Slandering Jesus

My pastor, Erwin Lutzer, has written an incredible book that is a MUST read:

Slandering Jesus

I remember when Pastor Lutzer started preaching this series several years ago. It was powerful, and much needed.

Even more so is it needed today.

Please buy yourself a copy, and get one for a friend. Let's know the truth about God's Son!

To the land of "Biscuits and Gravy"

In about 24 hours, I will be headed to Midway Airport here in Chicago (south side), on my Southwest Airlines flight to Nashville, Tennessee. From there I will take a shuttle over to Chattanooga, TN...and my friend Dr Jimmy Harper will be picking me up, and taking me to his home in Cleveland TN--some 20 minutes north of Chattanooga. This is the "land of biscuits and gravy"...or at least one of them.

"What's the occasion?" you ask...wayul, lemme tell you all about it!

I'm really returning (temporarily) to the South for two wonderful reasons:

First, I am going to see some wonderful saints of God who have loved me (and whom I have been blest to love and know) for more than 30 years, before they graduate to Heaven. Far too many of these precious people went on to glory without me having the chance to say "Look for me." I can hardly wait to see these precious people...far too many to list here.

Second, I will be participating in the Homecoming events at my alma mater, Lee University ( I'll get to "reconnect" with alumni from all over the country, and with many of those great folk that I treasured when we were students at Lee--and treasure them even more now, some 20+ years later.

Of course, the South is known for it's wonderful "comfort" food.....and I plan to partake with great gusto and vigor.

Yep, it's the "land of biscuits and gravy" for me...

But I'll be back in The Windy City in no time...

What I would like to see in America...

It seems that this nation barely survived the tumultuous election of 2004 (Bush Vs Kerry), and then the mid-term elections ( Republicans lost, and Democrats won--however temporary that may turn out to be), and now the 2008 Election Season is already in full swing! How can it be?

Be that as it may, there are some things I would love to see become "commonplace" in the United States of America:

1) A sense of civility returned to our society:

A) People with manners, both spoken and unspoken. "Yes sir" "No ma'am" and "Thank you", accompanied by "Please" and "How may I help you?"

B) Neighbors who remember they have neighbors. This includes, but is not limited to, playing electronic equipment of all kinds (that includes the Television) at a reasonable level, where no one else outside the confines of one's space can hear it. This also includes the kindness of checking on one's neighbors to make sure they are alright, and see if there are needs of any kind.

C) Employees (and employers) who realize that work is a privilege and responsibility in this nation. We are all better when we "work."

2) A sense of morality in our society again:

A) RESPONSIBILITY seems to be an awfully long word in a terribly foreign language lately. Everyone demands their "rights" but precious few want to own their "responsibilities" as well.

Where is the responsibility we all have for a safe, healthy environment? What about the responsibility to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? What about the responsibility of "contribution" and not just "consumption"?

B) Our society has gone crazy sexually--and otherwise. We need to practice self-control and temperance again. Our appetites and desires are the force that "makes the world go 'round." Regardless of what the "tube" or anything else tells us, we must be a society that values "self-control" once again.

3) We must be a society that devalues "greed" in all it's forms:

A) I remember hearing someone say that "money is a great servant, and a horrible master." But it seems that "greed" is the new badge of honor. Recently someone told me that their boss only sees one color: GREEN. There is something terribly, horribly wrong with that picture.

B) Less is more. And if you don't believe me, trying "moving" your entire household--packing everything, finding boxes, and paying with it in blood, sweat, and tears...and backaches, etc. Do we really "need" all this stuff? I've decided that I don't.

These are issues that "politics" alone will not solve...and more than likely will never be addressed from the "stump."

But these are foundational issues...and our foundations in this nation seem to be is the time to stop the "rot."

Friends...and then there's SOUTHERN FRIENDS...

A wonderful "southern lady" sent this to me. It is so very, very true!


FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Always bring the food. And lots of it.

FRIENDS: Will say "hello".
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will give you a big hug and a kiss. More than one.

FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mom and Dad, and often.

FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Cry with you. And for you.

FRIENDS: Will eat at your dinner table and leave.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will spend hours there, talking, laughing, and just being together. Then do the dishes before leaving.

FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you. And most of the time know you better than you do yourself.

FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds' back-ends that left you. Then walk beside you in the front of the crowd.

FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!" If you are not home they will wait.

FRIENDS: Are for a while.
SOUTHREN FRIENDS: Are for life. And then some.

FRIENDS: Might ignore this.
SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will forward this to all their Southern Friends.

California Burning---Not good!

Like the rest of the nation, I watched in absolute horror last night as Charlie Gibson brought a "Primetime Special Report: California Burning" right after Dancing with the Stars...

Having lived in Northern California for three years, I feel a very deep sorrow and grief for those wonderful people in San Diego County and the surrounding areas who have lost everything they owned to these wild fires.

These tragedies only remind me that we "can't take it with" us--regardless of how valuable it is.

The Scriptures tell us that God creates wealth, and He also brings disaster (Read Isaiah's prophecy), and in this awful time, these people must look to the God who never slumbers nor sleeps.

Now is the time for the people of God to be the "hands and feet of Christ" to more than one million people who have been affected by this disaster.

What can you do? What can I do?

Where are the PARENTS in this nation?

I am continually shocked/amazed/alarmed when I see what is happening in contemporary American culture!

Now, I'm only 45 years old (will be 46 in March, 2008), but I remember a day back when:

Parents knew where their "underage" children were. (By "underage" I mean anyone less than 21 years old--and even those over 21 if they still lived in the parents' home.)

"Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" were the only accepted answers to questions that required "two word" answers. (What happened? WHAT HAPPENED?)

Parents didn't have to worry about their ten-year old son being gunned down two blocks from his home by a stray bullet from "gang wars"....this just happened last night on Chicago's South heart breaks for that family.

Parents knew BETTER than to buy an arsenal of "anything" for their child that could harm someone else--but a mother in Pennsylvania bought an arsenal for her son to potentially harm an entire high school. The only reason the father didn't buy the boy a gun was because "Daddy is a felon"....What on earth?

I'm just wondering where the "adults" are in American society?

Have we abdicated the responsibility of civility to someone other than the "adults"?

Have "personal rights" become more necessary and absolute than "personal responsibility"?

Where are the parents/adults in this nation?

The Problem of Pain...

I'm not really sure why this "title" has been swimming around in my head all morning, but it has.

And it seems as though we Christ-followers aren't always ready to "answer" why we have the problem of pain.

And yet, so many of us really do deal with incredible pain:

Pain in our bodies
Pain in our relationships
Pain in our local churches
Pain in our job situations
Pain in our families

Pain, pain, PAIN!

I'm not sure of the exact source, but I do remember hearing someone quoting C S Lewis, "Pain is God's megaphone." Whether the late and great Mr Lewis said this or not, I'm not able to verify right at this moment.

But this much I can verify:

Pain is a part of life. There is no such thing as "Pain-free" living. Of course those who want to live "pain-free" can certainly do that...while they are living in absolute denial also.

What do we do with "the pain?"

Some answers are very simplistic:

"Give it to the Lord, and let Him take care of it."

I agree, and I often want to do just that.


"Just forget about your pain, it will go away."

Yep, bet you've done that a bunch of times, huh?

So how do we Christians handle the "problem of pain?"

Congratulations to Aaron and Kristie

I am flying to "Hot"lanta tonite...(that's Atlanta for all the non-Southerners among us) to participate in the festivities of my great friend Aaron Kuglin. He and his wife-to-be, Kristy, will be exchanging their wedding vows on Saturday. I am so excited for them.

I first met Aaron back in 2001, during a morning service at Founder's Week--a bible conference sponsored and hosted by the Moody Bible Institute here in Chicago.

He and I went to lunch (at Portillo's if my memory serves me correctly), and we have been pals ever since. I assisted his mom and dad with the "details" of his junior recital, and again for his senior recital in 2004.

He has been closer than a brother to me, and for many reasons to numerous to detail here.

I am so thrilled for him. I am so thrilled that he wants me to be at his wedding.

It is my honor and pleasure.

Kristie is getting a "saint" of a man. And she's marrying one of my dearest friends.

What are your favorite Scripture verses?

When someone asks you to quote your favorite Scripture verses, what immediately comes to mind?

Here are two of mine:

"Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for a friend" (John 15:13)

"The Lord is the shade at your right hand. The sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night." (Psalm 121:3).

So what are your favorites--without looking them up....

Go ahead, feel free to share them here

To the Chicago Tribune

Last Saturday's Chicago Tribune published a letter in the "Voice of the People" section entitled "The Benefits to Becoming Bilingual"--a direct reference to why we should all learn Spanish.

While I found the letter very well-written, I also found it infuriating. I sent this response to the editor of the Chicago Tribune today:
Regarding Missy Berry's well-written opinion in Saturday's "Voice of the People", I must respectfully and firmly disagree with just about every premise of her letter.

I do not feel threatened by anyone who speaks, looks, acts differently than least not in my country--the United States of America. I am very thankful for the great diversity of people that are found in this place--the freest nation in the history of humanity. But this is AMERICA...not Mexico, or Poland, or Zimbabwe, just to name a few foreign countries.

I am particularly not threatened by those Spanish-speakers who come here. I am more frustrated than threatened. And what is particularly frustrating to me, and to millions of my fellow citizens across this land is the unwillingness of many of the "Hispanics" "Latinos"--whatever they want to call themselves--to adapt this new country. I keep hearing some of the Hispanics say, "But in my country..."

If this isn't their country, what on earth are they doing here? No one goes somewhere for a 20-year visit.

Americans have every right to celebrate Independence Day because that is OUR national holiday. The Liberation of Poland, Mexico, or any other nation (outside of the USA) is not our national holiday, nor should it be.

As a military veteran, I am deeply disturbed by the fact that we Americans have become so "culturally diverse" and "openminded" that we forget we are Americans. I have no hyphenated patriotism...I am an American. It doesn't matter what the lineage is...what matters is that I am an American.

The benefits of people learning to speak the English language, should they decide to live here permanently (and having lived here for more than several months, I do believe that is their intentions) are manifold: Better chances for productive employment. Better chances for educational opportunities, and far better chances to climb the economic ladder.

The benefits of people learning to speak English here in the United States are also longlasting upon all who pay taxes to the local, state, and federal governments. Translating all those forms is expensive--and someone, somewhere has to pay the "fiddler" after the dancing is over. I pay my share. But I would have to pay less if we insisted that people adapt and assimilate into this country and to learn the prevailing language of commerce and society.

Wave the Flag of the United States, learn to speak English, and get on the path to becoming an American. No need to hyphenate your plans. Just do it.