4 Things to Remember When Doing Hospital Visitation


I’ve been doing hospital visitation on a regular basis for over 20 years.  One thing that I’ve learned is that I’m not very good at it.  Even though I’m a pretty compassionate person, I struggle when trying to minister to those in the hospital.  Something in me clams up and I struggle with my words.

However, Jesus did say I was sick and you visited me, so it’s important to press on with the visit, even when I feel uncomfortable.

I spent most of the last three days with my mother who was hospitalized.  During that time, I pondered my own hospital visitation situation and realized that there are 4 things to remember when doing hospital visitation.

#1  –  Pray.  The Holy Spirit is a much better Comforter than any of us, so pray and let Him do His work.  Thank Him for who He is in front of the people who need to remember it the most.  If for some reason you can’t pray with the hospitalized or their family, pray by yourself for them and for you as you visit them.

#2 – Bring a small gift.  After visiting my mother for the first day, my wife suggested that we bring her the shampoo and conditioner samples from our hotel room.  We weren’t using them anyway and it allowed my mother to wash her hair with real shampoo.  Whether it’s shampoo, facial tissue, a magazine, or a drawn picture from a child, it could make a huge difference in their hospital stay.

#3 – Know when to leave.  Unless you’re family or considered part of the family (sometimes even then), don’t overstay your welcome.  Understand that while you’re trying to bring someone encouragement, you may be wearing them out.  People are in the hospital for a reason and you might be stealing their sleep time. 

#4 -Use discernment when using anointing oil – Some people don’t understand the symbolism.  To some, it just seems like you’re putting grease on their heads.  Your prayers are more important than the oil.

Remembering these 4 things will help me.  Maybe they’ll help you as well.

By the way, my mother’s doing great.

Top Ten Things “To” Give Your Pastor for Pastor Appreciation Month


I was blown away by the response to Top Ten What “To Not” Give Your Pastor for Pastor Appreciation Month, that I did extensive research (just kidding) and came up with the following Top Ten Things “To” Give Your Pastor For Pastor Appreciation Month (better known as the month created by Christian bookstores).


10.  Cash

9.  Amazon Gift Cards – I’m talking about the website, not the South American river, although that would be pretty cool too.

8.  An applause sound effect button installed in the floor near where he’s preaching.  Sometimes, the congregation needs a little help understanding when to applaud during a sermon.  (Warning!!!  Make sure there’s an sensor that turns the sound effects to standby mode during funerals and denominational meetings.)

7.  Restaurant Gift Cards – It doesn’t matter where.  (Although you should probably avoid all restaurants in the vein of Hooters)

6.  A t-shirt with the words Instant Pastor, Just Add Coffee on the front.

5.  Nah, just give him the coffee instead.

4.  Real Time-Off – This means time-off from you too.  If you’re with him, he’s still working, no matter what he says.

3.  Cruise Gift Cards – The best way for a pastor to get real time off from his phone, internet, and generally craziness.  (Although some cruises sponsor their own craziness).

2.  Pew-Sized Whoopee Cushion – This was originally in my “What Not To Give Your Pastor” list, but I had so many pastors (and pastor’s spouses) tell me that they really would like to own this super flatulence noise creator that I decided to put it at #2 on this list, no pun intended.

1.  Cash

P.S.  Most pastors would rather you tithe faithfully than give them gifts.  🙂

Top Ten Things Not To Give Your Pastor on Pastor Appreciation Month


October is Pastor Appreciation Month.  But sometimes, pastors receive gifts that just don’t make sense.  In honor of Pastor Appreciation Month, here is the Top Ten List of Things Not To Give Your Pastor on Pastor Appreciation Month:

10.  The latest Miley Cyrus album

9.  A life-sized statue of the Abominable Snowman

8.  A gift card from Hooters

7.  A foul-mouthed parrot

6.  An electric nose-hair trimmer

5.  A pew-sized whoopee cushion

4.  A personalized urinal cake with a deacon’s picture emblazed upon it

3.  A membership to the Hair-Loss Club for Men

2.  A book titled How To Preach Better Sermons

1.  A ferret

In A Garden


It all began in a garden.  It was there, in a garden, when man rejected God’s will and chose his own instead.  It was there, in the garden, when people realized they were naked and hid because of their shame.  God the Father was betrayed by His friend in a garden.  Evil attempted to win right there in a garden.  And from that point on, the world was never the same.

How ironic.

The end all began in a garden.  It was there, in a garden, that God’s Son rejected His own will and chose His Father’s instead.  He was there, in a garden, when He knew He would be stripped naked out in the open because of man’s shame.  God the Son was betrayed by His friend in a garden.  Evil attempted to win right there in a garden.  And from that point on, the world was never the same.

Sticking Fingers Up The Frozen Yogurt Spout


There’s a new frozen yogurt place in town.  It’s a self-serve operation where you have multiple flavors to choose from.  On a recent visit, I filled my cup with strawberry and blueberry yogurt and then topped it off with fresh strawberries and blueberries.  It was delicious.  I was just about to purchase another cup when a woman walked up to the first machine, stuck her finger up the nozzle so that it was covered in yogurt, licked her finger clean, and then repeated the process for each of the machines.  Needless to say, it put a bad taste in my mouth, even though she was just another customer.

Sometimes, other Christians put a bad taste in our mouths regarding the Lord.  When we finally turn our lives over to Him and experience His life changing salvation, we taste and see that He is good. (Psalm 34:8)  As we continue to grow in Him, we often find ourselves enjoying His presence when suddenly, we are completely distracted by someone, supposedly Christian, who is rude, selfish, condescending, hurtful, arrogant, and obnoxious.  However, we shouldn’t let them interfere with our understanding of the Lord.  He is holy.  He is righteous.  He is faithful.  He is loving.  He is awesome.  He is good.



I Don’t Want to Gaze on the Beauty of the Lord


 I was in elementary school when I first heard Psalm 27:4  –  I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple.

I was intensely disappointed and confused.  I couldn’t comprehend that David, the Giant Slayer, wanted to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life.  To me, that meant going to church everyday.  Gazing on the beauty of the Lord meant I had to be quiet and still like when I was supposed to gaze upon a work of art in a museum.  It didn’t make sense to me.  I also failed to understand the whole Seeking Him in His temple thing.  How I was supposed to find anyone if I had to sit still in church?  I was well acquainted with the rules of Hide and Seek, but I’d never played it with God.  My teachers had taught me that God was everywhere all the time which meant it would be really hard for Him to hide which would end the game really fast.  All of this added up to mean one thing:  I had no desire to gaze on the beauty of the Lord.  I certainly didn’t want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

However, after coming to know Jesus, I understand what it means to experience His presence in worship, both privately and corporately.  My elementary school self would probably be surprised to hear that I long for these times.  Worship is not just me sitting passively listening to other people talk and sing about a distant God.  It’s an opportunity for me to encounter the living Creator of everything who loves us so intensely that He died so we might spend eternity with Him forever and Him dwell within us even now.

I still don’t want to play hide and seek with God.  He’s everywhere and I have no desire to hide from Him.  I’d rather be with Him…gazing on His beauty, dwelling in His house all the days of my life.

Lord, I desire one thing: To spend all of my life seeking after You and experiencing Your presence.