Fortified Cities....

"A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle." (Proverbs 18:19)

Very few situations in life are more difficult to solve than "offended" people. The writer of the Proverbs tells us that an "offended" (brother or sister) is a stronger obstacle/barrier than a fortified city.

Let's think about fortified cities for a while:

1) Usually have good armies in place.

2) Usually have stable government in place.

3) Usually have good infrastructure (roads, highways, shelters) in place.

4) Usually have a sense of security, and a history of victory.

So, what is it about offended people in the kingdom of God?

I have often wondered why we are so quick to " judge" and make " assumptions" without all the facts--and thus run the possibility of offending someone without cause?

Have we become so calloused that we will believe anything about someone with whom we may disagree, or with whom we clash? I've clashed with more than one brother/sister in the church...but I would never seek to harm them, or to wish ill against them. I would also never gossip about them.

But we have God's Word: "offended" brothers/sisters are harder to win than fortified cities.


Department of Justice: Do your Diligence!

Some silly Mexican woman has decided to hide out in a west side Church here in Chicago...again. This lady, Flor Crisostomo, is a criminal. She has used false documents to get into this country, to get a job, and has broken all the immigration laws of this nation.

Now, she is taking a cue from Elvira Arrellano (the criminal who was finally deported last year) and is seeking "sanctuary" in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago's west side.

She should and must be deported. And the sooner the better.

The Department of Justice, and Immigration and Naturalization should/must move into that facility IMMEDIATELY and remove this lady from the premises.

In addition, the Department of Justice should levy a very heavy fine against this local congregation, and this group should lose their TAX EXEMPT status for a long, long time--if they go along with this charade again.

The laws of this nation must mean something...and must be enforced.

And it must start now!

Illegal Immigration: Here's what I would do

I am very, very tired of the bureaucrats "wringing their hands" and not doing anything about the problem of illegal immigrants in this country.

We must do something, and do it quickly! Although I will be voting from the former Governor of Arkansas in the February Primaries (Mike Huckabee), I do disagree with his approach to illegal immigration.

Here's what I propose:

1) Stop granting automatic citizenship to the children who are born in the United States, but their parents are not United States citizens. If their parents (one or both) are here on "Green cards", the child who is born here should share their status--nothing more, nothing less. If we make this our law and enforce it, fewer people will come here to have their "anchor babies."

2) Secure our borders, and rigorously enforce the immigration laws of this land. Start deporting those who are violating our laws.

The Healer is Here...

Let me be very clear:

God is still a healing God! In an age where people tend to be skeptical about everything (and Christ-followers are not immune to this skepticism), we can know that God is still the same HEALER that He has always been.

Now, a few questions:

1) Does God hear every prayer for healing? Of course.

2) Does God answer every prayer for healing? Yes. He often says "yes" and He often says "no" and sometimes He will even say "wait." But God does answer the prayers for healing. We just may not get the answer that we want, when we want it.

3) How do I know that God heals today? His Word tells me that Christ is the same "yesterday, today, and forever." Christ healed many, many who came to Him--and He hasn't changed. I either believe His promises about Himself, or I don't.

4) Didn't the "miraculous" end when the Biblical Canon was completed? No. The Holy Spirit didn't leave us...and we are not second-class citizens of God's family. God, and God alone decides when, where, how, and why He will perform His mighty works--including salvation, healing, and any other miraculous act He chooses to perform.

God still heals people....and let's always ask Him, believe Him, and trust Him.

Even when He says "no."

Memo to the GOP: Ronald Reagan is Dead!

With no intended disrespect to the "Gipper"....Ronald Reagan has been dead almost 4 years now. He has been out of the Oval Office for almost 20 years now. Move on!

I am basically tired of hearing Reagan's name invoked every time the Republican Candidates for the nomination get together on a platform.

Enough already!

Times are severely different than in the "times of Reagan":

1) There is no Iron Curtan, Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact now.

2) There is no more East and West Germany.

3) We do not need, want, nor desire another "Iran-Contra" scandal...or any other military scandal for that matter. Abu Ghraib will last enough more than long enough...

4) We need to get our exploding deficits under control, and paid off....

So Governors Huckabee and Romney, Senators McCain and Thompson, Mayor Giuliani---

STOP invoking Ronald Reagan. He's dead. He cannot help you.

Come up with some plans and ideas of your own.

"Meanest mom"...good for her...

An Iowa mother has done what MANY, MANY other parents should do:

She found alcohol in her 19-year old son's car. She has put that automobile up for sale.

She has taken out an ad in the local paper....admitting that she is the "meanest" mom in the world....

Good for her!

I only wish there were hundreds of thousands of other parents who were like this courageous woman.

But instead, we see teenagers abusing alcohol (and any teenager drinking is ABUSING, regardless of the intention or permission of the parents), and endangering the lives of others, as well as their own.

I'm glad this woman has taken the stand she did. Maybe some other parents will "grow up" and do the same thing.

We can only hope.

It's an Election...not the END of the World...

I sure hope that people claiming to be "Christ-followers" will conduct and appropriate themselves as such during this election year.

After all this is an "election,not the "end of the world"--to quote the late Ann Richards, former governor of Texas.

While it is always important (and imperative) to cast an informed vote for--and to support, if one is so inclined--the candidate of their choice. But we must remember that this process is an "election"....not the judgment seat of Christ.

I refuse to demonize other Christ-followers who don't agree with my political preferences. I refuse to canonize those who do agree with them.

After all, we are still humans--prone to failure, flaws, and quick decisions.

I'm humbled to live in a country where we can see the "democratic" (notice little "d") process practiced freely. No one has to fear the "gestapo" coming in and arresting everyone for making their "political choices" public.

And when November 5th rolls around, let's remember that we live in the greatest country on earth. And let's come together to make this land an even better place to live, work, worship, and honor the Lord.

Eleven Rules for the Contemporary Generation...

Not sure where these "eleven rules" originated, but I think they are CLASSIC:

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault , so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Senators Clinton and McCain....

First, I can't believe that we are deep, deep in an election season! I'm still trying to recuperate from the 2000 and 2004 seasons---it can't be 2008 already!

But it is!

The New Hampshire (pronounced "nu hamsha" for all the non-New Englanders) Primaries were last night....and there were some surprises--delightful and otherwise.

The junior Senator from New York, Former First Lady Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary, after taking a drubbing in the Iowa Caucuses last week. She worked hard from last Friday until last night...and she deserved to win. She barely squeaked past the junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, with 39% of the Democratic vote.

The senior Senator from Arizona, Vietnam War hero John McCain surprised everyone with his handy win in the Republican column. Just a few weeks/months ago, McCain was considered to be a very distant "also ran" only to be wonderfully resurrected to win the first Primary in the nation again. He handily beat George W Bush in 2000 during the New Hampshire primary.

I supported Senator McCain's bid in 2000--and think this country made a terrible mistake by nominating George W Bush instead of the War Hero.

And so, the "race" is wide open. Really, really open.

Those who were expecting to "crown" Senator Obama had to postpone the ceremonies, and return the "crown." Those who though that former Governor Mitt Romney's "dough" would buy him the primary found themselves crying over all the spilled cash.

Goes to show that "money can't buy everything." At least not in Iowa and New Hampshire.

While this is a fascinating process to watch, I just hope this nation doesn't experience "election fatigue" too early.

A truly sad Obituary...

I learned about Mr. Common Sense early in my life. I was told that I would do well to call on him when making decisions. It seems he was always around in my early years but less and less as time passed by until today I read his obituary.

Please join me in a moment of silence in remembrance. For Common Sense had served us all so well for so many generations.

Obituary:Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know my Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Now that IOWA is over...

Congratulations to both Senator Barack Obama (Democrat from Illinois), and Former Governor Mike Huckabee (Republican from Arkansas) on their first-place finishes in the IOWA Caucuses...

Now, we can remember there are FORTY-NINE other states in the least there were when I last counted.

This whole "election process" has started WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too early for me. I'm tired of it already...and the "worst" is still to come.

What to do?

The Dangers of Spiritual Privilege

We live in a wonderful nation. We have a precious freedom in this nation that should never be discounted nor taken for granted.

As Christians, we have a precious, priceless freedom in the Lord Jesus. That freedom is costly. That's the reason that God became a human...

I've said all that to say this:

We humans are prone to nitpick, criticize, and complain. Sometimes these things are necessary---and rare. More often than not, we take great pleasure in our "fault-finding" and "examining" other people's motives, hearts, and actions.

That does no one any good, for the most part. My friend Kevin Bussey ( does a marvelous job of bringing the "absurd" to light and explaining the issues around "the issues." But rarely does he harshly judge another fellow Christian. And when his judgments are heavy (which is indeed a wonderfully rare thing), he has firm scriptural support for making such acclamations.

On New Year's Eve, I was invited to a gathering of Christian friends to celebrate the coming of 2008. All in all, it was a wonderful time, and the people were marvelous.

However, one certain person (whom shall remain nameless) decided to corner me. He behaved more like a prosecutor than a fellow believer. He wanted to know why I requested prayer in a recent gathering for some very sensitive situations in the Kingdom of God in another well-known area. He wasn't concerned about these fellow believers. And if he was, he certainly had a very horrifying way of showing his concern.

As Christians, we must be very, very careful. We must avoid spiritual snobbery, and even worse, spiritual "superiority." The words of the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth comes to mind here:

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

And then, to the Christians at Galatia,

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

It's so easy to be the "armchair quarterback" of someone else's ministry, activities, family, or personality.

God hasn't called us to that task. We should be discerning, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (in the words of Christ Himself). And we should be very, very careful when we decide to place any kind of "judgment" on God's servants.

I'm not advocating the blind following of anyone....but I am concerned that we American Christians are more "critic" than we are "Christ-like."

From the Pen of Geron Davis

I first heard Geron Davis' fabulous music some twenty-four years ago when "Holy Ground" became such a "popular" song to sing in Christian circles. I've admired him ever since.

I went back through some of the taped services from Denver First Church of the Nazarene ( from years gone by...and found one where Geron, his wife Becky, and their friend Wesley Pritchard were ministering at DFC. They sang this wonderful, wonderful song:

When I stop and see,just where I've been
I'm really amazed I made it thru this place.
And I can honestly say
without a doubt in my mind
It's only because my life has been
Covered by His grace.

Is it any wonder they call it, "AMAZING GRACE?"
Great and small, every wrong erased.
When we were guilty as sin,
Jesus stepped in
And offered to take our place
Tell me, "is it any wonder they call it "AMAZING GRACE"?

All the debt was mine,
Jesus said "I'll pay"
A love so divine, has shattered both time and space.
And forevermore, hope had been reborn
For all of the world
had been introduced to God's Amazing Grace.

Indeed. We must never forget that Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. We were not only lost in our sins...we were DEAD in our sins. God's only Son gave us the ability to "live again."

In 2008, let us remember this wonderful, unspeakable, indescribable GRACE.