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2013 Blog Archive

December 30, 2013 | God Is Not Dead, Nor Does He Sleep
How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote these words in his journal on Christmas Day, 1861. The poet had good reason to be sad that Christmas. The previous July, his wife Fanny, whom he openly adored, had been sealing a keepsake lock of their daughter's hair in wax when a gust... Read More.

December 23, 2013 | Favorite Christmas Story
Dear Friends, This Christmas, I asked Gayle to share one of her favorite Christmas stories. It is a story we’ve shared with friends and loved ones through the years. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. It was going to be the best Christmas ever! I was six years old, it was Christmas Eve, and our family was traveling to Kansas to... Read More.

December 16, 2013 | Are You God?
Recently, I was reminded of a story told years ago by Dr. John Maxwell. It’s one you’ve probably heard, but it bears a message that is worth contemplating again and again. Shortly after the end of World War II, Europe was in ruins. Perhaps the saddest sight were the little orphaned children, starving in the war-torn streets. Early... Read More.

December 02/09, 2013 | Children at Christmas
Last weekend, our daughter and son-in-law decided to take a date night, which meant Gayle and I had the distinct pleasure of having our grandchildren for an overnight stay. Being the doting grandparents we are, we decided to take them for a special outing to the mall on Saturday night. Now, this is not just any shopping mall... Read More.

November 25, 2013 | Five Kernels of Corn
During this Thanksgiving season, our hearts and minds turn to the blessings that we have received. For most of us, they are abundant, and we have much for which to be thankful. But the enormity of the blessing is clearest to us when we are able to contrast it with times of meager existence. The Pilgrims endured incredible... Read More.

November 18, 2013 | Thank God for Home
As we approach Thanksgiving week, my thoughts turn to the many blessings which God has bestowed upon me, not the least of which is the free country in which I make my home. George Shultz served as Secretary of State for the United States during the Reagan administration. During that time, he kept a large globe in... Read More.

November 11, 2013 | We Give Thanks
We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds. As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob. Psalm 75:1, 9.  Giving thanks may at times be simply a matter of perspective. Those who are able to keep things in perspective are able to adopt... Read More.

November 04, 2013 | Heroes
Thank God for good examples. We need people who give us a positive pattern for life on planet Earth.  Scripture is filled with stories of giants of the faith, and good role models also exist in today’s world. The key is to find the right example and follow it. By so doing, we become good examples for others.  William Willimon... Read More.

October 28, 2013 | Who Do You Trust?
Since I’m a baseball fan, my thoughts always turn to the big league playoffs this time of year. I enjoy looking back at interesting matchups that have occurred through the years. The 2006 AL Divisional Playoffs come to mind. According to the experts, the Yankees were supposed to win their division. In fact, they... Read More.

October 14/21, 2013 | A Daunting Sermon
C.S. Lewis once responded to a statement made by another biblical scholar who noted that he didn't "care for" the Sermon on the Mount but "preferred" the Pauline ethics. Lewis’ response made it clear that he was bothered by the idea that we could place one scriptural passage above another based on our... Read More.

October 7, 2013 | Influence
In his autobiography, Breaking Barriers, syndicated columnist Carl Rowan tells about a teacher who greatly influenced his life. Rowan relates: Miss Thompson reached into her desk drawer and pulled out a piece of paper containing a quote attributed to Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. I listened intently as she read... Read More.

September 30, 2013 | Too Soon to Quit
Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel? Maybe the pressure at work is too much; maybe the problems in your marriage seem overwhelming; or perhaps the goal you have strived for years to attain remains just beyond your reach, no matter how hard you try. At what point is it okay to quit... Read More.

September 23, 2013 | Forgiveness at the Ballpark
Former Boston Red Sox Hall-of-Fame third baseman Wade Boggs used to hate going to Yankee Stadium. Not because of the Yankees—they never gave him that much trouble—but because of a fan. That's right: one fan. The guy had a box seat close to the field, and when the Red Sox were in town he would torment... Read More.

September 16, 2013 | No Doubt
If I were to mention the names of Jesus’ disciples and ask you to write down the first word that came to your mind for each one, there would probably be a variety of responses for all the disciples but one. If I mentioned the name Thomas, there is little question about the word most everyone would write down. It would be the... Read More.

September 9, 2013 | Slow Down
In 1995, the movie "Smoke" was released, starring Harvey Kietel and William Hurt. The center of the film is the Brooklyn Cigar Company, located at the corner of Third Street and Eighth Avenue.  In the story, Auggie Wren, played by Harvey Keitel, was the owner of the Brooklyn Cigar Company. Every morning at... Read More.

August 26, 2013 | Overcoming the Past
Are you ever haunted by failures from your past? Do you ever doubt your ability to attain a goal based on failure to do so on previous tries? Perhaps you can take courage from the experience of Olympic swimmer, Jason Lezak.  On August 10, 2008, millions of viewers around the world tuned in to watch the finals of the... Read More.

August 19, 2013 | All God’s Children
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1.  Some years ago, The Archbishop of Canterbury was rushing to catch a train in London.  In his haste, he accidentally jumped on the wrong passenger car and found himself on a car full of... Read More.

August 12, 2013 | Playing in the Big Leagues
Satchel Paige threw his first major league pitch at the age of 42. He was good enough to play in the majors at the age of 18, but he couldn't: Satchel Paige was black. Finally, seven years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Paige, an undisputed superstar everywhere but in the major... Read More.

August 5, 2013 | Humility
Alex Haley, author of the book Roots, had a picture in his office of a turtle sitting on top of a fence post. When you see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know that he didn't get there by himself; he had to have some help.  That's why Haley kept the picture in his office. He said, "Anytime I start... Read More.

July 29, 2013 | Staying Power
As the persecution of Jews increased during World War II, Austrian psychologist Victor Frankl had the opportunity to go to America and avoid the imminent threat of suffering. His parents were thrilled for him, but he struggled with the question: Should I leave my parents behind in Gestapo-controlled... Read More.

July 22, 2013 | Forgiving Your Enemy
Forgiving our enemies unleashes God's power and provision in our lives. Just ask Brandon Biggs. Several years ago, Brandon’s father, Gregory, was struck by a car. His injured body flew into the windshield of the car and lodged there. He might have survived the accident if the driver, Chante Mallard... Read More.

July 15, 2013 | Embracing the Gracious Gift
Writing in a book entitled With Open Hands, Henri Nouwen asserts: “The challenge of the gospel lies precisely in the invitation to accept a gift for which we can give nothing in return. For the gift is the very life breathe of God, the Spirit who is poured out on us through Jesus Christ. This life breath frees us... Read More.

July 8, 2013 | Identity
Father Greg Boyle is in the business of erasing the past. A Jesuit priest who is the founder and director of "Homeboy Industries" in East Los Angeles, Father Boyle put together a team of physicians trained in the laser technology of tattoo removal. The team is part of a program that takes the tattoos of ex... Read More.

July 1, 2013 | It’s Not Me!
A concerned husband goes to see the family doctor: "I think my wife has a hearing problem. I often have to repeat things again and again before she hears me." "Well," the doctor replies, "When you go home tonight, stand about 15 feet from her and say something. If she doesn't reply, move about five... Read More.

June 24, 2013 | Identity
Thomas Grueter has always had trouble putting names with faces. But unlike most of us who might have trouble recollecting the name, Grueter's trouble lies in recognizing the face--even if it is his own mother's. His condition is called prosopagnosia or "face blindness," and until recently the disorder was... Read More.

June 17, 2013 | Repeated Mistakes
The story is told of a man who hired a pilot to take him Caribou hunting in Canada. He asked the pilot to land in a remote place. The pilot said, "There aren't any Caribou in this area." The hunter said, "Yes there are. I was here last year." Sure enough, in a few hours the hunter returned, dragging two caribou... Read More.

June 10, 2013 | Forgiveness
God's act of forgiveness toward us is a one-time event. We ask once, he forgives, he forgets, and that's the end of it. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)... Read More.

June 3, 2013 | Without Me You Can Do Nothing
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 NJK. J. Gordon, one of the founders of Gordon Conwell Divinity School, told of an... Read More.

May 27, 2013 | Imitating Christ
A comprehended god is no God," a great preacher once said. In the second half of the fourth century, John Chrysostom emerged as a shining voice in the... Read More.

May 20, 2013 | Justice and Mercy Meet
One of the most publicized events of the last decade was the execution of a Texas woman who had been convicted of murdering two people 14 years earlier.  During her time in prison, she became a... Read More.

May 13, 2013 | Doing The Impossible
Jesus said, "With God, all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) This principle can -- and should -- be the driving force behind everything we do; certainly behind every effort... Read More.

May 6, 2013 | Pursue Excellence
I once heard a sports analyst describe an undefeated college team this way: "They have a tendency to play at the level of their opponents. They seem to do only as much as is necessary to win... Read More.

April 29, 2013 | The Christian Argument
Not many people today remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin. During his day, however, he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. Bukharin was a Russian Communist leader who took part... Read More.

April 22, 2013 | This Little Light
If it were possible to put together a museum that would house all of the world’s stolen art, it would be among the greatest collections of all time. In it we would find works by Cezanne, Renoir, and da Vinci, 174 Rembrandts, 43 Van Goghs, and over 500 Picassos... Read More.

April 15, 2013 | Forgiveness and Reconciliation
In 1969, Simon Wiesenthal penned his book, The Sunflower, which captured the agony he personally experienced during the Holocaust. In his book, Wiesenthal described how he had been... Read More.

April 8, 2013 | The Cost of Heaven
Given the opportunity, how much would you pay for a place in heaven? A number of years ago, a survey asked the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans that very question. This elite group included... Read More.

April 1, 2013 | Giving
He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God... Read More.

March 25, 2013 | Identity
What is your identity? Have you stopped to consider who you really are and what your foundation is? A life of contentment and success comes only when we are grounded in something bigger than ourselves. Henry Ford is one of the biggest names in American life. His use of mass production in manufacturing the Model T... Read More.

March 18, 2013 | Virtual Gods
Several years ago, the creators of several popular online role-playing games completed a yearlong study of the very real transactions that are taking place in their imaginary worlds. The results portray a flourishing economy that has grown rapidly. Between June 2005 and June 2006, 9,042 role players spent $1.87 million dollars on... Read More.

March 11, 2013 | Rest
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. In his book, "Finding God in a Busy World," John Killinger writes: I thought about this text [Ps 46:10] some months ago as I sat in Sacre-Coeur, a church built atop Montmartre, a high hill overlooking the city of Paris. This marvelous church, built around the turn of the century... Read More.

March 4, 2013 | Ambassadors of Reconciliation
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. 20We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. 2 Cor. 5:19-20.  Every believer is called to be an ambassador for Christ... Read More.

February 25, 2013 | Forks
The average person eats about 1,417 pounds of food per year. Much of that food makes it to your mouth by way of a fork, a utensil that has a very interesting history. The fork, as we know it today, has not always been popular. Its first ancestors were tiny forks that appeared in Tuscany during the eleventh... Read More.

February 19, 2013 | God’s Gracious Feast
There's a wonderful story by Isak Dinesen called Babette's Feast, about a strict, dour, fundamentalist community in Denmark. Babette worked as a cook for two elderly sisters who had no idea that she once was a chef to nobility back in her native France. Babette's dream was to return to her beloved home... Read More.

February 11, 2013 | Building Bridges
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in their 40 years of working together. It began with a small misunderstanding and grew into a major difference. The disagreement finally exploded into an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of... Read More.

February 4, 2013 | Stay With It!
Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." He may have understated his intelligence, but he does so to make a point: For more than any other reason, he was successful because he was persistent. I'm no Albert Einstein, but I can also say that... Read More.

January 28, 2013 | The Care and Feeding of a Soul
Just after the end of World War II, a U.S. Army officer and his wife were stationed in Japan. The country had been devastated by the war. The post-war economy was in shambles. Unemployment approached sixty percent.  People came to the Army wife's door daily looking for work. One man said... Read More.

January 21, 2013 | Two Million Dollar Mistake
John D. Rockefeller was the American industrialist who built the great Standard Oil Empire. Not surprisingly, Rockefeller was a man who demanded high performance from his executives.  One day, one of those executives made a two million dollar mistake. Word of the man’s... Read More.

January 14, 2013 | Slowing the Pace
Pastor and author John Ortberg writes: Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction. I described the pace of life in my current ministry. The church where I serve tends to move at a fast clip. I also told him about our rhythms of family life... Read More.

January 7, 2013 | The Last Word
A sales manager and two of his sales reps are walking to lunch one day when they come across an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie appears, saying, "I'll give each of you just one wish." One rep is quick to speak up first. He says, "I want to be in the Bahamas driving a speedboat... Read More.