Tuesday, August 15, 2017


There is a woman in our church in Montrose, California who has gone through some difficult times.  One Sunday after worship I asked her how she was doing.  She replied, "I'm sticking to God like glue."  Her answer connected with me and I've been thinking about it.

Sometimes life hits so hard that a person is left reeling in anguish and frustration and deep emotional pain.  The hits keep coming and the wounds get deeper and the solutions seem light years away.

What kind of faith does it take to stick to God like glue when it seems that everything in the world is working to get a wedge in so that the bond breaks? 

Everyday the sun rises, the alarm clock rings, and life goes, pain or no pain, frustration or no frustration, solutions or no solutions.  In the midst of the stories choices need to be made.  Will we crash and burn?  Will we face down the realities?  Will we run from God or to God?  Will we fret and fume or commit and trust? 

There is a story about King David in the Old Testament that speaks of how the love of God can embrace a person when they are in the throws of pain, suffering, and even death.  He found himself in a very difficult situation, complicated by the failure of a broken relationship with his Son, prince Absalom, who had instigated a revolt against him. King David fled Jerusalem and headed east through the Judean Desert (2 Sam. 16:1). He escaped to the Levitical city of Mahanaim, in the region of Gilead to the east of the Jordan River (2 Sam. 17:24). 

Needless to say, David was in a world of hurt, and there in the world of hurt, he gives us Psalm 63.  This Psalm is a prayer for all of us broken and human types who do desperately need to stay near God in the ebb and flow of our lives. David prays, "My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me" (Ps. 63:8). Perhaps this is David's way of saying that his soul was sticking to God like glue.  "My soul clings to You."

What is this amazing glue of which my friend spoke and of which David hints?  In Psalm 63:3 David revealed his heart for God.  He prayed, "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise you."  And there we have it.  God's love is the glue. 

My friend spoke of sticking to God like glue.  Maybe it is actually God sticking to us like glue.  Maybe it's both.  I think my friend is on to something.  She got me to thinking about how it might be good to think about God's love as Velcro, even more secure than Velcro; maybe something like a bond created by Sovereign and amazing grace, Sovereign and astonishing love, Sovereign and uncompromising acceptance. 

The love of God is an amazing reality, a reality that wraps the arms of God around us and refuses to let us go.  When you don't have the strength to stick to God like glue remember God is holding on to you with the love that led Jesus to the cross.  As you cling to God take a close look and you will see that He is hanging on to you, too.  And, remember, like David you, too, can pray, "My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds meYou are my God; I shall seek you earnestly" (Psalm 63:8, 1). 

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Today's devotional thought from My Daily Meditation by John Henry Jowett spoke into my heart.  I thought I would share it. It was written over a hundred years ago, but it called me into a deeper walk with Jesus, and I just can't let it go.  It's yours today if you need it; if not, that's okay.  Just thought I would share it.
I've taken the liberty to update some of the language and replaced the King James Version of the Bible with the New American Standard.
God bless you all today.

JULY The Twenty-ninth

Romans 8:1-10
People will recognize my Christianity by the sign of the Spirit of Christ. And they will accept no other witness.  I saw a plant-pot the other day, full of soil, bearing no flower, but flaunting a stick on which was printed the word “Mignonette.” “You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1, NASB) The world will take no notice of our labels and our badges: it is only arrested by the flower and the perfume. "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans 8:9, NASB)
And in the Spirit of Christ I shall best deal with “the things of the flesh.” There are some things which are best overcome by neglecting them. To give them attention is to give them nourishment. Withdraw the attention, and they sicken and die. And so I must seek the fellowship of the Spirit. That friendship will destroy the other. “You cannot serve God and wealth" (Matthew 6:24).”  If I am in communion with the Holy One the other will pine away, and cease to trouble me. 
Lord, make my spirit a kinsman of Thine! Let the intimacy be ever deeper and dearer. “Draw me nearer, blessed Lord,” until in nearness to Thee I find my peace, my joy, and my crown.

Friday, June 09, 2017


Some thoughts from C. S. Lewis and Mere Christianity.  I offer his words as an injection into the society wide conversation going on in our country at this time. -- Rick 
One of the most unpopular of the Christian virtues is laid down in the Christian rule, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Because in Christian morals ‘thy neighbour’ includes ‘thy enemy’, and so we come up against this terrible duty of forgiving our enemies. 
Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we had during the war. And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger. It is not that people think this too high and difficult a virtue: it is that they think it hateful and contemptible. ‘That sort of talk makes them sick,’ they say. And half of you already want to ask me, ‘I wonder how you’d feel about forgiving the Gestapo if you were a Pole or a Jew?’ 
So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, I wonder very much what I should do when it came to the point. I am not trying to tell you in this book what I could do—I can do precious little—I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.’ There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017


When my son was five years old he announced to Vonnie and me that when he grew up he wanted to be a community. We didn't understand what he meant so we pressed him for clarity.  He said, "You know; somebody who makes people laugh."  Ah! Comedian. Got it. I like his misuse of the word, however. 

Community!  That's a dream worth dreaming; not that being a comedian isn't fine and good.  Comedians come and go, though.  Community is forever.  And, the church, when it is being what God called her to be, is a God-called, God-shaped, God-formed, God indwelled, and God-empowered COMMUNITY.  The way of God is the way of community—there are no lone ranger Christians and nobody who can say, “I did it by myself.”

The community of Jesus is called to live out their communal faith in the world as a witnessing influence for God.  It is the one fellowship desperately needed by people.  Whenever we think "Church," our minds ought to automatically go to "Community."  Sadly, this connection is not as well practiced as one might think. Charles Swindoll shares this sad but helpful statement he read somewhere:
The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give His church. It’s an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is a permissive, accepting, and inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable.  It is democratic. You can tell people secrets and they usually don’t tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.  With all my heart I believe that Christ wants His church to be…a fellowship where people can come in and say, “I’m sunk!” “I beat!”  “I’ve had it!”  (Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 1983 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal; at Christianitytoday.com)
From 1982 to 1993 NBC aired a sitcom entitled Cheers.  The storyline revolved around a bar called, "Cheers."  The words of the theme song for that show are these, written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo,
Making your way in the world today Takes everything you've got;Taking a break from all your worries Sure would help a lot.Wouldn't you like to get away?Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see, Our troubles are all the same;You want to be where everybody knows your name.You want to go where people know, People are all the same;You want to go where everybody knows your name.(Cheers”  featured on NBC from 1982-1993 )
The theme from "Cheers" strikes a cord in all of us, doesn't it? We want a place, a commuity, a safe environment where we are welcomed and received, a place where the folks are glad when we are present, a people where our name is known and we know the names of others, a community where we know we are home. King David wrote, "How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1, NIV). Unity seems far away and out of reach in a world like ours but, actually, it is in reach; In reach, if we will let the Church be the Church. The Church was born in community and she lives and moves and has her being in that unity which is born of God.

In 1975 Broadman Press released a song called, “We are Called to Be God’s People.”  The first verse has captured the heart and spirit of a people when that people lives with Jesus at the center of who they are.

We are called to be God's people  Showing by our lives His grace  One in heart and one in spirit  Sign of hope for all the race  Let us show how He has changed us  And remade us as His own  Let us share our life together  As we shall around His throne
Thomas A. Jackson, 1973, alt. and Franz Joseph Haydn, 1797;
© 1975, Broadman Press
"Showing by our lives His grace."  It is a wonderful time to be the church.  People like you and me are searching for friendship and community.  I'm pretty sure the neighborhood bar is very limited in being that place.    We are looking for a safe place where we are welcomed, received, loved, accepted, and forgiven.  What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).

May every local congregation of Jesus around the world be that safe place where whoever comes under the influence of the people of that congregation know they are home.  People love them, and want them there.  May the unwritten but unmistakable spiirt of the congregation be, "Welcome home."

Saturday, February 25, 2017


 For many in God's Church the Sunday immediately before Ash Wednesday is celebrated as "Transfiguration Sunday."  The United Methodist Church has a statement that helps us realize why we do this: 
     The Book of Common Prayer collect for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany suggests why the Transfiguration of Our Lord is celebrated when it is:  
     O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer according to the use of the Episcopal Church, 1979, page 217. Book of Common Prayer is public domain material and is used here with gratitude to the Episcopal Church and Church Publishing.)
With this prayer a powerful statement is given.  I invite you to take it to heart.
     We celebrate the revelation of Christ's glory "before the passion" so that we may "be strengthened to bear our cross and be changed into his likeness." The focus of the Lenten season is renewed discipline in walking in the way of the cross and rediscovery of the baptismal renunciation of evil and sin and our daily adherence to Christ. At Easter, which reveals the fullness of Christ’s glory (foreshadowed in the Transfiguration), Christians give themselves anew to the gospel at the Easter Vigil where they share the dying and rising of Christ.     In the biblical context, the synoptic gospels narrate the Transfiguration as a bridge between Jesus' public ministry and his passion. From the time of the Transfiguration, Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem and the cross.
As each of us prepare for our Lenten journey, may God help us to get a glimpse into the Biblical story of Jesus – all of it.  May God help us to journey with our hand securely holding onto the hand of Jesus, knowing that He is already holding on to ours.  How the world does need Him these days.  How the Church does need Him these days.  How each of us does need Him these days.

On the mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-37) Peter, James, and John watched as Jesus met and spoke with Moses and Elijah.  It was a moment described later by John as "glory," or "splendor." Peter wanted to stay on the mountain after having built "three tabernacles," one for [Jesus], one for Moses, and one for Elijah" (See Luke 9:33).  Tabernacles weren't needed, however.  What was needed was for the disciples to Listen to [Jesus], knowing that He was, as the voice from heaven told them, "My beloved Son, My Chosen One" (Matt. 17:5, Luke 9:35).

On Transfiguration Sunday and in the days of Lent to come, may we all be about the task of listening to Jesus.  He is God's initiative and response to the human situation in which we find ourselves today. 

Jesus….Listen to Him.