Are You Busy?

imagesC5UCKQXFAre you busy?


Aren’t we all?


“I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do that right now. I’ve got too much going on…”


These are thoughts that we all have. Life is busy—very busy—extremely busy, but we must help our brothers and sisters in Christ!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9 & 10

Here it states that we need to do good things to ALL men, but it specifies especially those who are believers.

Sometimes we are helping others, but at times, we fail to help our “family” members. We are told in this passage to take the opportunities that we see, that are given to us, to minister to our fellow servants of Christ.

It’s so easy (and natural) to rush on by. We’ve all done it, but we can miss great opportunities to be an encouragement to each other or to lift a brother up.

Don’t get weary, look around!

Watch, therefore!

hourglassThis past Sunday morning, September 13th (which was my father’s birthdate), all the hymns for the morning service were about the coming of the Lord! “Jesus Is Coming Again,” “He Is Coming Again,” and “Christ Returneth!” It brought back a memory of my father when I was very young! My dad was a chaplain in the Air Force (WW2) and had been gone overseas in the European Theater; it seemed to me it was forever! During the time he was overseas, I used to look into the skies, and when I saw the clouds formed like a herd of sheep, I thought maybe it was this day, my dad would come back! Every day I would check the skies! Then one day, we got word that my dad was coming back! The day he was to arrive, my brother, Blair, ran to the corner near the entrance of the housing complex in Darby, PA, where we lived. I stood at the next corner closer to our home (maybe because I was too young to get out of my mother’s view), and, of course, my mother was standing in the doorway of our home! I could see both Blair and my mother from my view. We were diligently looking for a taxi that he would be riding in! When it turned into our area, they stopped and picked Blair up, and then when they got to me, they picked me up! What a joyful reunion we had!

This story brings to my mind the question, are we looking diligently for our Lord and Saviour to return? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” The chorus to “Jesus Is Coming Again” makes it clear, it may be today! “Coming again, Coming again, May be morning, May be noon, May be evening and may be soon! Coming again, Coming again; O what a wonderful day it will be – Jesus is coming again!” Are you ready for His return?

If not, follow the Romans’ Road:

Romans 3:10 As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one;

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned;

Romans 6:23a For the wages of sin is death; Romans 6:23b but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord;

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:27

What the Bible says about the return of Christ: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, Acts 1:11, Titus 2:13, 1 Peter 3:3-4,8-13, 1 John 3:2-3, Luke 21:25-28, Matthew 24:3-14, Matthew 24:27,29-31, Matthew 24:36-44, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Matthew 24:34, John 14:1-4.

Aim for the Mark

untitledThe goal of every home, youth group, and Christian school should be to produce mature, God – focused young people. This is a difficult task to measure, and sometimes it takes years to see the results. There is a lesson from Ephesians 4 that may help us aim our youth in the right direction.

  1. Eph. 4:12 “…for the perfecting of the saints…” This passage is written to the saints (saved).
  2. Eph. 4: 14 “…be no more children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine…” we are to have a working knowledge of the word of God (stable in the Word).
  3. Eph. 4:15 “…may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…” Spiritual growth is accomplished by giving in to the work of the Holy Spirit (submitting).
  4. Eph. 4:16 “…unto the edifying of itself in love.” To edify means to build up or encourage. We must witness to unbelievers and believers alike. Unbelievers need salvation through Christ, and believers need to be encouraged in the Lord (sharing).
  5. Eph. 4:17 – 32 “… walk not as other Gentiles walk…” “…even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Paul encourages us to be different (separated). Oh, but wait! We can’t stop there. We must be separated from sin and separated to God.

So, are you a five star Christian? Saved, Stable in the Word, Submitting, Sharing, and Separated. If not, what do you need God to work on? If you are, are you helping to aim another toward the mark of becoming a mature, God – focused Christian?



Benefits of Studying Scripture

untitled1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

-Psalm 119:1-3

Do you have a boss? Do you know how your boss thinks? Do you anticipate the assigning of tasks?

Do you have a friend? Do you know how to finish your friend’s sentence? Or know exactly what to get for a birthday?

What about someone who is both?

The commonality between the two relationships is your desire to know the other party and to put that knowledge into proper action so the relationship is beneficial.

It is a drastic understatement, but those are similar aspects to the relationship we have with God. Similar to the boss at our job, God is the authority over us in our lives because He is the Creator. Yet, He is also a friend who sticks closer than a brother. As the authority, He has the right to dictate our actions. He specifies how we interact with Him and how we interact with others (our neighbors). As our friend, He is there to talk with, laugh with, cry with, or just plain sit with!

The Psalmist recorded the benefits of knowing our LORD and applying that knowledge to life. One who knows and applies that knowledge benefits by being “blessed” or “happy.” The Hebrew noun describes a state which carries a sense of guidance or straightness or maybe we might look at it as structure.

To help explain, think of something you do at work. There is probably a certain way you accomplish the task as directed by your boss. There is a structure to the tasking; it is a process.   When you know the process and you see the accomplishment that is achieved by that structured approach and the guidance from the boss, how does that make you feel? Happy? Accomplished?

The process takes a lot of the uncertainty out of the task. You don’t have much to figure out that isn’t covered already by the process, so it is an easy task. You don’t have to worry about the end result and how the boss is going to react because when you follow the process – the result is the desired result. The more you know about the various processes at work the easier it is to do the tasks. This results probably in a happier feeling due to the good accomplishment and maybe even praise and thanks from the boss!

Correlate that to Scripture. Scripture is God’s means of communicating to us about who He is, what He does, who we are, and what we must do; it is God’s process for our life. He has provided various individual processes on how to handle different situations in life. He has provided descriptions of His character such that we can imitate Him. Everything is packaged into concise, perfectly chosen words, arranged in a manner to ease our learning and application.

The LORD has provided the structure. We don’t have to worry about uncertainty in life because He has taken all of it into consideration and the process addresses it! We don’t have to worry about the outcome because He tells us the outcome. Does He provide all the minutiae? No, but He does tell us that He is in control, and He will take care of us: what more do we need?

As with the processes at work, the more Scripture, God’s processes for our lives, is studied and applied the easier life becomes; the greater our understanding of the “Why” and who He is!

Think on these things, and then act on them. May God bless as you do!



What is a fireman?

Wide-Awake Hose Co_, Plymouth, IN '10 '10 hand-cart of Wide Awake Hose Co_, Plymouth, INA fireman is your friend. His vehicle is one of the most easily recognized trucks on our streets. His presence keeps me safe. He is an instant protector of our family, our neighbors, our classmates and fellow workers, and even travelers passing through our town. My community is a better place because he and his fellow officers are there.

A fireman treats everyone with dignity, integrity, character, mercy, helpfulness, and compassion. He is a friend to all, but he is also the enemy of fire, harm, danger, and death. He is a comfort to all in their time of need, and his services are at times imperative to keeping us safe. He has the training and ability to use force when appropriate, including those times when he must use that force to protect his own or someone else’s life.

A fireman is one who potentially risks his life daily to serve the public. Many times his risks and sacrifices go unnoticed and unappreciated. He never knows for sure if he will return to his loving family at the end of his shift.

In a moment, his life may be in grave danger, but he endures this for us. He is usually an unsung hero. He may be of any color or ethnic background. A firefighter may be male or female, but each one serves us every day.

I must realize that if I call in a false alarm I put firefighters at risk and can cause them to lose the spirit of readiness for which they are well known.

I, therefore, honor those firefighters who serve my community and risk their lives and future for my sake. Thank you for your faithful service over the years. I honor you and your fallen comrades who have served our country and community well.

I wrote the article above in August when Tom, a friend of mine passed away. He had been a fire chief and seventy-five firefighters attended his funeral at our church. They filled the church parking lot with twenty-five fire trucks.

My third daughter, Charis, taught for three years in a Christian school in Plymouth, IN. The fire company in that small town was once known as the “Wide-Awake Hose Company.” I never heard of a fire hall by that name. I think it is a great name for a group of firemen. In Pennsylvania and Colorado, I have visited fire halls with the name “Vigilant Fire Co.” I often tell a story in drama or with puppets about Georgetown, CO. I tell folks that Georgetown still has an historic district because they had at least five fire companies in their small town at the same time. One of them is the “Vigilant Hose Co.,” and another has a tower that would remind one of a lighthouse tower. Fireman kept a vigil in Georgetown. One man would be stationed up at the top of the tower to watch for flames and smoke. Firemen all across town would be able to hear if someone ran into the streets to yell, “Fire!” God tells us as Christians to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

God also wants us to be ever watching for souls. Jude tells us, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire..”

The “Wide-Awake Hose Co.” is a great name for a fire company because firefighters are to watch for souls and rescue the perishing at any time day or night. They must be vigilant and be awake to help their fellow man. Heb. 13:20 speaks of pastors when it says, “…for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account…” God wants every Christian to watch for lost souls that they might be saved.

Pastors are not the only ones who should be vigilant about souls that need Christ. God has commissioned every believer to be a witness for Him to tell sinners how to be saved. Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

It is not just the pastor’s job to win the lost in our community. We should be looking about for sinners who need to receive Christ as their Savior. We should pray for them. We should seek opportunities to tell them they need to be saved. We must be the “Wide-Awake Watchers of those who need to be Rescued.” We, too, will give an account to God for our witness and testimony to the unsaved.

Will God find us watching for souls to be saved in our community and beyond?


We Love Him

I John 4:19, “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

This verse is often assigned to young children as a Sunday School memory verse. Even pre-schoolers can master the verse without major difficulty. However, despite its brevity, it is worthy of thorough investigation and appreciation. Let us consider why we love God.

  1. Because we are saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.)”  We (Christians, i.e. those who have experienced His love) love Him. This is because He FIRST loved us. Our ability to love Him is made possible by His efforts to offer reconciliation. In other words, people need to get saved in order to truly know God’s love. People need to approach the Creator on His terms in order to have a relationship with Him. I cannot truly say, “I love God, “ and yet completely disdain or disregard my need to be saved according to His plan.
  2. Because it is the only right thing to do. We LOVE Him. The Christian has a new nature. Love is a natural thing for the Spirit-filled believer. It is not just something we could do or should do. Loving is what we do now. Paul told the Corinthians that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature. Paul also explained to the Galatians that love is the beginning of the fruit of a Spirit-filled life. Having correct motives for what we do is not an option. Living for God out of love is just what we do—at least that is the way it should be.
  3. Because He is worthy. Our God is worthy. God is worthy of respect and obedience because of His greatness, His power, His creativity, His wisdom, and other such qualities. But God is worthy of love because He loved us when we were His enemies. He is worthy of respect because He is magnificent. He is worthy of love because He is magnanimous. We love Him BECAUSE He first loved us.

Let us love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength because He has saved us, because loving Him is what we do, and because He is worthy.


Shepherds College

11728918_1069070929777470_2639478500691624554_oProverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Do you have certain friends or groups of friends who truly refresh your soul? The ones with whom you don’t need to pretend about anything but can just totally be the self that you really are—the one Jesus made you to be but yet the one you are still becoming in Him?

I was blessed just last week to have sweet fellowship with a group of parents all joined together by something we would never have willingly chosen—by having a disabled child.

We were all staying in the same hotel as we checked our children into Shepherds College, a special needs college in Union Grove, Wisconsin.

It blessed my heart (to the bottom of my socks) that first day to sit at breakfast, first with just my son, then a friend of his joined us, then the parents of that friend came over, as my son and the friend moved to sit with other young adults from school, then several other parents came by . . .

Truly, we hit the breakfast buffet shortly after six and, not being due to the campus till about 10, we sat and talked for a long while that still seemed too short . . .

We all noticed that we don’t have to explain a lot to each other—we all “get it” about disability. We all consider our disabled children to be some of the bravest people we know. And we all end up falling in love with each other’s children at Shepherds and taking them into our hearts forever, too.

If God saves us to grow our hearts to love as He loves, surely He has privileged those of us with disabled kids by taking us from the selfishness of our youth (I can surely attest to mine) and putting us into a place where we had to grow a conscience, and some compassion, and an ability to slow down and explain things more times than we ever thought possible . . .

In the imperfection of disability, I can often see God’s love and faithfulness written larger than life. He does not take patient, wonderful people and give them disabled children; He rather takes hopeless, fallen sinners and helps them get over themselves by living with a disabled child whom they love more than life itself.

See John 9:1-3, my favorite verses in Scripture.

A Letter on the First Day of School

FirstDaySchool2resizedAugust 24, 2015

Jake and Elsye,

Today is a great day! Today, you are going to learn and play, meet new people, and make new friends. You will meet Mrs. Simpson (Jake) and Mrs. Fargis (Elsye), the first in a long line of educators and mentors that will help you develop as a student and as a person. Today, you begin a journey that will see you learn more than your parents ever knew. You will study subjects in ways that didn’t even exist when Mom and I were your age. Today, you finally get to use all those fun school supplies that we bought so many weeks ago; the cool folders, erasers, scissors (leave the scissors alone until your teacher tells you otherwise). You are excited, and you should be.

Momma and I are so excited too; but our excitement is enveloped by the sadness that all parents experience at these huge milestones. You have to understand that we have watched you grow from just tiny babies into the little people that we love so much today. We’ve been privileged to be there for every skinned knee, loose tooth, and fever. We have changed diapers, applied band-aids, been to countless appointments, and rubbed warm heads with cold compresses. We have run hundreds of baths, brushed teeth, and prepared more meals than we care to count. More importantly, we have been there to help you through every new emotion–anxiety, embarrassment, sadness, hurt. We have been there to comfort you when you were rejected by other kids your age and to remind you that we should treat others as you wish to be treated.

This morning there is a change; we will drop you off to experience these things alone for the first time. We know you will do so well. You will be well-liked, maybe even popular. The next chapter of your still short book will include all the excitement you presume and then some.

But Mom and I also know that the world can be an awful place, and we just wish that we could be there to help you through the inevitable rough patches that await you. Up to now, you have been unscathed by the maladies of society. You aren’t cynical or racist. You treat people with kindness regardless of their skin color, economic status, or appearance. As of this morning, you haven’t made fun of or been ugly to people less fortunate than you. But these poor traits will reveal themselves to you in time and will inevitably rub off on you in some way. It is my and your mom’s prayer that, with Jesus’s help, you will weather these storms and come out the other side as an adult who loves people the way He does.

The truth is, we cannot be present for every moment of your life, and in the long run, that is a good thing. If we lived your life for you, made every decision for you, you’d never develop into the amazing adults that are waiting just a few years away—the ones that will be my and Mom’s best friends. You’d never learn to temper your emotions, or solve conflict—abilities that will serve you well in the future. You’d never grow up.

Today, we begin a journey, together and separately, that will end with you both completely different than you are today—smarter, taller, more mature. In fact, as you age, you may not even be able to recall this day. But rest assured that we will never forget it. No matter how much you grow or how old you get, we will remember the soft-skinned, snuggle-bugs that we sent off into the real world. We will always be here to help you where we are able. We will always hold dear the “baby days.” We will always be waiting for you when you come home.

Now, go. Enjoy this new adventure. Today is a great day!

We love you!

Daddy and Momma

Perfection or Maturity

images0YP3NQIXMatthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I celebrated my 77th birthday this past June. Someone said, “You have reached double perfection.” I was not ready to claim that status. You probably know that number seven in the Bible speaks of completeness or perfection. We are told in the verse above, “Be you therefore perfect.” How can I be something I can’t be, namely perfect?

Let’s look a little deeper as God is never unreasonable. The word we read as perfect in both the Old and the New Testaments means mature not perfect or without sin. The word mature is a challenge for any human. God said of Noah in Genesis 6:9, “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation and Noah walked with God.” The Hebrew word here means that Noah did not displease God in his actions or attitude. In other words, Noah was mature; he was godly.

We’re told in James 1:1 – 4 that patience is necessary in times of trial to become perfect or mature. The New Testament word “teleios” implies a perfect person has shown that they have reached Christ likeness in their life. They are perfect wanting nothing (James 1:4).

So dear reader, you and I can be perfect or mature based on how we have obeyed and practiced the teaching of Matthew 5:1– 48. We are called upon in our day to be perfect or mature and follow Christ our example of perfection. May we by the grace of God do so today.

Where the Roses Never Fade

Red-Roses-in-WestchesterI am going to a city,

Where the streets with gold are laid;

Where the tree of life is blooming

And the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season

Soon their beauty is decayed.

I am going to a city,

Where the roses never fade.

From Where the Roses Never Fade by Janie West Metzgar, 1929.