Wednesday, June 8, 2016


After a very busy month of May, my wife and I took a long weekend to relax and recharge.  I took the opportunity to make a “to-do” list of things, mostly personal, that needed to get done.  By the time I was done, there were about 30 things on the list.  I felt really good about myself and my organizational skills and was now ready to get some things done.  Here I am a week later, and I realize I forgot to put something on the list.  I neglected task #31:  DO the list.  To date I have not done one thing on the list.  Is my list-making just a futile exercise or productivity-flavored self-torture?  

The to-do list is an inescapable, age-old productivity tool. It is our very human attempt to create order in our disorderly lives and an expression of our ability to impose self-control (a fruit of the Spirit, by the way). Most of us, including to-do list haters, keep one, and so do 63% of professionals, according to a survey released by LinkedIn.

Would Jesus keep a to-do list?  I don’t think he would have (or did) because, knowing all things and being completely filled with the Spirit, he would not need any external reminders.  But I think he would say this about to-do lists: “If you can keep all your commitments and get done what you are called to do without writing anything down, no problem. But if you have more to do than your memory is able to hold, one of the other reasons I’ve given you a mind is so that you can figure out a better way to keep track of everything than just keeping it in your head. So go, do what you need to do to remember what you need to remember in order to get done what you need to get done.” 

No, there is nothing wrong with to-do lists.  They are just difficult sometimes to DO.  Perhaps I need to try something different.  Maybe a “done” list will work.  Yeah, I like that.  I need to get started on my “done” list.  Do I put that on my to-do list?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Johnny Carson said it, and I believed it.  Every year, shortly after Thanksgiving, he began the Christmas season by reminding us, “There’s only one fruitcake in the world. It’s been passed around from person to person since time immemorial, and it doesn’t matter how hard you try. You’ll never escape The Fruitcake.”   Fruitcakes are known to take on lives of their own, passing from one person to the next, sometimes lingering long enough to carbon-date.  Cut one open, if you dare, and figure its age like you’d count the rings of some ancient tree.

When I was in elementary school, my mother worked at Collin Street Bakery.  Anyone who recognizes that name knows what they are famous for – red tins of fruitcakes.  In our home, this was not just a Christmas phenomenon; it was a regular occurrence throughout the year.  Mom would bring home the extras, and those things never go bad.  Perhaps my dislike for them comes from having them so often.

Behind every fruitcake, of course, lurks a fruitcake-baker, and over the years people have tried to convince me they have finally discovered the secret to truly good fruitcake – soaking the raisins in bourbon, pouring brandy over the finished cake, substituting walnuts for pecans, eliminating the candied pineapple. No matter the adaptation, my opinion never wavers.  Fruitcake is dense, dry and tasteless, except when it is gummy, sticky and tasteless. It is a grim excuse for a dessert and a terrible holiday tradition.

In the event I receive one of these unwanted traditions this year, I have found a great website –  Yes, you can give a fruitcake a home by mailing it to this place in Michigan “where they will be lovingly cared for until we can find them a new home or are enjoyed by Stan”.  God bless you, Stan.  It is good to know there is a place for the fruitcakes that are abused, forgotten, abandoned and unloved.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


As I closed my series on pride last Sunday, it was certainly interesting to hear about the Ronda Rousey/Holly Holm UFC fight the night before.  Most thought Rousey could not be beaten, including Rousey herself.  And in prideful fashion, Rousey refused to touch gloves prior to her fight with Holm.  But as the Bible clearly states, “Pride goes before a fall”, and Ronda Rousey fell – knocked out in the 2nd round by challenger Holly Holm, AKA “The preacher’s daughter”. 

Now that Holm is the champion, she will have the challenge of prying the remote from the hand of pride.  Her father a minister, she claims to be a Christ follower and reads her Bible regularly.  Here is a quote from a recent article…

“But I much prefer, if I have the time for that, to go to church. I feel really not focused and detached if I don’t go to church. I feel like I feel better about myself and life and my relationship with God if I go. I feel more connected. I try to go every Sunday morning, but there’s times that I just can’t. And then sometimes I get a little irritated with myself because I’m like, ‘Really, Holly? God sacrifices and has you in mind all day, every day. One hour (is all it takes).’ … I’m very blessed — how can I not want to give back one day, one hour even? I’m like OK, I’m going to Starbucks (and) instead of bringing my iPad, maybe I’ll bring my Bible. I might as well use the time then.”  (from the Albuquerque Journal)

So I am happy for Holly Holm – not because she knocked out Ronda Rousey – but because now she can use her “known” to make Him known.   He must increase, Holly, and you must decrease.  We in Christendom are pulling for you as you remember Who it’s from and Who it’s for.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It’s just a cup.  A red cup.  A cup that has some saying that Starbucks has launched a war against Christmas.  For Starbucks, the annual reveal of their red cup is meant to signify that the holiday season is approaching. Instead, it's stirring up some controversy. The iconic Christmas cup has featured several winter-themed designs since it first appeared in 1997. From minimalist snowflakes and hand-drawn reindeer to a winking snowman and decorative ornaments, each year the design is distinctive and different from the last.  This year it is red.  It holds the Peppermint Mocha I’m drinking right now – non-fat and extra hot.

Since Starbucks is NOT a Christian company, I have no issue with the red cup.  Why would I expect a secular company to put traditional Christmas designs on their cups? Starbucks is not the church and they can do whatever they want with their cups. The over-hyped story about the war on Christmas is really a war on Christian intelligence.  I hope you are not falling for it.  Most of it is just media noise.

Starbucks maintains that their holiday cups were meant to be a blank canvas for customers to create their own stories, inspired by the doodles and designs that customers have drawn on white cups for years.  So here is my story.  The red on my cup stands for the blood of Jesus Christ.  He came at Christmas so He could shed His blood for my sin.  The blood of Jesus cleanses me from my sin and hides it forever from a holy God.  So at Christmas I not only celebrate His birth, I celebrate the blood He shed on the cross for me – and for every employee who works at Starbucks.  It is WHY He came.  And that makes my Peppermint Mocha taste even better.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015



Christians don’t believe the resurrection just because the Bible says so.  We believe it because Matthew said so, Mark said so, and Luke said so. John, Peter, James, and Paul said so.  And these are the manuscripts that have survived for 2000 years.  Anyone who studies textual criticism will tell you, whether you are a Christian or not, that if there is this many that have survived, it represents a bulk of information that didn’t survive through the years.  We are extraordinarily blessed to have this much documentation of a single event in history – not about a Caesar, not about a Roman statesmen, not about a Roman general - but around a carpenter from Nazareth.  Easter is the celebration of a single event in history.  And we believe that event – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – actually happened because so many people saw him alive.

What is amazing to me is that these rock star Christians I just mentioned, people we name cathedrals after and people we name our kids after, not one of them was standing outside the tomb counting down backwards waiting for Jesus to come back to life.  None of them.  When Jesus died, they all scattered.  Read it for yourself.  No one expected Jesus to come back to life.  But something happened.  And that means that if you are a Christian the foundation of your faith is an event in history.  It’s not a feeling, it’s not a song, but it is a verifiable event in history.  Men and women have experienced it and many of them paid their lives for it.

So if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christianity is really meaningless.  We are wasting our time.  We need to disband, quit talking about Jesus, because the whole thing rises and falls not on the ministry of Jesus, not on the teachings of Jesus, not even on the death of Jesus (plenty of people have died on a cross), but on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The whole thing is about the resurrection.  You can’t embrace Christianity fully without coming to grips with this event in history.  For Christ followers it is all about Easter, the best day of the year.