Thursday, November 27, 2014



Many years ago I had the opportunity to sing in a back-up choir for this gospel artist, Larnelle Harris,  This sing reflects just why I am thankful this Thanksgiving Day and every day.

There s no greater joy than to know that your sins are forgiven because of the amazing grace of God's unconditional love. It is an incredible blessing to live every day sustained and empowered by that grace. It is that grace I would pray we all would know.

Monday, November 24, 2014



Saturday a good friend of mine and highly regarded Churches of God pastor, Andrew Draper posted this on his Facebook timeline:

"Fox News and the Southern Baptists are accusing President Obama of "rewriting" the Bible in his speech on immigration and not quoting any particular verse.

Obama: "Scripture tells us, we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. We were strangers once, too."

Exodus 23:9: "You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt."

We can debate the hermeneutic choice, disagree about the extent of presidential authority, and even wonder about appeals to the Bible in public policy. However, it seems like a pretty accurate paraphrase to me."

Andrew is the Senior Pastor at the Urban Light Community Church in Muncie IN, a graduate of Winebrenner Theological Seminary, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Taylor University.   I think his hermeneutic credentials are more than solid.

Within a few hours 67 persons clicked the LIKE box and 16 others commented on the post, some objecting to the assumed endorsement of President Obama but NONE debating the accuracy of the scriptural teaching.

The reality is that the current policies of this nation and the general political mindset of our nation are at variance with the clear teaching of the Word of God.  I am not saying that the nation's policies are obligated to follow the Bible (although our nation would find its elusive healing and hope if we did). But I object strenuously to Fox News (which claims to be the most truthful of media) and the Southern Baptists (who should know better) misrepresenting an important prophetic truth from God's Word.

I understand the necessity of the rule of law and the need to affirm obedience to the laws of a democratic nation.  I hear the complaints about jobs being taken from honest Americans by the "illegals", although the evidence is mounting that these aliens are holding down jobs that honest Americans eschew.  But I urge Christians, especially politicians who claim to be Christian, to remember that God of the Bible is the Protector of the alien and stranger in our midst and seek some solutions which are true to that truth by which we as Christians and we as a nation will ultimately be judged.

Thursday, November 20, 2014



Seven days from now we will gather with loved ones or friends or strangers at the local soup kitchen to share a Thanksgiving meal.  Some will have to go over the river and through the woods, others will have to fight their way through airport terminals, some will simply go their church, and some, perhaps the wisest and (most generous?) will rearrange the furniture, bring in some folding chairs, and invite people into their dining room to share in this meal.

I am thankful that I live in a nation that has included in its calendar a day for us as a people to express our thanks for the blessings and bounty that we enjoy. Typically, we have spiced it with a binge of football to go along with the binging we will do at the table.  And now we have shortened it with shopping sprees that rival the military operations that overthrow petty dictators.  At least we still begin the day with parades.

All joking aside, thankfulness is the mark of a healthy person.  So much of the time our activities border on self-serving or self-aggrandizement, it is an important balance to be thankful for what you have and what you have received. And living in America, even those of us without much have a bounty of blessings compared to much of the rest of the world.

Those of us who  are Christians recognize that we are not self-made men. All that we have really comes from a God of grace who owns it all because He has created it all.  And it is His good pleasure to provide for those He has created and those He has redeemed --those that He loves.

So I hope that this Thanksgiving we will all pause and thank the One that blesses us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014



 Football is working hard to combat a "bad boy" image. The recent highly publicized assault of Baltimore Ravens star, Ray Rice, has led to NFL players joining "NO MORE" Campaign giving the serious problem of domestic violence a platform.   Although we have a tendency at times to elevate athletes to a celebrity status that excuses bad behavior and encourages immature athletes to have a foolish sense of self-entitlement, it is always great when we see our athletes to use their celebrity to combat dangerous trends in our culture. This video is worth sharing again and again. Way to go NFL. Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry and Pop Warner would be proud.

Monday, November 17, 2014



What I am about to say will cause some to pronounce me to be intolerant, a religious bigot. That would be untrue, but I feel I must speak a truth, nonetheless.

The National Cathedral in Washington last Friday was the site of an event that betrays its Christian purpose and identity. It sends a deeply confusing message that is already confused about anything "holy."

Let me note this report from the Associated Press:

Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said the Muslim prayer service on Friday at the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church established under a charter granted by Congress more than 100 years ago, is “sad to see”  because the church should only open its door for  worship of “the One True God of the Bible.”

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Nov. 13, Rev. Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “Tomorrow, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. -- one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America -- will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah.”
Facebook post by Rev. Franklin Graham, Nov. 13, 2014.

“It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins,” said Graham.  “Jesus was clear when He said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (John 14:6).”

Muslim prayer carpets will be laid out inside the cathedral facing east, towards Mecca,  for the prayer service. They will also be “to the side of the sanctuary,” reported Voice of America, so that worshippers will not see the crosses or Christian icons, because “Muslims are not supposed to pray in view of sacred symbols alien to their faith.”

According to Pew Research, Muslims represent about 0.6% of the U.S. adult population.

I cannot agree with Mr. Graham more.  Although it is a church that received a charter from Congress, it is still an Episcopal Church--and the last time I looked Episcopalians were still proudly proclaiming that "Jesus Christ is Lord."  The "rearrangement" of the sanctuary dedicated to the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make it inoffensive to Muslim worshippers dishonors the One True God that Christians worship.

I cannot imagine a Grand Mosque in any city in the world allowing a pastor or a priest to celebrate the Lord's Supper within its walls, nonetheless proclaim "Jesus as our Savior and Lord."

There. Now I've said it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


It's time for SUNDAY AFTERNOON FUNNIES and a fresh batch of Church Signs - STEVE

Friday, November 14, 2014


Emma Scrivner is one of my favorite bloggers. A British Christian, her insights are international. Read below and you will see why.- STEVE

female warrior
Ladies.  (How do you feel about being called ‘ladies?’ Would ‘women’ be better? Gosh, this is a minefield and I’m only on the first sentence…)

You’re standing on the bus.  A man taps you on the shoulder and offers you his seat.  Do you:

a.) kick him in the groin. How dare he patronise you – and in a public place?
b.) Politely decline.  You’re just as capable of him as standing.
c.) Say ‘thank-you’ and sit.  You feel a bit guilty, but it’s rude not to after he’s offered.
d.) Demand to know why he didn’t offer earlier.  Can’t he see that you’re a LADY?

Chivalry. Good – or bad?  Patronising – or inspirational? A remnant of a bygone era?  Or exactly what our culture needs?

I don’t have an answer.  But as with most things, I reckon it’s a question of definition. An excuse to keep us within limiting gender roles? Or something deeper? A way of loving – and protecting each other?
I’m torn.

I don’t need you to open the door for me, or spread your coat across a puddle.  But when you do, I quite like it. It makes me feel special.  But – uncomfortable too.

Are you putting me on a pedestal?  Do you expect me to be fragrant and gentle and burp roses?

Leaving aside the fact that I am actually half your size and carrying some extremely heavy cases – are you looking down on me?  Do you think I’m weaker or inferior to you?

Here’s something I’m beginning to suspect. Maybe my instinctive dislike of chivalry is less about how men see women. Maybe it’s about how see myself. Because actually, I don’t see myself either as an exquisite flower or as an amazonian warrior. I dislike both caricatures and would rather deflect the attention any way I can. It may be that my love-hate relationship with chivalry has less to do with misogyny and a whole lot more to do with masochism. So how should I handle that?

When we look at Jesus, we see the perfect Man: not just laying down His coat for his bride, but laying down His life. He shows us a gentleness and strength that goes beyond mere courtesy; a rejection of social norms for a deeper reality, where each person is valued – independent of their own worthiness. This is wonderful- but quite honestly, it’s something that I also find difficult to accept.
Jesus loves me more than I love myself.  He acts like I’m a princess, when I feel like a tramp.

Everything that He has He gives to me: because, in His eyes, I am unutterably lovely. I don’t understand it and I don’t deserve it. It breaks me and brings me to my knees. But it – He – brings me life.  And from the ruins of myself, I am remade into the woman I long to be.

What has this to do with giving up your seat on the bus? Nothing: but everything too.  A willing surrender of my rights.  A grateful acceptance of grace. A fragment of the gospel in the everyday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


USA Today continues to provide some of the best political commentary via its cartoons. - Steve

Monday, November 3, 2014



I have a confession to make.  I don't remember if I registered to vote.  I moved to a new community early last  year and was out of town on election day.  Because I work as an Intentional Interim Pastor, I anticipated being in a new community at this time.  My job, however, depends on someone dying, being fired, unexpectedly quitting, or retiring.  I would not wish the first three on anyone.  There have been no such changes since I completed my last assignment, so I am still living in this community. 

Tomorrow is election day and I need to call the election board and see if I am registered.  If I didn't or if I did and don't go the polls, I will be part of what is wrong with our nation.  People don't vote. They do not participate in the process.  A healthy body politic requires an informed and responsible citizenry who actively participates in the political process and then holds those they elect accountable to do what is in the best interests of the nation.

But a healthy body politic, especially in a democracy requires  more.  It requires a civil citizenry that is concerned with what is best for all its citizenry--not just its party or special interest group.  We are often so divided and hostile before we go to the polls that we elect leaders who reflect this and the nation suffers accordingly.
On Facebook this week I came across a post that reflects an attitude I believe we need to embrace if ours is to be a nation that works for the good of all of its people--and makes us a stronger and more unified nation as a result.

I know that many young people have opted out of the political process because they no longer have confidence in their politicians and are fed up with our political parties.Maybe we would restore their confidence if as Americans--voters, citizens, leaders - we heeded this simple counsel.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Many of you know that I collect church signs - not literally - photos of them.  Here are some of my recent favorites. - STEVE