Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit.  Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.  Matthew 27:50-51 HCSB

In biblical times, the temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life.  It was where animal sacrifices were carried out.  It was also the location of the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence, better known as the Holy of Holies.  A large curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple.  Only the high priest was allowed to pass through this curtain and enter the presence of God, and he could only do so once a year.

The curtain was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity as unfit for the presence of God.  Fortunately, at the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom.  Jesus, through His death, removed the barrier between God and man.  Now, because of His grace, we have permission to enter the presence of the Lord with confidence.

Thank You, Lord, for Your grace, which has made a way for us to enter Your presence.


For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.  Ephesians 2:8 HCSB

In 1736, eleven-year-old John Newton went to sea on a merchant ship, which sailed the Mediterranean.  Eight years later, he joined the crew of a warship, the H.M.S. Harwich.  Horrified by the conditions of the ship, Newton deserted his post.  He was soon recaptured, demoted in rank, and publicly flogged for his indiscretion.  In time, he was traded to the owner of a slave ship, which frequented the coast of Sierra Leone.  In time, he was rescued and later became the captain of his own slave ship.

While steering his ship through a violent storm, Newton cried out, “Lord, have mercy upon us!”  He later declared that his cry was more than just for his safety, but that it was his “great deliverance,” when the grace of God became real to him.

Newton eventually became a pastor in Olney, Buckinghamshire.  While in service at Olney, Newton collaborated to produce Olney Hymns, a new hymnal for that day.  Included in the collection was the newly written song Amazing Grace, penned by Newton himself, as a tribute to the grace of God.

Thank You, Lord, for Your amazing grace.  It has the power to transform lives.

Be A Pepper

We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18 HCSB

Do you remember the 1970’s Be A Pepper ads?  A man took a drink of Dr. Pepper while the dancing crowd around him sang, “The taste is gonna knock you out!  The more you drink the more you shout!”  Instantly convinced, the man sang out, “I’m a Pepper!”

As a child, I thought, “I want to be a Pepper too!”  I took my allowance money, ran to the corner store, and bought a Dr. Pepper.  I took a drink and waited for the music and transformation to begin, but nothing happened.  I never did become a Pepper.  It was just a lot of hype.

However, when we become a follower of Jesus Christ, the transforming power of God’s grace in our lives is not hype.  It is real.  The Father begins to grow us into the likeness of His Son.  Being a gracious God, He has provided us with His Holy Spirit, who guides us through our lives, helping us to become more like Jesus.

Lord, thank You for Your grace.  Help us to daily submit ourselves to You.

We Need Each Other

As a young worship leader in college, I started dating a girl who later became my wife.  As she and I grew in our relationship, we discovered that we loved serving the Lord together.  She helped me with church productions and I served on the drama team that she led.  When our relationship became very serious, I grew frightened at the idea of a lifelong commitment, so I broke up with her.  After a few months, I realized that my life was empty without her.  I knew that we had to spend the rest of our lives together.  God meant for us to be together.  We needed each other.

Two years after we were married, we went to serve as missionaries in Central Asia.  We soon found that our personalities clashed with many of the other Americans there.  We felt like we had made a terrible mistake in moving around the world to serve with these people.  However, we were still learning the language and we needed their help to survive.  They needed teachers for their school and they needed help in planting a church.  As difficult as it was for us all, we forced ourselves to get along.  For whatever reason, God had us together for that season.  We needed each other.

A couple of years later, back in the U.S., I found myself working in a small church with an older pastor.  As a young man with lots of energy, I worked hard and tried to implement lots of positive changes to the church’s ministry.  I soon discovered, after falling into bed one night in total exhaustion, that my efforts were pointless.  The pastor and I were not working together.  After some time, we managed to improve our communication and started to involve each other in worship planning, special projects, and ongoing ministry.  It took a long time for me to understand that God had placed both of us in the same church and therefore we could accomplish much more if we worked together.  Even though we were from different generations, we needed each other.

In all of my formal ministry training, no one ever taught me that I needed other people.  My professors taught me about systematic theology, music history, and pragmatic choral procedures, but I never learned that most ministry does not take place on the stage in front of people.  Hence, I never realized, until I was serving in ministry, that it’s mostly about people.  I thought I had to do all the ministry myself.  I thought I had to be a Christian Ministry Superman.  But it’s not about me.  It’s not about you.  It’s about the Lord.  It’s about pleasing Him.  And I’ve come to understand that I can’t do it alone.  Even if I worked twice as long and twice as hard, I would still need help.  There will always be one more service to plan, one more soul to win, one more drummer to be find, one more set to build, one more message to plan, etc…  I will never get it all done by myself.  You will never get it all done by yourself.

We need each other.

The Strangest Poem I Ever Wrote (A Tribute to My High School English Teachers)

I’m feeling nostalgic this morning, which is very unlike me.  I can’t seem to get my high school English classes out of my mind.  Here’s a poem I wrote when I was a Junior for a class assignment that I still have memorized after all of these years.  Enjoy!

I’ve got a little story and yes, of course, it’s true.

And if you do believe me, I’ve got a bridge to sell to you.

It happened just the other day, no, it was night, oh yes. 

Bigfoot came and captured me and wanted to play chess.

He took me to his spaceship.  There were many people there.

Fred, Barney, and Wilma, Prince Charles, Sonny, and Cher.

He took me to a little room and there was Elvis Presley alive,

He shot me with a laser gun, then his leg began to jive.

What happened then, I can’t remember, but I really know,

That Elvis had my baby while on a U.F.O.

Now, you may think my story leaves a lot to be desired,

But I’ll have you know I sold it to the National Enquirer.


Weird, huh?  I still remember that word for word after 25-26 years.

Sorry for the lame content.

See you next time.



10 funny business signs

Many of you know that I am a collector of funny images, especially signs.  Here are 10 funny business signs taken by myself or by one of my friends.  Please forgive me if this is your business.  Just accept it as free promotion:

Sir, would you like more salsa on your Crab Rangoon?

However, a more narrow form of panic is scheduled for May.

The unseen vending machine behind me sells fishing rods.

There weren’t many kids hanging around this canoe rental business.  Wonder why?

Yes, Doctor, I need a lobotomy and while you’re at it, there’s a sofa I need moved.

Yes, I’d like to buy it, but before I do I need to phone home…

Yeah, give me 4 steel belted radials and Scofield Reference Bible.

It’s so nice of the fine Christian folks at Hooters to consider that I might be fasting.

I wasn’t planning on buying any slugs today, but if I get to pick them, well, that’s another story.

Finally, we found a good supplier for Carlos Wang’s Mexican Chinese Restaurant.

Stay tuned for next week’s funny picture feature:  Funny Church Signs


Why Pastors Shouldn’t Do Ministry

That’s no typo.  Pastors shouldn’t do the work of the ministry.  Check out my reasoning below:

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.  Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT

The role of a pastor is to equip THE PEOPLE of the church to do the work of the ministry.  Most of us who participate in this type of work call it MINISTRY, but I’ve heard that a better term for it might be ADMINISTRY.  This would be defined as the necessary administration, coordination, and education that must be completed in order for the people of God to complete the work of the ministry.

By the way, even though it’s not their main function, it’s good for pastors to engage in ministry themselves on a regular basis.  It frees their minds, helping them experience what it’s like for those that they are equipping.  It also affords them an outlet to utilize gifts and talents, which sometimes seems buried under administration.

7 Things Wives Should Never Say to Their Husbands

A few days ago, I posted about 7 Things Husbands Should Never Say To Their Wives. To be fair, I thought it only fair to post the following 7 Things Wives Should Never Say To Their Husbands.

  1. Does this make me look fat?
  2. Are you using your Rogaine?
  3. I’m going to call a repairman.
  4. Do you think she’s pretty?
  5. Get out of the way.  I’ll fix it.
  6. My mother warned me that you’d do that.
  7. You’re wearing that?

Nuff said…

Why Most People Misunderstand Spiritual Gifts

I once attended a worship service where the worship leader finished the worship set, sat down on the floor beside the pulpit, flapped her arms and clucked like a chicken, then rolled off of the stage where she continued to cluck periodically while the pastor was preaching.  Whenever she clucked extremely loud, the pastor would chuckle and say, “Don’t mind her.  It doesn’t bother me.  She’s just practicing her spiritual gift.”

Fortunately, her “spiritual gift” wore off just in time to lead the closing song.


I believe that all of the spiritual gifts are valid for today (although I’ve never seen chicken clucking listed), but I do think that most people have a misunderstanding of spiritual gifts.

The Definition of a Spiritual Gift

A spiritual gift is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer at conversion by the Holy Spirit, to share His love and strengthen the body of Christ.* 

If you feel like you don’t understand spiritual gifts, you’re not alone.  Apparently, there have been misunderstandings about spiritual gifts as long as there have been spiritual gifts.  The Apostle Paul even wrote:

Now about the gifts of the Spirit,brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 1 Corinthians 12:1 NIV

Most people tend to think that God gives them spiritual gifts for their own benefit.  God loves us, right?  So, doesn’t it make sense that He would give us spiritual gifts to help us succeed in life?  However, the Bible actually indicates that the opposite is true.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 NLT

My pastor will often have every one read this scripture aloud with him, but will then insert the wrong words at the end, like this:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to “make a lot of money.”

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to “make yourself look good in front of others.”

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to “get ahead in life.”

People always laugh, but he makes a good point when he does this, especially when he has them read it one last time the correct way:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 

God wants us to use the gifts He has given us to serve one another, not ourselves.

Many years ago, a man walked up to me and vigorously pumped my arm.  He said, “Bob Smith, Evangelist!”  He then proceeded to tell me all about his ministry, but never once did he try to introduce me to Christ.  What’s wrong with this picture?

God gives us spiritual gifts so that we may serve one another, not so that we could strut around like a peacock, showing off to the rest of the world.

*Definition found in S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life by Erik Rees


7 Things You Should Never Say To Your Wife

Over my 21 years of marriage, I’ve learned a lot about what husbands should NOT say to their wives.  More importantly, I’ve learned a few of the whys behind those things.  As a disclaimer, I didn’t make all of the mistakes below, only most of them.

  1. Are you going to wear Spanx with that?  Worry about your own muffin top and leave hers alone.
  2. There’s just more of you to love.  Never, ever, say anything that’s going to make her think that you think she is fat, even if she broaches the subject.  She wants you to think that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world.
  3. Don’t worry.  Your hair will grow back.  Instead of pointing out a bad haircut, find something that you like about her new doo.
  4. I like it better the way my mom makes it.  Never compare her cooking to your mom’s cooking, even if, well, never mind.
  5. Yes, Honey, I do think she’s pretty.  Even if she asks you, don’t tell her.  She is the only woman that she ever wants you to notice.
  6. Did you forget to shave your legs?  Unless she’s European, she will certainly find this insulting.  She wants you to love every part of her.
  7. I see you’re drinking 1%.  Is that because you think you’re fat?  Because you’re not.  You could be drinking whole if you wanted to.  (Napoleon Dynamite)  Ok, I couldn’t resist.  But seriously, never, ever use the word fat, even in jest, when speaking of your wife.