The REAL first Thanksgiving

Most of us are familiar with the traditional story of Thanksgiving where William Bradford, of Plymouth Rock, proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims in their second year in the New World, as well as an abundant harvest that they had reaped with the aid of the Indians.

However, most people don’t know that the first American Thanksgiving didn’t occur in 1621 with this group of Pilgrims who shared a feast with a group of friendly Indians. The first recorded thanksgiving actually took place in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasn’t a feast.

The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived, in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God.

You would think that after seeing so many of their loved ones die due to the hardships of the New World, they would not feel that thankful. However, the opposite was true. They realized they had much to be thankful for.

We often don’t realize how blessed we are, or how thankful we ought to be, until what we have is threatened to be taken away. It is good and fitting that as Christians, we ought to celebrate Thanksgiving for God has certainly been good to every singular one of us.

Someone once said that gratitude is the source for all other Christian virtues. If that be the case, then perhaps we need to reason that ingratitude may well be the source of all, or at least many of our faults as well.

When we begin to take for granted what God has done for us, then we become calloused and filled with pride and then God can no longer use us. For a Christian, every day ought to be a day of thanksgiving.

So, like the first Thanksgiving, may we be thankful for God’s blessings.

How to Break Out of a Rut

Is your life predictable? Do you do the same thing, day after day? Has the excitement gone?

For Jesus, the end of the earthly road was in sight. He was leaving the last city before His final stop in Jerusalem. But He would perform one more miracle of special significance. A blind man had been sitting by the side of the road begging day after day. It was the same routine for Bartimaeus… get out of bed, wander down to the road, and sit and wait for someone to show compassion to a poor blind man. He had little help, little hope and little happiness. Life was an endless journey into monotony and mediocrity. But then Jesus walked by him, and that’s when His world changed.

Maybe you are like Bartimaeus. You’re not blind, but you find yourself today on the side of life’s road while everybody else goes merrily on their way. Day after day it never changes. The drudgery, the stress, the fatigue is constant. Everyday like the day before. How can you break out of this rut?

You will discover in this story of Bartimaeus five clues to break out of your rut. Please read his story in Mark 10:46-52.

Bartimaeus was aware of his condition. He knew the trouble he was in. He did not try to hide from his problems or blame somebody else. He assumed responsibility for your his life. Until you can honestly assess your own condition, you will see little improvement. It can be hard to look in the mirror, but if you can honestly ‘confess our sins’ Jesus is ‘faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ Admit your faults and shortcomings.

Bartimaeus believed in Jesus. He is one of the few who recognized Jesus as the legitimate heir to King David’s throne. This blind beggar could see that Jesus was the King, while so many others were blind to who He was. Seeing with your eyes doesn’t guarantee seeing with your heart. That’s where faith comes in. Believe who Jesus is… the Son of God and Savior of the world. He has the power to change every circumstance. Believe God can change your life.

Bartimaeus was persistent. Bartimaeus not only believed, his belief was persistence. He wanted the Son of David to stop what He was doing and attend to the struggles of an insignificant man. While others were telling him to be quiet, he spoke up louder. Stop worrying about what other people say. Keep believing.

Bartimaeus responded to Jesus immediately. He did not hesitate. He got up quickly and went to Jesus. Stop waiting for ideal circumstances. Do something bold. Follow Jesus. This was Bartimaeus’ one and only chance. Jesus was on His way to the cross. He would not be back that way again. This is a vivid picture of salvation. God does not guarantee us a second chance to follow Him. Today is the day of salvation.

Bartimaeus received healing from Jesus. This was out of his control. But Jesus saw his faith and brought healing to his life. It is interesting that when Jesus gave Bartimaeus the freedom to go his own way, he followed Jesus on the road to Jerusalem.

Wow! What a story! If you find yourself in a rut, I hope you can pick up on a few ideas to change your circumstances. Even if you can’t change your surroundings, God can change your heart.

A Great Example – JESUS

I think most of us would like to be great. We would like to have a life that when others see or even hear of us, it would demand respect and admiration.

We can learn some valuable lessons from one of the most respected men who ever lived – Jesus Christ. Jesus has had the greatest impact our world has ever experienced.

In Philippians 2:4-11, Paul describes the impact of Jesus on the world. Four phrases help us discover what made Jesus great, and what characteristics will lead to our greatness.

1. He thinks of others, not himself

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind by in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:4,5)

The ‘mind’ of Christ means the ‘attitude’ Christ exhibited. Attitude is so important. The attitude of Jesus was on others. When our attitude is selfish, our actions will be divisive and destructive.

These verses take us back into eternity. Jesus had the ‘form of God.’ This has nothing to do with shape or size, because God is a Spirit. The word ‘form’ means ‘the outward expression of the inward nature.’ This verse teaches that Jesus Christ was God.

Certainly, as God, Jesus did not need anything. He had all the glory and praise of Heaven. He reigned over the universe. But verse 6 states an amazing fact: Jesus didn’t His godhood as something to hold onto. He was not thinking of Himself. He had an unselfish concern for others.

2. He serves

“… made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…” (Phil. 2:7)

Thinking of others is not enough; we must get down to real life. Paul traces the steps in the service of Christ: (1) He emptied Himself, laying aside the independent use of His own attributes as God; (2) He permanently became a human, in a sinless physical body; (3) He used that body to be a servant; (4) He took that body to the cross and willingly died.

From Heaven to Earth, from Glory to Shame, from Master to Servant, from Life to Death. Jesus did not pretend to be a servant. He was not an actor playing a role. He actually was a servant.

If you read through the four Gospels you will notice that it is Jesus who serves others, not others who serve Jesus. He serves all kinds of people – fishermen, harlots, tax collectors, the sick, the sorrowing. At the Last Supper, Jesus laid aside his robe, and took a long towel, and washed the disciples’ feet.

3. He sacrifices

“… he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8)

Many people are willing to serve others if it does not cost them anything. But if there is a price to pay, they suddenly lose interest. But Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice – His life. He willingly laid down His life for the sins of the whole world.

4. He glorifies God

“… God also hath highly exalted him… that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)

This is the great goal of all Jesus did – and us – to glorify God. Jesus humbled Himself for others and God exalted Him – the result was the glory of God.

Jesus’ exaltation began with His resurrection. The last thing any human hands did to Jesus was to bury His body in a grave. From that point on, it was God who worked. Men had done their worst to Him, but God exalted and honored Him. He arose from the dead and returned in victory to Heaven.

His exaltation included authority over everything. All will bow to Him. To bow to Him now means salvation. To wait to bow before Him in judgment means condemnation.

The whole purpose of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation is the glory of God. As Jesus faced the cross His prayer was “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.” (John 17:1).

I encourage you, if you want a life that is great, to pattern what Jesus did…

… think of others, not yourself.

… serve others.

… make sacrifices.

… glorify God.

You can also read my other articles about Jesus: Why We Call Him Savior, Jesus is the Question (and Answer), What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Why is Doctrine Important?

If you know NFL history you’ll know that the dominant team in the 60’s and 70’s was the Green Bay Packers. They were coached by the great Vince Lombardi. It was said that Coach Lombardi began every new season with a lecture to both the veterans and the rookies on the basics of football. He literally held up a football and said, “This is a football.” He talked about its size and shape, how it can be kicked, carried, or passed.

Can you imagine how “basic” and “fundamental” that must have sounded to his veteran players? And yet maybe that explains why Vince Lombardi was such a successful coach, because he began with the basics.

It is with this idea in mind that I emphasize basic Christian doctrine. I believe Christians today at all levels need to be schooled in the basics. If you believe the mountains of church research done in the last few years by George Barna, Lifeway Research and others, you know that Christians have lost touch with the basics of their faith. Pastors can no longer assume that Christians in their congregations are either fully aware, believe or understand the fundamentals of their faith.

Why is Bible doctrine important?

  1. Doctrine is important because Jesus thought it was important. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).
  2. Doctrine is important because doctrine is truth and truth will give you freedom. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).
  3. Doctrine is important because we need to discern false teaching. “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2 Peter 3:17).
  4. Doctrine is important because the decisions we make and the actions we perform is based on what we believe. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…” (Prov. 23:7)

Think about it…

  • The doctrine of God helps us rest in His love and power.
  • The doctrine of Jesus’ second coming gives us hope in God’s plan in a chaotic world.
  • The doctrine of sin gives us an answer to the problem of evil.
  • The doctrine of the Holy Spirit gives us power to live victoriously.
  1. Doctrine is important because we need to know how to share our faith. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15).

I love doctrine. Doctrine is truth and life. But a few things must be considered:

• Believing all the “right things” doesn’t replace a genuine, vibrant, walk with God. Checking off all the doctrinal boxes doesn’t make you a spiritual Christian.
• Let’s not become arrogant about being right. This happens too often. We think we’re the only ones who know the Lord. We think we have a corner on the truth. And that is flat wrong and God hates that. We speak the truth in love. Jesus always balanced grace and truth.
• We often make the mistake of confusing doctrine with those gray areas of the Christian life. Too many argue over nonessentials. We don’t want that. That is legalism. Jesus said to the Pharisees “You teach as doctrine the commandments of men.” If it is clearly in the Bible, let’s preach it. If it is not and it’s our opinion, let’s not raise it up to the level of doctrine.
• Remember grace, God’s unmatched grace, toward sinners.

You can also read my similar articles: 7 Baptist Distinctives, 4 Steps to Personal Bible Application, 5 Reasons Why the Bible is True.

One Bad October Day…

UntitledOctober 18, was a date 9 years ago that changed our family. It started like any other day. But by evening, we were in a storm. Some of you have heard our story, but I felt it important to share what we went through nine years ago.

I was visiting Paul Zysk’s father in the hospital (I just led him to receive Christ as Savior) when I got a call from a Marine staff sergeant in Lansing, Michigan. She informed me that our son, Josh, who was serving in Iraq, had been wounded. He was fine and would call when he could get to a phone. So, I called my wife, Judy, to let her know what was said and we waited for his call.

To be honest, I wasn’t too worried at the time. In one of the family sessions before Josh left, we were informed the 4 stages of injury:

  1. Injury
  2. Severe Injury – Non Life-threatening
  3. Severe Injury – Life-threatening
  4. Deceased.

His injury was #1. So I figured it was minor… maybe he twisted his ankle.

The following day I was at a Bible study and received a call from the staff sergeant. Her first question was, ‘Is anybody with you?’ Her next statement was ‘Josh’s condition has been downgraded to ‘Severe Injury – Life-threatening.’ He had been shot by a sniper in Fallujah, taken to Balad for surgery, and then to Germany.

I have received bad new, but never like this. I was numb and didn’t know how to cry. I got in my car and started to drive home but my mind would not concentrate on the road. I finally pulled myself together enough to pull in our driveway.

As soon as I walked in the house, Judy knew something was wrong. When I told her, we just stood in our hallway and cried. We had no answers, but feared our son was dying and we couldn’t get to him. We made a few phone calls and waited for more information.

After the longest hours of our life, we got a phone call from a nurse in Germany. She said Josh was in their hospital and conscious. As soon as he got the respirator out, she would have him call. After a few more hours, I heard the best voice I’ve ever heard – Josh’s voice. He was alive and okay.

Josh at Bethesda Naval Hospital visited by Stevie Nicks.

Over the next few days, we were able to talk and find out what happened.

His patrol unit was getting ready to enter a house in Fallujah. He was the machine gunner and often went in last. As they ran in, he was shot by a sniper in the leg. It hit his main artery and sciatic nerve. He began to bleed out. He tried to put on his tourniquet, but it broke. His captain then pushed his finger into his artery to slow the blood until the medic could arrive. The medic said if he would have been 30 seconds later, Josh wouldn’t have made it. I’ve never met any of these guys, but God bless them, especially Cpl. Mason!

Josh was transported to Bethesda Naval Hospital near Washington DC. He underwent several surgeries and physical therapy for a month before coming home. I was able to stay with him the entire time.


Josh, Haley, Henry, and Floyd.

It’s been 9 years. He has graduated from Adrian College with a  degree in business. He married a beautiful girl, Haley. They have the cutest boy, Henry. He loves to hunt and fish and lives on a 100 acre farm with a fishing pond. His injury has left him with paralysis in his right leg below his knee. But it doesn’t seem to slow him down. I’m very proud of the man he is.

I wanted to share our story with you to let you know that if you ever have to go through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ you’ll be fine if Jesus is with you. You won’t like it, and it will change you, but you’ll be okay.

During this crisis, we prayed and asked people to pray. God came through and gave us peace as we struggled to understand. Many have had events worse than we faced, and God has gotten them through it all. I just encourage you to turn to Jesus before you need Him in your crisis event. Even before we knew Josh was hurt, God had provided the right people around him to save his life. To God be the glory!

Josh got a military tattoo on his bicep before he went to Iraq. I wasn’t thrilled, but when I saw what it was, I was more than proud. It depicts a set of dogtags. One one of the tags is his military I.D. in case it was ever needed to identify him. On the other is Jn. 15:7. It’s a Bible verse: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I feel grateful that Josh came home. But I also know how close we came to not having him. Just a week previous to Josh’s injury, I attended the Marine funeral of Dale Peterson’s son, Justin, who was killed while also serving in Iraq. Please pray and remember those who still grieve. Also, thank those who served. We may have differing politics about war, but we can still extend gratitude to those who are willing to give up their life that we might live in peace.

You can read a blog I wrote while we were in Bethesda. It has a diary of events and some pictures we took.

You can also read about Stevie Nicks’ visit to Josh at: Stevie Nicks and the Gospel

Please read a moving tribute by Dale Peterson about his son, Justin.

Josh’s Bethesda roommate, Josh Bleill, is a US Marine double amputee. He was with our Josh in Iraq. You can view a great video of his journey and wedding on youtube.

Happy are the Peacemakers

Mankind is ever searching for peace. In the last 4,000 years there has been less than 300 years of peace. A visitor  from Mars would say that earth’s chief industry is war. Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, designer of the Atomic Bomb, when asked if there was a defense against the bomb, said, “Yes, Peace.” Apollo 11 had a motto – “We come in peace for all mankind.” They left it on the Sea of Tranquility. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin found themselves in a peaceful place because there had never been any humans there before. Albert Einstein once said, “The unleaded power of the atom has changed everything except our way of thinking. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” When asked, “So you don’t believe there will ever be peace?” he responded, “As long as there will be man, there will be wars.”

Man tries to find peace through financial pressure, gun control, evasive habits, knowledge and even religion. But there is no real peace in the world until we have peace with God. Man’s conflict with man is but an expression on the human level of his conflict with God. The history of man is futile efforts to live happily and peacefully apart from God.

There is peace only in God. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”

There are over 400 references to ‘peace’ in the Bible. Six times in the New Testament God is allied the “God of Peace.”

What does it mean to have peace?

1. We must first be at peace with God.

“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace[a] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).

Is everything okay between you and God? Have you trusted His Son, Jesus Christ, as your own personal Lord and Savior?

2. We then can have the peace of God.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

To have the ‘peace of God’, we must (1) Quit fighting God (John 14:27), (2) Surrender to God (2 Chronicles 30:8), and (3) Serve God (2 Chronicles 30:8).

To have peace with God and the peace of God is not enough. We are to be peacemakers.

3. We must be peacemakers.

To be a peacemaker, you must control your own anger (Matthew 5:21-26; 18:15-17; Proverbs 18:19). How can you help others in conflict, if you cannot help your own conflict?

To be a peacemaker, you must have peace with your enemies (Matthew 5:38-48; Romans 12:18-21). We must not let our ‘enemies’ control our thoughts, emotions, and decisions.


Why are we not effective at making peace between God and man?

1. We choose not to get involved when we see disagreements.

2. We have no common ground with the opponents.

3. We ourselves are at fault and in the wrong.

Christians are called by God to be peacemakers. Is your work, your school, your community, your home a more peaceful place because you are there? Do you add to the disruption and fighting? Does it matter if you are there or not? Do you effectively change your environment to a peaceful one? do you find solutions to problems or do you add fuel to the fire? Do you bring people together on common ground, or do you separate people and their differences?

If you’re having problems being a peacemaker, maybe: 

– you don’t have peace with God.

– you don’t have the peace of God.

– you don’t realize your responsibility as a peacemaker.

Come and meet Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. He wants to give you peace, make you peaceful, and turn you into a peacemaker.

The Miraculous Chile Miners Rescue – 5 Years Later

Five years ago, the whole world was ‘trapped’ in the story of 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet underground in Chile. On October 13, 2010, after 69 days and $20 million dollar, all 33 were set free.

In the aftermath of the rescue, those involved recounted seemingly inexplicable miracles during their time underground and credited God with protecting them. God, many of them said, was the 34th miner. It was an amazing story.

As I think of this event, I cannot help but make parallels of their rescue with the attempts of Christians to free people from their enslavement of sin.  Here are some of my thoughts:

Nobody made those men go into the mines.  They went of their own free will and chose to work underground. They knew the risks and were willing to jeopardize their health to earn a living.  Just the same people are involved in a sinful condition of their own free will.  People choose to live apart from God.  The difference is many do not realize the trap they are in.

Many people were affected emotionally by their situation, but few acted.  I’ll be honest, I heard the stories but I didn’t go to Chile nor did I give any money to finance their rescue.  Comparatively few did.  It is the same with evangelism.  I don’t know a Christian that isn’t aware of the predicament of people without Christ.  They are trapped and have but a short time before death and eternity.  But while many know, few do anything about it.

There was only one way to safety for those men.  They traveled in a very small capsule that fit just one man.  This is good…. there is only one way to freedom from sin… Jesus.  And you don’t go as a family or as a couple.  You trust Jesus Christ one person at a time.  He is the only way to freedom.

One by one as those men came to the surface, there was rejoicing.  Many family members, friends, and even strangers greeted them and hugged them.  It is the same with a soul coming to Christ.  Not only do we Christians rejoice, but there is rejoicing in heaven when even one soul repents.

It took more than good wishes to get those men out of their trap.  It took time, hard work, thinking and money.  People will not turn to Christ just by hoping they will.  Jesus has given us the command to ‘Go and Tell.’  We are to use our time, strength, mind and money to find the best means to reach as many as possible in the best way possible.

I hope you will find those in your life (friends, family, neighbors, etc) who are trapped in sin and begin now to work and pray for their freedom.

You can also read my other articles about evangelism: Walk vs. Talk, 3 Things I Learned About Evangelism From a Sales Pitch, Don’t Walk Away From Jesus.


Please, Give to Missions

We live in a crazy world. Wars, terror, faulty economies, hunger, disease, and many other social and political problems have created a world out of control. What is needed? I believe Jesus is the answer to the world and the people in it.

This month our church has a worldwide missions emphasis. We have heard from a missionary who takes the Bible to people who have never had one. Another is going to Peru. Yesterday we heard from a missionary to the Arabic-speaking people in Dearborn, Michigan. We still will hear from a family starting a church in inner-city Detroit and a missionary in the Bahamas. Each Sunday our congregation is encouraged to buy organic, free-trade coffee that not only gives a fair wage to farmers in Mexico, but also helps college students experience a missions trip.

Our congregation is encouraged to prayerfully consider promising to give finances to worldwide missions.  Last year, our budget was $100,000. This year our budget is proposed to be $110,000.

I want to explain to you what ‘Faith Promise Missions Giving’ is all about.

Give Money To God. Giving to God through tithes and offerings is taught in the Bible, before the law, under the law, and after the law.  Giving to God is part of our worship (Psalm 96:8,9). Giving to God is not only an act of obedience (Luke 6:38), but it is an expression of our love (2 Corinthians 8:8).

Try Giving God 10%. Tithing is simply returning to God the first tenth of our income. God has promised blessings to those who tithe to Him. Our church has an annual All-Tithe Sunday to give people an opportunity to experience God’s blessings to obedient giving.

Give To Missions. The Faith Promise Missions Promise is the amount each Christian in our church promises to give by faith above his/her tithes during the coming year to the world evangelization program of our church.  Faith Promise Missions giving is a method of giving with a biblical base. Each person decides what to give.

More Blessed To Give Than Receive. We have received the Gospel. Now it is our responsibility to take or send the Gospel to those beyond us. As our faith is increased, our giving will increase, and the missionaries’ ministries can be ‘enlarged’ (2 Corl. 10:14-16). More can be done by those who are sent as the faith of the senders is increased.

Plant For A Big Harvest. October is harvest season.  The harvest is dependent on the Spring planting season. Sow much, you can harvest much, Sow little and you reap little (2 Cor. 9:6-8). The same is true with giving to God. Much or little, it is our choice how much to give. Once we have decided how much to give, we commit to it.  Then we give, not grudgingly or of necessity, not reluctantly, nor under pressure. God loves cheerful givers.  As a result of our obedient, generous, voluntary giving, God will generously provide all we need. God will bless our faith and our obedience. God is able to increase our income, decrease our expenditures, give us wisdom in our finances, give us grace to sacrifice, or even perform a miracle.

God Wants You More Than Your Money. Faith Promise works best when there is a personal surrender to the Lord and His will and when we acknowledge that giving to Missions is a grace in which we can and should abound and grow (2 Cor. 8:1-7). Once we understand the need to get the Good News to regions beyond ourselves and we realize that in order for that to happen our faith must be increased, we pray and ask the Lord to show us how much we should commit. when we have prayed and are ready to make the commitment, we join with others in our church to send missionaries to the world. As we submit ourselves to God’s leadership, we trust in His provision and commit to honor our promise to the missionaries.

People around our county and around the world are waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus. Missionaries are being prepared and trained to go the world. Please pray, increase your faith and give faithfully and generously.  May God bless you as you decide what He would want you to give to worldwide missions.

Our church is committed to missions. 100% of the money received for missions through our church goes to missionaries and missionary organizations. So, if you do not have an avenue to give to Missions we would love to help you partner with some great missionaries. Yet, regardless if you choose us, I want you to experience the thrill and blessing of partnering with God to reach the world with the message of His Son.

You can also read some of my other articles about missions: Top 10 Reasons to Give to Missions, 8 Reasons to Go on a Short-term Missions Trip, How to Pray for Missionaries.

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.