agrees on two subjects and rejecting all others. Warms the heart on this joyous occasion of thankfulness.

Purpose Doesn’t Drive Well

The Purpose Driven Life remains number two on the cba hardcover bestseller list. But Purpose Driven the organization is over. Created amid the unprecedented popularity of Rick Warren’s book, Purpose Driven ministries has lost its CEO, seen its staff reduced by a third, and significantly drawn back its services.

Perhaps this is evidence that purpose shouldn’t be the main motivator for success in life. In fact, I’ve always thought faith was the key to Christian life.

John 3:8 says those who are born of the Spirit are like the wind, they don’t know where they come from or where they are going.

Faith is removed the minute you know what you’re doing! God has things planned for us we couldn’t even imagine. When we assume we know our purpose, perhaps we limit what God can accomplish and get sucked into the way the world thinks.

Then your organization, that was founded to give purpose, ends up going under because maybe it wasn’t such a good purpose to begin with.

I’m sure I’m just serving sour grapes, but that’s fine. It’s fun.

Flip This House

A church that wanted to do something special for Hurricane Katrina victims gave a $75,000 house, free and clear, to a couple who said they were left homeless by the storm. But the couple turned around and sold the place without ever moving in, and went back to New Orleans.

”Take it up with God,” an unrepentant Joshua Thompson told a TV reporter after it was learned that he and the woman he identified as his wife had flipped the home for $88,000.

Well, this church is learning first hand what Jesus feels like, giving out free things that people abuse for their own purposes and then drop. Wonder if they’ll sue them.

Let Me Know When You’re Right

Pope Benedict XVI has completed his first book as pontiff, a work about Jesus Christ that he says is purely personal and not at all infallible.

In a preface released by the Italian publisher, Benedict writes that the book is “absolutely not an act” of church authority and teaching but “an expression of my personal research into the `face of the Lord.”’

“Therefore, everyone is free to contradict me,” Benedict said. Unlike usual, when he is being infallible, I guess. I’m not free to contradict him unless he says so? Wow, there would be one main reason I’m not a Catholic!

I wonder where the infallibility button is that he can just switch it on and off like that. Kind of a bummer that he even has that problem, I don’t. Once infallible, always infallible, Amen.

Where God Is

A school bus in Alabama fell off an overpass, killing three students and inuring many others. Three kids decided to drive instead of take the bus that day and see their actions as proof God was with them.

“It was kind of scary,” said Burns, a junior. “We were getting in the car, and the alarm system wouldn’t cut off for some reason. I said, ‘I’m not going to deal with this today.’ We were going to get on the bus instead, but after I said that the alarm just cut off. It’s scary.”

“God was with us,” said Bassett, a senior. “We’ve been going to church as a team, as a unit, every other Sunday. He gave us another chance. It was fate.”

So, apparently then, God was not with any of the kids on the bus then. This is one of the worstest things I think people who want to sound Christian say, “God was with me that’s why I’m still alive.”

It seems to be saying that God wasn’t with people who had misfortune, when the Bible seems to say God also allows misfortune to happen as proof of His being there, ask Job. God is not far from any of us and many of us have bad days. It’s life.

Crackin’ Up

We all sang the song in Sunday School, The foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the rains came the house went ssspppppphhhhllllllaaaaattttt.

It’s one of those passages people know so well, they fail to think about it. The truth is that what Jesus is saying there is crucial to life.

Your foundation will speak louder than your words. Seems everyone has an opinion on how everything should be done. The true test of your opinion is whether or not it works.

Storms come and your foundation is tested. Storms can crack foundations. The typical response is to either ignore the cracks in the foundation or cover them up. Throw some putty on them or paint over it.

This is done by arguing incessantly about your opinion. The louder someone protests and argues about an issue the more you know they know they are wrong.

You have to deal with your cracked foundation. Many storms have hit my life and I have seen cracks in my foundation. The key is to fix the foundation, get it centered on what the Bible says. I’ve had to do that several times and anticipate doing it more.

If your kids start to go nuts, check your foundation. If people start avoiding you, check your foundation. If your spouse can’t stand you, check your foundation. If your old nature seems to get the best of you repeatedly, check your foundation.

Your foundation speaks louder than anything that comes out of your mouth.

You can defeat me in logic, in persistence, in volume, in verbosity, in better grammar, in your ability to quote smart people, but if your foundation is cracked, I won’t hear you.

Your foundation will tell the truth. If your life is falling apart and you’re not getting the results you thought you should, check your foundation. You may be cracked up.

Who Butters Diddy’s Bread

Sean “P’Diddy” Combs, who is worth $300 million, says all of his success is due to his unwavering faith in God. Oh yes, it’s true.

“I was brought up spiritually. I was an altar boy in a Catholic church, and then also had afternoons at a Baptist church – I got the best of both worlds.

“I was in church every Sunday, all day. I give all glory to God. It’s because of Him that all I do is possible. He’s my secret weapon. I have not even a doubt about Him; it’s way beyond belief.”

Wow, I was in church every Sunday too. All day. Wonder what the difference maker was?

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