Man of Steel

Nicky and I went to see Man of Steel yesterday. It’s the story of Superman from his birth on Krypton to his emergence as super hero on earth. The director was way too much in love with special effects. In his attempt to save the world, he nearly destroys Metropolis. Thousands must have died but Lois Lane was saved, more than once. My favorite part was in the last scene when Superman decides he will hide out as a mild mannered reporter. He accomplishes this by putting glasses on what has become the most famous face on the planet. I don’t know about you, but people know who I am with or without my glasses. It just not that easy to hide who you are.

The movie did remind me that it is all about identity. It’s really not that complicated. Fundamentally we or either sinners on our way to hell or blood bought children of God headed in the other direction. If we are His children, God can weave a wonderful story of purpose, challenge and joy for our lives. If we are in the other situation, we are left to try to work out a happy ending for ourselves. Good luck with that.

Once we know which identity we have, it’s our responsibility not to try to hide behind glasses, but to live it out. Our identity means everything. As God said at Jesus’ baptism, “this is my beloved son.” It’s what He says over us. He is also ready to say “in whom I am well pleased.” If we are working out our salvation by following His plan. His plan for us is not that we save the world by destroying Metropolis. But it is to save the world, one lost soul at a time. 

Put on your cape. Put that S on your chest and get to work.

There is a world to save. At the moment, Metropolis isn’t looking very good.

Be blessed.


That’s the Spirit

Rosemary pointed out to me this week how she has had a lighter feeling at church. I agreed and noticed some other things that represent the presence of the Holy Spirit at work. It’s a good thing when the Spirit is active and moving. He is always present, but is sometimes restricted by blocks we throw up and our unwillingness to be moved.

Here are some signs that He’s in action:

1. The Spirit convicts; the enemy condemns. You can tell the Holy Spirit is around when you become aware of the ways you fall short and are motivated to become more like the Savior. Satan only condemns and acts like there is no solution or way out.

2. The skys are blue. When the Spirit is moving things seem great, even when there are challenges. The Spirit is always a positive force, an encourager and a mover and a shaker. He excites us about today and encourages us about tomorrow.

3. You hear Him talking. I notice that when the Spirit is active folks around are praying in the Spirit. I’m not sure which comes first. I guess it’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing. But at all times in my life when I have been around people who are bold enough to pray in the Spirit and, when I am joining them, great spiritual things are happening.

4. There is much encouragement about and little negativism. When the Spirit is active, I notice folks encourage each other and don’t spend a lot of time pointing out flaws. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11

5. The body is being built up. When the Spirit is active, new faces show up and old faces are maturing. New guys and old guys need each other. The new ones need to feed off the maturity and experience of the long term believer and the old timers need the enthusiasm and excitement of the new believer. When the Spirit is active, these things seem to be in balance.

6. There are many happy faces. Church life is meant to be “filled with the Spirit.” With it comes joy. Sure there is challenge. Perhaps even more so than when things are stagnant. There may be change and we don’t always adopt well to change. There is a commercial for some drug which has this as a tag line: “A body at rest tends to stay at rest. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.” This is actually a restatement of one of Newton’s Laws of Motion. It’s really one of the spiritual laws of a health church body. It may be another expression of: Connect, Grow, Serve.

If you see something happening, be happy. That’s the Spirit. That’s a very good thing.

Be blessed.



Rose and I love British television. She records the shows on the television in the bedroom and we watch them when I come to bed at night. The only problem is that by the time I come to bed I’m close to wanting to go to sleep. I, therefore, tend to fall asleep on the programs. She dutifully stops the tape at the point I go to sleep and we pick it up at that point the next day. 
Last night we were watching a murder mystery. A “psychic” had been killed. He took money from folks who wanted to hear from their deceased relatives. He passed messages and made them feel better about their loss. The police investigating the crime all thought this was terrible, to take advantage of the unsophisticated. None of them believed in the afterlife and thought those who did were a bit weak in the head.
There is a real crisis of faith in Europe, including Britain, these days. They view it as “sophistication” and believe their American cousins, at least those who still have some faith, as back woods hicks. The loss of faith is a terrible thing. It begins with a failure to believe in a deity and moves on to loss of belief in an afterlife and then any real respect for life at all. 
It’s no accident that those of “sophistication” not only don’t believe in God, but think abortion is just fine. In the latest evidence of their slippery slide, in a recent paper, some of them put forth the notion that it was okay for parents to kill a newly born baby, even if healthy, before the baby established any “identity.” They probably also believe that once you get to old to matter, it’s okay to kill you. 
Observing this crisis of faith emphasizes just how important faith is. I don’t understand how the “sophisticated” make it through the day. What purpose is there in today if no tomorrow is promised? If this is all there is, what’s it all worth? If what we do has no eternal significance, why bother?
Without faith I would have no reason to look forward to finishing the British murder mystery tonight and find out who killed the psychic. Nor would I feel gratitude for the faithful wife who watches these things over and over, so I can see them once.
I am thankful for my faith. It gives my life purpose. It gives my life and all life value. I don’t understand how anyone can look at the complexity and beauty of creation and not believe in something greater and something eternal. It’s just another reason why our world so needs Jesus and why we should be compelled to sing His praises and lift Him up in every circumstance, sophisticated or not.
Be back woodsy and be blessed.

Father’s Day 2013 Supplement

I was poor growing up. I mean I was the poorest kid I knew. We had enough to eat and wear but our poverty showed up in other ways.
Television. We were the last kids I knew growing up to have a television. I remember going home after school and going to a neighbor’s house and watching TV on their porch. We would go home with screen mesh traces on our noses. What kind of neighbor makes the kids next door watch TV from the porch and not invite them in?
The Projects. When our poverty was at worse we lived in the housing projects. The bad thing was it was one of the nicer houses we lived in. It was also within sight of the high school I attended at the time. Super. 
A Car. We didn’t have a car until I was well into high school.
What made all of this worse was that my mother taught at the local Catholic school. So I got to attend there for free where all the rich kids went to school. Kids that had everything we didn’t and more. You can imagine what kind of social superstar I was, no car, lived in a project and no money. Wow.
At time my poor history comes back. Last night, for example, I had one of those dream nights where I’m somewhere far from home and trying to get home and I don’t have a car. These dreams are usually filled with adventure and frustration. My youth coming back to haunt me.
Holidays like Christmas and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are often emotional triggers. They tend to bring back the past, which for many of us isn’t all that great. During the night, the Lord woke me and reminded me that many of you may be suffering from bad memories brought about by Father’s Day. Maybe your history as a Father or as a child isn’t great.
Just remember history is a tool of Satan, not God. God has saved you from your past. Made a present of the present and promises a glorious future. Set aside any bad memories and use this Father’s Day to make great memories for yourself and those that you love.  Just a little reminder from your Heavenly Father through one whose history wasn’t the best, but whose present is great and whose future is secured.
Love you and be blessed.

Father’s Day 2013

To all those fathers who do their best to be all they can be to their children, “Thank you.” Know that I pray for  you. You live in a society that doesn’t appreciate your effort or understand the value of your calling. You are the butt of jokes and the easy one to blame.  You are making a difference. Don’t give up.
To all those who try to fill the shoes of fathers who are absent, “Thank You.” You too perform a vital function. Your efforts are often not recognized, sometimes spurned, sometimes misunderstood. Your calling is as real and important as that of the natural fathers who are absent. Carry on. You are desperately needed.
To all those whose father is absent, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. “Be blessed.” Know that you are prayed for by many and loved by the Lord and Father of all. Be willing to turn to Him. He can fill every missing spot. Be especially blessed this day when you feel you have no one to thank or to honor.
To my own special father, now gone too many years. I am so sorry I never recognized the great job you did while you were alive to be thanked. Who today could raise nine children on almost no money and not end up with any in jail or on drugs? All you raised were or are successful and you are greatly to be thanked. Love you Popee and look forward to thanking you in person one day.
To my living child, my departed child, my grandchildren and my great grand child. I am so sorry for the times I have been absent, or too distracted or too busy. I am sorry for not listening more. I am sorry for not guiding more clearly or providing a better example. I love each of you individually and specially and am grateful for the privilege of being in your lives. Thanks and kisses to each of you.
To My God and Father of all. Thank you for teaching us to love and to father. Thank you for filling in when we are absent or slow or just plain dumb. Thank you for Jesus. And most of all have a great Father’s Day. You really are the only Father we need and thanks for that.
Be blessed.


Football season is less than ninety days away. The sports stations are already abuzz with talk of the coming season. I am, of course, a Saints fan. This season I will also be a New England Patriots fan. I will follow the Patriots for the same reason I followed the Jets last year and the Broncos the year before: Tim Tebow. I love Tebow because he is a former Florida Gator, but even more because he is an outspoken Christian. Sadly he will be a third string quarterback so I don’t guess I’ll have much opportunity to cheer.
We don’t have a lot of Christian heros to cheer on. It’s not that Christians aren’t doing heroic things. Christians in China and Africa are dying and landing in jail for their faith. They just aren’t prominent in the news. I personally know several Christians who have been very heroic this year, but again their exploits aren’t commonly known. 
It seems those whom we consider heros often have a dark side or very negative personal traits. Watch a few hours of television, fiction programming or the sports or the news. We don’t see a lot of folks to admire, to cheer on, or to emulate. It’s sad for those of us in our 60s, but it’s tragic for the kids. 
It’s getting to be VBS time. I hope there will be a strong effort to share with kids biblical heros. The regular folks that God chose to do special things. There are way too many negative themes floating around these days. Kids need to see the value in listening to God, following His word, doing His will. They need to see the heroic in being a faithful follower. 
What we can’t provide them on our TV and movie theater screens, we clearly need to provide them in real life. Be a hero to someone. Show someone that it’s cool to love Jesus, to serve Him and to love His people. They need all the encouragement and example they can get. 
We need saints to cheer on, whether they wear uniforms or plain clothes. Whether they are super stars or faithful followers. 
Go saints. 
Be blessed.


Monday was not a great day. It wasn’t a jump off a bridge, cut your wrists kind of day; but it wasn’t good. I didn’t make it to prayer Monday night, but I did ask for prayer relating to how my day had not been great. My normal inclination would have been just to say I couldn’t make it and not to admit that I was struggling. 
I was prayed for on Monday night, and Tuesday was much better. For example, one of my toughest cases, in which I represent a friend, made a turn in our direction and will now likely be resolved exactly as we hoped. It was better in other ways as well. 
It’s interesting that when I met people who had been at the Monday night prayer, they asked if I was feeling better and assumed that I had been sick. I guess in our society it’s okay to admit you are ill, but not so much to discuss being under spiritual attack or emotionally strained. These admissions make us vulnerable and that’s something we avoid.
Nonetheless, I am convinced that our willingness and ability to become vulnerable to one another is critical to our success as individuals and as the church. Let me try to explain. We know, as Christians, that our goal is for others to see Christ in us. We sometimes assume that means we need to always appear to be happy, healthy, holy and in control. Nothing could be further from the truth. That doesn’t demonstrate Christ; that demonstrates hypocrisy. 
For example, our church, like many others has a period on Sundays which we call fellowship time. During this period, a couple of hundred folks roam about the congregation, greeting each other, shaking hands, asking about each others lives, and lying about our current condition. Oh I know that sometimes, we are doing great and everything is fine, but that’s not true all the time. In fact, I dare say, it’s not true most of the time. I understand that a brief meet-and-greet period may not be the best time to share our inner most struggles, but we have to find a time and a place to do it. 
You see in order for others to see Jesus, that have to see us as we really are: struggling sinners saved by grace. In that condition, Jesus can be clearly seen. In the fake, everything is fine. I am all dressed up and really holy condition, Jesus is never seen.  Jesus told us in the way we love each other, we would be identified as His. We love each other when we truly know each other and care for and lift up each other in spite of our conditions.
Vulnerability is tough especially for us guys. But if we don’t learn to practice it and to respond properly to it in others, we will miss the great commission Jesus has for us. That just wouldn’t be right.
Be blessed.


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