Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Latest

Lately I have been in and out of the office. We had some damage in our church due to ice damming. The crew is here today, and we are getting ready for the first of two Christmas productions. I have been thinking.

Have you ever had the ridiculous idea that you were fit to do whatever was asked of you? Well maybe it comes with age, but I realize I can't do everything. There are certain things that fit me well, but others are a real struggle for me. Not only that but I don't have the gift mix for them. For instance I took a gifts assessment and scored "0" on Craftsmanship. For those who know me, that will come as no surprise. "What end of the hammer do you use?" Just kidding.

Here is what I have determined to do. I want to thank God for the gifts He has given to me, and use them to bless others. Maybe, then I can get somebody to fix this roof. Blessings

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the Midst of End of the Semester Mayhem

Please forgive me for not posting sooner. I have been working on papers and have been shoveling snow here. We are supposed to get more snow this weekend. we have already had 6-8 inches just yesterday. I will post soon. Merry Christmas

Monday, November 8, 2010

He Knows The Boundaries of My Life

God has never left anything to happenstance or chance. There are laws and boundaries in this world, and God is a God of order. I was reminded of this when I read in Proverbs 8:29 where it says "... when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command." If God has the boundaries of water set, how much more is He interested in the boundaries in my life.

His plans are good for me, and it is when I submit my will to His that I experience the safeness of His boundaries.

Can't Take it With You

I know that we all are aware that someday we will leave behind what we have "earned". But how many of us still live like we can take it with us? In Psalms 39:6 it says "...he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it." (N.I.V.)

Our life is so short, let's invest what we have been given, not waste it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inviting People to Church

I found this article about with about 40 ways to invite people to church. Some are very creative. Step out and try some where you live.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why Should I Vote?

If you haven't voted, you should do so. I found this from the League of Women Voters in Florida Here are the reasons below:
 To speak your mind
 To make politicians listen
 For your children
 For your community
 For yourself
 To honor history
 To control your future
 To stop something
 To start something
 To win
--Copied from TSU Website

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What God Has Promised

"The fist of the wicked
will never violate
What is due the righteous,
provoking wrongful violence." (Psalm 125:3The Message from

Since we are close to mid term elections I thought I would encourage you. The truth is that God is in control. It may seem that things in our world are spinning out of control, but I am sure that felt that way during many other times in history. When God says it is enough, then it is enough.

It is easy to be provoked to try to take things in your hand, but don't be fooled God knows better. God has promised that the ungodly forces in this world can never cancel out or trespass upon what God has in store for you and me. Don't worry, just trust God.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Soothing Oil

Have you ever been told that you are a smooth talker? Or that you have a silver tongue? Not sure what to do or say? Good because the Bible has some advice for you.

Those with the most convincing way could also be the person that is hiding a heart of strife or violence. The book of Psalms chapter 55:20-21 describes such a person. Here is the description.
  • They attack their friends
  • They don't keep their word
  • Their speech is as smooth as butter, yet war is in their heart
  • Their words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
Our greatest desire should be people who season our words with grace, not people with persuasive words

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why You Should Fear God

I hope this title doesn't catch you off guard. I remember the first time I heard the above phrase "Fear God" that I was unsure of its meaning. It would help to know that to fear God is actually a good thing as long as you are His Son or His daughter. Why fear God? Because He is all powerful and is able to control everything that surrounds my existence. Because He is God and I'm not!

In Psalms 25:12-13 the writer gives several benefits to fearing God, they are as follows:
  • God will instruct you as you follow His path
  • God will cause you to spend your days in prosperity
  • God will cause your descendants to inherit the land (they will be the winners)
You know when you look at the above mentioned list, fearing God sounds like the best thing you and I can do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fruit of the Kingdom

This morning I was reminded that God doesn't need me. That's right He doesn't need you either. That doesn't sit well does it? The truth is that God doesn't need me but He loves me!

God could have decided that angels would extend His kingdom or animals or whatever else He deemed right. The point being that we are replaceable. Is that a word? Well okay we can be replaced. God wants us and loves us but if we refuse to do it His way, then He will get someone else to do it. I am referring to Matthew 21:43 where we are told that is looking for a people that will produce the fruit of the Kingdom.

God has been so gracious that He would allow us to be a part of His plan, now all He is asking for is obedience. Are you ready to obey?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Future Rewards

In my Christian life I have heard and even witnessed great sacrifice by the people of God. I have seen people give up opportunities that would make them wealthy to serve the Lord. What about these people who are on a foreign field away from family and everything they know as familiar?

Peter asked the same question in Matthew 19:27 and Jesus responded in verse 29 by saying "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."

You might be someone who doesn't have a lot in this life when it comes to material goods, that's okay because God will take care of you. Maybe you have given all for the sake of the call of God on your life, God hasn't forgotten you!

The old story was told of a missionary and his wife who returned on a ship after faithful service for 35 years in a foreign country. It just so happened that the president of the United States was expected at the same time. The band began to play and the missionary couple felt sad. They began to believe that no one noticed their faithful service on foreign soil. The husband said "you might think someone would have celebrated our homecoming." Then the thought occurred to him from the Lord, "you are not home yet."

Do you feel forgotten, just remember one day we are in for a homecoming!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

God Loves Us

In Psalm 106:44-45 God shares His love for His people. I find great comfort in this scripture for a number of reasons, but the one that stands out for me is that God keeps His promises. Even though I have turned my back on Him and done my own thing He is not going to leave me or forsake me.

Let me list my thoughts on these verses

  • He knows what we are going through
  • He has heard our cry
  • He has kept His promises
Where are you right now? Do you need to know that God knows what you are going through? Do you need to be reminded that God has heard your cries from a broken heart? Maybe right now you need to be encouraged that things are going to change for the better.

God has never failed me yet, and I am so glad that He keeps His promises. How about you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Change of Seasons

Today, the wind is blowing and is about 60 degrees. The leaves are starting to fall (anybody know what makes them fall?) and we are wondering where the summer went.

I like fall weather and pumpkin pie and leaves rustling under my feet, I just don't like to rake the leaves in my yard! All of this change in the weather reminded me of a truth about life. We all go through different seasons of life.

Maybe right now you are experiencing sunshine and warmth, or you are dormant and you feel so cold. Whatever season you find yourself in, know that it is just for a little while. Seasons are not meant to be forever, unless you live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota or North Dakota. It may seem that things will always be like they are right now. Take heart there is coming a better day.

So go outside and rake some leaves or bake a pumpkin pie, better enjoy this season before it is gone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Day

My thoughts this morning were turned to all of the things that I have to get done today. Then a thought from the Lord came, someday all of this stuff I am striving for will be over. The only important thing will be to be in His presence forever and ever!

Then it came to me. I need to focus on His kingdom and get prepared for eternity. Don't get me wrong we all have things that we have to do, but don't lose sight of what God is preparing us for.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life Has Been Like a Blur!

To all of my friends. I do apologize. I haven't posted for a few days. The only excuse is that my office hours are really crazy. Let me share a thought with you.

The other day I was unsubscribing a bunch of e-mail subscriptions, and the thought occurred to me that my in-box would be a lot less cluttered. If your in-box is anything like mine, there are probably 2 personal messages out of what 12? Time to unsubscribe.

Can I challenge you to un-clutter your mind? Cancel those subscriptions to that stuff you just have to delete anyway. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Go on a media fast: turn off the TV, the computer(except necessary e-mail), the I-pod and connect with God!
  • Read a good book: don't allow the hectic pace of life to stifle your imagination
  • Spend time with your family: no job is worth missing the best years of your life!
  • Enjoy God's Creation: go to the park or the mountains or someplace to calm the chatter.
Happy deleting!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't Lose Your Integrity

Job had a few "friends" that came to "encourage" him while he was suffering. They told him things like "you have sin in your life and God is punishing you." Or "you have served God and this is what you get?"

Maybe you have been in the same situation Job was in. I want to give you some advice, which is found in Job 27: 2-6.

Don't lose your integrity! Don't allow the trials of life to make you into a bitter or resentful person. Instead allow this time of trials to strengthen your resolve to be a man or woman of God.

Written in Stone

Job suffered as very few men ever suffered. He lost his sons and daughters in one day. If that was not enough he lost all of his cattle and sheep, and then he was covered from head to toe in boils. Then his wife told him to curse God and die. And you thought you had a bad day!

Now listen to the hope that springs out of trusting God in the midst of his suffering. "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God." (Job 19:25-26 N.I.V.)

Job said that he wishes his words could be written in stone so that no one who ever went through what he was experiencing would doubt God's providence in their life.

Dear friend you may be going through a trial, but hold onto the fact that your redeemer lives!

My Lawyer

I have a lawyer on retainer who has never lost a case. He is such a good lawyer that he paid personally to have my record of wrongdoings expunged. He is well known and most of my friends have the same lawyer. It almost seems unfair, but the judge assigned to my case is His Father. This Father loves his Son. I know you are already way ahead of me. By now you know that I am talking about Jesus Christ who is my advocate, counsel and the one who is favored by the Great Judge.

In Job 16:19-20 Job describes that consolation he has because he has the same lawyer
  • "My witness is in Heaven."
  • "My advocate is on high."
  • "My intercessor is my friend."
Do you know Him? Who is fighting your battles? Better make sure that your lawyer has never lost a case.

Your Days Are Numbered

In the hectic pace of our lives especially in North America we act as though we are too busy for inconvenient things like illness or even death. The frantic busyness that consumes most folks is actually hollowing out their souls. It is only when we are flat on our backs that we begin to contemplate life and its meaning. Hopefully by then it is not too late.

In Job 14:5 Job is quoted as saying "man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." Wow!

Our time on this earth has already been pre-determined and the time cannot be extended. My question for you, how are you spending your days? Since we are all appointed to die one day, have you prepared for your death? Do you fear death, or do you have peace knowing that death is the transport to heaven and eternity with God? Today is the day my friend, don't let this day pass before you make sure of your final destination.

Trusting God

Do we trust God with our lives? In other words have we released our grip upon our future? Have we released our children that they might obey the plan of God for their lives? What about your life? Do you trust God even to the point of death? In Job 13:15 Job proclaims his trust in God, when he says "though He slay me, yet will I hope on Him." (NIV)

What Job was saying was that my trust and your trust in God should not stop when we die! What a profound statement. If we think about that statement, then we will realize that God is in charge of our lives. When you give God that kind of control, He won't let you down.


Sometimes the storms of life are enough to knock the wind out of our proverbial sails. Job experienced this firsthand. In Job 6:8-10 Job complains that God's hand is too heavy upon him. Job wishes that God would either crush him or let him go. But Job says that he wants to be known as someone who obeys God's word no matter what.

How about you?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Storms: Destruction or Destiny

Today as I was reading Jonah chapter one verses 15 and 17 I had a thought.
  • Was the storm sent by God?
  • Was the storm for Jonah's destruction or destiny?
  • Does it ever do us any good to run from God?
Let me share with you what I wrote in the margin of my Bible. When God is int he midst of your storm, the storm is not for your destruction, but your destiny!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Turning the Tide

I just watched a broadcast yesterday from Charles Stanley at that everyone should watch. Here is the link to the broadcast. I encourage you to let God speak to your heart.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

War with the Lamb

One of the most precious names of Jesus is the lamb of God. John would cry "Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29 KJV) But would be afraid of a lamb in a fight? Probably not. But you should be if it is the lamb of God.

In revelation 17:14 there is a long detailed account of the whore of Babylon and in the middle of this description there is a verse tucked away. "They will make war against the lamb, but the lamb will overcome them." (NIV)

The lamb will overcome them because it is the spotless lamb of God who redeemed us by His blood. The lamb will overcome because He has already defeated the enemies of the Cross. Guess what, I read the end of the Bible and we win!!

Why Do We Suffer?

The Christian life in many places of the world is synonymous with suffering. Why do so many Christians around the globe face suffering? There is no easy answer.

Paul tells the church at Philippi that "it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him." (Philippians 1:29-30 NIV)

Suffering is a part of the job description for being a Christian, why? We can identify (in a small way) with the sufferings of Jesus. Secondly, we can have compassion for the hurts and pains of other people. Finally, we should embrace suffering as it is a pre-requisite to reigning with Christ.

Love is The Key

What do you think of when I say the word discernment? Wise? Knowledgeable? Insight? The word discernment can mean all of those things. But where do we receive our discernment?

In Philippians 1:9-10 Paul prays that the believers would experience an abounding of love so that they would be able to discern what is pure and blameless.

Until today I would have never connected love for God and discernment. However; it makes sense. Think about it. The more we love God the more we know what is best for our lives. Discernment need not be a gift of the Spirit that is unattainable, rather a fruit that flows out of our love for God


As I was reading Proverbs 29:25 I was reminded how the enemy can trip us up. "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (NIV)

It is dangerous to fear men and not trust God. Fear is a peculiar thing. People will do all kinds of things to avoid their worst fear from coming true. The Bible says that fear brings torment. Why do we want to be tormented?

My challenge for you today is to fear God, and trust in Him for your life. If you fear men you will walk into a trap set out by the enemy.

Get to Work

Yesterday I was listening to Jim Cymbala as he spoke on Colossians chapter4:17. "Tell Archippus: See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord. (NIV) For a complete audio recording of this message go to - 35k.

Here is a summary of what he said.

  • All of us (not just preachers) have a work to do for the Lord
  • It is up to us to ask God what He wants us to do for Him
  • There is a time to finish the work we have received in the Lord.
We should be encouraged that the Lord ask us to work for Him.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Way, The Truth, and the Life

I heard a great quote yesterday as I was listening to Chuck Swindoll. I want to share it with you. The quote is attributed to Merrill Tenney as he was referring to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. "In the way there is the going, in the truth there is the knowing, and in the life there is the living."

Jesus is truly everything we need!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pillar of God

There is an interesting scripture that states the reward to the over-comer. Jesus says in Revelation 3:12 "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God." What a great and precious promise. But have you ever stopped to think about what that means? Let me share with you a few thoughts.

1. A pillar was placed to honor a very important person (a dignitary)

2. A pillar was meant to adorn the front of the entrance to a temple

3. A pillar is to reflect the glory of the one who built the temple.

What an honor to be given a place of importance, and to be given the opportunity to reflect the glory of the one who gave His life for us.

Open Door

The sight of an open door invites action or at least curiosity. How many times have you stood before an open door and peered just inside to see where it goes? The fact is that all of us have done that very thing. When should you go through an open door? Glad you asked.

1. When you know the one that holds the key to the open door

2. When you are certain that no harm will come to you.

3. When the key-holder will walk through the door with you.

In Revelation 3:8 Jesus tells the Church of Philadelphia that He holds the keys, and no one will shut the open door. He also promises to be with them.

What great assurance that the Lord can give to us as we stand before an open door. What open door is standing before you, fear not He holds the keys!

Who Approves of You?

The race for approval in our society is a never ending quest. This quest is characterized by outward modifications and image. But, can you really find approval and acceptance through this quest?

The answer is no.

Then where do we find approval?

I am glad you asked. We find approval from the Lord. Let me explain.

In 2 Corinthians 10:18 we read that the Lord commends the faithful and approves of their person. Aren't you glad you didn't have to try to earn it? It is simply doing what God has asked you to do, and doing it.

God loves His children and He approves of them, not because of who they are. But because of who He is.

From the Rising of the Sun

There have been many times that I have read a scripture and thought I knew what it meant. Then there were times that someone taught on that scripture and illuminated my mind.

In Psalm 113:3 we read "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets the name of the Lord is to be praised." What does this mean?

This is what I think it means.

Wherever in the world we call home we have a responsibility to praise the Lord. Christianity is not just an American product or is it geographical specific. Just think about it, right now in some place on the globe the name of the Lord is being praised.

Don't miss your opportunity. As the sun touches your part of the world, open up your mouth and praise the Lord.

Sow What?

Have you ever wondered why it is that your neighbor has more tomatoes than you do? Could it be that you only planted a few tomato plants and your neighbor planted many plants on 10,000 acres of his farm? Sowing makes a big difference in what we reap. The Bible states a principle in 2 Corinthians 9:6 "... whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." (N.I.V.)

What would you say is your situation? Do you never seem to have enough? Do your pockets seem to have holes in them? Maybe you should ask yourself, "am I sowing into the Kingdom of God?" If you are sowing into the Kingdom of God generously you will reap a bumper crop of blessings. One man said "God loves a cheerful giver, but He also receives from a grouch."

I challenge you today to sow into the Kingdom of God, the returns are out of this world.

Too Busy Not to Pray

About 4 years ago I read a book by Bill Hybels "Too Busy Not to Pray." I would recommend this book without reservation as Bill tackles a common topic with uncommon Hybels style. If you are unfamiliar with Bill Hybels, read this book. I was reminded of this book in my devotions this morning as I read Nehemiah chapter 1.

Let me share with you my thoughts about this chapter.

  • His heart was broken by the report of what is going on in Jerusalem, (he was in modern day Iran)
  • He set himself to pray for four months! After this time he had clear direction of what to do about the situation in Jerusalem.
  • He asked the Lord for favor as he would make his request of the king. (Read chapter 2 for more details.
Could I challenge you to bear with a broken heart to the Throne of God the things that trouble you. Secondly, would set a time aside to pray about these situations? Finally will you ask the Lord for favor?

If we go before the Lord He will hear us and He will give us what we ask.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Do You In A Crisis?

There is a passage of scripture in Daniel 6:10 that is good advice to anyone in the midst of a crisis. I am sure that you remember the story. There was a plot among the wise men to catch Daniel doing something wrong. But the only thing they could fault him with was praying to some other god besides King Darius. "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem, ... and prayed ... just as he had done before." (Dan. 6:10 N.I.V.)

When you are in a crisis, don't fret. Make it your habit to pray just like you always do.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The End of Pride

God is a patient God. God even warns us about coming consequences. The biggest problem we have is pride. We can become proud and forget the warning from God. Let me tell you about a man who was proud and God humbled him.

The man's name is Nebuchadnezzar. He was the king of Babylon (Iraq) when Daniel was alive. God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream and Daniel interpreted the dream. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he would be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals. He told him that he would eat grass like cattle. You would think that Nebuchadnezzar would change his ways right? Wrong.

He going on about his prideful way. He was so proud of himself and his accomplishments. Then as he was speaking a voice came from Heaven (Daniel 4:31-32) and repeated what Daniel had told him. Immediately he went insane and began to eat grass like cattle. At the end of seven years he was restored to the throne. This time he was humble.

Nebuchadnezzar said "and those who walk in pride he is able to humble." (Daniel 4:37) God keeps His word, what has He spoken to you?

Rescued or Not

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the Three Hebrew children who don't worship the golden statue. I like this story because of their response. They are looking for words to say, and they are bold to proclaim their faith in the God who saves.

1. They know who to talk to (God, not Nebuchadnezzar)
2. They are confident that the God they serve will rescue them.
3. They are not afraid of the punishment that is ahead of them.

Bible stories are not just for Sunday school, they are for daily living. Could I challenge you to serve the God who is able to save?

Useless Faith

I am so glad that Jesus is no longer on the Cross or for that matter in the tomb. But what would life be like is the Resurrection were not real?

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:17-18 the following.

1. Our faith is useless.
2. We are still going to have to pay for our sins, no hope!
3. Those who have died with the hope of Heaven will be lost forever.
4. We only have hope in this life.
5. We are the most pitiful people that have ever lived.

Good news, Jesus is in Heaven preparing a place for those who have prepared to go there. Have you prepared for Heaven?

I Need You!

Have you ever felt insignificant among the 6 and 1/2 billion people in the world today? Well good, I don't feel so bad. It is not easy to see how you contribute to the bigger picture if you don't feel needed. I have good news for you. There are no insignificant people in the Body Of Christ.

It is a fact that the body is made up of lots of members. Each member has its assignment and when each member does what it is supposed to do, then the body functions properly. You may wonder what is my part in the Body of Christ? Am I an eye or ear or something else? Only you and the Lord know where you fit and what your job is. The most important thing to remember is that you matter.

Let me be so bold as to say that if you don't do your part, then I can't do my part. Or in another words you are needed, and you are so very significant. Thanks for being a part of the Body Of Christ!

Did You Forget Something?

It is easy to take people or things for granted. Think about the things that we rely on that we don't give a second thought. Now what would happen if these things were taken away from us? Some of us would be forced to do without these things. Now let's look at something else we may take for granted.

The cleansing of our past sins. Wow! Let that sink in for just a moment. This is something that we would never want to forget, yet we probably have taken this for granted as well. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:9 "But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins." (NIV)

What is Peter talking about? He is referring to the qualities of Christian growth found in 2 Peter 1:5-7. If we refuse to grow up in Christ we lose our spiritual vision and our recollection of our redemption.

Let this be your prayer today. "God let me grow in grace, and never forget what you have done for me!"

His Command

What is the command of the Lord to us today? It is found in I John 3:23 "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us."

1. God sent His Son for our sins. (John 3:16) God wants us to believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.

2. God showed His love to us. (Romans 5:8) God wants us to show others His love today.

His command requires us to trust Jesus for our future, and to share the reason why we do not fear the future.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't Leave the Same Way

If you read Ezekiel you will see that the prophet spends a lot of time describing the Temple and all of its gates. Sometimes when reading this I wonder "what does this have to do with my life?"

In Ezekiel 46:9 it says "... no one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate." (NIV) Gates don't mean much to us in the Western World but at the time of this scripture the Temple in Jerusalem was being described. We don't meet in temples, but church buildings. So what does this mean? We all come to the House of God burdened and full of cares of this life. Wouldn't be great if we would come in the doors of the church and leave our burdens there?

It is possible to come to church discouraged, but leave encouraged. It is up to you. Will you leave different then you came?

Fresh Fruit

The greatest joy of the summer is fresh fruit. Don't you wish that you could have fresh fruit all year long? You can. Let me explain.

The Bible promises fruitfulness to those who are committed to the Lord. "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green..." (Psalm 92:14)

So what is the secret? You must have a life source to produce fruit. When the life of God flows through you (no matter your age) you will enjoy fruitfulness all year long.

Outward Conformity

Does God want clones? The idea that God is looking for outward conformity is not precise. God doesn't want clones, He wants people with similar hearts.There is a passage of scripture that deals with this issue. It is found in Ezekiel 44:7 "... you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary..."

What does God desire? People that are changed from the inside out. The sin that concerns the Lord is that there are people serving Him that have never had a change of heart. They have never allowed their hard hearts to be replaced with a heart after God. In the Jewish world the emphasis was placed upon the transgression of bringing a non Jew into the Temple. God was more interested in heart condition not cultural background.

Let us repeat the words of David found in Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, O God."

How about you what is heart condition?

Three Pitfalls to Avoid

It is a sobering, and yes depressing to read about the kings of Israel and Judah. The other day in my reading I read about King Joash who was seven years old when he became king. Could you imagine? God provided a wise mentor for Joash by the name of Jehoiada who helped him rule the kingdom of Judah. In verse 17 of 2 Chronicles 24 we read "after the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king and he listened to them." (NIV) Three mistakes of young leaders as found in 2 Chronicles 24.

  • Listening to the flattering words (and believing them) of those who are trying to gain from your position (vs. 17)
  • Disobeying the Lord's commands (vs. 20)
  • Not returning kindness to those who mentored you (vs. 22)
Joash soon realized that his leadership abilities were yet undeveloped. In response to this deficiency he listened to the wrong people and paid for it with his life.

A word of advice: honor those who mentored you, your life depends on it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Changed Life: Maria Durso

I told a true story during an altar call in my church about Maria Durso. She is now a Pastor's wife in Brooklyn, NY; but she was anything like that before. Watch the video below.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Gives You Joy?

Today I was reading Erwin Lutzer's book "Failure the Back Door to Success" and he made a great point about joy. I want to share that with you. John the Baptist was fading from the scene and Jesus was drawing large crowds, how did John handle this?

Listen to his words in John 3:29 "The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full." John recognized his ministry was to introduce Israel (the bride) to the bridegroom (Jesus). He said he was glad to hear the bridegroom's voice, it gave him joy. Why?

In the Middle east the friend of the bridegroom (best man) guarded the room of the bride so that no one else would enter but the bridegroom. John likened himself to the best man who had been guarding the door to the room of the bride until the bridegroom came for his bride. When he heard the voice of Jesus (bridegroom) he realized his job was finished.

What gives you joy? Are you successful, great. Do you consider yourself a failure? If so remember God has called us to faithfulness, not success.

Keep listening for the voice of the bridegroom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seeking the Lord

King Asa is now at the end of his life and he is very ill. It would be natural to think that King Asa would turn to the Lord, but he didn't. Because he didn't he died. Why?
  • He relied on man and not God
  • He no longer sought the Lord
  • He preferred the honor of the people over the honor Of God
Where did Asa go wrong? He was committed to the Lord, and then he wasn't. I think the key is found in 2 Chronicles 16:1. Asa's enemy attacked his land. Asa had two choices. He could trust God to deliver him from his enemy or he could hire an army to protect him. Asa chose to hire an army for his protection.

Who you turn to in difficult times reveals where you have put your trust. Where have you put your trust?

The Hand of God

King Asa has been the focus of my daily reading lately. He was a man of changing values. First he is faithfully serving God, then later in life he is bargaining with the enemy against his own people. He even mistreated the servant of God who brought a message from God.

Asa bargained with the enemy and the Lord spoke through Hanani that Asa had sinned because he did not rely on God but on the King of Aram for protection. You might think that Asa would have repented and made things right. No he didn't. Here is what the Lord said to him through the prophet Hanani as found in 2 Chronicles 16:7-10.

  • Because you relied on man and not God, the enemy of God has escaped from your hand.
  • Because you forgot how the Lord delivered you in the past you will be at war with your enemies.
  • Because you were not fully committed in your heart to the Lord you will not be strengthened to fight your enemies.
Asa had done a foolish thing by relying on man and not God. It is still the same today. God is looking for people who are committed to Him. Those who are committed to Him can expect to see the hand of God revealed in their lives.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

E- Mail Rage

Have you ever received an e-mail that made you mad? Maybe this e-mail was written in all caps or the tone of the e-mail was not very positive. What should you do?

According to Nance Guilmartin on there are some things we can do to defuse "e-mail rage." One of the most interesting suggestions was to respond to the e-mail but don't use the reply button. Make sure the "To:" is left blank on the e-mail. This is a sure way to "vent" without doing irreparable damage. To view article in its entirety,

I like what Nance mentions before this in the article she mentions to stop and pray at least 30 seconds. That is what I call good advice. If we pray we may begin to understand what is really going on. Don't give in to rage, but pray.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't Bargain with Your Enemy

This morning I read the account of King Asa as he made a treaty with an enemy king. The interesting thing was that he hired the king of Aram to destroy his fellow Israelites. You can read about this in 2 Chronicles 16:1-3. There are three things that I want to point out about this story.

1. Asa thought that the money in the treasury was for his personal use. (He hired Aram to fight Baasha King of Israel)

2. Asa consulted the King of Aram before he consulted the Lord.

3. Asa thought he could buy his way out of trouble.

Is there ever a time that we should work together with the enemy to destroy our own flesh and blood? The answer is no.

Let us remember that people are not our real enemy, but our enemy is the devil himself.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


There is a lot of talk about justice these days. Everyone deserves this or that. My children even want justice as they say "it is not fair." So where can we expect to receive justice in this world?


That's right the Bible tells us that many people are looking for justice from the leaders of our country, but all they end up with is a meeting. (Proverbs 29:26)

The one who gives justice doesn't live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, the one who is just lives in Heaven. So the next time you are frustrated about what happens at the White House, go to God. God is the one who can and will give justice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Missed Flight

As my family and I were driving to the airport in Houston I had this feeling we were not going to make our flight. Well I was right.

Not sure why this happened, but there is a reason. Maybe it was the perfect opportunity to stay calm in a potentially upsetting situation. I don't know, but we took it as a cue to "roll with the punches."

Can I encourage you to look for opportunities to "go with the flow" and not get upset? You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Need Your Vote

If you like my blog, would you vote for me?


Monday, April 12, 2010

Small Beginnings

Yesterday we went to two different churches. At both churches we have young people that were in our Youth Ministry while we were in Louisiana who are now involved in Youth Ministry. There is nothing in the world that makes me want to keep doing what I am doing more than this.

There are times when I wonder whether anyone heard what I said as I ministered. It turns out they were listening, and today they are serving the Lord.

Whatever you are doing for the Lord keep doing it, for you will reap if you will not faint.

Friday, March 26, 2010


My daughter turned 13 this week. Just a few observations from my daughter

  • Dad I get to ride in the front seat now
  • Dad I can stay up later, right?
  • Dad can I watch PG13 movies now?

Since my daughter turned 13. Just a few observations from me

  • Wow, where did the time go?
  • What a beautiful daughter I have
  • Only 5 more years till she graduates

Turning 13 is the official mark of the teen years, and it is also a time for reflection. I know it sounds trite but love your kids while you can, because they grow up too fast. My daughter has grown these last thirteen years, have I? Well, just ask my daughter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"You Made God Cry!"

Today I was at the Middle School when one young man said to a friend, "you made God cry, you stepped on the Bible." The other young person was visibly upset, even in jest the idea of stepping on a Bible was not a pleasant thought. I was standing near by and felt I needed to say something. So I said "the Bible is only a book, but what makes God cry is when we do things to hurt Him. One young man asked "how do we hurt God?" I said "we hurt God when we do things that He knows will cause us pain." What an opportunity.

I thank God for an open door, and I can tell you it all started with chocolate chip cookies. My wife and I with the permission of the school administration hand out cookies on Tuesday's to build relationship with students at the Middle School. This is just what we were hoping for, please keep us in your prayers. Blessings

Monday, March 22, 2010

Divided Heart

In Psalm 86:11 David prays "unite my heart to fear your name." What was David saying?

  • David's heart tendency was to be divided. His love and attention was not always on the things of God.
  • If my heart is divided then I will not fear your name.
  • The fear of God is when our heart is 100% towards God.
I want my heart to be united so that I will fear the name of the Lord. One of the benefits of having a united heart is to live in obedience and not sin. What peace that will bring in your life as you trust and obey the Lord.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today I woke up at 6 am after going to bed at 1 pm. Talk about tired. I was working on some school work and I was burning the midnight oil. I took my daughter to the school to meet her bus, and then I cam home and sat in my chair. I just began to think about all I had to do and how time was running out. Then I remembered the words of Jesus. "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) At that moment I began to think that I could get through the rest of the day. Let me share three things I learned from that passage of scripture
  • I must bring my stuff to the Lord
  • I must admit when I can't go on
  • I must receive the rest that the Lord promises
Don't get me wrong, I still have to do that stuff I told you about. Now I have the help of the Lord, and right now that is more than enough.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting Ready for a Road Trip

In a few weeks I will be driving with my family to Louisiana. Geaux Saints!!! I have been asked to do a wedding for a young lady in the church in Amite. I met her (she was 2!) and her family in 1991 and we have kept in touch for a long time. Needless to say that I am excited about going back to Louisiana to see old friends and let me kids see where we lived for a while. This kind of anticipation is a good thing, is this how it is supposed to be for Christians?

I know that am going to be with Jesus in Heaven one day, but sometimes it is hard to get excited about that fact. I forget about how soon that could be, and most times I am so busy with the stuff around me. I have been doing some thinking. Maybe I should begin to clear out the clutter and start getting ready for this trip to Heaven. I want to be anticipating Heaven as much as I anticipate this road trip. I have a lot more to do before I am ready for this trip down south, but I am ready for Heaven. How about you?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a Week!

Hi friends,

Your patience has been so appreciated. Not only did I get some pretty ugly stuff on my computer, but then my e-mail account was hacked! On top of that I am living in the Stone Age and my DSL (read slow) modem is dying. My internet has been spotty at best.

Let me say that none of this moves me! I love Jesus and He loves me, that is what matters most! Talk to you this weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Most of all of know that we take a risk being online of being the victim of malicious content aimed at stealing or destroying our information. Because of this risk we install software that will keep us from being "infected." Have you ever thought for a moment about this from a spiritual prospective?

What are we doing so that we will not be infected by the "viruses" that are all around us? Can I suggest that we use God's Word as our virus protection. There is power in God's Word as we read it,meditate upon it and ultimately allow it to be a part of our lives.

Make sure that you read and do God's Word (James 1:22), there is a lot of nasty stuff out there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When the Dog Eats You

A true story was told to me about a man who was challenged to eat dog meat in the Philippines. The hosts said "beware when you eat the dog, the dog will eat you." The man telling the story doubted this would happen until the next day, when he has a pack of dogs chasing him down the street. There is one dog that singles him out and bites through his jeans and breaks the skin in four places. He is treated for rabies, but here is the lesson for today.

What foolish thing have you done that you don't think will come back and "bite you?" The Bible says that a man sows what he reaps. Look out those dogs are vicious!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ernie Davis

The other day I watched a movie that was an inspirational movie. It was a movie about Ernie Davis who played for Syracuse from 1959-1961. If you would like more information about Ernie Davis here is a link to wikipedia, . It seems as though we would like to forget the horrendous treatment of African Americans during this time period. I for one after watching this movie was ashamed at those people who called themselves Christians and how they behaved.

Things aren't all that different from the way things were in the New Testament. You remember the story of Cornelius and the men in his house, Peter came to them and shared the gospel. They received the gospel gladly and were new believers. However; there were some Jewish people who were not too happy about this.

I wish I could tell you that these problems are behind us, but that is not the truth. It is time for us to share the love of Christ without partiality. I'm ready how about you?

Just Say No

I am not sure if you remember the ad campaign about drugs, the "just say no" campaign? Well I think there is some validity to that statement. Let me explain.

In the little book of Titus chapter 2:11-12 it says 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, (NIV). The creators of the campaign were right, we do have to make the choice to say no, but we can't and shouldn't do it on our own. We have a choice to say no to the things that tempt us and to say yes to being godly in this present world.

So what is your choice today? Will it be life or death? (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Where did the last ten days go?

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. It is mid term for school and I have also done a lot of hospital visitations, attended a funeral, preached a funeral and ran my kids from place to place. I think I slept in there somewhere! LOL! Today I will share with you some things that I have read from the Bible and share with you some experiences since we last "talked". So stay tuned.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Don't Burn Your Bridges

Tonight I am the speaker at Hermiston Assembly of God. They are having their annual Valentine's Banquet. I have been asked to speak by Pastor Terry Haight who happens to be my good friend. Most of you know that I worked for Pastor Terry as his Associate Pastor for 5 years. It is quite an honor to come back and be the guest speaker. There is one reason I was asked to do this.

I didn't burn my bridges. I mean that when I left Hermiston I honored the Pastor and Staff and I believed that God blessed that on my part. As a matter of fact whenever we are at Hermiston A/G the Pastor has asked me to pray in the service. You know I don't take this lightly as I understand the kind of trust that he has placed in me. I have an open invitation to wherever I have been, why? Because I left with God's blessing on my life.

Maybe you have not had this experience, it's never too late to make things right. I encourage you to make things right, and you too will experience the blessing of God on your life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Shown

This weekend I have two speaking assignments that are similar and yet very different. The first is to be the Valentine's Banquet speaker at the church in Hermiston, and the other is a Memorial Service. How are they the same?

The first assignment is to show others what God has to say about love, and the other assignment is to honor a man who was an example of love. He loved his God, his wife and family and those closest to Him.

It is one thing to talk about love, but to show love alas that is the real challenge.

So as you are celebrating Valentine's Day remember to show the love of Christ in all that you do. That would be the best gift you could give to your spouse and close family and friends.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Follow Me

The mark of the Last Days is selfishness and self love. How this is propagated in our society! We live in the Last Days, but it is not the last chance. It is time for us to show God's love and share what we have. Who knows maybe others will follow our example.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not A Wasted Trip

In Acts 8 we once again see the moving of the Spirit as He uses men and women of God to proclaim His message. Philip was in Samaria as God was performing many signs and wonders. Then the Spirit of the Lord told him to go along the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he did, then the Spirit of the Lord told him to catch up with the chariot and driver. Then he saw a man from the court of Candice in Ethiopia as he was reading the scroll of Isaiah 53. Then Philip answered his questions and shared with him the good news. The man immediately saw water on the side of the road and asked to be baptized, and he was baptized and came out of the water just as the Spirit of the Lord whisked Philip away. It is important to understand where the man from Ethiopia had just come from. He came from Jerusalem as Dr. George O. Wood believes he was frustrated because he could not get into the temple to worship the Lord. He probably felt as though the 500 miles he came to Jerusalem was a wasted trip, but it was not. God met him right where he was at.

Maybe today you don't understand the hindrances and roadblocks in your way. Maybe you think it is a wasted trip, let me encourage you God knows where you are at presently. He will meet with you if you only ask. So enjoy the journey, and welcome those unexpected interruptions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Far Will You Go?

The Book of Acts is incredible. When you read about the men and women who had been with Jesus, they seem so ordinary. But when God's Spirit empowers them they are anything but ordinary. Here is the portion of scripture I am referring to:

(Acts 5:38) So I advise you to stay away from these men. Leave them alone. If what they are planning is something of their own doing, it will fail.

(Acts 5:39) But if God is behind it, you cannot stop it anyway, unless you want to fight against God. The council members agreed with what he said,

(Acts 5:40) and they called the apostles back in. They had them beaten with a whip and warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus. Then they let them go.

(Acts 5:41) The apostles left the council and were happy, because God had considered them worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus.

(Acts 5:42) Every day they spent time in the temple and in one home after another. They never stopped teaching and telling the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

Did you get that? They were told not to preach Jesus and then they were beaten with a whip and then they were happy. They were happy that they were able to suffer for the name of Jesus. But, did they stop preaching? No, they were not disobedient to the heavenly call.
I have to say that I am not sure I would go that far. I would not want to deny Christ of course, but to get beaten that is asking a lot. I guess all that we can do is bear witness of Jesus in our lives, and follow Him no matter it leads.

The Price of Greed

The other day I read the account of Elisha and Naaman. I sure you remember the story. Naaman is healed of leprosy and offers to "pay" for his healing. Elisha refuses, but Gehazi sees a chance to get something. The only thing that Gehazi ended up with was the result of greed: a curse. Read the account below.

(2Ki 5:25) Gehazi went in and stood in front of Elisha, who asked, "Gehazi, where have you been?" "Nowhere, sir," Gehazi answered.

(2Ki 5:26) Elisha asked, "Don't you know that my spirit was there when Naaman got out of his chariot to talk with you? Gehazi, you have no right to accept money or clothes, olive orchards or vineyards, sheep or cattle, or servants.

(2Ki 5:27) Because of what you've done, Naaman's leprosy will now be on you and your descendants forever!" Suddenly, Gehazi's skin became white with leprosy, and he left.

Let me share with you a few cautions:

1. God is always watching.

2. We have no right to take credit for something God has done.

3. We must not take what God has not given to us.

Are you tempted to "take advantage" of a good situation? Is it worth the price you will pay? Do the right thing especially if it is the hard thing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Muddy Well

The book of Proverbs is a book of wise sayings that should be read every 30 days. I have been reading Proverbs every month now for the last 18 years. The other day I read Proverbs 25:26 and it spoke to me. It says "A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well." What does this mean?

1. The righteous are being observed and are a source of life

2. The righteous should be like life giving water to those that know them

3. The righteous are to be an oasis in the wilderness of sin

I would encourage you to keep your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life. Make sure that you are that well of life giving water.

Where is the God of Elijah?

In 2 Kings 2, we read the story of Elijah and Elisha before Elijah is taken up to Heaven. Several times Elisha is told by Elijah to stay, but he refuses as he presses on with his mentor. Finally the whirlwind separates Elijah and Elisha, and the mantle of Elijah is left behind. Then Elisha picks up the mantle and asks "where is the God of Elijah?" And as he comes to the Jordan River he uses the mantle to touch the water and the waters part just like they did when Elijah did the same thing.

Let me ask you a question. Are trusting in the God of Elijah or in your Elijah? Do you wonder what you are going to do once your mentor is taken from you. Here is my advice. Now is the time that you must get to know God more than you know your mentor. Then you will have the God of Elijah with you always.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Great Christian Music

Today I was listening to Steve Green and I thought "is there anybody that sings quite like him?" The answer to that rhetorical question is (of course) no. But what is even better than Steve Green is when he sings a duet with Larnelle Harris.

This song reflects that reconciliation movement that was sparked during the early days of Promise Keepers. Let this be our prayer, "teach me to love." Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carman Video

A Street Full of Names

Today as I was walking back from the school in our town I walked down what I call "Senior Alley." This is the stretch of road that all of the seniors spray paint their name just prior to graduation. I noticed some names had faded, and others were fresh from last year. Others were large and rightfully so because they wanted you to know that they had been there. I thought about another street, one that will not have names but rather is made of gold.

This street is made of transparent gold! Hard to believe, but the Bible says it is like "transparent glass." Although this is not a street where you can mark your name that you were there, it is a street that has been walked upon by those Christians that have gone on before us. If your name has never been on a street or a street sign, it matters not. What matters is that your name is the Lamb's Book of Life. Is your name in that book?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Repentance: Not a Bad Word

Repentance is a word that we associate with people who really have messed up (i.e. Tiger Woods, David, J. Swaggart, etc.). I guess I should have put my name in there, but was afraid of the mail that I would get,LOL! Seriously we need to put repentance in the proper perspective.

It is not regret, like King Saul. It is not remorse like Judas. It is repentance like Peter and many others. Repentance isn't a one time deal it is a daily occurrence in the life of a Christian. Repentance is removing the hindrance or sin that keeps us at a distance with God.

Repentance is the first step to experience the refreshing of God (Acts 3:19-21). God wants us to repent so that we would enjoy fellowship with Him again, not because we are so bad.

Today repent and then rejoice!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fruit From a Funeral

As a Pastor a great deal of my time is spent praying with people or for people, so I am no stranger to prayer. I am always amazed when God allows me to be a part of something great. Let me explain.

The beginning of this month I preached a salvation message at a funeral, and there were people there that were moved by God's Spirit. I never know what the Lord is doing until some time later. Apparently there was a lady in the audience that was ready to make a change in her life. This lady has a sister that goes to our church. They asked me if I would go and pray for her house, because there were some weird things happening. I agreed, and yesterday as we talked and before we prayed I ask this lady if she would like to become a Christian and have Jesus take control of her life. She said yes. All I can say is that I live for those moments, and in those times I realize that all the troubles and trials I went through were worth it to see one person become a follower of Christ.

Today, don't neglect planting the seed of the Gospel in someone's heart. You never know where you will see the fruit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Steel Wool

Just found out the reason for the clog. It was a steel wool pad that went down the disposal. All I can say is, we don't even use steel wool! Well hope you have a great day.


I have been dealing with a problem with our kitchen sink. Our sink is backing up every time the dishwasher is on. Yuck! We have a plumber there today, and he is trying to fix the problem. It got me to thinking that sometimes in life things "back up" on us and we are surprised as to what was causing the problem. Let me share with you about getting rid of clogs.

1. Make sure you confess your sins daily (no matter how big or small)
2. Don't be afraid of dealing with a mess. (be honest about your faults)
3. Make sure you take precaution against clogs. (forgive freely and love lavishly)

Clogs happen because we aren't mindful of what we put "down the drain." Let's be careful about what goes in. Who knows with a little precaution, maybe you won't need to deal with clogs.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is This All a Dream?

I have been following Ted Dekker's books for quite a while. I am currently reading "Green" which is the end of the four book series if you started with "Black" or it is the beginning if this is the first book that you have read.

The premise goes something like this. You and are present in two different realities and the reality that we know is really not all that is going on. I encourage you to read these books as they will take you on a ride! Be warned they are not written for Christian audiences, although the love of God is expressed all through the book it is not extremely overt.

So let me end with a question, is this all a dream? Read "Black" and you decide. Happy reading

Saturday, January 2, 2010

No More Death

Today was the funeral of the man in our community. The church building was packed and there was standing room only. Well what do you expect from a man who has 7 kids, 27 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren? What a great heritage and legacy to leave behind.

I was given permission by the family to preach the Gospel and preach I did. I had a translator who is a prominent member in our community, and he did a great job. I told the people that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and we had a great response. I look forward to building some relationships with these folks I have just met. Okay, let me stop rambling.

Today at the funeral there were a lot of tears shed. I hate death and what it does to the people that we love the most, and yet death is a doorway to eternity. I think I know how Jesus may have felt at the funeral of Lazarus, He loved Lazarus and He cried over what death has done. Death is a separation from God, but for the Christian it is a graduation to our Heavenly home. I love that passage in Revelation 21:4 that says "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death..." What a great promise to know that there is coming a day that we shall have our tears wiped away by God and there will be no more death.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy

Mansions and Memories

Today is the viewing of the Christian man in our community. It is also the first day of 2010. I am sure none of the family thought they would be spending January 1st honoring the memory of their loved one. The man whom we are remembering was a Christian and he has made it home before me. He is not in that casket, that was just the house he lived in. Interesting side note, in the Hispanic culture the family will have somebody at the place where the body is in residence. Tonight there will be some folks sleeping in our church, I am glad that they feel comfortable in the House of the Lord.

In preparation for tomorrow's funeral service I have been drawn to John 14:1-6 where Jesus gives the promise about the place that He has prepared for those that belong to Him. Let me share with some thoughts concerning this passage.

  • The place God has prepared is a place of peace
  • The place that God has prepared is for those who have prepared themselves.
If you are planning on spending an eternity in Heaven, have you purchased your ticket?