Friday, November 25, 2011

Don't Buy It Day

Today should be Don’t Buy It Day. Instead of giving in to the pressure and consumerism of Black Friday, I would suggest you choose to not buy all those things you do not need, and instead choose to give some of that extra money to help others.

Today, I was driving by City Hall in Santa Rosa and noticed that the Occupy Movement seemed to be taking a thanksgiving break. There are a lot less tents there than last week. Not long Occupy was rallalying the troops to participate in an international day of non-consumption. See, even non-Christians see where that road leads.

I think a Don’t Buy It Day can be an exciting and creative way to live out the message of Jesus. It is really an act of fasting and of saying “No!” to mammon (the Aramaic word for money, wealth and greed). Jesus invites his followers to both of these practices. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus tells us that “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Jesus’ words resonate a Don’t Buy It Day.

On the other hand, I am told that when Black Friday profits plummet, who takes the hit? The employees, not the CEOs. If seasonal sales are low, then companies are less likely to hire those extra holiday helpers. This is the Catch 22 of the economy. We are told that the only way out of debt is to spend more. The only way to economic recovery is to shop. Do you remember President George W. Bush’s advice after 9/11? He told America to go shopping!

So … what do we do? Here’s the conclusion I have come to…We need to be very careful how and on what we spend our money. Ask yourself, do I need it or can I go without it? Decide to focus on people and spending time building the relationships that mean most to you and you are most thankful for.
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The Penn State scandal has been all over the news these last few days and has me shaking my head. How is it that we have gotten so deviant as a society? I guess it should be no surprise. In the post-Christian post-modern world there is no absolute right or wrong, there is no standard of truth or right way. Values are determined by how a person thinks or how he feels. So, I guess it should be no surprise that people do what they want to do.

Christianity says the Bible is God's Word and standard to live our lives by and something that can keep us civilized. It also points us to the truth, the life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart

Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart is another biography in the Christian Encounter Series published by Thomas Nelson. Since Dostoevsky is one of my favorite authors, I really enjoyed this book.

In this book, Leithart spends the first part of the book chronicling the life of one of the greatest writers, not only in Russian history, but in the world.  He outlines the events in Dostoevsky's life starting with his strict upbringing by a disciplinarian father, and his relationship and love for his loving mother. Leithart also spends quite a bit of time describing Dostoevsky’s work with the socialists and his subsequent imprisonment in Siberian labor camps…and how his near execution that was called off at the last second. This experienced greatly influenced his writings. 

Leithart talks of Dostoevsky’s conversion to Christianity and that how because of the devotion of the wife of one of the other prisoners (who chose to share in her husband's punishment rather than be separated from him) gives his a new picture of God. Dostoevsky struggles with the concept of grace and his effort to overcome his own sinful nature, and comes to the conclusion that his only option is to fall at the feet of Christ begging for mercy. Again, here we gain an insight to the ideas and characters that make up the colorful and exciting novels Dostoevsky wrote. When I read a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, I feel as though I'm stepping into a whirlwind. Now I understand it is because this emotional, unstable, epileptic man's life was a whirlwind all the way down to his untimely death at the age of fifty-nine.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Dostoevsky’s writings specifically, The Brothers Karamasov, Crime and Punishment, and The Idiot, and this book added to the enjoyment of those books as it gives insight to the man behind the words.

If you are a fan of this influential Russian author's work, you will love this book

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Visit to Palau

As most of you know, I just spent twelve days in Palau. Four days were used up in travel time. While there, I did a week of prayer at both the Koror SDA Elementary school and Palau Mission Academy. I ended the week by giving the Sabbath sermon at the Koror Seventh-day Adventist church.

Two days were fun days. My daughter, Chelsea, who is serving as a student missionary there for the year, just got here scuba diving certification, and I have been certified since 1989. So, we had a chance to do some diving together. Palau is one of the best places to do this in the world.

The two dive sites were the Ulong Channel and Siaes Corner, an awesome wall dive. Below are a couple of pictures of the sites.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Found this...thought you'd enjoy it...

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children…last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water.

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.  When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It's raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, dirt poor.

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a thresh hold. 

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake. 

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer..

And that's the truth...Now, whoever said History was boring!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Constitution Day

Tomorrow, on Constituion Day, September 17, 2011, we have invited the veterans of our community to come to worship with us and to recieve honor and thanks...and to our barbecue after church. What an opportunity to represent Jesus well!

And, it should be fun! I believe food, fun, and fellowhip...lead to faith. My hope is that as a church community we will do our best to develop relationships with those who come.

Tomorrow, I will share some thoughts on the similarities between the sacrifice made by our veterans with the sacrifice made by our God.

“Greater love has no one than this: than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Football Teams Quiz

Let me know how you did in the comments setion...

  1. 7 squared = 49ers
  2. Soldier insects - Giants
  3. Hostile attackers - Raiders
  4. Streakers are this -  Bears
  5. Varieties of iron - Steelers
  6. Suntanned bodies - Browns
  7. Indian brigade - Redskins
  8. I.O.U’s - Bills
  9. Toy baby with fin arms -Dolphins
  10. Tired out runners - Panthers
  11. Lubricators - Oilers
  12. Rodeo horses - Broncos
  13. Six shooters - Colts
  14. Opposite of ewes - Rams
  15. Class of boy scouts - Eagles
  16. American gauchos - Cowboys
  17. Fundamental rules - Cardinals
  18. Credit card users - Chargers
  19. Indian leaders - Chiefs
  20. Loaders - Packers
  21. King of the beasts - Lions
  22. Used to be a girl - Bengals
  23. $1 for corn - Buccaneers
  24. 747 - Jets

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week of Prayer

I am excited to have the opportunity to do a Week of Prayer in Palau where my daughter, Chelsea, is spending a year as a student missionary. I will be leaving September 28th and returning October 10th.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Biblical Illiteracy

Americans revere the Bible--but, by and large, they don't read it. And because they don't read it, we have become a nation of biblical illiterates. How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it's worse than most could imagine.

     Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.

     Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.

     According to data from the Barna Research Group, 70 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments. "No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don't know what they are," said George Barna, president of the firm.

The bottom line? Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.

     According to 82 percent of Americans, "God helps those who help themselves," is a Bible verse.

     A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

     Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

     A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.

We are in big trouble. As the nation's civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible's content should be assumed in post-Christian America. The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America's Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.

Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God's Word.

What are you doing to remedy the problem?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Keeping up with Chelsea

You can follow my daughter, Chelsea, on her blog, Adventures in Palau at

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: Enemies from the Heart by Andy Stanely

“Enemies of the Heart” by Andy Stanley is a republishing of “It Came From Within,” written a few years ago. The book are thoughts from a sermon series preached around that time.

In Enemies of the Heart Andy focuses in on four emotions that seem to constantly overtake us in our lives: guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. He goes in depth why a person has a tendency to give in to these four emotions. It is all rooted in our hearts. The things that we say or do actually come from deep inside of us. They come from our hearts. We just filter them most of the time.

The four emotions: guilt, anger, greed, and jealously can the most detrimental to our hearts. Andy gives excellent, practical advice on bringing those emotions out of us so we can confront them. By bringing our guilt out in the open, answering anger with forgiveness, letting generosity stamp out greed, and using celebration to curb jealousy we can overcome these enemies of the heart.

In the last part of the book Andy takes time to discuss lust. He explains that we were created to lust. It has a place within our marriages to be directed at our spouse. This is an issue that we are usually encouraged to stamp out of our hearts. Andy tells us it is an emotion to be managed within marriage.

If you are someone who might be struggling with any of these issues, this book is highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kayaking Rescue

Just recently, I saw this TV show about this British kayaker who capsized in heavy seas off southern England a few years ago.

Mark Ashton-Smith,  a 33 year old a lecturer at Cambridge University, knew he was in serious trouble  when he fell into the ice cold water. He clung to his upturned kayak in treacherous seas off the Isle of Wight.

Fortunately, he had a phone with him, but his immediate thought wasn’t to call nearby emergency services, which were only a mile or two away. Instead, he decided on something different. He told the reporters, “I spent several minutes racking my brains to think of someone who could help and could only come up with my sister and my dad.”
His father Alan Pimm-Smith was training British troops in Dubai 3500 miles away when he got the call from his son. Without any delay, the father called the Coast Guard nearest to his son. Within 12 minutes, a helicopter was dispatched and Mark was rescued.

As I thought about this, here is what came to mind...No matter what kind of troubles you may face, you can always count on God, your heavenly Father, to help you. You call on him and he will help you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Student Missionary

My daughter, Chelsea, is spending this next school year volunteering as a teacher (2nd Grade) in Palau. If you want to keep up with her, check out her blog at

Thursday, August 4, 2011

1 Corinthians 13:11 - “When I was a child…”

1 Corinthians 13:11 - “When I was a child…”

When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought (or reasoned) as a child: but when I became a man (adult), I put away childish things (and ideas). What is the single most important idea about your religious experience that you have changed as an adult?

Unlike Robert Fulghum, author of the book, “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” many of the ideas that are important to me are those that I learned as an adult.

For example:
1. The distinction between what the bible says and what someone say the bible says is important.
2. Honest, informed Christians differ about the interpretation of scripture.
3. Right doctrine is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
4. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics, Baptists, etc…have something to teach us.
5. Having “The Truth” can be a curse.
6. Our relationship to other people defines our relationship to God.
7. It’s is all right to be happy, to have joy.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Please" and "Thank you"

Here's a devotional I read the other day...

It’s common practice to teach your kids to say ‘please’ and then ‘thank you’ when they have requests. It’s considered proper protocol. And when talking to adults, it is. But with God, things are a little bit different.
God has a protocol for how He wants to be approached. And it starts with thanksgiving:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4, 5

With God, "Thank you" should always come before "Please." The first thing that needs to come out of my mouth in prayer and worship needs to be praise for who God is and what He has done. Not just instructions for what I want or even need Him to do.

Thank you is the key that opens the door to God’s house. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but more than anything, it’s about perspective. If you thank God for everything before you ask Him for anything, it makes you realize you deserve nothing. It gives you the worldview that but for the grace of God, you would have no chance for eternal life. And in turn, it makes you even more thankful. And because God still answers your prayers.

Additionally, starting with ‘thank you’ is just practical. When we start with praise, we establish the goodness and greatness of God right off the bat. Now all of our subsequent prayers and complaints can be answered by a good and great God who can both respond to us and who wants to. It’s impossible to be self-absorbed and God-conscious at the same time. Realign your perspective in prayer today.

Start with ‘thank you.’ And then move on to ‘please.’

I encourage to practice this each day this week. Let's thank God for all he has done for us!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inspirational Story

Keenan Cahill is far from your average high-schooler. For one thing, he has overcome incredible adversity, suffering from a rare genetic disorder called Mucopolysaccaridosis (MPS-6) since birth.

For another, at the young age of 15, Cahill has already achieved international superstardom from behind a webcam in his childhood bedroom no less by lip-syncing todays top 40 hits. It was his cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that first threw Cahill into the spotlight earning 36 million views on YouTube and a legion of adoring fans including Katy Perry herself.

But it was Keenan's honesty about his condition that inspired a Chicago news team to ham it up in his bedroom helping him remind others that no matter how much adversity you have in your life, you can choose your attitude.

This made me think...As I was reflecting, I wondered about the influence and impact each of us can have on those around us each day. It's amazing to me how one sick kid can inspire 36 million people without leaving his bedroom! Makes my excuses seems trivial. Hmmm...

Who are you impacting today?

Monday, July 18, 2011

J.R.R. Tokien by Alan Horne

I just finished reading "J.R.R. Tolkien," by Mark Horne. It was a quick read, only 130 pages long. I love all things Tolkien, so this new biography of Tolkien was very enjoyable. These days, many more people are familiar with the literary works of Tolkien thanks to the Hollywood movies directed by Peter Jackson. The three-volume work, The Lord of the Rings, was made into three blockbuster movies, and the Hobbit will soon be a two part movie.

This book serves as an overview of Tolkien life and his way of thinking. As a bonus, one of the things the author adds at the end of the book is recommendations of fuller biographies available of Tolkien's life. The author focuses on the effect Tolkien's life and experiences had on his writing of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's desire (and promise to a friend who died in WWI) was to create stories that would have an impact and inspire readers for many generations.

One of the things I learned about Tolkien is that he was a perfectionist and extremely hesitant to release any of his writings. He was never happy with his latest revision and was constantly rewriting. Were it not for friends like C.S. Lewis, who encouraged him, we might not have The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

While Horne shows us Tolkien as academic and Tolkien as fantasy-writer, he also shows us the adventurous years of his youth, such as Tolkien hijacking a bus and driving it through Oxford. He also spends time on the effect World War I had on Tolkien and the effect losing many of his friends had on his writing.

If you are looking for a quick and easy read that gives you a summary of Tolkien's Life, This is it. It is an excellent read! I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do you lead something?

Here's a great clip for those of us who lead something...

What leadership books are you reading? I, like Bill Hybels, try to do leadership development as a discipline. My goal is to read 3-6 leadership books a year. I believe those of us who lead something need to read--we have to take responsibility for whatever size platform God has given us- big or small-and grow as leaders. I know I have to read to get better as a leader.

If you lead something, I encourage you to take responsibility for your leadership development and read more and read as a discipline.

Here are some of my favorite leadership books:
"Good to Great" by Jim Collins
"Leadership" By Rudoplh W. Giuliani
"The Leadership Engine" By Noel Tichy
"Drive" by Daniel Pink
"The Speed of Trust" by Steven M.R. Covey
"True North" By Bill George
"Go Put Your Strengths to Work" by Marcus Buckingham

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: No More Dreaded Monday's

No More Dreaded Mondays by Dan Miller is a fun, easy to read book about the rapid changes in our world and how these changes affect our career or career choices. It is filled with wonderful stories, and powerful anecdotes. It is a great motivational read.

Miller reminds us that there are many people today who rise dutifully each morning and head to the office, where they enjoy the time spent with their coworkers, where they contribute as part of a team, and receive a regular paycheck. Unfortunately, there are many others, who do not. The traditional workplace is hostile territory for many people, and Miller spends some time explaining how understanding how your brain works will help you choose the right career. Miller uses the terms right brain and left brain to explain how people work and how certain careers and workplaces make it very difficult for those who are in the opposite camp.

No More Dreaded Monday’s has a lot of practical advice and recommendations for you to begin to hang your own dreams and goals upon. The book is full of hope to those who struggle at their job. I encourage you to get it if you want to be inspired and need a starting point for a new career and a new way of life. You will want to take notes and apply some of the things he outlines. If you are considering career changes or are at a career crossroads, I would recommend "No More Dreaded Mondays."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review: His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J Ellis

His Excellency: George Washington spans the early years of Washington's life, as a British officer, his appointment and activity as commander of the Continental army, and his ascendancy to President of the United States. Ellis describes Washington as a private, reserved, man, but bold on the battlefield. He was also an astute observer and delegator regarding political matters.

In the early chapters of this book, Ellis points out two not very endearing traits: first, his sensitivity to criticism, and second, a capacity to play the political game effectively while cultivating the claim of not being interested in it.

From the chapter about the squire time in Virginia, between the British war against France and her Indian allies, and later the War of Independence, Ellis focuses on Washington’s awareness of economics and business management. Washington understood what it meant to be exploited by the colonial master. Initially, his revolutionary impulses were fanned by genuine self interest.

As the military leader of the revolutionary war, Washington lost more battles than any other victorious general in modern times. See, Americans would have lost a short war, but time and perseverance helped make Washington a great General…as well as his personal qualities: he was composed, untiring, and able to learn from mistakes.

After the war of independence, Washington wanted to retire, but he gets dragged into the constitutional debate and can't avoid the first presidency. Ellis lays out Washington’s presidency with great clarity, explaining to the reader why Washington was the perfect and necessary man for the job, and how without him this new country would not have survived. Ellis also paints a wonderful picture of Washington’s relationship with other great people, like Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison.

This is a great book! I really enjoyed the comprehensive picture of Washington that Ellis paints.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Series on the biblical book of Exodus

This week I will be concluding our five week series on the book of Exodus. If you missed any part of the series, you can see it on our church web site at

This August, I will focus on the Ten Commandments and how they help us build strong families. By the way, the Ten Commandments were not the only laws revealed to Moses at Sinai. Exodus 21-23 contain a miscellany of laws conventionally called the "Book of the Covenant". Also check out what was written on the New Stone Tablets in Exodus 34. Check them out and see what you think.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


An Egyptian librarian once heard that the sun could be seen shining at the bottom of a well in the town of Syene on the longest day of the year. He surmised that to make a reflection in a well, the sun had to be directly overhead on that day. And a sun directly overhead would cast no shadows from upright columns or posts. Yet on the longest day of the year in the city of Alexandria, where he lived, he observed that straight columns did cast shadows.

So, he decided to travel the 800 kilometers to Syene himself to verify that what he had heard was true. At midday, on the longest day of the year, he looked into the well and saw the sun reflected. And sure enough, the posts in Syene cast no shadows. He reflected on that. After a while, he began to see a bigger picture of what these seemingly unconnected facts meant. Surprisingly, it went against what nearly everyone believed at the time. You see, the librarian’s name was Eratosthenes, and he lived more than 2,200 years ago.

As the director of the greatest library in the world (the library of Alexandria in Egypt was said to possess hundreds of thousands of scrolls), Eratosthenes was at the intellectual capital of the world for his time. In the third century B.C., nearly every scholar in Alexandria and around the world believed that the earth was flat. But Eratosthenes reasoned that if the sun’s light came down straight and the earth was flat, then there would be no shadows in both Alexandria and Syene. If there were shadows in one location but not the other, then there could be only one logical explanation. The surface of the earth must be curved. In other words, the world must be a sphere.

That’s a pretty impressive mental leap, although it seems perfectly logical to us today. After all, we’ve seen pictures of our planet from space. But Eratosthenes made that big-picture connection by using everyday facts and putting them together. What’s even more impressive is that he took it a step further. He actually calculated the size of the earth! Using basic trigonometry, he measured the angle of the shadows and calculated that it was approximately 7.12 degrees. That’s about 1/50th of a circle. And he reasoned that if the distance between Syene (modern-day Aswan) and Alexandria was 800 kilometers, then the earth must be around 40,000 kilometers in circumference (50 x 800 kilometers). He wasn’t far off; the actual circumference of the earth through the poles is 40,008 kilometers.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to visit Aswan (ancient Syene) and it made me think about how often we don’t use the minds God has given us, and instead are content being mere reflectors of others men’s (and women) thoughts.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why we will still be here on May 22, 2011

Some of you may have heard that Harold Camping, president of Family Radio, has predicted that the rapture will occur today, May 21, 2011. You know, setting dates for the return of Christ has always been a big temptation for students of apocalyptic scripture. It is tempting to study the prophecies, numbers, and symbols in Daniel and Revelation looking for a hidden answer predicting when Jesus will come. But if we are true to the Bible, if we seek the message of Christ’s words in Matthew 24 and 25 with an open heart, we will stop looking to predict the day of his return. Preparing for Jesus’ return has more to do with how we are to live our lives today.

Harold Camping predicts that the end of the world begins with the rapture on May 21, 2011 at exactly 6:00 p.m. Then, five months later, God will destroy the Earth and the universe. Some people laugh at Camping. Others wonder, “Could this be true?” Well, the answer is not found in blogs, posts, or interesting articles. The answer is found in Word of God.

So, what does the Bible say about the timing of Christ’s coming? Here are four passages from Scripture that guide us in understanding whether Camping’s prediction is true.

One: Matthew 24:36 says, “Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
…The Bible tells us every effort we make to nail down the time for Christ’s return will fail.

Two: Luke 21:9 says, “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.”
…The Bible warns us there are false prophets who attempt to predict the timing of Jesus’ coming.

Three: Matthew 24:44 says, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
…Scriptures tells us to watch and be ready because we do not know exactly when Christ will return (Luke 12:35-40, Matthew 24:50, 1 Thessalonians 5:6).

Four: Acts 1:6, 7 says, “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.”
…God has not revealed when Jesus will come again. Our focus should not to be on time-setting, but on the mission God has given us.

Camping also predicts that the saints will be “raptured” while the wicked are left on this earth for five months and then destroyed. But, the Bible tells us that at the second coming of Christ the wicked will be destroyed, not left behind (see Revelation 6:16, 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20, 21).

Also, the Bible teaches that the wicked and righteous (tares and wheat) grow together until the harvest (Matthew 13:30). Then God’s people are saved and the unrighteous are lost.

The parables of Matthew 24 and 25 teach us that Jesus is coming soon, but at a time we do not exactly know, and that we should always be ready. It is not a test of our Christianity to know the specific time of Christ’s return.

Is Jesus’ coming soon? The Bible is certain that Christ will come again. The Scriptures point to signs in the natural world, in the religious world, and in the increase of wickedness on our planet. Jesus predicted, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Has this sign been completely fulfilled?

God calls us to be ready at all times. The best question to ask ourselves is “Am I ready?”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Evolution and Creation

These days, there seems to be an ongoing debate in the Adventist church over whether the world was created in seven days or whether it took millions of years to occur. Two things concern me about this debate. One, is the volatility and anger I see and hear from those passionately defending their position, and two, is the way the discussion distracts us from focusing on what is most important.

Here is what I hear from many who I talk to. “Why does the debate even matter? Are we trying to prove that God exists, or that scientists are smarter than theologians? Scientists are notoriously wrong, inconsistent and not even of one opinion when given the same set of facts. I think the debate is just a distraction.”

What seems to be true is that those that accept the biblical account of creation do not need any further evidence that God is the Creator, and those that do not believe won’t be convicted by any arrogant “I know it all” argument. We will have all eternity to investigate this issue once Jesus has come. In the meantime, let us behave in a way that honors our God, and remember that God is more concerned about how we treat people than by what we know.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts on Osama bin Laden’s death

Mark Twain once said, "I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

Since the death of bin Laden (I found it interesting that he was buried out at sea) there has been a lot of rejoicing. I understand it and yet part of me wonders if there is a difference between us and the radicals who rejoiced over the falling of the Twin Towers. Anyway, as I listened to the news and all the talk show hosts and their elation, Ezekiel 33:11 popped into my mind:

As I live! declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.

Or, Proverbs 24:17, 18: Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him.

As a Christ follower, I feel this tension between the thought that bin Laden deserved death and that justice was done (and that we ought to be happy about it) versus the idea that, as Christians, we should react another way…and that reacting another way is an opportunity to witness of God’s love. As Christians, we should be acknowledging the realities of this world, yet at the same time reacting and living in a way that honors God. This is part of the tension we as Christians are called to live with.

This quote made me think, “When God's people use and rejoice in the methods of this world's kingdoms, they become an obstacle between man and God, obscuring what God wants to make clear. We understand the world - we are from this world - but we want the world to see another way.”

Hmmm. Something to think about and wrestle with…

Friday, April 8, 2011

Q & A with Barry Black, Chaplain of the Senate

Here are some substantive thoughts from a Seventh-day Adventist who ministers to the Senate. For an hour, CSPAN interviews Barry Black on his biography and Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, the spirituality of Congress, and how he got the job. Be sure to listen to his prayer about 19 minutes in.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book: “The Principle of the Path” by Andy Stanley

I have appreciated previous Andy Stanley books, so I was looking forward to reading this one. Also, this topic is one that resonates with many, for the question it addresses is a common one. How do I get to where I want to go? This question applies to all areas of life: relational, financial, career, and spiritual. What I read caught my attention. Stanley writes that the principle of the path governs the way that our lives progress, whether we're aware of it or not…and that certain actions and decisions always have the same results. In other words, the principle of the path is like the principle of the harvest, we reap what we sow.

One quote that summarizes the book is this: "Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences." It is easy enough to identify when someone else seems to be on the wrong path - one of disappointment or regret. But, this is not as easy to see in our own lives. We can look back and see this after the fact, but while we are in the midst, we are blind to it. One of the most helpful things about the book is that it gives us questions for self-examination or self assessment. These questions help us identify the areas which we need to address.

Stanley also stresses that it is direction not intention that sets our destination. He writes that by acknowledging and acting on this cause and effect principle, we can avoid the regret that might come on many levels. But, beware, this book does not try to provide a solution or fix, what it offers is a guide to better self awareness.
As for the author’s style, it’s typical Andy Stanley. The writing is anecdotal, clear, and an easy read. I found the book interesting and helpful and would recommend it to those who are looking for a tool to examine their own life.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moving towards extinction?

Is the Adventist church in North America becoming extinct? In a recent copy of the Adventist Review, Jeffrey Rosario said, “There’s a 50 percent chance that a teenager who gets baptized in his or her mid-teens will leave the Adventist Church completely by the time he or she is 25.

And, hear is a painful stat to see, “One in every five Adventist churches in North America doesn’t have a single child, teenager, or young adult. In fact, the median age in our churches is nearly 60—20 years older than the average American."

Something to consider...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Violence at SDA President Wilson's California Speech

The last thing you’d expect to see at a large meeting of Adventist seniors, most of them retired church workers, is someone throwing a sucker punch to the mouth. But that’s what happened recently in Redlands, California.

It was February 21 (Presidents Day), and General Conference President Ted Wilson addressed the retirees at the Redlands Adventist Church, telling them of his vision for the church, reporting on his recent travels and taking questions. For a conservative leader, it was a tailor-made audience—receptive to his presentation, supportive and approving for the most part, with only a few questions from the fringes of la-la land. And even those he handled as much with a pastor’s comforting hand as with an administrator’s care for the institution he represents.

One of those questions came from a man who was much younger than the average attendee. Short, with salt-and-pepper gray-blond hair, the man complained to Wilson that some pastors and church employees in Southern California were conducting themselves in ways that did not comport with Adventist doctrine and practice. He suggested that Wilson and the General Conference use the enforcement of the trademarked name “Seventh-day Adventist” to crack down on what he perceived to be this abuse. He also railed against “apostasy” in Southern California, citing women’s ordination, political involvement, and social justice as examples.

Wilson, who had just competently fielded several other unusual questions (one man claiming to have “new light” on a passage from Ellen White’s writings, for instance) listened to the younger man and said he’d be glad to look into the question and to receive more information from him after the meeting, if the man could provide it.

The event ended, and many people crowded around Wilson in the front of the sanctuary as others left. At the rear, Southeastern California Conference pastor Jared Wright, who writes for Spectrum Magazine, approached the questioner to ask more about his specific complaints. (Wright says that the man has been identified as Yucaipa resident Warren Stevens.)

Wright identified himself as representing Spectrum, and Stevens raised his voice and said, “You’re part of the problem.” He poked Wright in the chest with his finger and kept escalating his voice.

Then after making verbal threats, Stevens allegedly shot a right jab to Wright’s face, punching him in the mouth. Wright staggered and moved away with his laptop computer and phone, which he was using to record the man’s answers (the phone caught the entire confrontation). Others circled Stevens and began urging him to calm down, and ushered him out of the sanctuary and into the church foyer.

You can hear a recording of the altercation at

Monday, January 24, 2011


This past Saturday, I finished a message series on the topic of worship. That's our theme this year at the Santa Rosa Adventist church...and my desire for all of us...that we will grow in our worship of God, that it will become more authentic, real, and that it will bless God.

This last week, I ran across a picture with a saying that really caught me. If you attend the Santa Rosa Adventist church, you know that there are certain sayings that are part of the fabric of our culture, things like, "Come as you are," or "Food, Fun, Fellowship"... Check out the one below and see what you think...

This saying has prompted some thoughts for upcoming messages. Look for them in February.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January Sermon Series

This month, I am doing a sermon series on Authentic Worship. This in not only our theme for the year, but my personal desire to grow in my worship of God. I will be presenting a 4-part series, the weekly titles are: Why Worship Matters, Worship Responses, Individual Worship, and How Worship Changes You.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homeless Guy with Golden Voice

The Cleveland Cavaliers have offered him a job!