Monthly Archives: August 2020


Gentleness is a character trait that is valued and highlighted in the Bible in many different places and many different ways, the most impactful probably being in Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus invites us to serve with Him, ”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

During the time of Jesus, farmers would train a young ox to pull a plow or wagon by yoking them up with an older experienced ox. The older one would do most of the work, but the younger one soon learned how to pull and work by walking with and working with the older and more experienced ox.

”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Wow, that is such an attractive invitation. Almost everyone is ”weary and heavy-laden,” and the promise is that Jesus will give rest to those who come to Him. The invitation to ”come to Jesus” is an invitation to be yoked up with Him, to walk with Him, to work with Him, and to learn from Him, then we will find rest for our souls. What do we learn when we spend time with Jesus? We learn to be gentle. Not many people make ”learning to be more gentle” a personal goal in life, especially not many men, but it appears to me that it is the acquisition of gentleness that results in a weary free life of rest that Jesus promises.

There are many very counter-intuitive principles in the Bible which God declares to be the normal when He said, ”My ways are not your ways, nor is your wisdom My wisdom.”

The more we grow in the character trait of gentleness the more restful our souls will be. ”Rest for our souls,” what exactly does that mean? I like to take ”rests” periodically during the day, and the harder I am working the more frequent the rests. The purpose of a rest is to get re-energized. Jesus said, ”I will give you rest”, or another way of saying it, ” I will give you energy, strength, passion, vision, drive.” When?

Gentleness is a relational character trait, that is, you do gentleness with people. Gentleness is being quick to forgive, not answering rudeness with rudeness, not paying back hurt for hurt, working at making people feel special, appreciated, and valued.

So, the simple, counter-intuitive principle is this; ”When we choose to be gentle with another person, God who sees and hears everything rewards us with strength, but if we act grumpy, irritable, return rudeness for rudeness, and are insensitive to those around us we become weary.”


Romans 13:3-4 ”For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”

In this passage in the book of Romans in the New Testament in the Bible rulers or police are called ”ministers of God” twice. The next time you are pulled over for speeding tell the officer that the Bible calls him a ”minister of God”. Their job given to them by God is to ”bring wrath on the one who does evil”. Their job given to them by God is to protect those who are good from the one’s who are evil.

Isaiah 5:20-23 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!

There is a bunch of wicked behavior going on in our country right now under the guise of social justice. There is non-stop rhetoric being spouted by rebels who really don’t have a cause, they are just bad people who are always looking for an opportunity to be bad and appear just, and then their nonsensical words and stupid behavior is hyped by the media to create a frenzy of more stupid behavior.The worst thing about the foolishness going on now in the name of justice is the number of relatively good people who are getting caught up in it thinking they are fixing things.

It is so important to stay close to God in these days, to read the Bible and spend time with God in prayer every day so that we can be wise and see accurately what is going on, and to be able to appraise right from wrong.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things,

I Drove off with the Gas Nozzle still in the Tank!

I have heard of people doing that, but I always thought that a person was close to brain dead who would do such a thing. After I asked for my tank to be filled with regular, handed off my credit card, and as my tank was filling, I took two propane bottles over to be filled and then packed them back to the car once filled and put them in the trunk, I then went in and paid for them and got $.73 cents taken off for a pastor’s discount. I then got in the car and drove away with the gas nozzle still in my car’s gas tank. I heard a loud popping noise, looked in my side view mirror and saw the kid who pumped my gas chasing me and the gas nozzle and hose trailing after me. whooooeeeee was I humiliated, embarrassed to death, wishing that Jesus would come back right now. I apologized repeatedly, and they said no big deal, they had a quick disconnect on the hose that pulled apart when this happened, and they would just plug it back in, it happens all the time.

I have been in group discussions at lunch or other times with pastors when we got to sharing the most embarrassing moments in our lives, where you just wanted to simply die. Some of the stories that I have heard others tell I thought we’re the craziest, funniest stories, and laughed till I was sick. One of the funniest was when a friend of mine was talking to an Elder in our church on his cell phone and while talking drove off with the nozzle still in his tank, heard the commotion, looked in his mirror and then started cussing and then realized that he was still on the phone with the church Elder. Whoooooeeeeeee, I howled when I heard that story. Well, at least I didn’t cuss.

Shame is our greatest fear. It is said that most men’s greatest fear is speaking in public, it isn’t that as much as the fear of doing poorly and looking bad and being embarrassed, feeling shame.

A prayer of King David in Psalms 31:17, ”Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You;” I pray that prayer often.

Here is a prayer of Jesus as He hung on the cross for our sins in Psalms 69:19-21, ”You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor; Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

Jesus understands us because He experienced everything to the fullest that we have experienced and felt. He knows and understands what we are going through in life and what we need to get through it successfully.

Thank You, Lord Jesus for understanding me, being patient with me, forgiving me of everything and anything, giving me strength to grow, and confidence in my shame that You will never be ashamed of me.

A Dog’s Life

Our new dog, Roscoe, is living a dog’s life. He gets held whenever he whines. He gets more food to eat than he needs. He sleeps any time he want’s any where he wants. He isn’t expected to do anything responsible to merit all that he gets for free. I took most of two days flying round trip to Philadelphia to pick him up, and paid good money to boot. It is kind of a mystery as to why I did that and why a dumb dog who can’t talk or seem to make sense of a simple command not to poop in the house has become so special. It makes no sense to me even though I am right in the middle of the whole thing. The payback is his affection in a very simple kind of way. He whines to be picked up, he wags his tail like crazy when you look at him, and he practically wiggles himself into a frenzy when you scratch his belly. A simple dog like devotion seems to attract many people to put up with these hairy, noisy, peeing and pooping nuisances.

Romans 5:6-9 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

I am a born again child of God, forgiven, adopted into His family. Why did He do that for me?

John 14:1-3 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus is building a house for us and He will come and take us to be with Him, live with Him forever. Why? What makes me or you worth that kind of attention?

I am not sure why He loves me so much, but He does, and my main responsibility, if I can call it that is to adore Him, to worship Him, to thank Him, to praise Him, not as an occasional ritual, but without ceasing. To acknowledge His presence in my life continually, to talk to Him, to walk humbly with my God, to bring Him great joy by my joy in Him.

Most Important Discipline of them All

I have written on this topic numerous times, but it is so important and so easily forgotten and dropped that I have a goal of bringing it up at least every 6 months.

The most important discipline is the first thing in the morning prayer of commitment. If I faithfully do this one, then all the others fall into line. The prayer needs to be relatively short, memorized, and prayed each and every morning. My prayer looks like this;

Dear Lord,

Today I present myself to You as Your servant, You are Lord and King of my life, today I will obey You and do Your will no matter how difficult or hard it might be. Today I will read Your Word, and I will memorize and meditate on your Word, that is the key to my growth, my power, and my accomplishments. Today I will be devoted to prayer, I will pray systematically, according to my my commitments, and continuously. Today I will love Patty the way You love the Church. Today I will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Today I will only speak words that give grace to those who hear.Today I will love any person You sovereignly bring into my life no matter how difficult they might be to love. Today I will not get angry, not even a little bit irritated at anybody no matter what they do, I will forgive them quickly. Today I will do my part to build Your church at JBC and around the world. Today I will look for open windows, divine appointments, provided by the Lord to be a witness. Lord Jesus, I can’t keep these commitments in my strength, please fill me with Your Spirit today and grant me the power to keep these commitments and to glorify Your name.


51 years Married to the Same Woman

Today was Patty and Dee’s 51st Wedding Anniversary. That is a lot of years of events, accomplishments, and criseses. Through all the up’s and down’s over the years we have always been one. That is a claim that not many can make, we have always been one. The essence of love is unity; there is no love without unity. Unity requires sacrifice for the other person, it requires giving in and compromise. Oneness requires patient conversation and listening. Unity and oneness requires humility in letting the other person be right this time. Unity, for sure requires a lot of forgiveness, not ordinary forgiveness that takes a while to work up to, but extraordinary forgiveness that chooses to forgive immediately, every time there is a cross word or a rude comment, it is immediately forgotten and overlooked. That isn’t easy to do, but we have for 51 years. Patty and I are very different in every way. Often differences create division and strife, but our differences have created an interplay of mutual care and cooperation of strengths being amplified and weaknesses being compensated for so that together we are so much more effective and efficient in living life, doing ministry, and raising our family. Unity and oneness requires a mutual submission and authority that works seamlessly without votes or fights to arrive at decisions that are good and wise. True unity and oneness like that of God the Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is supernatural, it just is. From my perspective, Patty is 99% the reason our marriage is so good, and many of you agree with me, but Patty believes that I am 99% the reason our marriage is so good, wow, now that makes me feel appreciated and honored. A unified marriage creates an environment of security, peace, joy, self-worth, acceptance, and honor that both partners thrive and grow in. As good as it has been next year is going to be so much better.

Quality Thinking

Someone told me the price of a particular pickup for sale in today’s auto/truck market, and I thought, wow, you have got to be kidding me! I asked what it was in particular that made it worth that much money, and the response was quality. The word quality can describe a truck or car, a home, clothes, of course the word could be used to describe a boat or a hunting rifle. A word that would be an opposite to the word quality would be the word junk.

Let me apply the word quality to thinking. But before we describe quality thinking, let me state this law of life, ”You can be certain that the quality of your actions and your life will never exceed the quality of your thinking.” Proverbs 23:7 says, ”As a person thinks, so he is.”

One quality thinker that I love to read recently said, ”there is obviously not a lot of clear thinking taking place in our country today evidenced by the words that are spoken and the things that are done.

Quality thinking is focused thinking. It might be on a problem that needs to be solved, or a plan that needs to be made, instead of fleeting thoughts on a variety of topics both important and frivolous. Focused thinking stays on the problem, plan or goal until there is resolution, a sense of accomplishment. It takes discipline and mental work to stay focused.

Quality thinking will often be critically reflective of ourselves in an effort to improve and grow in character, in our skills, and in how to accomplish more with our life that matters. The word quality assumes inspection, improvement, standards, and goals.

Quality thinking will not be influenced or controlled by our emotions. If a person replays a situation in their mind in which they were hurt, offended, humilated, cheated, or disrespected the resulting decisions and behaviour will not be quality, but junk.

Another very important essential in quality thinking is thinking that is based on reality instead of fantasy, what is true rather than made-up. Our brains are incredibly creative and they can create scenes that would give ”Alice in Wonderland” a run for it’s money.

There are a number of other descriptions of quality thinking that we could pursue as we work on continually becoming a person who is growing in wisdom, character, relationships, and accomplishment.

There are four major disciplines that we can engage in that will really help in our pursuit of being a quality thinker. The first is reading good books written by people who are quality thinkers. The higher the quality and the greater the depth of the content of a book the more focused our thinking needs to be to take in what we are reading. Our brains are lazy and much prefer to relax and take it easy as we read. Good books make us think .

The second is listening to good speakers and teachers who know their topic well and communicate about it clearly, persuasively, and convincingly. There is so much good stuff available on podcasts, and YouTube on any number of topics. I like to listen to people I know will present a view that is different than mine so that while I listen I need to interact with the content forcing me to think.

The third is writing, writing our thoughts down and then reading them, and evaluating if what we wrote makes sense. Writing a blog is a very effective discipline to improve the quality of our thinking, even if nobody ever reads it.

The fourth is discussions with quality thinkers, often who again have a different opinion or view than I do. A number of years I was involved with 4 other pastors and we got together about once a month for several hours and discussed various theological topics. It was a very unique group in that no one ever got mean spirited in their defense of their view or belief and everyone was incredibly gracious in their communication to the others. It was a very profitable time for me as a young pastor learning to think outside what I had been taught all of my life.

Training Roscoe

So now we have a family pet, a dog, a ”Jackapoo” which is a cross between a Jack Russel Terrier and a poodle. Regularly during the day I call him Patty’s dog, when he poops on the floor, when he pee’s on the floor, when he whines, when he barks, and when he chews up one of my books. The solution, my kids say, is to train him, then he won’t do those nasty things anymore. A dog’s intelligence is slightly higher than those rioting in Portland so it takes a little work to train them, and lots of patience. I am letting a Patty do the potty training, and I will take care of the whining, barking, and chewing, and Sherri is going to train him not to jump on you, although I don’t care if he jumps on me. Roscoe is already pretty sensitive to my voice, he can easily tell the difference between my ”good boy” voice, and my ”bad boy” voice, and responds appropriately to both, so my part of his training won’t take long.

God trains us, and uses difficult times in life to do it

Hebrews 12:10-11 God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

God, the creator of the universe trains me so that I will be just like him. The Bible talks about those who are stiff necked, hard-hearted, and scoffers who don’t train well, not even with God the all-wise one doing the training. I have a given number of days to live and I don’t want to miss a single training episode with my creator.

Abortion is Murder

I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, telling us what is true, right, and good from God’s perspective. In the following passage from the Gospel of Luke is a story of Mary who was pregnant with Jesus visiting Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with John the Baptist.

Luke 1:39-44 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.

The only way a civilized person could justify abortion is to declare that the unborn baby is not yet a real person. Otherwise abortion is murder, premeditated murder, premeditated murder based on personal comfort.

In discussions that take place about the validity of masks to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus the statement made over and over is, ”You have to go with science”.

For any person to declare that an unborn baby is not fully human is totally devoid of science. The argument for abortion is based on the right of the pregnant woman to do what she wants with her own body even if it means killing an unborn person.

So, I declare that I don’t want to wear a mask because it is dehuminizing, and I don’t believe it works anyway. It is my life, my body and if I want to risk getting COVID, that is my right. The response is, ”how selfish of you, you could be giving someone else the virus, you should be willing to put up with wearing a mask for the sake of others.” one politician suggested that those who don’t wear masks be charged with murder.

Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president of the United States and Kamala Harris are champions for the right of any woman to abort her baby at any time, and yet he declared that if elected president he would make wearing face masks a national law, after all it is your patriotic duty, and he also declared today that he would totally close down the country again over COVID if scientist recommended it.


Not Very Motivated Lately

For most of my life I have had a gift from the Lord, being naturally motivated and having an abundance of energy. I have always made goals, to do lists, and I am always trying to get more done than I did the day before. I have a difficult time sitting for very long before I am off on a new project. I am never happier than when I am super busy, and the most rewarding feeling for me is being dead, dog tired at the end of a day. I don’t think it was anything special I did, I think that it is just the way God wired me. You can call it a blessing or a curse, but for me, most of my life I have looked at it as a huge blessing from God.

I have always had days in the past where I was totally unmotivated to do anything, but it rarely ever lasted more than a day, and then I was back pushing to get a new project done.

But for the last month I have been struggling with being totally unmotivated to do anything, not depressed, just a general lack of energy, physically and emotionally. I am still being faithful to my duties, responsibilities, and disciplines getting them done with shear discipline and self-control, but it is a drag. I find myself drawn to my recliner to take a nap all through the day.

I don’t know what the cause is, but I would like to figure it out and fix it. It could simply be old age and naturally declining energy, it could be this COVID thing that has my schedule all off course, and my dreams and goals on hold, it could be related to my having Parkinson’s, and it getting worse, most people with Parkinson’s struggle with this.

If it is one of the above or a combination of all three I probably am going to have to grow in self-control and discipline so I can continue to bear fruit for the Lord and bear even more and more fruit, even if I don’t feel like doing anything. I have been journaling a bunch of late on the necessity of doing just that as a possible new chapter in my life.

I don’t like feeling tired, I don’t like getting less done rather than more, I don’t like feeling like a wimp, I don’t like feeling old.

I am not writing this as an attempt to get sympathy from you, and I am certainly not looking for advice on how to fix it, though I am not above getting counsel from friends on dealing with stuff they have already gone through. What I am wanting to do is write about my journey through life, describing the challenges and struggles that I have, and how I deal with them. Always a pastor at heart and gifting I want to teach, influence, and encourage those in my life to always live for the lord and run the race set before us with endurance and joy. The best way I know how to do that now is by modeling, by being an example to those going through similar struggles. That is my goal with this daily blog.