Don't Miss This! (link)

The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago will be hosting their annual premier Bible Conference, "Founder's Week 2005" starting next Monday evening, January 31, through Saturday evening, February 5th. If you are in the Chicago area, the morning and evening services/sessions will be held at the Moody Memorial Church (located between Clark and LaSalle at North Avenue).

All sessions are FREE..
If you want to listen from anywhere in the world, log into the link posted above...or check for your local Moody Broadcasting Network affiliate station.

Praising our Lord together!

Pastor Eddie's place...

Through circumstances that only the Lord could orchestrate, I became friends with Edward Britz on an airplane flight that I wasn't supposed to be on in the first place!

Here's the link to his website:

Eddie is a missionary in many senses of the word. He is a wonderful, godly man, who loves the Lord Jesus. He also loves people, and is very good at it, if I may say so myself.

Please visit his site, and drop him a line.

Tell him that "Phil Hoover in Chicago" sent you.

So what does "community" mean to the Christian?

This theme of "community" captured my heart several years ago, and it still has quite a hold on my brain.

What does "community" mean, anyway?

I look to the Scriptures and see how the New Testament Church exhibited and practiced "community"--imperfect though it sometimes was.

I see where the Biblical writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instructed believers of every age to be in "community" with one another.

So what does "community" mean to you?

The Curiosity Cat...

I've been posting things on this "blog" now for several months.

I'm wondering how many of you good folk actually visit "Something To Consider"?

Would you mind posting a comment or two about something that you've read, or just say "hi"?

You can remain anonymous if you want to...but I'd like to know if and who is reading....

Thanks a bunch.

Definitions: What would you say?

I wrote this more than a year ago. I wanted to post it here:

I was getting ready for work this morning, and just happened to have "Good Morning America" on, sipping my "battery acid with a lump of sugar" (aka Mountain Dew), and saw this young fellow who had been lost in an avalance in a snowboarding escapade. Due to some extreme frost bite, he lost both feet, and is now on the mend, thanks to God's grace and medical technology.

One of the remarks that stood out to me was when his physician said, "Eric is so defined by his athletic/physical prowess, this has to be tough.."

So what else defines Eric? How does Eric define himself? While he had "athletic prowess" he was defined by the way he "walked." Now that he has to use artificial feet, how will he be defined?

All of a sudden it just "hit me" like a ton of bricks. What defines me? Who defines me?

I was talking with a Christian friend not long ago, and that person focused on their emotional struggles, and for them, their sole definition was their struggle. The most and only important thing in their life....their struggle. And sadly enough, their relationship to God, to other believers, to family members, and to society at large was defined got it, their emotional battles.

So, now that the "Mountain Dew" has had it's desired effect (mental stimulation), I must get real and see what honestly "defines me." Is it my life struggles? Is it the blessing of friendships of all kinds in so many places? Is the primary definition gained from the grace and love of the crucified, risen, ascended Christ who has transfered me from the "kingdom of darkness" into the "kingdom of light"?

What really defines me? So many, myself included, want to blame everything and everyone for all the human maladies we experience. Growing up as pretty much an orphan, I have my own extensive list of "whodunits" that could be rightfully accused. But that's not the way God wants me to live.

That's not the way God defines me. And I can't let my own sense of "victimhood" define me that way either.As a Christian, I continue to grow in the knowledge that this life isn't all there is to living. This life is only a "dress rehearsal" for eternity.

So, I hurt for this person, because of the "definition" that he has accepted. How can I help him see that the "real defining moments" are what God, in His Son, Jesus Christ has said, accomplished, and promised? Unlike our friend on Good Morning America I don't want to be defined by my athletic/physical prowess (not that I would EVER have any worry of someone making that mistake...LOL), but rather by how I most reflect this living, vibrant relationship to Christ and other citizens of that city "whose Builder and Maker is God.

"What defines you?


160,000 people, and Nate Berkus

The recent tsunami in South Asia is, without question, the worst natural disaster of my lifetime (and I'll be forty-something on 13 March 2005!).

It seems like we will never hear the end of the horrors of this event shortly after Christmas Day, 2004.

Nate Berkus--the Chicago-based interior designer, and an Oprah-made "star" in his own right was in Sri Lanka when all of this took place. He is safely back home in Chicago now, from all accounts.

His friend/partner/whatever Fernando wasn't so fortunate. He was swept away in a the flooding, and hasn't been found. He is now, many days later, presumed to be dead. We are very saddened concerning this loss--along with the 160,000 others who lost their lives and faced eternity without even a glimpse of a warning.

Now, the "buzz" is what kind of relationship did Fernando and Nate have anyway? Were they close friends, or a homosexual couple? The "worldwideweb" is afloat with all the innuendoes, speculations, and downright rumors about what Nate meant when he said "my partner Fernando" on his official website, as well as his statement on Oprah's official website (

As a committed Christian, I cannot agree with the homosexual lifestyle. But, as a committed Christian, I am firmly resolved to love the persons as purely and as humanely as I possibly can, with the strength that God Himself will grant to me.

As a Christian, my heart breaks to see such devastation in that wonderful part of the world. I went to seminary with three pastors from Indonesia, and I can only imagine the horrific loss the brethren have experienced, if they are still alive.

But this event is very sobering for all of us. We will face God in eternity someday. And more than 160,000 people could testify that facing God could very well be sooner rather than later.

Now, He is a loving, merciful, and righteous God, who seeks to give us life and that even more abundantly than we could ever think or imagine.

Now, this same God has provided a way for us to come into a loving relationship with Himself--His Son, Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can provide us a safe passage from this life into eternity.

There is no other way.

More than 160,000 people, if they could speak now, would tell you the same thing.

Another Cancer Victim...Please Pray

My good friend, Singer/Songerwiter Janet Paschal has been informed that she has breast cancer. Here's the email that she has sent out:

It's Monday afternoon, January 10th, and I wanted to touch base with you all. As is so often the case, this piece of news is both sweet and bitter. I just never thought I'd be sharing it 'first person'. I'll spare you the details and just tell you that I received a phone call on Friday morning (9:45 am to be exact) from a Duke Hospital oncologist who said he was calling with the lab results of a biopsy from last week.

His next word was "Unfortunately..." and I knew it wouldn't be good. Bottom line is this - I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and no one could be more surprised. At this point, we are still uncertain of the type, severity, options, etc., but we'll learn soon enough, to be sure. I think I'm still numb, and that's probably a good thing. I also think it's probably good that the information comes in doses, as it allows time to absorb each piece and still breathe in and out.

John keeps asking if I'm scared and I can honestly say that I am not - at least I don't think I am. I am not questioning my faith (why should I be exempt?) or asking 'Why?' - not at this juncture, anyhow. After I learn more of the details I may be retracting all of these declarations, but I honestly hope not.

My paternal grandmother had breast cancer when she was in her late sixties. The family was so afraid to tell her - so unsure that she could handle that kind of devastating news. I think I've told you all before of her response, "Oh honey, don't worry. The Lord's gonna take care of me."

She wound up comforting the ones in the room who didn't have cancer, and who wouldn't face that dreaded enemy. She has lived cancer free for more than ten years. I am so abundantly rich in the ways that count.

I have the best family in the world - bar none; they are all prayer warriors and I've watched their prayers 'turn the hearts of kings' on more than one occasion. I've been the benefactor of some of those impassioned pleas and I can point to specific occurrences where there is no explanation except '...but God.' John is my rock; completely supportive and unwavering in his belief that God will do what He promised just because He said so. End of conversation.

My close friends were hand-picked by God, knowing that they would have to be strong because I would need them so much. For years, they have been encouraging, challenging, and above all, they've told me the truth. As I said, I am so, so rich. We are being inundated with mail, and we are so appreciative. I hope you understand that I will probably not be able to answer your mail during this stretch of the 'good road', but it sure means a lot when you write.

You, too, are a gift from God to me. We will keep you updated as we receive information and digest this process. Your prayers are so important. I do not take them for granted.

This precious lady has been in active music ministry for as long as I can remember. Please pray for her in this very difficult time. Her website is:

May the healing hand of Jesus touch this precious servant of His!

"Except for Grace"

Jeff Silvey wrote an amazing song several years ago...and here it is! Let the Lord Jesus minister to your heart through these words:


You've lost it all, your dignity and pride.
A sinking soul, swimming in the tears you've cried.
Alone and hopeless, without a word to say
Because guilt has taken it all away...

Except for grace, and your faith
Knowing that God's love will forgive mistakes.
There's nothing that can clear your sinful past,
Bear your bitter pain or can ever take your place,
Except for grace...

We've all stood right where you're at.
Facing the shame of failures and regrets,
Leaving us empty, broken and afraid to dream.
Sin has stripped us clean of everything....

Except for grace, and our faith,
Knowing that God's love will forgive mistakes.
There's nothing that can clear our sinful past,
Bear our bitter pain or can ever take our place,
Except for grace...

The price is much too high for us to ever pay!
We could try forever and find no other way...

Except for grace and our faith,
Knowing that God's love will forgive mistakes
There's nothing that can clear our sinful past
Bear our bitter pain or can ever take our place,
Except for grace....
Except for grace!
I'm so eternally grateful that He is such a gracious, merciful God.
I'm so eternally thankful that Christ came looking for me, when I was dead in my sins, and wanted nothing to do with Him.
I'm so eternally in awe that One so holy and so mighty would stoop down to bring me back to life, by surrendering His own, and then taking it up again.

Except for grace.....

Children Learn What They Live

I first saw this about 30 years ago...and since I was only a "kid" back then, it didn't mean alot to me. Now, it means a great deal to me. Here it is:

Children Learn What They Live

Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

So what did you live with as a "child?" What future(s) do you see for today's children?
Something to consider, indeed.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Just "let it go..."

Well, I might just get a bit personal here...and if so, then...I've gotten a bit personal....

One of the buzz phrases over the last few years is "just let it go..."

What the user normally means is to just dismiss whatever "it" might be, and get it out of one's mind, and to dethrone it from the place of prominence "it" currently has.

In short, forgive and forget--and to make a conscious effort to do both.

Much easier said than done. Can I get a witness?

Yesterday morning at the end of our worship gathering, I saw two precious men praying in the second pew on the right side of the sanctuary. One of the brothers, whom I'll call "Joe" (not his real name) was embracing the other brother whom I'll call "John" (again, not his real name).

I know a little bit about John's story.

John has been hurt...deeply hurt. And by those whom he trusted with everything...other Christians. He was serving in active ministry in another congregation in another place.

John has been hurt so intensely that he and his family had to change congregations.

That's tough under pleasant and wonderful circumstances. Imagine what it must be like under the clouds of disappointment, hurt, and grief.

Yet, I witnessed God washing John's soul....As Joe was praying with him, I saw John weep strong tears of pain and anguish...

But those same tears were healing and restorative. Those tears were washing John's eyes--his physical and spiritual eyes.

Those tears were cleansing, and refreshing John's life in a way that probably hasn't happened in a long time.

In short, God brought John to a place where he can "let it go."

We all need to find that place. God, grant it to be so.

Points to Ponder

A wise man changes his mind; a fool, never.

A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.

The Bible doesn't need to be re-written, just re-read.

Your character is built on what you stand for. Your reputation is built on what you fall for.

To get nowhere, just follow the crowd.

An imperfect conscience needs a flawless Guide.

The best way to lose a friend is to tell them something "for their own good."

A useful life cannot be entirely peaceful and carefree.

More than just "slogans"

Found these this morning:

If Caleb had asked Joshua for a valley instead of a mountain, who would be impressed?

God gives His best to those who leave the "choice" to Him.

He who abandons himself to God will never be abandoned by God.

It doesn't take much of a man to be a Christian--It takes ALL of him.

It is easy to make a mountain out of a molehill: just add more dirt.

The person who never changes their mind, never corrects their mistakes either.

Jesus wants disciples, not admirers. Admirers are the "cheap edition" of a disciple.

The fire of God in your heart will melt the lead in your feet.

LOVE is the Christian's ID card.

Faith is remembering I am God's priceless treasure when I feel utterly worthless.

Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.

To the Israelites, GOLIATH was "too big to hit" but to little David, GOLIATH was "too big to miss."

If you were another person, would you like to be a friend of yours?

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail, NOT HIS TONGUE.

Don't say "Our Father" on Sunday, and spend the rest of the week living like an orphan.

The closer you get to Christ, the closer you get to other Christians.

God's answers are always wiser than our prayers.

The God who knows our load limit graciously limits our load.

If what you say is not something that you would write down, then don't say it!

It is hard to tune in on heaven's message if our lives are full of earthly static!

A "holy week" is meaningless to an unholy life.

Love will endure if you keep it pure.

Never be afraid to be gracious. Look what a little polish can do for scuffed shoes.

Delayed obedience is disobedience.

God's laws last alot longer than those who break them.

I would rather BE hurt than to DO hurt.

A weakness many have is they want others to be better than they are willing to be themselves.

PRAY is one four-letter word you can use anywhere.

A person who takes time for prayer will find time for all the other things needing their attention.

The longest leap in the world is to jump to a conclusion.

Most self-made people stop working too soon!

Reputation is manufactured, character is grown.

In eternity, it's WHO you know that counts.
Some pretty sage advice, huh? What do you think?

Haven't Heard this one in years....

Recently heard this "country gospel" song on the internet. "The Baptism of Jesse Taylor" was a big hit for the Oak Ridge Boys (who got their start in "southern Gospel" music) back in the late 1970s. This song tells a powerful story of just what an encounter with our living Lord Jesus can do:

Among the local taverns they'll be a slack in business
'Cause Jesse's drinkin' came before the groceries and the rent
Among the local women they'll be a slack in cheatin'
'Cause Jesse won't be be steppin' out again.

They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday
Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm
They all cried "Hallelujah" as Jesse's head went under
'Cause this time he went under for the Lord.

The scars on Jesse's knuckles were more than just respected
The county courthouse records tell all there is to tell
The pockets of the gamblers will soon miss Jesse's money
And the black eye of the law will soon be well.

They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday
Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm
They all cried "Hallelujah" as Jesse's head went under
'Cause this time he went under for the Lord

From now on Nancy Taylor can proudly speak to neighbors
Tell how much Jesse took up with little Jim
Now Jimmy's got a daddy and Jesse's got a family
And Franklin County's got a lot more man.

They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday
Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm
They all cried "Hallelujah" as Jesse's head went under
'Cause this time he went under for the Lord...

Just as the Apostle Paul told the Roman Christians, "the gospel is the power of God unto all who will believe." (1:16, 17).

A Song for 2005

One of the most marvelous poems/hymns ever penned in the English language tells me of how great our God is:

1. O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

2. O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And know the promise is not vain,
That morning shall tearless be.

4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Know this much, if you forget everything else in the year 2005:

God's love will never change for you. He loves you supremely...He always has, and He always will. Even in your sins, your failures, your guilt, your shame, and your "mess"....

When others who profess their love for you have long fled from you...leaving you alone, hurt and heartbroken, realize that God will never change His love one iota.

The "Stranger"

A longtime friend sent me this:

A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family.

The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.

But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future!

He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. Sometimes Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity,for example, was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long-time visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.

My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parents' den today you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.His name?

We just call him TV.