The Clash of the Cross and the culture

Dr Erwin W Lutzer, Senior Pastor, The Moody Church here in Chicago gives us all a reason to pause, pray and think...particularly in this highly charged election season.

The CROSS will always clash with the culture...regardless of whom we put in the White House.

Forty Questions about Money

Every Christian should ponder these "thought-provoking" questions about their finances....

I know that I certainly am....

How to be the Church.....

Dr Robert Bellah, author of HABITS OF THE HEART speaks clearly to the issue of "How to be the church in a society that has gained the whole world."

Sadly enough....far too many Christians are too satisfied and too comfortable here on this earth, remembering that our real citizenship is in the next world, not just this one....

Dr Bellah speaks to contemporary culture, and to the contemporary church in a way that will question our comfort, confront our crazes, and magnify our Lord Jesus Christ.

Grooming Tips.....

* For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

* For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

* For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

* For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

* For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

* People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

* Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.


These were given at the memorial service of the late Audrey Hepburn...maybe we should all do some "grooming."

The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage

"Family Life Today" radio hosts Dennis Rainey and Bob Lapine are featuring the teaching ministry of Dr Erwin W Lutzer, Senior Pastor, The Moody Church here in Chicago. Pastor Lutzer has written a profound, yet easily understood book about one of the hottest topics to ever sweep across the United States: Same Sex Marriage.

It is an important issue, and every Christian needs to understand the implications of such a proposition.

Here's the link to the radio broadcasts:

The Paradox of our Times....

The following was attributed to a student of Columbine High School back in 1999...I think it is very apropos for today: ____________________________________

The paradox of our time in history is:

We have taller builders, but shorter tempers

We have wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints

We spend more, but possess much less;

We Buy more, but enjoy it much less;

We have bigger houses, and smaller families;

We have more conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense;

We have more knowledge, but less sound judgment;

We have more experts, but more problems;

We have more medicine, but less health and wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life;

We've added years to life, but not any life to our years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but we never meet the folks who live across the street.

We've conquered outer space, but have such inner turmoil.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted our souls and minds.

We've split the atom, but not our prejudices.

We have higher incomes, but lower standards.

We've become long on quantity, but very short on quality.

These are the times of tall men, but short on character.

These are the times of steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are the time of more leisure but less fun;

These are the times of more kinds of food, but less nourishing of our lives.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce and broken lives.

These are the times of fancier houses, but destroyed homes.

It is a time when there is much in the show window, but nothing in the stockroom.

These are the times when advanced technology can bring this to you, and you can either choose to make a difference, or simply hit "delete."

25 Observations about life...

Someone sent these to me....and I think they are very___________ (fill in the blank.)

1. If you're too open minded, your brains will fall out.

2. Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

3. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.

4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

8. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

12. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

15. No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

16. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

19. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

24. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

25. Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.

From THE MESSAGE, Ephesians Two

It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose His temper and do away with the whole lot of us.

Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us! Then He picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. But don't take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God's ways had no idea of any of this, didn't know the first thing about the way God works, hadn't the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God's covenants and promises in Israel, hadn't a clue about what God was doing in the world at large.

Now because of Christ--dying that death, shedding that blood--you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything. The Messiah has made things up between us so that we're now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped.

Then He started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, He created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. Christ brought us together through His death on the Cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals.

Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. That's plain enough, isn't it? You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He's using us all--irrespective of how we got here--in what He is building.

He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now He's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day--a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

"Old Friends"

One of my favorite poets/songwriters is Gloria Gaither. She and her husband Bill, have blest the Body of Christ for more than 40 years now with their singing, songwriting, and inspiring ministry of loving people, and nurturing relationships.

One of Gloria's songs that has meant so much to me over the last ten years is "Old Friends." I've posted it here for your perusal:

Old Friends...
After all of these years, just old friends.
Through the laughter and tears, old friends.
What a find! What a priceless treasure!

Old friends like a rare piece of gold
Old friends make it great to grow old:
Til then through it all I will hold to old friends.

Oh God must have known
There'd be days on our own
We would lose our will to go on
That's why He sent friends like you along.

Old friends yes you've always been there.
My old friends: we've had more than our share
Old friends I'm a rich millionaire in an old friends.

A phone call, a letter, a pat on the back
Or a "Hey I just dropped by to say..."
A hand when I'm down
A loan when I just couldn't pay:

A song or a story, a rose from the florist
A note that you happened to send
Out of the blue just to tell me
that you're still my friend...

We've been through some tough times
When we didn't know whether we'd even have one thin dime
But that didn't change you:

And when we were big winners
And everything seemed to be finally going my way
You just cheered me on so glad to be able to say...

Old friends yes you've always been there
Old friends we've had more than our share
Old friends I'm a rich millionaire in an old friends.

--Gloria Gaither--

I just spent four days in Cleveland, TN visiting some folks who have been friends for more than twenty years...or at least that long.

What a blessing! What a treasure the family of God is to me!

All the times that we laughed, cried, teased, ate, and just reminisced, remembering the faithfulness of God to us....

I'm a rich millionaire in old friends...That's for sure.


Nehemiah Chapter Nine:

Blessed be Your glorious name, exalted above all blessing and praise!

You're the one, GOD, You alone; You made the heavens, the heavens of heavens, and all angels; The earth and everything on it, the seas and everything in them; You keep them all alive; heaven's angels worship You!

You're the one, GOD, the God who chose Abram And brought him from Ur of the Chaldees and changed his name to Abraham. You found his heart to be steady and true to You and signed a covenant with him, A covenant to give him the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, The Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites, -to give it to his descendants. And You kept Your word because You are righteous.

You saw the anguish of our parents in Egypt. You heard their cries at the Red Sea; You amazed Pharaoh, his servants, and the people of his land with wonders and miracle-signs. You knew their bullying arrogance against Your people; You made a name for yourself that lasts to this day. You split the sea before them; they crossed through and never got their feet wet; You pitched their pursuers into the deep; they sank like a rock in the storm-tossed sea.

By day You led them with a Pillar of Cloud, and by night with a Pillar of Fire To show them the way they were to travel. You came down onto Mount Sinai, You spoke to them out of heaven; You gave them instructions on how to live well, true teaching, sound rules and commands; You introduced them to Your Holy Sabbath;

Through Your servant Moses You decreed commands, rules, and instruction. You gave bread from heaven for their hunger, You sent water from the rock for their thirst. You told them to enter and take the land, which You promised to give them.

But they, our ancestors, were arrogant; bullheaded, they wouldn't obey Your commands. They turned a deaf ear, they refused to remember the miracles You had done for them; They turned stubborn, got it into their heads to return to their Egyptian slavery. And You, a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, Incredibly patient, with tons of love-- You didn't dump them. Yes, even when they cast a sculpted calf and said, "This is your god Who brought you out of Egypt," and continued from bad to worse, You in Your amazing compassion didn't walk off and leave them in the desert.

The Pillar of Cloud didn't leave them; daily it continued to show them their route; The Pillar of Fire did the same by night, showed them the right way to go. You gave them Your good Spirit to teach them to live wisely. You never stinted with Your manna, gave them plenty of water to drink. You supported them forty years in that desert; they had everything they needed; Their clothes didn't wear out and their feet never blistered.

You gave them kingdoms and peoples, establishing generous boundaries. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan. You multiplied children for them, rivaling the stars in the night skies, And You brought them into the land that You promised their ancestors they would get and own.

Well, they entered all right, they took it and settled in. The Canaanites who lived there You brought to their knees before them. You turned over their land, kings, and peoples to do with as they pleased. They took strong cities and fertile fields, they took over well-furnished houses, Cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, and lush, extensive orchards. And they ate, grew fat on the fat of the land; they reveled in Your bountiful goodness.

But then they mutinied, rebelled against You, threw out Your laws and killed Your prophets, The very prophets who tried to get them back on Your side-- and then things went from bad to worse. You turned them over to their enemies, who made life rough for them. But when they called out for help in their troubles You listened from heaven; And in keeping with Your bottomless compassion You gave them saviors: Saviors who saved them from the cruel abuse of their enemies.

But as soon as they had it easy again they were right back at it--more evil. So You turned away and left them again to their fate, to the enemies who came right back. They cried out to You again; in Your great compassion You heard and helped them again. This went on over and over and over. You warned them to return to Your Revelation, they responded with haughty arrogance: They flouted Your commands, spurned Your rules -the very words by which men and women live!

They set their jaws in defiance, they turned their backs on You and didn't listen. You put up with them year after year and warned them by Your Spirit through Your prophets; But when they refused to listen You abandoned them to foreigners. Still, because of Your great compassion, You didn't make a total end to them. You didn't walk out and leave them for good; yes, You are a God of grace and compassion.

And now, our God, the great God, God majestic and terrible, loyal in covenant and love, Don't treat lightly the trouble that has come to us, to our kings and princes, our priests and prophets, Our ancestors, and all Your people from the time of the Assyrian kings right down to today. You are not to blame for all that has come down on us; You did everything right, we did everything wrong.

None of our kings, princes, priests, or ancestors followed Your Revelation; They ignored Your commands, dismissed the warnings You gave them. Even when they had their own kingdom and were enjoying Your generous goodness, Living in that spacious and fertile land that You spread out before them, They didn't serve You or turn their backs on the practice of evil.

And here we are, slaves again today; and here's the land You gave our ancestors So they could eat well and enjoy a good life, and now look at us--no better than slaves on this land. Its wonderful crops go to the kings You put over us because of our sins; They act like they own our bodies and do whatever they like with our cattle. We're in deep trouble.

"If I had my way about it..."

My good friend, Janet Paschal wrote this song several years ago (I think about ten years ago now). It articulates so very clearly just what my heart wants to express:

If I had my way about it,
I'd dance in grassy fields and fragrant meadows.
I would rise up in the morning
To hear the robin's lovely melody.

I would live in the wide spaces
Far away from hurting places
I would bear a cross that asks much less of me.
I'd never sail in troubled winds
Or on the raging seas
If only You had left it up to me.

But if I'd had my way
I might be wading through the rivers
When You wanted me to walk upon the seas.
And if I'd had my say
with all of my wants and whims and wishes
You know how weak, how shallow I would be.
If only You had left it up to me.

And if I'd had my way about it
I would only know Your majesty and glory.
I would pass my cup of sorrow
To someone far more willing to receive.
I would pen the grandest phrases
I would sing such lofty praises
I would sail above my own humanity..
The wounded would never die
And hearts would never bleed...
If only You had left it up to me.

But if I had my way
I might be wading through the rivers
When You wanted me to walk upon the seas.
And if I had my say,
With all my wants and whims and wishes
You know how weak, how shallow I would be...

I trust Your wisdom over mine
Because You've proven over time
That in my narrow way of seeing things
I leave the best behind sometimes...
I might not have stayed close to You, Lord
If I'd had my way.
Almost more than my small mind can wrap itself around. I'm so eternally grateful that such a marvelous and mighty God can bring order and sense to our lives, even when we think that He isn't doing it "our way."

What about you? If you had "your way" in life's most important issues---where would you be?


Philippians 1:

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.

Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.

I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

It's not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God.

He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.

Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

Stay tuned...there will be more today.

Some great websites to "browse"

Men's Refuge...No Hiding...Just seeking

"Walk in the Word"--the teaching ministry of Dr James MacDonald, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows Illinois

Lee University (where I went to Undergrad school in SE TN)

A Catholic in Chicago (the blog site of my dear friend David Seleb)

Just a few sites that you will enjoy visiting, and will hopefully find information, inspiration, and just alot to think about in your spare time.

"With All that Personality of yours..."

Okay, one of my friends has already welcomed me to the "Soup" and credits me with having "all that personality of yours..."--I don't plan to disappoint them either! LOL

Actually, now that I'm in my EARLY FORTIES (42 to be exact), it's easy to see all the things that have shaped who I am, and to acknowledge the Father God who is molding me into all that He wants me to be.

Singer/Songwriter Joel Hemphill wrote a wonderful song "He's Still Workin' On Me", and all I can say is "ain't it the truth!" Here's the words:

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart
'Don't judge me yet, there's an unfinished part
But I'll be perfect, just according to His plan,
Fashioned by the Master's loving hand.'

He's still workin' on me
To make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars
The sun, and the earth, and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be!
He's still workin' on me!

And yes, I can humbly acknowledge that HE is still working on me! There is so much left to finish...and He has proven over and over and over again, that HE is fully capable and able to do what most brings GLORY to HIMSELF.

And that is what it is all about.

Life in the Windy City

On August 27th, I celebrated my 4th anniversary of being a "Chicagoan." And I fully agree with the old Sinatra song, "It's my kind of town." This is, by far, the largest city that I have ever called "home" for longer than a few days. A marvelous website is Exploring Chicago and there you will find just about everything that is going on in "my kind of town" in the next few weeks.

The Windy City also has a RICH spiritual heritage that many people don't know about.

Dwight Lyman Moody, the founder and president of what is know the Moody Bible Institute started a simple ministry designed to "train men and women for service"--and that simple ministry has made a global impact over the last 120 years. The website for MBI is

Mr Moody also started a local congregation that was known as "Mr Moody's Sunday School..." and is now known as the historic, world-famous Moody Church here in the heart of downtown Chicago. Their website is

Dr A.W. Tozer pastored the South Side Christian and Missionary Alliance Church on the south side for more than thirty years. Tozer was best known for his powerful expository preaching, and some of the greatest writing in the last 150 years. His best known volumes are "The Pursuit of God" and "The Knowledge of the Holy."

The YMCA was started right here in the Windy City...with Mr Moody being one of the original founders.

And now, with more than five million people calling the city "home"--we have lots of people to reach, lots of people to love, and a Christ who died for each of them.

What a mission! What a city!

Consider this: September 1, 2004

Eugene Petersen's translation of the Scriptures, "THE MESSAGE" offers us this challenge today:

13 Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
15 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness.

16 Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God!

17 Let every detail in your lives--words, actions, whatever--be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

(From Colossians 3)
In a culture where "dog eats dog" and "bigger dogs get the first pickins" we, as folk who belong to God's family, are called to be different--radically different. It's not optional. We are called to stay in tune with each other and in step with each other.

Even when we disagree. Even when we have been offended. Even when we are in pain due to another's actions/inactions.

And that's why we are citizens of heaven...we are being fitted for that place this very day.

Welcome to My Place!

Several of my friends have encouraged me to create my own "blog"--and I finally listened!

It's really hard to believe that some 10-15 years ago that most of us had never heard of a thing called "the Internet" and that "cyber space" was something from a yet-to-be-released version of Star Trek: The "Whatever" Generation.

Come on in! I look forward to sharing lots of what's going on in my life, in my heart, and in the world at large with those who come to visit my place!