I Love October!

I love October.  It is my favorite month of the year.  And today’s weather is one of the reasons. It’s about 65 degrees, low humidity, sunny, not too hot, not too cold.  Now, I like hot weather when I’m on the beach or at the pool.  And, I like cooler weather when I’m working outside or playing in the snow.  But I like the kind of weather that is too hot for a long sleeve shirt and too cool for a short sleeve shirt.  Started today with a sweatshirt and I now have on a t-shirt.

Another reason October is my favorite time of year is birthdays.  My birthday is October 21.  My dad’s was October 31 (Yeah, Halloween).  And now my granddaughter, Ellie, has her six-year birthday today – October 1.  I love birthdays!  Mine especially, but I like all the celebrations.  I used to not like them. When I was little I used to cry when they sang happy birthday to me.  And I am so looking forward to going to Ellie’s birthday party.  If you have a birthday in October, Happy Birthday!

Another reason October is my favorite time of year is all the harvest stuff that goes on.  Hayrides, bonfires, and trick-or-treating.  I know some people are anti-halloween and I can really understand that.  But I remember it as the one time a year you can get candy from everyone in the neighborhood.  It was always a ‘who can get the most’ competition between the neighborhood kids.  We would get an old pillow case and run from house to house (the good houses we hit twice).  By the time the night was over the pillow case was full.  And then we’d go home and divide it all out – gum, suckers, candy bars, and other stuff.  Then we would barter with each other.  And that candy would usually last us until Thanksgiving, maybe. As a teen, I really liked the haunted houses we would go to. Though they were scary, they were great fun!

October is a great month.  It’s a great month to use for the cause of Christ.  I hope you will invite someone to visit with you to a church service. So, may God give you a great October for your family, your community, your church, and your Lord.

Leaving a Legacy

Each and every one of else has an inner desire to go beyond success to significance. We want our lives to mean something and make a difference.

Christians are free to live significant lives because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. We no longer have to worry about working off our sins, or pleasing God. With God’s love and forgiveness we are empowered to make a mark on life.

We are free to leave a legacy in life. Two of the disciples, James & John, voiced what many want to do with their life. They wanted to live their life in such a way that they would be rewarded with seats right beside Jesus in His kingdom. Jesus asked them if they were willing to pay the price. They acknowledged they were willing. But Jesus explained that leaving a legacy is not based on what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others.

Jesus summarized a life well-lived with these words: “… whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.  And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45).

To leave a legacy, we have a choice to make – What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind us?


James and John saw Jesus as a revolutionary. Jesus talked about starting God’s kingdom on earth. James and John wanted a piece of the action. They wanted to be given positions of power and prestige.

It is easy for us to identify with James and John. We know the allure of prominence at work or in the community. Even if we can’t get the position of respect, we still want respect from people. We want people to think we are somebody.  It makes us feel important. But is not the path to leaving a legacy. Only when we serve others will we find a secure legacy. Promoting yourself is self-defeating. But encouraging and serving others will guarantee a long, lasting legacy.


We are a society that focuses on what people do and what people have done. When we focus our time and energy on doing things and accomplishing great feats, we may build a great resume and wonderful reputation, but we are not leaving a legacy.

If we are to leave a legacy, we need to leave it in the lives of people. It is easy to forget, neglect, and ignore people in the pursuit of our goals and dreams. Accomplishments are wonderful, but not at the expense of the people you pass over to achieve them. Your successful deeds will never thank you for all the time you spent building them. But people will always remember the kindness, encouragement, and time you invested in their life.


For most of us, it’s all about “Me!” My problems, my decisions, my family, my job, my success, my life. But Jesus has left us a legacy of a life that was not focused on Himself. Jesus was focused on us. It wasn’t about Him. It was about us.

A life that is focused on itself will soon be forgotten. But a life lived for others, will last a long, long time.

Don’t write your name in sand, waves will wash it away. Don’t write your name in the sky, wind may blow it away. Write your name in the hearts of people you touch. That’s where it will stay.

The candle is a parable of life. It lights others and in the process consumes itself. When our lives become candles, we leave a legacy. Who are the people who have touched your lives? Who left their legacy burning bright within you? It is a great legacy, because it not only burns in your life, but you have passed it on to the lives of those around you. It has become a blazing fire. As we light these candles, let us reflect on the legacy that they teach us. True legacies are left in the lives of people—people in whom we have invested ourselves, and given ourselves, and shared our faith.

You can learn more about living for others in some of my other articles: Thank you for being a friend, How to be a great person, To serve or be served.

Happy are the Merciful

This is Jesus’ fifth beatitude. The first four beatitudes deal entirely with inner principles… principles of the heart and mind. They are concerned with the way we see ourselves before God. The last four are outward manifestations of those attitudes.

  • Those who poor in poverty of spirit recognize their need of mercy and are led to show mercy to others.
  • Those who mourn over their sin are led to purity of heart.
  • Those who are meek always seek to make peace.
  • Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are never unwilling to pay the price of being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

The concept of mercy is seen throughout Scripture. Mercy is a desperately needed gift of God’s salvation and the Lord requires us to follow His example by extending mercy to others.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

1. What is mercy?

Negatively, many see mercy as a weakness. One person has called mercy a ‘disease of the soul.’ The Romans thought if somebody could persuade you to be merciful, they would have power to control you. Today, many people make decisions (sometimes wrong decisions) to prove how tough and unmerciful they really are. A Roman father had full authority to kill his newborn or any slave they did not need. To give mercy was to allow them to live, though the had no right to live. Today, many think if you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will. So never give in to anybody else.

Positively, mercy is a godly attribute. It is contrasted to three similar attributes of God: (1) God’s love is constant, but His mercy is given in time of need. (2) God’s grace gives (positive), but God’s mercy helps (negative). (3) God’s forgiveness forgives sin, but His mercy is for any and all trouble. Mercy is the attitude to help the afflicted & rescue the helpless.

2. How to show mercy?

1. Physical Acts.

Much like the Good Samaritan, we can help people in their distress and difficulties.

2. Attitudes.

Mercy does not hold a grudge, resentment, capitalize on another’s failure or weakness, or publicize another’s sin.

3. Spiritual – Soul Winning

We can show mercy to the lost through pity, confrontation, prayer, and proclamation of the Gospel.

Primary Result of Being Merciful – Receive Mercy.

Do we earn salvation by being merciful? No. (2 Samuel 22:26; James 2:13; Matthew 6:14-15). We do not earn salvation by being merciful. We must be saved by God’s mercy before we can truly be merciful Being merciful is a gift of God. It is not a natural attribute of man but is a gift that comes with the new birth.

The cycle of God’s mercy: (1) God is merciful to us by saving us through Christ. (2) We are merciful to others because God has been merciful to us. (3) God gives us more mercy, pouring out blessings and withholding chastening. (4) We continue to give mercy to others in practical ways because God has continued to be merciful to us.

The Bible says, ‘He that hath pity upon the poor length unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay again’ (Prov. 19:17). Perhaps no more beautiful illustration of mercy exists in the Bible apart from God’s mercy in Christ than that of Joseph and his brothers. Through jealousy, the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, convincing his father that he had been devoured by wild beasts. In the following years, Joseph through his faithfulness to God and his masters, rose in position in Egypt until he was second in power to Pharaoh himself. It was a famine that drove the unsuspecting brothers down to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognized his brothers, dealt with them compassionately, and had them bring his father and al their families to Egypt where he could nourish them through the remaining years of famine. Where vengeance and anger were certainly justified, Joseph showed only mercy and love.

Why did Joseph do this? Because those who are shown mercy will show mercy and will be happy.

Shakespeare once said:

The quality of mercy is not strained;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The thrones monarch better than his crown.

No path to happiness is found in selfish living and indifference to others. Instead, when we have experienced the mercy of God, then we will show mercy to others.

Happy are the Holy

We live in a wicked world. Every day we are often ashamed of what we read in our newspapers and hear on the TV news shows. Immorality and violence are all over our society and our media. And much of America seems to enjoy it.

We are in great need for purity in our world today. Even in church we need purity. Jesus pronounced a special blessing on those whose hearts are pure.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

“Pure in Heart”

What does Jesus mean by ‘heart’?

The Greek word is kardia, where we get our English word ‘cardiac.’ It refers to the inner person. People are tri-une, like God. The heart is the center of our emotions and thinking.

What does Jesus mean by ‘pure’?

Pure means clean. It is also used to describe unmixed milk, gold, wheat (Jeremiah 32:39). Today, we might consider a ‘pure heart’ as a person with integrity or character.

Pure in spirit encourages us to be ‘pure’ in

  1. Motivation – it is not only important to have ‘pure’ actions, but our motives should be ‘pure.’
  2. Integrity – character is what you are when no one is looking.
  3. Holiness – Virtue/character is the next step to add after you receive Christ (2 Peter 1:5). It is extremely important in the Christian life.

“See God”

– You can’t be pure in heart by yourself. Our heart is naturally wicked. We need God and God will clean our heart to allow us to see Him. (Proverbs 20:9)

– We can develop a clean, pure heart by faith (Acts 15:9). We are made pure by faith, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

– We can develop a clean, pure heart by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7,9)

– The Greek word means a continuous looking. The ‘pure in heart’ will continually behold God… in creation, in our circumstances, in His Word, and in reality when we arrive in Heaven.

How to stay clean

1. Pay close attention to what you look at.

2. Give greater thought to the consequences of sin.

3. Begin each day with a renewal of reverence for God.

4. Periodically, in the day, focus on Christ.

Jesus demands that we do right in our heart – our motivation, our integrity, our holiness – whether anyone notices or knows at all because Jesus sees it.

What if a U.S. Presidential candidate knew something about an opposing candidate that would guarantee, if the public knew, he/she would win… but it would jeopardize national security? Do you think he/she would have enough integrity to keep it a secret?

This happened to Tom Dewey in 1944. He understood that the government cracked the Japanese code in 1941 and so President Franklin Roosevelt had to know about the attack on Pearl Harbor. But if he let this out, Japan would know that we knew their code and much of future information would be lost. In Tulsa, Oklahoma he wrestled with whether or not to tell the public what he knew. The Chief-of-Staff came to his motel room with a letter asking him, in the interest of the war, to keep silent. As you know, he did and lost the election to Roosevelt and never told what he knew. In 1981 the information was released to the public and for the first time American knew that we had cracked the Japanese code before the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the code we cracked was diplomatic code, not the military code. Nobody knew about the attack: FDR did not know, Japan’s premiere did not know, Japan’s minister of war did not even know. Tom Dewey may have gone to his grave wondering if he did the right thing. But we all know that he did.

Do you have a pure heart? Or do you have a heart filled with anger, selfishness, or lust? I hope you will turn to Jesus to clean your heart and stay close to Him to keep it clean.

My Audience with Pope Francis

I have been intrigued with the visit of Pope Francis to America. I agreed with much that he said as he spoke to our Congress. I am not a Catholic, but find some agreement with the Catholic Church (you can read my blog about ‘Why I am not a Catholic’). It has been very interesting to hear about the various meetings he has had with powerful and humble people of our country.

So this morning I began to wonder what I would say if I were invited to have an audience with Pope Francis. First, I would be honored. He is a powerful, yet soft-spoken man. But if I had a chance to talk with him for 5-10 minutes, this is what I would ask him…

1. What is your most memorable experience?

Pope Francis has traveled the world and met many famous people. I’d just like to know what his favorite moment was. I wonder if he’d pick something obvious, like when he was chosen pope or meeting an important person? Or maybe something insignificant, like playing sports as a child with his friends or listening to his favorite music? Or maybe when he held a disfigured child or prayed with a poor elderly woman? I’d just like to know what is at the top of his list.

2. What are you struggling with?

I cannot imagine the stress of the Pope’s life. The Catholic church has been under scrutiny as of late. Changes in society and within the church have got to weigh on his heart. I know what it’s like to lead a congregation of 250. But he’s the leader of over 1 billion. I’m sure not everybody is happy. Everybody comes to him with their problems. Maybe I can be just one ear who will listen to his problems. I can’t solve them, but I know who can – Jesus. And I will honestly pray for him.

3. What do you think of Jesus?

This is the question we all must consider. Jesus asked His own disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:15). Peter (considered by Catholics as the first Pope) answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ (Matthew 16:16). I wouldn’t want the Pope to give me a canned response. But from his heart what does Jesus mean to him. Is Jesus the only Son of God? Is Jesus the only hope of the world? Is Jesus the way, the truth and the life? Is Jesus the only way to Heaven? Is Jesus his Best Friend? His Savior?

3. When you stand before God and He asks why He should let you into Heaven, what are you going to say?

I’ve asked this question to hundreds of people, especially religious people. And the Pope is one of the most religious people in the world. Since we will all stand before God one day, we’d better know what our answer to that question will be.

If the Pope gets into Heaven, I don’t think it will be because he was the Pope. Being Pope isn’t a free pass to Heaven. That’s not fair to the rest of us non-pope people. And I don’t think it’s because he goes to church, or been baptized, or helped a lot of people or a member of his church or anybody else’s church. All those things are good, but not good enough.

Heaven is a perfect place. And everyone, including the Pope, has done wrong. In spite of all the good we do, our good works cannot erase our bad works. They stick on us like super glue. And to get to Heaven we need to find some way to get rid of our wrongs.

That leads me to my answer to this fourth question. Why should God let anyone into Heaven? Because they have accepted the payment that Jesus on the cross to forgive them of their sin. When a person repents of sin, trusts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, they are forgiven of all sin and brought into the family of God.

I hope the Pope has trusted Jesus Christ as personal Savior. I doubt I will get a chance to ask him. And you might think that disrespectful to even question him about it. But I think it’s a good question to ask anyone.

So, I’ll ask you… Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Are you 100% sure that when you stand before God, He’s going to let you into His Heaven? I hope so.

You can learn more about trusting Christ in my other articles: The Gospel in your Hand, The Day my Dad got Saved.

Why I am not a Catholic

I have appreciated many things about the Catholic church. The Roman Catholic Church has continued to defend the inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity of God, Christ’s deity and His atonement. It has a good understanding of the seriousness of sin and its consequences in eternal judgment.

Positive changes have recently occurred in the Roman Catholic Church. It has encouraged members to read the Bible and apply it to their lives. And it is no longer a serious sin to attend a non-Catholic church.

Nevertheless, I am not a Catholic. Perhaps the primary reason is the church’s unwillingness to accept Biblical authority alone as the final determiner of Christian doctrine and practice. By accepting Catholic tradition as authoritative, even correct teachings become revised by unbiblical tradition. The problem is not so much a denial of the truth, but an addition of the truth that eventually leads away from the truth.

So let me share three reasons I cannot accept the Catholic faith.

1. The Bible alone is authoritative and free from error and is complete.

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)

Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that in addition to the Bible, there are five sources with divine authority:

  • Apocrypha – books written between the Old and New Testament.
  • Authorized tradition of the Catholic church
  • The Pope when he speaks on matters of faith and practice
  • Roman Catholic bishops when speaking or teaching in conjunction with the Pope and catholic tradition
  • The official Roman Catholic interpretation of the Bible.

Bible believers reject additional sources of divine authority. Because God cannot contradict Himself and cannot lie, He cannot set up one set of teachings in the Bible and then declare them wrong through additional forms of revealed tradition. The Scripture warns against human tradition (Colossians 2:8).

2. Salvation is by grace through faith alone.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The sacraments of Catholicism are spiritual activities, presided over by a Catholic priest as a mediator between God and man, to dispense God’s grace and favor.

The seven Catholic sacraments are: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist (similar to Lord’s Supper), Marriage, Anointing the sick, Holy Orders (power to bishops, priests & deacons).

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that salvation is a function of God’s grace, individual faith and works, and the Roman Catholic system of sacraments. That is why they have traditionally taught that there is only one true church – their Catholic church – and those outside of the church cannot be saved since they are partakers of neither the one true Church or the sacraments.

The Bible teaches that salvation is something that comes freely to any individual who simply places genuine trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins. The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith alone, entirely apart from personal merit or works of righteousness. Because salvation is by grace through faith alone, this means that once a person has trusted Christ, then he may know that his sins are forgiven – all sins – past, present and future (Colossians 2:13). Full salvation in the sense of forgiveness of all sins and a right standing before God occurs at the point of receiving Christ as personal Savior, even though the practical applications of salvation are worked out over a lifetime.

3. Apart from her role as the mother of Jesus, Mary was not unique or especially blessed.

And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:27-28)

Many areas of Catholic doctrine and practice are related to Mary, such as her role as:

  • Co-redemptrix – she cooperates with Christ in the work of saving sinners.
  • Mediatrix – she now dispenses God’s blessings and grace to the spiritually needy.
  • Queen of Heaven – she rules providentially with Christ, the King of Heaven.

Some of the unbiblical teachings relating to the Mary of Catholic tradition are: Mary’s immaculate conception, her perpetual virginity, her bodily ascension, and her right to be worshiped.

The Mary of Catholic teaching has little to do with the Mary of the New Testament. It is amazing to consider the compete absence of even the mention of her name in the New Testament epistles. There is no Scriptural support of any of these Catholic doctrines. As a matter of fact, Luke tells us that Jesus said those who obey God are more blessed than Mary (Luke 11:27-28. Jesus often referred to Himself as ‘the Son of Man.’ but never once, as Catholics do, as ‘the Son of Mary.’

Other unbiblical doctrines: The Pope, Mass, The Confessional, Purgatory.

In Memory of Yogi Berra (Some Funny Quotes)

Yogi Berra died yesterday (Sept. 22, 2015) at the age of 90. Yogi anchored the greatest dynasty in baseball history. He played on ten world championship teams, won the American League MVP award three times, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. But he is probably most famous for his off-the-field comments.

I have a book in my library written by Yogi himself about some of his funniest quotes. So, in his honor and memory, I have written some of my favorites and the situation that prompted them.

“I really didn’t say everything I said.”

He said this when someone asked him about quotes that he didn’t think he said.

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

Talking to Stan Musial and Joe Garagiola in 1959 about Ruggeri’s restaurant in his old neighborhood in St. Louis.

“It’s deja vu all over again.”

His comment after Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs for the umpteenth time.

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

Comment after the 1960 World series between the Yankees and Pirates. It was a seven-game series that ended when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run over his head.

“It was hard to have a conversation with anyone, there were too many people talking.”

Following a dinner at the White House by invitation of President Gerald Ford.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Spoken when giving Joe Garagiola directions from New York to his house in Montclair.

“We’re lost, but we’re making good time!”

Comment on his way to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1972. He got lost.

“If I didn’t wake up I’d still be sleeping.”

Spoken after his alarm clock didn’t go off.

“It gets late early out there.”

Comment made about playing left field in Yankee Stadium during late autumn. The shadows give you a tough time to see the ball.

“90% of the game is half mental.”

One of his better coaching tips. Said many times.

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

Spoken to Mickey Mantle about all the funerals they attended together one year.

“Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

Telegram sent to Johnny Bench after he broke his record for most home runs by a catcher.

“You can observe a lot by watching.”

Yelled as manager of the Yankees in 1964 when the players weren’t paying attention to the game.

“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going ’cause you might not get there!”

Yogi’s wisdom on goal setting.

“We have a good time together, even when we’re not together.”

Slipped out of his mouth when someone asked him about his beautiful wife.

“It ain’t over ’till it’s over!”

His answer to why the New York Mets were 9 games out of first place in July 1973. They went on to win the division.

I love Yogi Berra’s look on life. Which one is your favorite?

3 Considerations When Fulfilling Your Purpose

Do you know what you’re about? Can you summarize in a couple of sentences why you exist?

Jesus knew what His purpose was! He came to ‘save the world by dying on the cross.’ He was so totally focused on His purpose that He let nothing stop Him. In fact, He embraced and pursued His purpose in spite of the pain it would inflict on Him.

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. They were astonished, but those who followed Him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, He began to tell them the things that would happen to Him. “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days.” (Mark 10:32-34)

I want to pursue my purpose. For the Christian, our purpose is to ‘share the gospel with every person.’ As a congregation, our stated purpose is to ‘follow and lead others to follow Christ.’

If we will embrace our purpose, know our potential, live a life that says we know what we’re about, there are three things we have to deal with, or three things we’ll have to admit.

“I am Scared!” (v. 32)

The scared disciples are following Jesus. What are they afraid of? They are afraid of Jesus. Jesus is walking ahead of them and whatever is going on in Him, they don’t know. But there is something about Him walking ahead of them that created a fear in them.

Being afraid is not a good thing. And following someone who scares you can be frightening. Lloyd Ogilvie says there are 366 ‘fear nots’ in the Bible – one for every day and even one for leap year. Why so many ‘fear nots’? I think it may be because fear is the main reason people don’t do what God asks them to do. So we need this command all the time.

Was Jesus afraid? Whether or not He was afraid, the Bible does not say. But I know this. Whether anybody kept up with Him or turned around and went back, there is one thing that we can have no doubt – God called Him to do this and He would obey, even if He must do it alone.

We should have a deeper fear than what faces us in ‘our’ Jerusalem. We should fear what would happen if we don’t go to our Jerusalem. To follow Jesus is to know that Jesus will walk with you through every valley He leads you through, but if I choose not to follow Him, you’re on our own. Don’t walk alone.

“I am Distracted” (v. 32-34)

As the followers of Jesus listened to what was going to happen to Him, they heard the gloom but missed the glory. The devil was so busy having them focus on words like “die…mock…spit…beat…whip…kill” that he robbed them of the glory of the rest of the story which was “He will rise again!” They were easily distracted by the negative.

A classic example of distraction is the story of Jesus walking on the water in a storm toward the disciples who were in the boat on Lake Galilee. Jesus called to them, “Don’t be afraid! It’s me!” Impulsive Peter says, “Well, if it’s you Lord tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come on!” Jesus called back. Peter started out of the boat. So Peter stepped out, walking on the water.  And then, a wave came crashing toward Peter. For one split second he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wave. He began to sink and cried out, “Jesus, save me!” Jesus grabbed Peter’s hand and pulled him up and asked why he doubted. He was distracted by the waves and took His eyes off Jesus.

The more intently we resolve to follow Jesus, the more the devil will try to throw us off course and lose our focus.  If he can take our eyes off Jesus for just one second he can wrap our minds up with fear and doubt. Don’t let anything distract you from God’s purpose in your life.

“I will Survive” (v. 34)

“After three days He will rise!” He did rise! He did survive!

Jesus may have had some fear. He may have been tempted to be distracted, lose His focus and not go to the cross. But as sure as those possibilities existed for Jesus, there was one more reality. When He was crucified and died, He was going to come to life! He would see the defeat of death and sin! He would see the salvation of God come to the hearts of anyone who would choose to accept Him and His death. He would see the defeat of Satan! That kept Him going! It kept Him motivated! It kept Him on the path to get to the cross! It kept Him focused and determined!

We may have some fear as we walk in the shadows of our purpose down our ‘unknown’ Jerusalem road. We may sometimes lose some measure of focus if we get distracted by Satan. But we can survive if we remember that Jesus Christ walks down the road beside us and ahead of us. We can turn and walk the other way – maybe run the other way. But there is no power, no purpose, no passion to walk the safe, familiar road of comfort and control.

Follow your purpose. Follow Jesus.

You can also read similar articles: Finding Fulfillment, How to be a ‘Great’ Person, The Cost to Follow JesusThe Ultimate Question, How to Have a Powerful Life.

Happy are the Hungry

Have you ever been real hungry or thirsty? I have. It’s not a pleasant feeling and we try to eat or drink something to rid ourselves of that feeling. But Jesus promises a blessing to those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)


The heart cannot be satisfied with people, things, or ideas. We were created for more. Our souls can never survive alone in this pleasure-seeking world. Our deepest needs and desires can be met only by a fellowship with God Himself. People hunger and thirst after God.

“Thou has made us for Thyself and our heart are restless till they find their rest in Thee.” – St. Augustine

And this is actually the true test of your Christian experience. Do you hunger after God? Is the desire of your life to have a right relationship with God? If so, you are truly blessed because you will be filled. We will look at the key words in this passage and find out how to find fulfillment in life.

What are we to be? Hungry & Thirsty

It is a real hunger (desire). It is as real a physical hunger. And just like physical hunger, it keeps on until it is satisfied. It does not pass away. But many people try to ignore the hunger in their heart.

It is ann intense hunger. The way the Greek word is used it means hungering for ‘all’ the righteousness. Like saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow.” It is starving hunger. When the prodigal son was hungry, he went to feed on the husks. But when he was starving, he turned to his father.

What are we to be hungry for? Righteousness

We sometimes hunger for the wrong things. Lucifer hungered for power (Is. 14:13-15). Nebuchadnezzar hungered for praise (Dan. 4:29-30). The rich fool hungered for pleasure (Luke 12:16-21).

But it is important to be hungry for God and His righteousness. The definition of ‘righteousness’ is: To be right with God. To be holy. To be like Jesus. It is to be free from the penalty, desire, and presence of sin.

Why do people not feel the hunger? Sometimes we can experience a lack of hunger due to (1) sickness, (2) no exercise, (3) spoiled appetite (eating the wrong things) or even (4) being too busy.

How are the hungry happy? They are filled.

Happiness is a by-product of righteousness. It is much like pain and disease. The pain is caused by the disease and you can never truly get rid of the pain without getting rid of the disease. The doctor that only treats the symptom without treating the cause is a bad doctor. You will never find happiness by looking for it. It only comes as a by-product in looking for righteousness.

Many are trying to find happiness in drugs, sex, education, family, travel, and they will never find it there. They will only find partial satisfaction there. The only true happiness that does not pass away is in Jesus Christ.

Many Christians are searching for the ultimate Christian experience. They travel from church to church, concert to concert, seminar to seminar, listen to speakers, read books, to find what they think other Christians have. I tell you that if you are wanting a happy experience, you will never find it by looking for it. It only comes by hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

You have an emptiness, a desire, and a hunger that you want fulfilled. And you will search your whole life to find peace, contentment, prosperity, and happiness. You, like a starving man, will try it all – good and bad. Jesus gives us the only answer – “Happy are those who are starving after a right relationship with God – for only they will be happy and satisfied.” The answer to all your desires and longings is being right with God.

Do you hunger after Christ? Do you want him more than anything else in the whole world? I hope so. Because this is the only way to be satisfied and content with your life.

You can read about other Beatitudes: Happy are the Humble, Happy are the Sad, Happy are the Gentle.

Revitalization – Fall 2015 BBF Meeting


The theme for the week of the 2015 Fall Meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship is Revitalization. It was held at High Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri.

The links below are notes from some of the sessions I attended.

Monday Night Service: Revitalization for the Lost & your Church (Dwayne Wright & Brian Moore)

Tuesday Breakout: Revitalization through Small Groups (Matt Adrian)

Tuesday Breakout: Revitalization through Communication (Lonnie Lehrman)

Tuesday Breakout: Revitalization through Strategic Planning (Randy Harp)

Tuesday Night Service: Revitalization through Missions, Change & Pain (Gene Appel)

Wednesday Breakout: Revitalization through Videos (Rob Lyons, Blake Housley)

Wednesday Breakout: Revitalizing your  Volunteer Base (Mike Haley)

Wednesday Service: Revitalzation in the City and to the World (Jerel Bland, Anthony Milas)