"How About your heart?"

My good friend, Dr Gary Allen Henecke, Senior Pastor of Nashville First Church of the Nazarene is one of the most powerful preachers that one would ever want to hear. I've been listening to some of his messages on the "world wide web" today. Here's a link:

Nashville First Church of the Nazarene is truly one of the great congregations in this nation. With a rich history covering more than 100 years, the people continue to be a beacon of hope and light in the "Music City."

Feel free to listen to their shepherd. You will be blest and encouraged.

217 Years later, The Supreme Court Speaks out!

For the first time since 1791, the Supreme Court of the United States has issued a ruling regarding the Second Amendment, better known as the "Right to Bear Arms." I'm not sure what to think about this ruling....

Someone has said that a "well-armed society is a better society." I'm not sure whether I believe that or not. Personally, I don't like guns...and have no inclination to own one. And I really see no need for law-abiding citizens to own them either.

However, living in Chicago, it seems to be evident that every THUG in this city has some type of firearm, and no one is safe anymore.

I dislike the NRA, and will never ever be affiliated with such an organization. But I do believe in people having a certain sense of safety and security.

What do you think?

David Diehl: Finally Home

Sadly, I must post this:

Colorado Springs, Coloardo
Monday, June 23, 2008
David Diehl, executive pastor of the Colorado Springs First Church of the Nazarene and son of General Superintendent James H. and Dorothy Diehl, passed away at 9:20 A.M. (Mountain) Monday, June 23, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

He is survived by his wife, Lori, and young daughters Lexi and Dani.

A memorial/celebration service will be held at 7:00 P.M. (Mountain) on Thursday, June 26, at Colorado Springs First Church. The viewing will precede the service at 6:00–7:00 P.M.On Friday there will be a funeral service at 1:00 P.M. at Denver First Church. A viewing will precede that service. The burial will be in Denver immediately following the funeral service.A memorial trust fund has been established for the college education of David and Lori's daughters, Lexi (age 9) and Dani (age 7).

Gifts for this fund can be sent to:Members Federal Credit Union
Attention: David Diehl Trust Fund
6 Abilene StreetAurora, Colorado 80011

Condolences can be sent to:
Lori Diehl
5502 Wyatt Earp Way
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80923

Dr. and Mrs. James Diehl
P. O. Box 36227
Denver, Colorado 80236-0227
The Diehl family would like to express their heart-felt gratitude for prayers for David and his family. More information will be posted on ncnnews.com as it as received from the Diehl family and Board of General Superintendents. Continued prayer is requested for the Diehl family.

I first heard this marvelous song when I was just a freshman in college. It speaks so vividly what each of us, who know Christ, will one day experience:

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God's!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God's!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

David Diehl is "finally home." Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. That is God's promise to us. As I know this will be an unspeakably sad time for my wonderful friends Jim and Dorothy Diehl (whom I've known now for more than 20 years), it is precious to God. In time, this "home going" will become precious to them as well.

Please pray for them.

National Issue # 8: Crazy Drivers

My friend Joe Misek (www.joemisek.blogspot.com) posted this, and it is SO good that I had to "borrow it" and post it here:
About two years ago, I realized something very interesting about intersections in the Chicago area. I grew up in the suburbs, and was a converted city-lover and city-dweller (unfortunately, due to the location of my job and the desire for a low-insanity commute, I live again in the suburbs). I was used to the yellow light at intersections being of a certain length of time, maybe 4-5 complete seconds. When I moved to the city, I found that those yellow lights are MUCH quicker, maybe 2, at most 3 seconds long.So I had to adjust, but as time has gone on, I've observed that the yellow light has a unique way of sectioning the human race into several distinct categories.

We've all heard some cranky old guy say, "There's two kinds of people in this world..." Well, I'm going to be the cranky old guy, and the yellow light is going to be the knife that cuts the species into "kinds of people".

First of all, about 95% of drivers in the Chicago area morph into a completely different person once they get behind the wheel. It's like Jeckle/Hyde, or the dude that turns into the Incredible Hulk. When Johnny Q Driver from Chicago turns on his prized vehicle, he becomes King Johnny "I Own this ______ Road!" Psycho guy. They only pay attention to the road when the events of the road interrupt their cell phone conversation, but when they do pay attention, they take ridiculous chances.

Anyway, the yellow light.

There are two kinds of drivers in the Chicago area. There are those precious few that see the yellow light, and they gauge where how fast they are going and how close they are to the intersection, and make every effort to slow down. The others, upon seeing a yellow light, hit the accelerator so hard that they pound their foot through the floor of their car and bust open a pothole in the concrete below. I think that's how some potholes are created. They come from the lead feet of crazed drivers.

For so many drivers, the yellow light signifies the start of some kind of Prozac-fueled arcade video game. I've seen stupid truck drivers hit the gas when they are approaching the intersection and know that they will not make it... so they will honk their horn as if to announce, "I'm an idiot but I don't want to hurt anybody, so please inconvenience yourself and wait for another second after your green light because I'm going to commit a traffic crime and blow through this red light like deluded monkey." Why is that driver in a hurry? I'm sure he's paid hourly... wouldn't his patience pay off in the end?

The other thing about the yellow light that drives me insane is the people waiting at the light to make a left turn. This is where the sense of entitlement overcomes even the most generous old lady. There may be two cars in the middle of the intersection waiting for the other direction to clear so that they can make the left turn. But of course, since everyone blows through the yellow light, all the way up until it turns red, then those other cars have to make their turn after their light turns red. But it's never just the two cars in the intersection. I've seen car #3, car #4, and BIG HUGE STRETCH LIMOSINE #5, all gas it and turn, while the cars in the other direction sit there and wait (and honk) while these selfish, impatient wonks joyride through.

And I love how that very last car turning acts. That last driver will actually make that left turn sharper, so that the car is actually behind and to the left of the car in front of it. This almost shields the last car behind the previous car from the oncoming (well, wanting to on-come) traffic. This is so crappy, because this basically says, " I'm going to hide behind this other car here, so hopefully no one will notice me. And if you do, just know that I'm trying to get through as fast as I can so that you can go through sooner. But I have to go, and you have to wait, because I'm entitled. Hey, I'm doing the best I can, and I'm doing it for you." And this is absolutely terrible in the city because there's so little yellow light time to allow turns.

And where are the cops? No cops watching the intersections. They like to sit out in a long stretch of road, conveniently located in front of a Dunkin Donuts, and wait for someone to go 5 mph over the speed limit. They have no idea just how used and abused the yellow light gets.

You see? The yellow light divides this country.

And the yellow light is reflective of the driver's personality. Selfish risk-takes gun it. Folks that are cool, calm, and collected (and haul their butts out of bed on time so that they can get to work on time without a hitch) can respect the yellow light. By what I remember from driver school, the yellow light is for the traffic in the intersection (not approaching the intersection...) to clear so that left turns can be made and for the intersection to be free and safe for the next direction of traffic. So, folks, let's evolve in our humanity and respect the yellow lights. It will make us a better race of people.

By the way, I'm not going to comment on where I fit in the yellow line divide.

Please visit Joe's blog, and tell him that I invited you "over".


It comes as no surprise to anyone (at least no one on THIS planet) that the United States has an unbelievable NATIONAL DEBT and recurring NATIONAL DEFICITS.

This must stop! And " we, the people" must insist that it stop. We are so far in debt in this country--as a nation--that my nieces/nephews GRANDCHILDREN will never be able to see "surpluses" in our national coffers.

I don't like that feeling. We must control our spending, and start paying off our national debts.

Doing so will affect every person in this country. We must curb and control entitlements. We must make MUCH better use of the "dollars" that taxpayers (that would be me, among others) are being "mugged" for every pay day.

Stop it! Stop it now!

I am all for a strong military, good healthcare, and the things that make this nation great...but we must get control of our spending. We do not need to be funding the "bridge to no where" in ANY STATE...(or anywhere else, for that matter). We need to pay down our national debts.

If those countries who are currently holding our debts decide to "cash in" these "nifty fifty" would be a THIRD-WORLD experiment gone terribly awry--over night!

So, Senators Obama and McCain, this is a very serious national issue: Debt and Deficit Reduction. We must pay our bills.

National Issue #6 Care of the Elderly

This issue has been on the "back burners" for all the "talking heads in Washington" for FAR too long. And without argument (from me, at least), the care of our aging parents/population is not either easily diagnosed nor easily solved. But, now is the time to start wrapping our minds, energies, and resources around this very, very significant challenge in our society and culture.

Many of our "elderly" citizens are not financially prepared--or at least not "as prepared" as the "experts" (again, another nebulous group) say they should have been for their later years. And none of us are growing any younger, either.

The costs of medical care, prescription drugs, and other "necessities" of life are not going down. Not by a long shot. While all of these costs are skyrocketing, the resources to "fund" these things are rapidly dwindling....RAPIDLY. I cannot over-emphasize this. Some of these wonderful people have worked hard all of their adult lives, have been mugged by Uncle Sam repeatedly for their entire working lives, and now can't depend on any significant social benefits to care for them, in case they have no family resources either willing or able to care for them.

Reports of elderly citizens being abused in assisted living, and nursing facilities abound. Whether these reports are exaggerated, or even fabricated, each case must be individually investigated. But, we do have a problem, "Houston"...and we must start paying attention.

I was born near the very end of the "baby boomer" generation, and in about 20 short years, I will be considered "elderly." I'm doing my best to save some now...and it's difficult to say the least.

We need to have a serious national conversation about the "elderly" and the "issues of the elderly" in this country.

We must start soon. We aren't growing any younger.

National Issue #5: Our Military Personnel

After a brief respite, I'm ready to "pontificate" (at least that's what I've been accused of) about what I believe to be the REAL NATIONAL ISSUES in the 2008 Election season. This is one of the most important ones, in my opinion. Our military personnel, active duty, retired, and veterans are significant national treasures to the United States of America. *Disclaimer time: I'm not saying this, just because I am a veteran of the United States Air Force. I TRULY believe what I am writing.

The debaucle at Walter Reed Medical Center in 2007 was only the uncovering of the iceberg this nation is about to encounter concerning our military personnel. If you remember the reports (and my question would be, "How could you possibly forget those reports?") of how seriously injured military men and women were being treated, non-treated, and down right abused by the very system that was in place to help them recover, and return to a sense of normality in their life and jobs. That system failed them, to a large degree.

We are fighting two different (yet, strangely similiar) battles right now. Those brave military men and women will be returning to the United States someday, and many of them will need "long-term" care. Very conservative estimates say that close to 250,000 of our military personnel are/will be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I know that it is difficult to wrap our minds around such a large number, and particularly when they suffer with such a strange malady.

Contrary to the opinions of a few knuckleheads who don't believe that PTSD exists, it does indeed exist! And if not properly treated, it can be deadly. Very deadly

We also have marvelous men and women who have been severely injured in the line of duty (and I am not talking about self-inflicted injuries--that's another post for another time), and DESERVE the very best medical care that money can buy. These brave service members followed orders, put their very life on the line, and suffered injuries because of it. NOTHING, let me repeat that, NOTHING is too expensive for their care and quality of life, in my opinion.

Regardless of how one feels about the Bush Administration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must agree on this much: Our service personnel deserve the BEST this nation can buy...and NOTHING should come before our obligation to the men and women who bravely serve this nation's interest.


The Veterans' Administration must be fully funded, and must have leadership who truly, deeply, profoundly care about the service members, past, present, and future. Those traits will and must be reflected in the quality AND quantity of services and healthcare available to those who have served this nation honorably.

Anyone who does not have the best interests of our service personnel at heart should not be serving in the United States government, and should not be on the payrolls funded by the taxpayers of this nation.

Remembering Tim Russert


From those who knew him best, we "get to know" one of the greatest men in contemporary American culture, the late Timothy John Russert. He was the moderator and host of the nation's longest running television show, MEET THE PRESS but as these clips will show Tim Russert was so much more.

Our issues this week: Getting to know this gentle, wonderful man who left us way too soon.

My issue this Monday: Tim Russert, Rest in Peace


I was one of the "lucky ones" who got to shake Tim Russert's hand a couple of years ago when he was doing a book-signing here at the State Street Borders Bookstore. Tim's volume The Wisdom of our Fathers had just been released, and I was downtown for some reason that Tuesday afternoon. I saw a sign saying he would be in the store, and I got to meet him, and say hello for less than one minute. It was the highlight of my day! And probably for that week, and month too! I got to meet "THE MAN" from the best political news show on television, MEET THE PRESS. Now "that" was something to talk about!

Tim Russert left this earthly life on Friday, June 13, 2008. This caused shock and grief all over the country, and probably around the globe. I was just logging on to the internet, when my friend Joe Misek (www.joemisek.blogspot.com) called, and as soon as I answered my cell phone, I said, "I know, I'm reading it...I'm trying not to cry."

Even though I didn't have a "vibrant relationship" with Mr Russert, I feel like I've lost a friend. Let me explain:

I am a sound sleeper (well about 99% of the time, anyway). And I'm almost always in Sunday Morning worship on the Lord's Day. So, I try to get myself up around 2 a.m. on Monday morning, stumble into the living room, and watch the reruns of MEET THE PRESS. I liked the show, and particularly Tim Russert's style, that much!

This morning was no different....except, "my friend" wasn't there. Alot of his "real friends" were sitting there, telling me--telling the world--wha a marvelous man had just left his stamp on this life, and what a loss we are experiencing. Even though moderator Tom Brokaw put a moratorium on crying, he didn't see me shedding tears on my sofa in the wee hours of this morning...

For Big Russ, Maureen, and Luke, we are praying for you. God's know the loss you are experiencing, and He really does care for you.

I don't know what else to say...but MEET THE PRESS will never be the same without Tim.

National Issue #4: Infrastructure, Infrastructure

It's time that Americans "ween themselves" off their gas-guzzling automobiles (for starters) and for the United States to start rebuilding our infrastructure in this nation of ours.

In some cases, this will mean "building infrastructure" to begin with, i.e. a high-speed rail service between Chattanooga, TN and Atlanta, GA--comes immediately to mind.

Our roads, bridges, rail systems, bus-systems, highways, and expressways are pretty much in terrible disrepair. While the "airlines" seem to get all the attention, there are multiplied millions who do not fly more than once a year--if that often. But one thing is sure: These "multiplied millions" do use the rest of our infrastructure, shabby though it may be.

Many of our interstate highways are excellent--we need to make sure we keep them that way!
Many of our interstate highways are average-good. This is unacceptable--they must be improved! Many of our interstate highways are awful--and this is a SHAME! It is shameful beyond shameful that the richest nation on earth (and in the history of humanity) cannot/will not finance and maintain their transportation byways in good repair. It's time that we spend the money and manpower to make sure that our "infrastructure" is the absolute best it can be.

We do not need another bridge collapsing unexpectedly. The "Minneapolis tragedy" from last summer should be a somber, sobering lesson for the entire nation.

Regardless of what the talking bobbleheads, union gurus, and others are saying, we must upgrade and return our national infrastructure to superior condition.

Anything less is shameful...

And it should be criminal.

Senator McCain, are you listening?

Senator Obama, are you listening?

National Issue #3: "Real" Education Reform

"No Child Left Behind"--from the majority accounts that I've read has been an abysmal failure--by and large. I have several "relatives" who teach in the public school system, and not a single one of them thinks the "NCLB" has been successful.

And all three of them voted for George W Bush--both times!

EDUCATION begins at home...and it MUST begin at home. No child should enter the public school system without a basic sense of numbers, colors, and some letters. The more education the child receives at home (the right kind, that is), the better his/her chances will be once they enter the school system. This is the PARENTS' RESPONSIBILITY--not the school system's.

What I propose: (and I am picking on a mysterious, ficticious "little Johnny")

1) Make sure that the individual student can read at grade level--BEFORE promoting them to the next grade level. No need to put "little Johnny" in the third grade if "little Johnny" can only read on the first grade level. "Little Johnny" is not being treated fairly, nor served well, in this situation.

2) Emphasize the important basic skills. Little Johnny needs to know how to read, write, and spell BEFORE little Johnny learns how to use the Internet. No child, in my opinion, should be taught how to use the "worldwideweb" before that child can read at grade level five or six. I am constantly amazed at how small children are taught how to use all the "gadgets" and "gizmoes" but those same children have deficient spelling and reading abilities. THIS MUST STOP!

3) Pay the good teachers a living wage! The regular public school teacher, on any given day, performs as psychologist, counselor, lawyer, referee, banker, coach, artist, musician, and actor. (I'm sure I left something out, unintentionally, of course). People who have all those "hats" and roles should be paid appropriately. NO school teacher should have to worry about meeting their bills, and taking a second job to make ends come together. Pay school teachers what they are truly worth.

4) Emphasize home-schooling. Yes, that was not a mistake. I work in Adult Education, and I see what a miserable failure many public schools have been (whether by design, or just destiny). I feel that every parent should have the choice of homeschooling their children, if they so desire. Some of the brightest and best students I encounter are those who have been homeschooled. While this isn't the 100% guarantee for success, it should definitely be an option for every parent who cares about their child(ren).

I could write volumes about "educational" reform....and maybe someday, I will

National Issue #2: Healthcare Reform

Regardless of what one thinks of New York's junior Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, she must be given credit where it is due. She, like no other First Lady, was willing to tackle the issue of "healthcare reform." Even though "her plan" was never passed into legislation, the woman was gutsy and strong enough to at least find out what the challenges, quirks, and problems are with healthcare in America.

That was 1993. In my opinion, healthcare in this nation hasn't improved in the last fifteen years since the White House started looking into the situation. It has only gotten worse.

Whether it is a President McCain or a President Obama, it is HIGH TIME that someone make some headway in tackling the monstrosity we currently must endure in the health care of this nation's citizens and legal residents.

There are SO MANY facets to the whole "health care" debate:

1) Abusing the systems already in place (this is both over-use and neglecting to use).
2) Outrageous lawsuits against the physicians and medical facilities who render care.
3) The uninsured and the underinsured (which is an ever-growing problem).
4) The personal responsibilities of every person in this nation for their own health practices (or in most cases, our "unhealthy habits) and habits.
5) Affordable access to basic healthcare.
6) Defining and regulating what is an "emergency" and what is "routine" health care, and what the delivery system should be in each situation.

My professional experience is limited to working in two different hospitals in two very different environments--yet both had similar challenges and problems. The first facility was in a small, rural town---but there were REAL problems for real people in the healthcare system. More of this was from abuse and neglect than anything else. The second facility was here in Chicago...and the expected abuse of the "free care" for some people was the price of being in existence.

Somewhere, we've lost our way when it comes to health care for every American and for those legal residents of this country. As a matter of confession: I will not go to my physician (even when I've needed to seek medical attention) as often as I should, simply because the costs are just too much of a strain on my budget.


So, whomever occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 21, 2009--be ready to tackle the "health care" debacle in this country. Expect a fight on your hands.

It will be a Bruiser.

Just ask Senator Clinton. She still has the scars--fifteen years after the fact.

National Issues: Immigration Control and Reform

For the next several posts, I want to address "issues" that I believe are CRITICALLY important to this nation. After all the "talking bobbleheads" have done their "thing" and criticized both Senator McCain and Senator Obama, it is "we the people" who must vote for a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next January 20th.

The first ISSUE: Immigration.

I fully realize that this great nation of ours is a "nation of immigrants"--the originals inhabitants are no longer living among us...and the "native Americans" should be cared for.

But, we have more than 12 million people (a very conservative estimate, at that) who are residing in the United States illegally. The more diplomatic among us will just call their status "undocumented"...to which I will say, "that too."

These 12 million people have, by and large, thumbed their noses in the face of the laws of the United States, and have told the "law-abiding" citizens (and legal immigrants) they will do as they please...and there's not a thing we can do about it.

And that is our fault.

The most pressing national issue (among many pressing national issues) in my opinion is the "immigration" issue.

Just here in my city of Chicago, one of the prominent Latino Alderman (Munoz is his name)had to admit that his father was running an illegal documents scam...for which the "feds" did a raid a year or so ago. Mr Munoz' father has since that time, pled guilty. That "racket" was worth more than 1 million dollars annually...and God only knows how many people have "documents" that aren't worth the paper on which they are printed.

And that's just part of the "tempest in the teapot."

Regardless of where they come from, ILLEGALS/UNDOCUMENTEDS (whatever one would wish to label them) must realize, and be certain that the LAWS of the United States will not only be respected, but enforced.

In my opinion, we must:

1) Close the borders, and do it quickly.

2) Start deporting those who are breaking our laws.

3) Start heavily fining employers who insist on employing the "undocumenteds" in this nation...and I mean HEAVY fines...something more than a simple slap on the wrist.

4) Insist that anyone who wants to immigrate to this country must be somewhat conversant (willing to become proficient) in the English language. Too many taxpayers are being robbed because of people who insist on the freedoms of the United States, but never bother learning the language of law and commerce of the United States. Make it clear: You come to the USA, you will learn to speak English--we will stop the wasteful nonsense of translating everything all the time.

There are other issues, and I will address them in subsequent posts.

My heart is aching....

Someone that I care about a great deal is faced with one of the most serious situations of his life thus far: His estranged wife has filed for divorce. They have been separated for a few months...and though this "final" act was somewhat inevitable, the "knowing" doesn't make it any less painful for him.

What is even more painful for me is that I (along with several others) strongly admonished this brother in Christ to "slow down" the romance train that he had revved up a couple of years ago. He had dated this woman (some ten years older than himself) a few times, and then decided to propose marriage to her. He was living at my place at the time, and this was like a small hand-propelled rocket landing in my living room.

He's a very smart guy...college graduate, and pretty talented in most areas. But he isn't very good with relationships, and many of us (who dearly love him) attempted to tell him that.

I'm a pretty "direct" person, and I kindly, but firmly let him know that he needed to do some serious work on his "communication" habits. He didn't listen. He was so angry and aggravated with me, that he moved out...and his situation didn't get any better.

Neither did his relationships.

He was so angry with me that I wasn't even invited to the wedding. He didn't speak for a long time...and we are members of the same local church.

I wish I had the words to describe the pain I am feeling for my friend right now. I wish I could make it all better for him. But I can't.

I just can't. All I can do is love him, walk through this "vale of tears" with him, and help him to realize that God still loves him deeply, profoundly, and intimately.

He has suffered rejection at an unspeakably painful level....divorce.

I just want to show him the love of Jesus the best I can. That may take some doing.

Congratulations, Senator Obama!

The junior senator from the great state of Illinois, Barack H Obama Jr, has won the Democratic primary for the party's nomination to be President of the United States.

While I stated my "concerns" about this candidacy months ago (right here on my blog and elsewhere), I do want to congratulate my Senator on his accomplishment thus far.

Senator Obama has indeed "made history." He is now the first non-Caucasian candidate/party nominee for the Oval Office. He has every reason to be proud of this accomplishment. So do his supporters.

I do not plan to vote for him in the November presidential election, however. I simply do not believe that he has two things which are desperately needed, in my opinion:

First, experience and knowledge in the realm of foreign policy. After eight disastrous years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld regime, I'm not sure this nation or the world can take another "four years" of "on the job training" with a President who knows little, if anything, about successful execution of America's foreign policy. While I believe George W Bush to be a fine man, he has been absolutely horrible (again, my personal opinion) with this nation's foreign policy.

Second, experience and knowledge in the realm of military policy. The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triad basically destroyed any sense of "military" readiness and execution of policy that we once possessed. Whom a possible President Obama would select as the Secretary of Defense would be just as important as his choice of Secretary of State, in my opinion. But then again, no one would ever be as awful as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Again, congratulations, Senator Obama!

When Your Words cost YOUR JOB...


In a move that surprises everyone here in Chicago, Francis Cardinal George has requested Father Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of St Sabina's Parish to step away from his duties for at least a few weeks, effective immediately.

Of course, everyone has seen the incendiary "sermon"--if you want to call it that--Pfleger delivered at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (www.tucc.org) several days ago. For those who have been visiting another country (or another planet), Trinity UCC was the "church home" of Presidential contender Barack Obama and his family--until three days ago, when the Obamas resigned their membership in the congregation.

What saddens me the most is the "beating" the name of Christ (and those who choose to follow Him) has taken in the media. For example, from today's Chicago Tribune, Editorial/Commentary section:

"This is the reason I don't go to church anymore. Churches have a political theme to them that sometimes isn't very Christian. I would rather pray at home." Robert A Brown Jr.

"As a confirmed atheist, I find all of this stuff stirred up by a belief in 'an invisible friend' who lives in the sky somewhat troubling to begin with. But I really find fault with Obama for caving in to it...." Tom Stewart

These are just two of the many rightly-incensed people who responded in the media over something that should have never occurred in the first place.

While Fr Pfleger has the reputation for being fiery and outspoken, he has had the reputation and character to stand up for many of the social and inherent evils as well...including racism and sexism.

Then "this" horrible diatribe about "entitled" people....what was HE thinking?

I'm not sure he was thinking, in my humble opinion. I've met the good priest, and have had more than one conversation with him. I believe that he truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he has kingdom interests at heart. He is the kind of "priest" I would want to shepherd me if I were a Catholic.

But THIS? Why?

Cardinal George has caved into the pressure of Catholics from all over this area...and removing Pfleger may be a good thing--but there is more fallout to come.

A MUST READ: "The War Within"

Some anonymous pastor wrote these profound articles about 26 years ago. He was describing and detailing his battle with lust, pornography, and his own sexuality.

Whether one wants to believe it or not, the "War Within" is a still a major war for many people.

Here are the links:

and the sequel


I read this last night, and wept. I wept for the precious men (and women) who have suffered because of the "tricks of the Enemy" in their mind, heart, and souls. I wept because of the deception that has destroyed what God intended to be "good" and beneficial in His kingdom.

I wept because of my own past struggles (not with pornography, thank the Lord), deep in my soul, thinking that no one would ever understand, or even want to be near me. Yet, Christ--the all-compassionate God, continues to call me to Himself. I hear His words, "Come unto Me, all you who are weak and loaded down with care. Take My yoke upon yourselves and learn from Me. You will find rest for your soul."

Those words are still true. Regardless of who you are, where you are, or what position you hold, the words of Jesus are still true for you. He is calling you, even this very moment. Bring your burdens and cares...and yes, YOUR SECRET SINS to Him. He knows how to handle them all.

"The Dream"...the snake....

The content of my "dreams" (as crazy as some of them are) is usually something that I don't bother divulging to the VAST blogging audience (tongue firmly in cheek here). But the dream from last night/early this morning is something that I feel compelled to share:

I was sitting in a meeting with some people that I know--a mixed gathering of both men and women. I'm not even sure why we were together, but the tone turned very spiritual...and since the people were all Christians, I thought it would be rather harmless, and possibly interesting.

It was--to a point.

Somehow I dreamed about a snake slithering in around all of us, and working it's way through this group of people. This creature attempted to strike at some people, but wasn't successful. At one lady in particular, he completely slithered past her...oddly enough, the serpent saw this woman covered in a thick blanket of prayer and protection.

When the serpent came near--I was sitting across from this lady--it opened it's mouth and was ready to strike at me...near my left forearm...and the lady across from me yelled out loud, warning me about protecting myself. She said, "look at the serpent's name..." and I saw the word LUST on the skin of the animal. This lady (whom I recognized very well) screamed, "Run, Phil, RUN!" Yet, I stood still. This lady again yelled, "Run, Phil, RUN...don't let this bite you, or you will never recover..."

I woke up shortly afterwards (I think)...and felt this dream to be a clear warning from the Lord...

The Scriptures warn us and admonish us to avoid all occasions for lust and other sins. We must take those warnings seriously.