The following is just another thing you might find inside my head at any given moment. As you might know, Hans und Frans were Saturday Night Live regulars for several years. For those of you who don’t know Hans und Frans, they were two ridiculously huge men in grey sweatsuits, with thick German accents, who pumped people up. Let’s listen in as Hans und Frans try their hand at evangelism:

Hans: I am Hans
Frans: Ya, und I am Frans
Both: Und we are here to pump…………you up
Hans: Ya, und we are huge
Frans: Ya, but if you want to be really huge, then you have to know Jesus. No one can pump you up like Him.
Hans: Ya, He is absolutely huge!
Frans: Ya, und we are here to tell you all about Him.
Hans: Ya, like how He could clean jerk ten thousand pounds over His head without barely even breaking a sweat!
Frans: Ya, hear me now, und think about it later, but whatever you do………..hear me now!
Hans: Ya! Hear him now!
Frans: Ya! Und did you know that Jesus is our brother?
Hans: Ya! How else could we look so much like Him? Absolutely huge!
Frans: Ya! Not like the puny, little, girly Christians who only wish they were huge like us.
Hans: Ya! But if you want to be like us, then you have to know Jesus like WE know Jesus!
Frans: Ya! Hear me now, und think about it later, but whatever you do……….hear me now!
Hans: Ya! You don’t want to be puny like all the little people who don’t know Jesus like we do, do you?
Frans: Ya! Und you don’t want to have flabbulence in your heart, do you?
Hans: YA! Whoever has flabbulence in their heart is a girly man, und is not worthy of the kingdom of pumpulence.
Frans: Ya! After all, either you know Jesus, or you are a girly man. You don’t want to be a girly man, do you?
Hans: Ya! So you better hear me now!! Know Jesus, or else we will take your flabby little spiritual muscles und wrap them around your body, und put you in a very hot place!
Frans: Ya! Hear me now!! You don’t want to go to the girly man place. So you better hear us now!!
Hans: Ya, because we are huge, und you are not!
Frans: Ya! Und only Jesus is huger than us.
Hans: Ya! Und while you are at it, you better start pumping up!!
Frans: Ya! Because if you don’t, it means you don’t really want to be pumped up, und who wouldn’t want to be like us?
Hans: Ya! So know Jesus like we know Jesus, or else!!
Frans: Ya! Und pump up, or else!
Hans: Ya! Because otherwise you are just a puny, little, girly man. Und who wants to be a puny, little, girly man?
Frans: Ya! Whoever doesn’t know Jesus wants to be a puny, little, girly man, that’s who!!
Hans: Ya! So know Jesus like we know Jesus, or else we will have to visit you, und MAKE you know Jesus, und while we are there, we will pump you up!!
Hans: Ya! So………..Good night!!
Frans: Ya! Und make sure you are at our upcoming seminar, titled, "How to know Jesus like we know Jesus, und become huge like us!" Be There!!
Frans: Ya! Or else!!


Who would argue with Hans und Frans? Maybe they are the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation? : D



“Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”  Matthew 17:20b

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”  Mark 11:24

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”  John 14:12-14

If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea; and it would obey you.”  Luke 17:6

            I am going somewhere with these verses.  Really, I am.
            The last few hours my mind has been filling with questions, and thoughts which might be my own, and might not.  I won’t be able to judge that today, but someday, I will. 
            Almost two years ago, God set me on a journey to discover what I could about authenticity before Him, and grace.  Today, the journey just might be going a little further than I thought.  Each of the verses above speaks of faith, centered on Jesus.  Each of the verses is from a different Gospel account, and as far as I can tell, were spoken in different times and places.
            Jesus is saying something in these verses that I am beginning to believe applies to life right here and now.  I can’t know with certainty unless I take the first step toward continuing this journey.  I have seen some pretty weird stuff in my walk with Jesus, but I am beginning to think that is just the tip of the iceberg. 
            So, I will trust Jesus, and I will see if it is His voice speaking to me, or not.  This could take a while, but then again, if it is Jesus speaking, it could take very little time, all dependant upon Him. 
            If the thoughts I have been getting these last few hours are true, then I am about to go way beyond ministry, or teaching.  If it is true, I am about to learn the stuff of faith, to have faith as small as a mustard seed.  You are welcome to join me.  You may even think I have lost it.  I assure you, I have done nothing of the sort, for how can a man lose something he never had?  I am talking about finding it, finding faith as small as a mustard seed.
            If I seek the Lord in this, and if what I have been thinking is true, then what Jesus said is literal.  I am not talking about moving mountains, but I am talking about the kind of faith that the Apostles had, which puts our meagerly faith to shame.  I have often thought that we who chide the Apostles for their stupidity while following Jesus should be the last to speak when it comes to stupidity.  After all, I don’t see people raising others from the dead, not in our time.  Is that just something that was for their time?  I don’t have the answer for that, yet.
            I will say this; God has taught me so much in such a short time, that to begin thinking that He isn’t once again speaking to me through my thoughts might be a total lack of faith.  We’ll see where this goes.  I may just have an overactive imagination.  History is on not on the side of my imagination.



There have been many who have left the IC in years past.  Some have left because of abuses suffered, while some have left because they found their walk with Jesus stifled to the point of almost non-existence.  I readily admit that this is a strong possibility for people, especially when they suddenly find themselves trusting the system rather than the Savior.  In light of that statement, however, the same trouble can be found outside of the IC, where one might trust his freedom more than he trusts the Savior.  Wherever you are at, please understand  that Jesus knows you are there, and you are there only as the result of His will, for not even a sparrow falls apart from the Will of God. 
            Having said that, let me tell you why I still go to church.  The first and most obvious answer has to be the people.  I simply, and truly love everyone I know in my church.  I don’t know everyone, but there hasn’t been a single person I have gotten to know whom I haven’t also felt a deep love for.  I know in me, that is impossible, so I will just give the glory to Jesus for that.  For reasons I do not know, I feel such a profound connection and compassion for these people.  The response to that love is their love toward me, which isn’t contrived or put on, but genuine as the day is long.
            Four years ago, my wife left me for another man.  I had just started going to this church one year prior.  The outstretched arms of an entire congregation met me, even those who didn’t know me.  I was not left to deal with my grief alone, but I was allowed to grieve nonetheless.  I was encouraged to live, but discouraged from leaping off the cliff in haste.  The wisdom and truth I found kept me alive, and the love gave me joy at a time when I had no earthly reason to have it.  These people were the hug from Jesus I so desperately needed.  Jesus was physical in this place, not just an abstract idea.  And, while some churches grieve with others well, this church also rejoices with those who rejoice, something not found in too many churches.  The people are the biggest reason I am still there.
            Since beginning to come to this church, I have been involved in a small group of some sort at every turn.  For two and a half years, I have led a small group, first with couples, and now with a group of men who calls themselves the Boy’s Club.  To leave them would break my heart, I believe.  I have learned so much from them, which I know, seems backwards at first glance.  After all, the world looks at a leader as a teacher, and to be sure, some teaching does go on.  But by far, I am the one taught, at least that is my perspective on it. 
            What do these men teach me?  They have taught me how to come under someone who is grieving, how to help support someone who needs financial support, how to be the ear for someone who rarely gets a chance to talk to anyone, and how to be the laughter when another is celebrating.  And I get to be a part of this on a regular basis.  They have taught me that it is not what I teach them that causes me to grow, or them to grow, but what the Spirit teaches all of us wherever we are at.  The bond between us has survived anger, grief, joy, division, and celebration.  You just don’t know what a relationship is made of until it has been tested by fire.  Certainly I could meet with these men outside of the IC, but why bother?  More are coming, and so long as we trust Jesus, that will continue.  He will bring whom He wishes to bring, and it will be enough.  He has asked me to be there, and to leave the numbers to Him.  He has asked me to gently guide new believers into relationship with Him, and that is all that I do.  Outside of the IC, I do not believe I could have this opportunity as frequently as I do now.  And it is an opportunity, to love, share, grow, help, minister, and relate in ways I never knew possible.  My cup overfloweth, and Jesus has given me an avenue to share it.  What sort of an ingrate would I be to walk away?
            I go to church because I want to, not because I need to.  That is the foundation of any relationship, desire rather than need.  I go because there is no place I know of this side of heaven where I can hear a multitude of voices praising God in song and word.  Yes, I know, some of what people sing is lies.  But, no one has written the song that says, “I know at times I’m a fraud, and my worship is a lie, along with everything else I seem to do sometimes.  But Jesus, I love you anyway, and when I sing that I want you to be my all, it is a hope, and a dream I cannot bring about myself.”  I don’t know of a single believer, in the IC, or out of it who isn’t in some ways a fraud in their relationship with Jesus.  I can do that in church, and I can do it out of church.  I think Jesus wants me to be willing to be made willing.  He will do the rest.  And that doesn’t matter where I am, it only matters where He is. 
            I struggle with worship, and prayer out loud.  I struggle with singing songs that seem to me to be lies.  But every so often, I feel this urge to just add my voice to the multitude, to know that one day, this will be real for me, and that what I sing will be true, because I will see God as He really is.  If I have to wait until what I am singing is perfectly true, then I will never worship God here.  He accepts my imperfect worship, because He knows who I am, and that is enough, for now. 
            I love my pastors, both of them.  They led the charge, along with four other close friends, when I went through the pain of loss.  In a church of four hundred people, somehow one of them always had time for me.  They came to my house, and I went to theirs.  We ate together, and talked together, and just existed sometimes because that was all that was needed.  I am not alone.  Anyone can have a relationship with my pastors, if they choose.  They are not above us, and they are not below us.  They are just with us, trying as we are, to live life in a world full of trouble.  Maybe it helps that my pastors admit their struggles, and don’t pass themselves off as “having it all together”.  Maybe it’s just the fact that whenever I am with them, I sense the Holy Spirit in me, in agreement with them.  It’s like God saying hi to God, only in our case, it is Tom saying hi to Rick, or John. 
            I go because I am encouraged to stretch my knowledge of Scripture beyond what they can teach me.  I am encouraged to take responsibility for my walk, rather than relying on a church to do it for me.  I am encouraged to apply what I learn from God, and share it with everyone I meet.  I am encouraged to remember that I am a leader only in name, but as such, a greater responsibility to submit belongs to me.  I am encouraged to know that not everyone is at the same place in their walk, yet the Spirit will speak according to where each one is. 
            I go to this church because I am a misfit.  My senior pastor, Rick, is a misfit, the son of an American serviceman, and Japanese mother.  He was ridiculed as a youth for the way he looked, and it worsened when they found out he was a believer.  He fits no where, in America, or in Japan, because he looks like neither.  He could have had a hardened heart because of that, but God chose to use it for good, and so it is. 
            I do not fit in anywhere.  I am not a person who conforms.  I have always marched to my own drummer, and now that drummer is Jesus.  Yes, even in the IC, Rick and I stick out.  That’s okay, we are then able to encourage others to just be themselves, and be at peace and content with that, rather than try to put on a show.  I feel such a bond with Rick, that I can’t explain it.  Maybe it’s the letter I had opportunity to write to his wife when she went through a deep personal struggle.  Maybe it’s the fact that we understand each other.  Maybe it’s just as simple as Jesus being alive and well in both of us.  Whatever it is, I know it is true, and it is love, and it is right. 
            I still go to church because that is where Jesus has me.  I would argue with anyone would says  “You just don’t know any better.”  You see, when you say that to me, you say it to Jesus as well.  I am someone who is so secure in his walk with Christ, that I know that.  I would say, “shame on you for trying to make me feel a false way.”  The fact is, you don’t know what is better for me, you aren’t smart enough to even begin to guess.  Please forgive me for the strength of those words, but they are true, and there is no denying that.     Since Jesus lives in me, whatever one says to me, he says to Jesus. 
            I go to church because people I love are there.  I go to church because I get to be part of other people’s walks as much as I want.  I go because I don’t have to be the most important person anywhere I am, I am content with who I am, even if that means I am less than what some think I should be.  I go to church because I know these people, because when something is bothering them, I can see it, and feel it, and I can offer help.  I go because they do the same for me.  I go because Jesus is there, and I know it.  I know the peace that transcends all understanding.  I feel it every day.  And I have it there, as well.  I have the gift of discernment, and I can feel, physically, when evil is about.  But, I can also feel when the Spirit is about, and there isn’t anything like it amongst a multitude of believers.
            Someday, that feeling I feel, when I feel the Spirit, will knock me off my feet, in heaven, and worshipping won’t be hard, when I see God as He really is.  Right now, I see Him only partially.  But when I am complete, I will see Him as He is.   I want to worship Him as He deserves, but since He is willing to wait, so must I be.
            I go to church because I can.  I go to church because the Spirit can be found there, as well as anywhere.  I go to church because the community of believers is real.  In heaven, corporate worship will be prevalent.  We will hear multitudes of voices singing and praising.  Sometime, just sometimes, I feel that in my church.  I don’t feel that in the shopping mall, or at McDonalds, or in a bar.  I feel at church, and there is a reason, because there is ALWAYS a place for a multitude of believers to praise God, even if it is imperfect. 
            I know there are things about my church that aren’t perfect.  I even know what some of those are.  I make no excuses, I just try to do the best I can.  But I also know that those outside of the IC have their own logs to contend with, and I don’t see that driving them to someplace different.  You see, it just doesn’t matter where you are.  Whether it be the IC, or a house you live in, Jesus will be there.  Where the flock is, there the Shepherd will be also. 
            I say, worship God, as best you can.  Don’t get hung up on ideologies, because none of them will survive the fire.  And all this will one day be put to fire.  We, the believers, are the only ones who will survive that fire.  Buildings won’t, and ideologies won’t.  Methods won’t, nor will house churches. 
            We are here to do one thing, to glorify the Almighty God.  There just isn’t anything that doesn’t pale in comparison to that.  Thank you.



For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (demons), nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.          Romans 8: 38,39

            This verse just might be the strongest statement about grace made by a human being other than Jesus .  Read the verse again, and let it sink in this time, concentrating not just on the part where demons or death or life cannot separate us.  Consider the part that states that neither things present, nor things to come, nor any created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God.
            In short, no longer do our sins separate us from God.  Yes, I know, we have always been told that our sins separate us from God, and it is true that they did, while we were yet dead in them.  But we are not dead in our sins anymore, we are alive in Christ. 
            Positionally speaking, we are already perfect in the eyes of God.   If nothing can separate us from God, then neither can our sins, the sins of today, tomorrow, and forever.  That means we need to stop thinking we aren’t close to God because of our current or future sin.
            A gospel of works dictates that we have to do something, that we can do anything!!  Anything to sanctify ourselves, and make ourselves “good Christians”.  Listen, there is no such thing as a good Christian.  Even Paul was depraved, and he admitted it in Romans chapter seven.  There is Paul, the author of over half the New Testament, the preacher of righteousness, admitting his own depravity.  If Paul, who was blinded by the risen Jesus, is depraved, what right or reason do any of us have to expect to sanctify ourselves?  Paul couldn’t sanctify himself.  Can you?
            No, and neither can I!!!  But then how will we put to death the sins of the flesh?  There is always that question, and that question is valid, yet it is a question taken out of the context of a works gospel, a message taught to us telling us we have to “be good”.  Well, naturally, when we hear that, we think we have to do it ourselves.      
            Here is a thought that might help.  God tells us there is this place, called heaven, where a person can spend eternity with Him.  Yet, he tells us, you cannot go there because of your sin, and just so you know what sin is, here is the Law, so you can know that you have broken it, and therefore are not worthy of heaven.  What are you going to do?  Are you going to immediately set to work in earning your way into heaven, so you can be with God?  God gave us the Law so that we would know what sin was, and that we were lost in it.  Did He stop there?
            No, he did not.  Knowing we were lost, God offered us His Son, as a way of getting there.  What work did we have to do to get there?  None!!!!  It was done for us.  It’s grace!!!  Grace is something given, not something attained. 
            Now, we have this last item to ponder.  How do we become sanctified?  How do we put to death the sins of the flesh.  Here is an answer that if I left it just as I am about to state it, would make you angry.  The sins of the flesh have already been put to death, through Jesus, on the cross.  There!!!  Should I stop?  Or should I go on?
            I will not leave you hanging like a bad movie trying to sell a sequel.  If God showed us the Law because without it we would not know what sin was, and if He gave us His Son because without Him we would not get to heaven, the place God told us about, would it follow that when God says you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, that He will do that  for us, as well?    Look at this verse from Romans.

            For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren, and these whom He predestined, He also called, and these whom He called, he also justified, and these whom He justified, He also glorified.                     
Romans 8: 29, 30

            Did you notice the word predestined?  We have been predestined to be conformed to Jesus’ image, in the very same way we have been predestined to be saved.  And this conforming is not an all at once thing, for the word conformed speaks of a process.  Well, we have known that when we are resurrected, we will be resurrected in perfection.  But what about now? 
            The conforming that Paul is speaking of is what is occurring here, in this place, us being conformed to Christ’s image.  If we are predestined for it, then is it our responsibility to achieve it?  Was it our responsibility to come up with a way to save ourselves?  No, the way is God’s.  We are responsible for our actions, not our sanctification.  Whoa!!!  Now that seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it?
            Wait a minute, and let me explain.  Just as we are responsible for our actions before we come to Christ, we are responsible after.  But being responsible for actions does not imply that we make the changes within us.  The lost are responsible for their condition, because of their actions.  Look back at the verse above.  We are predestined to be conformed.  

            So, He who made us to rely , to trust upon Him for salvation, wouldn’t He also make us to trust upon Him for sanctification as well?  In fact, do not all our efforts at this process go up to Him as filthy rags?  Our efforts in the flesh are efforts full of depravity.  What good thing can come from depravity?  Only God can take depravity, and use it for good.  We cannot.  Grace.
            Now look at this verse.

            But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law.    
Galatians 5: 22,23

            Check that one out in your bible.  Paul says more after that, but I wanted to include this specific verse for a reason, to give further evidence of grace in your life.  We know that verse, and we try to make it happen in our lives, because after all, we are Christians, and aren’t we supposed to be producing fruit?  Any “good Christian” will make living this verse his or her life’s “work”.  In fact, we go to such lengths with this verse, that we will actually lie around other Christians, and say that we have joy and peace, even when we don’t.  Why is that?  Because we have been taught that we must “bear” fruit.  This fruit then, is becoming a burden, if we are bearing it.  That is a play on words, I know, but the fact is, if we have to work at it, it is a burden, and one that our consciences never gives us peace from.  Do you think that is what Jesus intended when he mentioned the abundant life thing, or the light burden thing?  We are busy doing the Pharisee thing, earning fruit, working towards producing fruit.  Trying to please God.
            Listen well now.  You do not have to do anything anymore to please God.  He is already well pleased with you.  He is in love with you, look at what He gave you!!!! 
            Back to the verse.  The fruit of the Spirit.  Hmmm……..
            What leaps off the page at you when you read, “The fruit of the Spirit?”  Here is what leaps off at me.  “The fruit of the Spirit”.  Okay, Tom’s playing games.  No, I am not!!!  Whose fruit is it?  Is it our fruit?  To whom does the fruit belong?  Does it belong to me?  Conspicuously, my name has been left off these pages.  If I can earn fruit, then the Bible should say, “But the fruit of Tom”.  Somehow, that was left out.   I know I have to produce fruit.  This fruit should be mine, and I should be named!!!!
            Is the Bible in error,  or are the millions of Christians who believe they not only have to, but can produce fruit?  Who’s wrong?  Just as in Ephesians, we are told that not only is salvation a gift, but also faith, which is not our own, but is a gift from God so that no one may boast, thus here as well, this fruit is not even our own, so that no one may boast. 
            So if the fruit does not belong to us, who does it belong to?  The Holy Spirit!!!  It’s His fruit, given to us, so that the light of Christ may shine around us.  It doesn’t belong to us, it’s the fruit of the Spirit.  
            Romans talks about us as heirs.  Specifically, heirs of God.  Well, what does an heir do to earn his inheritance?  Basically, nothing.  If we are heirs of God, what do we inherit?  Everything!!!  Does everything include righteousness?  You bet it does!!!  So then, coming full circle, do we live in a gospel of works, or the Gospel of grace?  Is grace only for our salvation, or is now grace the determining factor in every part of our lives.  Is it grace plus a few works?  Is it grace plus somehow figuring out a way that no one else has thought of to please God?  No!!!  It is just grace, in everything!  That which we have, we were given, and that which we need, has been given, and is yet to be given, to us. 
            One last word about this.  Jesus warned against the coming gospel of works, as do most of Paul’s letters.  What was it Jesus said to the Pharisees?  (Believe it or not, we have many modern day Pharisees)
            “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, for you travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”                          Matthew 23: 15

            The gospel of works is Satan’s gospel.  We need to be careful when we evangelize, that we do not teach anything but grace, and leave the sanctification of these we teach to God.  God is in the business of perfection, we are not.  We are not there yet, and our every effort at perfection is depravity. 
            What does that mean?  Am I going to have to try harder, to be a better Christian?  Because up to now, I’ve been trying really hard!! 
            No!!!!  On the contrary, I am going to have to trust God all the more!!!  If He is trustworthy for your salvation, is He not also more than trustworthy for your sanctification? 
            Jesus trusted His Father perfectly, relied upon Him in all things, and did nothing without Him.  Jesus said, “Follow me.”  I think this is what He meant.            Grace is a gift, and it doesn’t end at salvation.  God is a lover to us, wanting to give good gifts.  He doesn’t make the goal, and then say, “Go do it yourself.”  He makes the destination, He paves the road, picks you up, and carries you to the finish, all the while keeping you safe and warm.  That is grace. 



Eight months ago, a dear Sister in Christ named Sherrie walked for the last time into the hospital room of her dying Uncle Jim.  Days prior she had told him about Jesus, about forgiveness, and about hope.  Most of all, hope.  Several days before her Uncle passed away, Sherrie helped Uncle Jim into the Kingdom.  He believed at last!!  It didn't matter that he did so on his death bed.  He had been on a cross next to Jesus, and he would enter paradise soon. 

Sherrie watched Uncle Jim pass away, but nights before that one, she experienced something she will never forget, she experienced the look of peace and hope in the eyes of a man who had just met his Savior.  I was with her husband Brett at the time she came home with the news, that Jim had passed into Jesus' care.   Before going to Brett's house, I wrote this poem, so that Sherrie would never forget her Savior's love.   Sherrie's last wish of Uncle Jim was that he would give Jesus a great big "Uncle Jim" hug from her.  He smiled, and said he would.


I have heard from a friend today, 
a loved one is passing away.
A man I knew by mention only
Is leaving a widow lonely.

A call to pray, to hope, to dream, 
a time to cry is coming, it seems.
Nothing we do can halt this day,
his life is draining away.

I know a man, Yeshua his name.
For times like this it was  He came.
To seek and save that which  was lost,
to forfeit his blood,  salvation's cost.

Tell the story of Yeshua, she said
I will do if need be, at his bed.
Let pass this hope, I will not
lest all my prayers be forgot.

With courage, fear, sadness and tears,
she enters the room, her Savior is here.
Yeshua has come so she might speak
to a man who is lost, dying and weak.

He is here!, she believes  as she starts,
to offer His  life once again for a  heart
from a man with no offer to pay for his debt.
This night, dear lady, shall you  never forget.






As I sit here in front of my computer, I wonder exactly what I am going to write.  God already knows.

Sometimes when I pray, I don't know what to say.  God has already heard it, and the answer is on the way. 

I looked at the clock this afternoon, and realized that my daughter Ally was late in being returned home from the weekend.  So I asked God when she would be back, who else would know?

I corresponded with a dear sister in Christ this weekend about a problem she is having.  She sort of asked for counsel, and I didn't know how to answer her in any definite way.  I am limited in my knowledge and wisdom, but God will answer her request for counsel in due time. 

When I tell God that I don't understand something, I only tell Him that because I know He does.

Yesterday, I could not have told you what I was all going to today.  Today I cannot tell you what I will all do tomorrow.  God knew it all before the foundation of the earth.

I do not know when I will be called home to heaven, but I trust that God does, for not even a sparrow falls apart from His will.

Whenever I write a letter of encouragement to anyone, I feel like I have written nothing but garbage.  Why then, are the results so different from what I feel I have written?  I don't even know what to write, and then I pray, and then it comes.  How can God know just what to say, when I am so clueless?  How can God take garbage, and turn it into hope?

I talk to God throughout the day, holding a conversation in my mind with Him.  Today, my daughter told me she knows how to do that, too.  I had hoped that my daughter's faith was her own, but my hope was tempered with the reality that she has me for a dad, and I get in the way.  How does God do it?

God made Balaam's donkey speak.  There has to be something He can use me for, too.

I am not depressed.  I am just sharing the wild thoughts inside my mind at any given point during any day.  Thank you.




I met with my boys club tonight (That's what we have taken to calling ourselves, a group of men I meet with every week).  At some point, the conversation went into a predestination direction.  Somehow, I always seem to be involved in these conversations.  Think God is saying something to me?  Like maybe, "Finish it."?

Well, I am close.  The things I have discovered are amazing me, like places where the concept of God's choice over ours is found that you would never even think to look at.  Take John 6:65 for example. 

"For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."
Or, there is John 5:21, which says;
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." 
Now, I understand that Jesus is not explicitly saying that He chose us in either of these verses, and each one by itself would probably not stand alone.  But when you begin to look at all the places where evidence of God's Sovereign choice can be found, it becomes overwhelming very rapidly.  "The Son also gives life to whom He wishes" is ALMOST an explicit statement of His choice standing by itself, not quite, but almost.  For whomever Jesus wishes to be in heaven with Him will be there.  What is a wish in this case but a choosing according to His own desires and reasons, not subject to any approval or decision on anyone's part, but based solely upon the wish of Jesus. 

Let's turn a moment to Free Will.  I have never met the believer who didn't "feel" as though they had chosen Jesus.  With overwhelming evidence such as that, it is very hard to refute the idea of Free Will.  Yet by the same token, I have never met a person who said they believed their every thought was only evil all of the time.  Yet this is what God says about us, before we know Jesus, so it must be true.  What am I saying?

I believe, for right now, that to prove predestination or Free Will, no matter which, it will depend largely upon the perspective we see from.  From a human standpoint, it certainly "feels" like we chose God.  But from God's standpoint, if we are slaves to sin, how can we choose anything good?  If God first loved us, would it not follow that He loved us so much that He also chose us?  After all, God's history, which we know about, consists largely of choosing people.  Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Israel, all chosen, not because they chose Him, but He chose them. 

He chose them not for any righteousness in them, or because of any attribute they possessed.  It was not for their size, number, or strength.  In fact, all these things were given to them only after He chose them.  With regards to Free will, the only evidence we have of our choice is how we "feel".  Compare that to the fact that choosing people is part of God's histry as we know it.  History is not on our side in this argument.  Nor is any attribute we possess, or any goodness we had, which is impossible since we were slaves to sin. 

Here is a question, encompassing every miracle Jesus performed in front of people.  After witnessing these miracles, some believed, while some didn't.  Here is an example of people in the very same context, the same event, the exact same time, all the circumstances the same for each person.  Each one saw the miracles.  And yet, only some were saved as the result of witnessing these miracles.   Does that speak of our  choice, or Predestination?  If choice, why the mixed responses?  After all, if Jesus gives an attesting miracle,  wouldn't all who saw it believe it, if it were left up to our choice? 

How can we explain that in one place, hundreds would see a miracle, and only a few would believe?  Remember, you can't remove the fact that these few were still slaves to sin right before they saw the miracles.  You cannot take that out of this context, because unless a man is saved, he is damned, and a slave to sin.  How then, upon seeing a miracle, would such a man be able to believe?  If he, as a slave to sin, cannot choose anything good, why all of a sudden can he do so now?  And if one, then why not every one? 

Yes, more questions.  But throughout all of this, one question has remained constant.  Regardless of the doctrine, do you still trust God, no matter what?  That's the most important question here.  Thank you.



The High Speed connection is coming shortly.  No more dealing with a slow dial-up speed, or disconnects, or any of that garbage.  So, I wonder what troubles cable internet brings.  Anyone able to clue me in ahead of time?  It would be greatly appreciated.  I asked the cable company, and of course they were very forthcoming with all the problems associated with this type of service (yep, and donkeys fly)
A strange thing happened to me today.  I was in my local hardware store (Menards, of all places), and started feeling dizzy.  I know it's been a long day, but normally, I can work 12 - 13 hour days without much problem.  Today, though, it was hottttttttt!!  We hit 96 degrees F, with some unbelievable humidity level (felt like 80 - 90 %)  But, I love weather like that.  I wonder when summer will start.  (Summer is defined by the first 100 degree F day, which we have not yet had).  It better happen soon, it's getting late.
Anyway, I was saying I felt dizzy, and things started looking all fuzzy.  I had a real hard time focusing my eyes, and I just thought, "God, not here, please.  Let it be in my truck, when I'm driving, so I can take someone with me." : D    Actually, I did ask God to help me get home.
I knew what it was.  I hadn't eaten anything since 7:00 am, and it was pushing 8:00 pm at this time.  Oh well, I guess I am getting older, aren't I?  So I did what any American would do in this situation.  I rushed to the nearest McDonald's, and choked  down a quick burger.  Now I feel better.  McDonalds, it ain't good eatin, but it's food when you can't find anything else quick.  (Do you think they'll hire me for their next advertising campaign?)
God Bless



Yesterday, I got so sick of my dial up service, that I decided to check out high speed Internet services.  Guess what I found out?  I can upgrade for just $ 5 / mo.  Are you kidding me?!?
Here's how it happened.  I came home from work last night, and tried to check my email.  "Tried" is the key word.  Usually, I just click connect, and walk away, as it takes at least thirty seconds for a connection to be made.  This time, I only left for a minute.  When I came back, it was obvious that my connection was non-existent.  So, I tried again, and again, and again, and finally, I got a message telling me that I could not connect due to configuration conflicts.
If you have ever received this message, then you know the fear and angst I felt upon reading it.  Conflicts?  With my computer?  Surely you jest, says I.  Why, my computer knows that it is just a hammer blow away from being obsolete, it would never test me like this, would it?  You bet it would.
Configuration conflicts are evil, I have determined.  I spent the better part of two hours trying to "negotiate" the conflict, all the while spewing forth fresh streams of expletives, the likes of which had not been heard in my office in months.  Throughout the process, I was constantly angry, and hopeful, disappointed, and befuddled, all at the same time!!!!
Computers, which I have been dealing with for nearly twenty years, suck!!  The ones I learned on were so much better.  They rarely, if ever crashed.  And you really had to try hard to screw up "configurations".  For those of you who do not remeber life before Windows, let me help you into the paradise that is sans "freeze-ups".   With Windows XP, I average a freeze up a day.  With Windows 98, I averaged a freeze up every few hours (sometimes all Windows 98 could accomplish was to start up, and freeze up!).  With Windows 3.1, I rarely froze up, but you couldn't do much with other peoples' stuff.  With DOS, if you screwed up, you just turned the computer off, and restarted.  But I never had freeze-ups, ever!  I know Microsoft and Apple believe they have improved the quality of their software, but since when is quality based upon fluff?    Why isn't quality based upon failure rate?  Is it maybe because both Apple and Microsoft would fail miserably?  I digress.
Configuration conflicts are of the most serious, and frustrating type of problem a computer can encounter.  Why?  Because the configuration of a computer is rarely messed with, and when we have problems with it, we are so far beyond the last time we actually understood the configuration of our system that we are helplessly plunged into hours of relearning everything we shouldn't have to know.  (big breath).  After two hours,  I finally calmed down, and went to an appointment with a client at whom I spent most of my time saying, "You can't do that.  It won't work, and the inspector won't let us."  (meetings!!)  Another frustration, you ask?  Not likely, I deal with that all of the time.  However, if I have to say it about the same thing more than three times,  I sometimes suddenly act deaf, as if I didn't hear the same question repeated for the fourth time. 
Well, the meeting went as expected, I got absolutely nothing accomplished, and ended up having more work to do, and I'm not even past the "free estimate" stage, yet.  Arggghhh!!!!!!!!
On my way home, I realized that I still hadn't "fixed" my computer.    Suddenly, I had a eureka moment.  "Why not ask God, Tom?"  So, I prayed as I drove, and I felt peace envelope me, giving me fresh hope to face further frustrations with my "configuration conflict."  Once home, I headed with purpose toward my office, stepped inside, and took a deep breath.  I turned on my computer, tried connecting, and voila!!! It connected without a problem.  Before you think restarting the computer did the trick, please understand that I had restarted five times in the two previous hours of threatening and cajoling my nearly murdered computer.  I don't know what happened, so I'll just give it to God, and say, thank you!!
However, I am done with dial up.  I don't need anymore "conflicts".  Cable Internet will solve "all my problems", I just know it!  Yeah right!  Cable internet will come with new problems, and I will deal with those when they arrive.  Can't wait! : D


"If we do not feel the weight of the passion, the cross and the death, we cannot cope with the problem of providence without either hurting ourselves or secret anger toward God.  That is why the Adam in us has to be quite dead before we can bear this doctrine, and drink this strong wine, without harm.  So, beware!  Avoid drinking wine when you are still a suckling infant.  Every doctrine requires us to be of the appropriate ability at the right age, and of the due maturity."  Matin Luther (His Preface to Romans)
I am not going to convince you that predestination is true.  That hasn't been my purpose.  The only thing I am going to do is lay out the evidence, as found in Scripture, with a hope towards some revelation from God that will help clarify the doctrine of free will against predestination.  I stand by what Martin Luther said, that to tackle and believe in God's Providence is dangerous if you aren't ready for it.  Attach to that God's silence on the issue of explaining how it works, and we can see where so many would believe it, and so many wouldn't. 
I have actually witnessed the secret anger toward God that delving into the topic of predestination prematurely can cause.  A friend of mine, who first came to know Jesus about the time I did was introduced to this doctrine several years ago.  She did not take it well.  When she came across Paul's statement of God's hardening of Pharoah's heart, she just about lost faith.  She couldn't believe God would do that, and yet there it was in black and white.  Romans 9:16 is one of the verses she struggled so mightily with, which states, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. " 
To tackle predestination without a proper understanding of our position with God before we are saved can be spiritual suicide. Thankfully for my friend, it was not.  In the end, she simply had to trust that God knew what He was doing. 
That is the point of today's post, that God does know what He is doing.  There is much we can learn from the written Word.  But there is much He has not yet revealed to us about His nature.  He has His reasons and purposes for that.  I tend to believe strongly that much of what He has not revealed we just wouldn't be able to understand. God is holy, "set apart", so absolutely "other" that we cannot grasp the depth nor height nor awesomeness of His Person.  He is eternal, and able and willing to give an eternal life to some.  Is there a one of us who can relate to this?  One would have to be eternal already to relate.   
God is not just a God of love.  His other attributes DID survive the cross.  Some of those attributes we just don't understand yet, and maybe never will this side of heaven.  Who can read the first chapter of Job, and understand the reasons God gave Job over to Satan?  Who can understand fully the pain in this world, and how God uses that pain to work His will?  Yet which of us has not experienced some great pain in our lives, and upon being delivered from it, did not know that God meant it for good?
In the end, the question isn't whether you believe in predestination.  The question is, do you trust God, no matter what?  No matter the circumstance, the pain, the joy, the love, the hope, or the anger, will you trust God?  Or will you turn away because God has escaped the box you built for Him?  We cannot explain God.  To simply say that "God is love" is not enough, it limits Him, and God knows no limits, just as there are no limits to His love.  So we would be better off to stop trying to explain God, as if He needs us to make excuses for Him.  We need to remember one truth we know for certain, we are his created beings.  That places us lower than Him, by far. 
If there has been one thing that has constantly driven me to draw near to God, to love Him with all my heart, it is not that He is love.  It is that He is everything I am not, and more.  It is the fact that He blows me away, in everything, that He is so far above me that to make comaprisons between us is foolishness.  That He knows what I need even before I ask, and that He knows this of every creature that exists, and has existed.  This is what draws me to God.  His love keeps me, but his awesome power and amazing "otherness", the things about Him I can never touch or fathom, those are the things that draw me.  I want to know such a God.  That God spurs me on, drives me to be the best I can be in whatever I undertake, without coercion, without guilt at failing.  
The first step we have to take is one of trust.   The second step we have to take, is one of trust.  Every step we take, then, will be one of trust.  We won't surrender to someone we don't trust.  God is trustworthy, and true.  We know that.  So it really doesn't matter what the doctrine is, whether it be predestination, or the Triune Godhead, or Jesus being fully man and fully God, it does not matter.  What does matter is that we trust God.    Then, if there is something we can do, if there is a decision we can make, let it be to trust God no matter what.  No other thing will serve us as well as this.  Thank you.



Hello!!!  Day two of the research (what little time I had to do it) bore much fruit.  As I prayed over this topic, and just sort of laid and listened, I became aware that my mind was filling with questions, and new ideas for places to look for information.  I didn't hear a voice, mind you.  But I certainly received a lot of direction.  So, I am going to list some of the questions that filled my mind.  Please understand that I can't put all of the questions down, as there are just too many to write out efficiently at this point.  When is someone going to invent a thought scanner?  Let's get started.
1.  How can a man save himself?
2.  If a man chooses to believe, has he not saved himself?
3.  If a man is truly lost unless Jesus saves him, how can he know which direction to take to make the right choice?
Now we get to the really tough questions
4.  Jesus said that those who sin are slaves to sin (John 8:34)  If they are slaves to sin, who can do nothing but sin, how is it possible for such a one to do good?
5.  If "choosing" to believe in Christ is good, how can one who can do no good choose to believe?
6.  If a man who  is in a deep pool of water, has come to the end of his stamina and can fight to stay above water no longer, does he have a choice?
7.  What is the meaning of Jesus' statement, "No one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father"?
8.  Where does the power to believe come from?  Is it something we generate when we hear the gospel?  Or is the power to believe given to us?
9.  If a man is a slave, is he free to choose freedom?
10.  If we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them, how could God not know who he was creating?
11.  If we say that God created everything with its purpose, how is it possible that God would not know that purpose?
12.  If God wills something, does it not come to pass?
13. What is the meaning of Christ's statement, "Many are called, but few are chosen?"
14.  Can this statement be taken chronologically? "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the first born among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called, and these whom He called, He also justified, and these whom He justified, He also glorified." Romans 9:29-30
15.  What is the meaning of this question from God to Job?, "Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?  Let him who reproves God answer it." Job 40:2
These question are just a few of the questions that flooded my mind as I asked God to help me understand free will, and predestination.  As I work through this, my heart tells me these questions, and those that remain in my mind must, and can be answered. 
As I said, my mind also filled with new places to search, and amazingly to me, the Old Testament came up quite often This verse sticks out in my mind, it is from Genesis 6:5, and I believe it still applies to our condition prior to salvation.  "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that his every thought was only evil all of the time."  If this is our state before we are saved, then is it even possible that we could choose to believe in some thing good?
One last question.  In cases of adoption, who chooses, the child, or the parent?
A lot of questions.  I believe there will be a lot of answers.  Take care in Christ.  Thank you.



I was involved in a wonderful discussion this weekend, centering around whether fear is something we should be using to draw people to God.   Check out Bruce's YBMT blog here
http://weblogs.oxegen.us/ybmt) where the discussion began.  Anyway, I made the mistake of saying that God does use fear, as well as evil at times towards His Sovereign will.  Here is where I give a disclaimer.  God is not evil, ever.  Nor does He sin.  Let's keep that as our premise.  My comment did not meet with much approval.  It met with some open-theism, as well as people who really struggle believing that God would ever have anything to do with evil.
Over the next couple of days, I will be researching the positions of "Predestination", as well as "free will".  During those days, I will try to include as much of what I learned as possible, here.
I believe unshakably in predestination.  I believe it is the only way to a true gospel of grace, one that requires absolutely no duty, service, work, or choice on our part.   However, you may not believe in predestination.  I understand that, and I am in no way telling you that you must agree with my stance on the doctrine of predestination.  All I ask is that you carefully consider everything I post here, prior to making a snap judgment about me, or God, especially God.
One of the things that bothers people most about predestination is the idea that Gods creates some for destruction.  Many people feel that if He is a God who can do that, then He is not a God worthy of worship.  You may feel the same way.  I understand.  But there is a danger in feeling that way.  You see, if predestination is true, and I'm not guaranteeing that it is, but if it is, then what have we just said to God?  You may need to think about that question, because predestination may very well be true. 
What is predestination?  It is the doctrine that God chose people for sonship, literally for salvation, while others, He does not.  It is the cornerstone of the belief that God knows all, for if He does not know who will be saved, then we cannot say that God knows all.  But if God is truly all-knowing, then predestination is true.  There is no way around it.  So, we will embark these next few days (with brief interludes for research) on discovering if God is willing to give us a revelation to an understanding of predestination.  I am hopeful He will.  However, many came before me trying the same thing, and who am I?  My stance is that God chose us, we did not choose Him.  If we believe in a gospel of grace without any works to earn salavtion, then it must also be without choice.  That is my stance.  That doesn't mean it doesn't feel like choice.  It just means that if the decision is left up to us, then it is salvation through our effort, no matter how small the effort is.
I want to leave you with a couple of questions.  If you believe God is not worthy of worship because He created some for destruction, then is He worthy of worship because billions who came before us never had a chance to hear the gospel?  Since Jesus rose from the dead, the gospel is the means for coming to a saving faith in Christ.  Not only that, but the gospel is not just for Jews, but for gentiles as well.  However, prior to Christ, there were billions of gentiles who walked this earth who never had a chance to hear the gospel, nor ever knew anyone Jewish who could have introduced them to the prophecies of the coming Messiah.  Therefore it would follow that these Gentiles never had a chance, regardless of whether predestination is true or not.  So, even if God does not create some for destruction only, there is still the problem of how we view God with regards to the billions who never even heard of Christ.  Paul answered that in Romans chapter one, but for you, that may not be enough.  Is God still holy, even though billions never had a chance to hear the gospel?  Can you worship a God like that?  I can, and soon, I will give my reasons why.  Until then, grace be upon you.  Thank you.


This is the third part of a multiple part series, which includes Scriptures that tell us what God thinks of us, and what He has done for us.  Hope you enjoy.  Always look to God to discover who you are.
*  I am a new creature in Christ.
                Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.             2 Corinthians 5:17
*  I have become the righteousness of God in Christ.
                He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.                           2 Corinthians 5:21
*  I have been made one with all who are in Christ Jesus.
                There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.                Galatians 3:28
*  I am no longer a slave but a child and an heir.
                Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.           Galatians 4:7
*  I have been set free in Christ.
                It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.                   Galatians 5:1
*  I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.            
                Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.    Ephesians 1:3
*  I am chosen, holy, ands blameless before God.
                Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.                              Ephesians 1:4
*  I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ.
                In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.                    Ephesians 1:7
*  I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance.
                In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.                              Ephesians 1:10-11

I hope these verses bring you comfort and peace when you are struggling with your faith.  Take care in Christ.  Thank you.


The second part of this series is listed below.  I hope you find these verses to be a source of hope, joy, and comfort in this troublesome world.  I believe the better we know God, and the better we know what He really thinks about us, the more we grow to love Him with a true love, not one that is based on something others have told us, but on what God has told us.  For since God is the source of all love, then who better to tell us what love is, and who we  are?
Take care, and know God well. 
*  As a child of God, I am a fellow heir with Christ.
                And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.              Romans 8:17
*  I have been accepted by Christ.
                Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.    Romans 15:7
*  I have been called to be a saint.
                To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.     1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2
*  In Christ Jesus I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
                But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.                                1 Corinthians 1:30   
*  My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in me.
                Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?       1 Corinthians 3:16
                Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?      1 Corinthians 6:19
*  I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
                But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.               
1 Corinthians 6:17
*  God leads me in triumph and knowledge of Christ.
                But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.      
2 Corinthians 2:14
*  The hardening of my mind has been removed in Christ.
                But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.              
2 Corinthians 3:14

Feel free to let us know which of these verses really speaks loudly to you.  Thank you.



Hello!!  I thought I'd fulfill a promise I made the other day to someone who commented here, about giving a series of scripture that affirm who we are in Christ, and just what God thinks of us, really.  Here is the first part. 
The following biblical affirmations about our identity in Jesus Christ are derived from a few selected passages in the New Testament.  These passages teach a portion of the many truths about who we have become through faith in God’s Son.   Taken from Kenneth Boa's book, Conformed To His Image
* I am a child of God
                But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.           John 1:12
*  I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.
                “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser…..I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”            John 15:1, 5
*  I am a friend of Jesus.
                “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”            John 15:15
*  I have been justified and redeemed.
                Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.                          Romans 3:24
*  My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin.
                Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.                         Romans 6:6
*  I will not be condemned by God.
                Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.                                Romans 8:1
*  I have been set free from the law of sin and death.
                For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.                Romans 8:2
The actual list this series is based on is going to take several days, but I look forward to sharing them with you.  I hope this series finds you well, and helps you to more fully understand the amazing love and grace our Father has bestowed upon us.  Sometimes, we lose sight of grace.  Feel free to copy this list if you wish.  It isn't anything you can't find in Scripture for yourself, but compiled as it is, some of the work has been done for you. 
Please remember that this isn't what I have to say about God, it's what He has to say about us.  That makes all the difference in the world.  Thank you.



Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7

Advice to live by, I say. In fact, by experience, I can say that. Whenever I have followed this advice of Paul to the Philippians, I have never experienced anything but amazing peace. It is always better to speak of something which we can truthfully acknowledge through having experienced it.

In my time with Christ, there have been many moments when I have needed to call upon the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension. I call it peace when I have no worldly reason to have peace. It is something the world cannot explain, nor understand. It is the calm during the midst of danger. It is the quiet in the roar of our emotions. It is the stillness in a cyclone of fear, and a whisper in the darkness of doubt. It is the peace of God, and it truly does surpass all comprehension.

There was a time in my life when nearly every day found me on my knees begging for peace. "Lord, lighten the darkness in my mind, quiet my fear, and soothe my senses, because I can't see past this moment. I can't see my way through 'til tomorrow." Have you ever felt this way? I don't know anyone who hasn't. Anxiety and fear, doubt, anger, pain, they all cause troubled times for our heart and mind.

Here is what you can do. I say "do", not try, because when you do, you will be at peace. Trust God in times of anxiety. Trust Him when you are angry, sad, hurt, afraid, or in doubt. Then go to Him in prayer, and name the peace you desire. Ask God for the peace that transcends all understanding, and He will grant it. It's just a prayer away, a question that takes no effort to ask, just hope and trust.

None of us wants to fear, or doubt, be anxious or angry. So when we are, we must rememebr that in this world, we will have trouble, but there is One who has overcome. Let us go to Him, and ask for the peace of God, and He will grant it exceedingly beyond our expectations or understanding. I hope this post finds you at peace, but if not, now you know where to go.



I'd like to write today about something that is precious to me. My Blog is dedicated to it, and whatever I write, I always try to write with the understanding that grace is already with me. Grace. The most dangerous doctrine of all, if it is not understood.

There are some who tell us that if we are not good, we are not saved. Not true!!!! There are some who tell us if we haven't piled up a list of good works as long as the Bible, we are not saved. To them, I say, the mere fact that you "know" about the good works you think you have done, means they probably are not good works at all. For lists are boasting, and knowing of the "good" works we have done is impossible without boasting. One came, and He had the right to boast, yet instead, He chose to die. His name is Jesus, and grace comes from Him.

Why is grace so dangerous? Because some believe that the moment you tell someone they don't have to earn salvation, that grace covers them, they will go off the deep end, and commit all sorts of "heinous" immoralities. Possible, but not likely. We must get beyond the idea that anything we do bears any weight towards our salvation. No action, no word, no deed, no thought has any bearing on whether we are saved. Only one thing matters. Grace.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9 NASB

I'm going to tell you to do something now that will make some cringe. Relax!!! Stop trying to be good. Trying to be good only brings frustration, don't you realize that? If we want to do something, we are better off applying ourselves to learning everything we can about Jesus, and grace. For the one who truly understands grace will not fall into sin. Rather, he will stand in faith. This is a truth I have experienced; I have never met the person who understood grace well who was an axe murderer, pornographer, adulterer, liar, thief, drunk,madman,idolator, or dissenter. Yet every person I have met who understands grace well walks through life's temptations, most of the time as if the temptations aren't even there. They don't "try real hard to be good". They just are.

People who don't understand grace make checklists. Here is what one such checklist might look like:
1. Stop smoking
2. Stop cussing
3. Stop drinking
4. Stop coveting
5. Stop lying
6. Stop watching movies I know are "bad" for me
7. Stop this, that, and all the other things.

That list might be useful, if you could use it for toilet paper. Grace needs no lists. It only needs Christ, and we already know Him. Check Romans 8:29 out.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.

This verse means we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Literally, it means that not only are we chosen for salvation, but we are also promised sanctification. We do not sanctify ourselves. We are sanctified. No amount of effort is going to change us on the inside, because the inner man belongs to the Spirit.

Grace is dangerous only if we don't know it. It is dangerous if we don't believe it. Jesus came, gave us grace by what He did, and sanctifies us according to truth, telling us God's Word is truth. (John17:17) The prayer for our sanctification has already been spoken, the way has already been made. Throw away the list, it doesn't do you any good. And if you do not yet know Jesus, then you can know Him, and know the same grace we know. Contact me, or one of the links on this page if you are curious, they all can help, or if you want to believe in Jesus for Eternal life. Know that when God brings us, He also keeps us. Thank you.



As I mentioned in my last post, I have begun reading some of the writings of Martin Luther. Seeing as how there was some interest in the topic of discipleship, and that naturally and rightfully traveled on to a discussion of works, I thought I'd see what Martin Luther has to say about works. Warning: Luther doesn't mince words on this topic. Try to remember that the words in italics are his, not mine.

The following excerpt is taken from Luther's Preface to The Book Of Romans

O, when it comes to faith, what a living, creative, active, powerful thing it is. It cannot do other than good at all times. It never waits to ask whether there is some good work to do. Rather, before the question is raised, it has done the deed, and keeps on doing it. A man not active in this way is a man without faith. He is groping about for faith and searching for good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. Nevertheless, he keeps on talking nonsense about faith and good works.

Faith is a living and unshakeable confidence, a belief in the grace of God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake. This kind of confidence in God's grace, this sort of knowledge of it, makes us joyful, high-spirited, and eager in our relationship with God and with all mankind. That is what the Holy Spirit effects through our faith. Hence, the man of faith, without being driven, willingly and gladly seeks to do good to everyone, suffer all kinds of hardships, for the sake of the love and glory of the God who has shown him such grace. It is impossible, indeed, to separate works from faith, just as it is impossible to separate heat and light from fire.

Luther is quite convinced that we don't even have to ask God, or anyone else where the good works are, that faith does the deed even before the question is raised. I think I agree with that. I have been pondering a verse in Proverbs for a while, and it says,

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it," when you have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-28 NASB

The I other day, I made a comment that I have asked, "Where is the place where faith and works meet?" I think I know the answer now. It is everywhere, wherever we go. Just as "who is my neighbor?" can be answered, "Everyone!", so, too, is everywhere an opportunity to do good. This good flows from the faith within us, given us by God. By good works, we are not earning anything, we are simply doing what our faith causes us to do. That's why we are able to do it, because we have been enabled by faith, which cannot do wrong or dead works, but can only do that which the Spirit desires.

My question is, does the Holy Spirit, which convicts the world according to sin, confirm our works according to the righteousness imparted to us through Christ? If so, would we even be worried about whether we were doing good works, or would we trust and know that we are, because we have this faith that cannot do anything but good?

There is this whole battle going on between the flesh and the Spirit, and because of our flesh, we do not always live out in faith. Will our works grow as the power of the Spirit gains over the flesh? To me, it seems the answer would be yes. The Spirit does not overpower the flesh all at once, if He did, we'd all be perfect, without sin, ever. Yet we know that we sin at times, so there is this process, going on inside of us. Faith and works working together, not producing righteousness, but proving it, more and more as we are conformed to the image of Christ. So then, do we have to ask what to do? Or do we know it? Does our asking imply a lack of faith? Does it imply laziness, or unwillingness to submit to the Spirit? Luther believed we didn't have to ask. What do you think?



I have been in the mind of a genius. Martin Luther, of whose writings I have read very little, knew Jesus, like no one I have ever met. I have just begun reading a book called Martin Luther -Selections from His Writings. Here is a brief excerpt from Luther's preface to the New Testament.

If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself. His whole life and all his effort are directed towards the benefit of his neighbor, and this not just in order to help him (that neighbor) attain the same grace; but he employs his strength, uses his goods, and stakes his reputation, as he sees Christ did for him, and therefore follows His example. Christ never gave any other commandment than that of love, because He intended that commandment to be the test of His disciples and of true believers. For if good works and love do not blossom forth, it is not genuine faith, the gospel has not yet gained a foothold, and Christ is not yet rightly known. Watch that you apply yourself to the books of the New Testament so that you may learn to read then in this way.

This writing of Luther's is around 482 years old, and yet, it bears the same message to us today, as it did to those who read it in Luther's day. I wonder.... Do we see the gospel, and Christ in a similar manner today? What do you think?

Luther went on to explain that not only do the four "gospels" speak the gospel, but also that the entire New Testament is the gospel. He says, "The gospel may be proclaimed in few words or many; one writer may describe it briefly and another at length. If at length, then many of the works and words of Christ will be set down, as in the case of the four evangelists. Those who write it briefly, like Peter or Paul, say nothing of Christ's works, but tell succinctly how He conquered sin, death, and hell by His own death and resurrection on behalf of those who believe in Him."

I guess the question is, do these words of Luther ring true today? Or are we beyond Luther's amazing relationship with God? Tell me what you think of what Luther has to say about the gospel, works, and faith. Thank you.



Last night, I wrote about discipleship, and wow! I would just like to say to all of you who commented, thank you, and well done. I hope you learned as much as I did.

Somehow, though, we got to talking about the exact thing I didn't want to talk about. We talked about the I.C. (Institutional Church) and a few of its flaws, and the growing "Home" church, for lack of a better name. So, tonight, I will write about something that shoots straight to the heart, bypassing the type of church we have grown accustomed to, no matter what it is. I want to learn about the truth, not the flavor of a church. That being said, I think there were things discussed that did touch on the truth, but my heart tells me we spent way too much time talking about flavor.

Therefore, my topic today. Let me begin by admitting that I am not set apart from anyone regarding this topic, I am with you, and what you will teach me about it, I look forward to.

I give you Matthew 5:21-22.

"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." NASB

The Legalists will keep the letter of the Law, which plainly states, "Thou shall not commit murder." And they will believe they fulfill the Law. Christ Followers will understand the heart of the Law. So.......... What is the heart of the Law?

That is what I am concerned with. I'll give my take on it, and I invite you to do the same. Please understand that what I am going to say is one man's somewhat educated answer, it is not God's Word on the subject. However, I believe it to be accurate.

The heart of the Law goes beyond the flesh, into the very heart of the person, delving into his mind. And this, the mind, which we are cognizant of, is where the trouble starts. You see, I have no trouble at all keeping the letter of the Law. It's the heart of the Law that I struggle with sometimes. And, here comes the point aimed at your heart, I have never met anyone who didn't struggle with it. Never.

Why am I so protective of the I.C.? Why are some so protective of their church? Why do we say things aimed at building our way up, and tearing other ways down? Don't we realize that what we say comes from our heart? And, if we can say it, then what does that say about our hearts? What does it say about mine? What about yours?

The heart of the Law is to speak no evil of anyone, and, to think no evil of anyone. The heart of the Law goes beyond murder of the body, into the place where God knows us better than we do, into our hearts, and minds. The heart of the Law is for Christians to stop bickering about which church is better, and to start being of one mind, regardless of what is different between us. The heart of discipleship is to follow Christ. His purpose was to save us, make us alive, and make us one, undivided.

All these petty differences between the church (which I must say is asinine, because, how can the singular church be divided?) mean nothing. Satan wants us to stay here and argue. He wants us to carry the pain from the past into the present, and future. I am as guilty of it as anyone, and I am ashamed.

No more! Murder is for the world, not for the church. The thoughts of our minds must get past the past. Murder happens when we don't look upon our brothers and sisters in love, but rather in pity or judgment.

There isn't a single local community of believers that does it all right. Not one. Do you know why that is? Because we are all made up of imperfect people. And in each church, there are people who are not fully sold out to Christ. We ourselves at times are not. And yet we expect the church to be perfect, anywhere, anyway? No, it isn't possible. If it were, what would we long for heaven for? We are not home yet. Local churches are not perfect. That's reality, for everyone.

Don't let this message make you feel guilty. It is not intended to. It is intended to encourage you, to spur you on to what is real and true, Christ in us, and us in Christ. We are all One, and we are all in Christ. Shouldn't that unite us? Murder happens when we are divided, and from what I have seen and heard, we are at least somewhat divided. So, one must ask oneself, we who are blogging on the internet, what is the reason we have all come together? I think the reason transcends anything we could ever think possible, I think the reason is to begin again toward unity, singleness of purpose, oneness of mind. That is exactly what I am going to ask Father for in prayer. And I know my Father will say yes.