Tuesday, June 25, 2013



The opinion that many people have of Christians is that they are self-righteous and judgmental, claiming a perfection that really is impossible to achieve.  Although there are Christians for whom that is indeed true, let me set the record straight.

To the Christian, the goal of righteousness requires a right relationship with God.  It is our heart's desire to be the person God created us to be and for whom Christ died that we could become.  People think that  righteousness comes from going to church, reading your Bible, living a squeaky clean life--but righteousness (or holiness) is a gift from God to people who choose to let God live in and through them.

Ironically, that righteousness comes from having a heart after God's own heart.  Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, used to pray this prayer: "O God, break my heart with the things that break your heart."  Christians who are truly righteous (not self-righteous) would pray this prayer daily. They would pray it not merely devotionally but out of earnest desire.

I once read that there were things required for a right relationship with God: SURRENDER, BROKENNESS, and REPENTANCE.

Righteousness comes from surrendering our lives to the will and purposes of God.  Surrender becomes really when we are broken, when we come to the end of our self pride and humbly admit our need for God.  Repentance comes from recognizing living apart from God is sin--and more than that, keeps us from lives of obedience to God Who created us and saved us.

Righteousness is not a false sense of perfection but a genuine dependence on forgiveness.  As we turn our imperfect, broken, prideful lives over to God - we finally connect with His blessing and become the blessed He has blessed us to be.  Genuine Christians pray this prayer, penned long ago by a man of incredible imperfection and public sin, King David:

"My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." - Psalm 51:17

I hope this sets the record straight.


I am an avid reader of blogs of a variety of purposes and persuasions.  This one comes from a blogger who subscribes to LIFE MATTERS 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane whose reflections on life I often smile at and take encouragement from.

If the Washing Machine Eats the Socks, What Eats the Silver Ware?

by 5kidswdisabilities
We all know the adage that the washing machine eats socks, which is why they never come out in pairs.  I long ago gave up trying to match them, just buying plain black socks for the boys and hoping they kind of match.  Marie gets to feel in fashion because all of her socks are multi-colored with frogs, kisses, stripes and cats.  If she can get one stripe from one sock to match the color on the cat, then she has found a fashionable match!
My concern is our silverware.  When we first had kids, we started out with a full Faber ware set.  As we saw pieces disappear one by one, we had to replace the set several times.  (We now have 72 knives and six spoons left.)  We do not know where the silverware goes.  As far as we are concerned, we eat with it, put it  in the sink, in the dishwasher to be washed and then back in the silverware drawer.  It is not rocket science.  It IS, however, way too complicated of a system to work in our house.  For some reason, our silverware disappears!  One would assume that the washing machine/sock theory would work for the dishwasher and disappearing silverware, but, alas, that is not the answer.
Theory #1 is that ours is the "HOUSE OF THE DISAPPEARING SILVERWARE", oooooooooh!  We sometimes stay awake at night imagining the silverware whisking away into thin air with a whoooosh here and a whooosh there, kind of like witchcraft.  (In the interest of full disclosure, my husband is not bothered by this and he sleeps soundly...)  In the morning, half of the forks are gone!
Theory #2 is that, somehow, the children are involved.  Maybe they take a paper plate of left overs to their bedrooms and the silverware gets thrown away with the disposable dish. I shudder to think of this dirty, tragic end to our fine and selfless silverware. They died in the line of duty, never again seeing the light of day...
Whatever the reason, and whatever the consequences we have put upon our children for not taking care of the silverware, it continues to vanish for no apparent reason. Long ago we gave up our concept that the ideal home has good silverware with which to feed our perfect little family. Currently, spoons and forks from the Dollar Store fill our silverware drawer.  The frustration of having to constantly replace good silverware is gone.  With that stress no longer on my shoulders, the result is a cheaper, flimsier fork.  Eating steak, which would potentially bend our new utensils, it out of the question. It doesn't matter anyway...hamburger is about all we can afford.  We are so lucky that our budget matches our utensil selection!  Our hospitality skills are also hampered by the antics of our kiddos, so we are also lucky that no one in their right mind would come to our house for dinner, thus sampling our pittance silverware.  Isn't it great how life does have a way of turning out perfectly?  We are so lucky!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


"Religion can make us nice, but only Christ can make us new." - Mary Baptisti
"Never play the "Devils' Advocate" for too long. In ministry organizations, the "Devils' Advocate" can become the devils' pawn, undermining faith and creating fear. Instead, offer alternative solutions to a problem." - David Newell
"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." - C.S. Lewis ~ 
"The church IS a local gathering of those who follow Jesus. The church EXISTS for those who are not yet apart of it." - Will Mancini
Re Rick Warren whose son committed suicide-- per Greg Laurie: "At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word. There is no manual, but there is Emmanuel."
"We all make mistakes, it is how we choose to live after the mistakes that determines who we are." - Trevor Reece

Saturday, June 22, 2013


"First day of Summer supper: Hot dogs, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes!!!"
This is what my friend Kay Royer Cocklin posted on her Facebook page yesterday afternoon.  My first response was, "Oh! Yes!!!!!" Made me sad that I had already eaten a bowl of cereal for supper. (My wife is out of town being a grandmother-in-residence and I was too tired after mowing to get very creative.)
Simple things--hot dogs, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes.  Readily accessible to most of us in America. Better than most things you would have popped into a microwave.  A whole lot cheaper than a steak. Except maybe for the hot dogs, a whole lot healthier, too.
Simple pleasures that those of us who have experienced them--quite satisfying.
Choosing the simple and taking pleasure from it tends to be a counter-cultural concept in 21st century America. Smart phones, smart cars, smart houses, constant digital connection, designer clothes, beds with dual comfort controls, specially manufactured golf clubs, 200 channels of satellite TV--the list goes on and grows more complicated by the second.
And so often those things carry complications that drain the last ounce of simplicity from our lives and replace it anxiety and aggravation.  Ever try to talk to cable company computer?  What happens when your smart car enters a dumb phase?  How much will it cost you to fix it? Do you really have to be available to every human being via phone every moment of your day?  Do the manufactured clubs feel any better when you miss the put or shank the drive?  Do you ever stop working to pay for your smart home long enough to actually be in it?
Don't all the options of life at times just get overwhelming?  Don't you simply run so much that you find yourself in a rat race where the rats are winning?
Don't say "no" because I know you're lying - to yourself as well as me.
Donald Miller writes:  "It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen.  Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is a stroll.  This is how God does things."
I pretty much missed the first day of summer because I let myself embrace the complicated.  I put too many things in my schedule.  I didn't stop to savor the sunshine or read a good book.  In fact, I didn't even look at the calendar to notice that it was the first day of summer.  Ironically, it was my sabbath, my day of rest and refreshment and instead I filled it with the things that I hadn't gotten done on my work days.

And I forgot the hot dogs, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes.  Didn't pay much attention to God either.

My loss.

(C) 2103 by Stephen Dunn

Friday, June 21, 2013


 As much as I hate Howie and Howard as judges--give me Piers Morgan, please--if this is the kind of talent this year, I may be back.

Singing Military Wives Audition for Their Soldier Husbands - You Will Cry! from alegator21 on GodTube.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Don Knotts was a comic genius and his movie The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is my all time favorite. Watch this clip and you will see why.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken | Movie Trailer | Review

Monday, June 17, 2013



I haven't posted in a while but out of the inspiration of Father's Day ant the fine fathers I am privileged to pastor, I though this would make a good Monday Morning Reflection.

"The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him." - Psalms 103.13 New Living Translation

Fathers often get a bad rap in our culture.  Part of it is the egalitarian bias that tends to lower these former authority figures to lift up mothers and children.  Part of it tendency to define the feminine side as the nurturing one and the masculine as the demanding side.  And part of this is because there are some fathers unworthy of the name or position which tend to get the  focus of the social critics. I could turn this into a rant with even more illustrations, so let my first statement suffice. Fathers often get a bad rap.

The problem is that I don't buy it. Each day as a pastor I meet superb fathers.  Men who love their children deeply.  Who hold them and hug them.  Men who come home tired yet read to their little one or climb back into the car to take a son or daughter to soccer practice.  Dads who do not bark orders but who patiently teach.  Dads who know their children's dreams and work overtime to help those children realize their dreams.

Fathers who build tree houses and coach teams.  Fathers who kiss boo-boos and hold a crying babe in the most tender of arms.  Dads who take their children to church and teach them to pray and maybe even teach a Sunday School class for their kids and their friends or chaperone retreats.

Dads who discipline with patience and set boundaries.  Fathers who teach responsibility and model accountability.  Fathers who exhibit a 24/7 faith in God and live with personal integrity.

And Father who bless their children with stable homes by loving their wives with the sacrificial leadership of Jesus Christ.

Maybe it's time to honor those Dads.  To affirm them and support them and bless them.  That just may change their children's eternal destinies.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Just for fun I will share this You Tube of my one "gospel quartet" experience. I am the baritone (2nd from left)