Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How Will I Know When I Get There?

I recently read a news article that reported a terminally ill 5 year old boy died in a Santa Claus' arms. It was truly a tragic and heart wrenching story. Five year olds just should not die! As the story was told, the Santa was asked to visit this young boy and took a gift to him. When the boy received the gift he asked the Santa, "How will I know when I get where I am going when I die?" The Santa's answer to the boy was that it will be OK he was "Santa's Number One elf" and they would let him in. The boy passed into eternity.

The human being in me gushed and felt warm and fuzzy. The pastor in me bristled and felt terribly sad. Not for the boy, but for the rest of the people who actually believed his statement to hold some truth.

I am well versed in the biblical doctrine that speaks to the "age of accountability" and the idea that there are countless millions who are safe in the arms of a loving Savior that never really understood faith, repentance, atonement, propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, etc. At the age of five years old I am sure many children have not reached the ability to comprehend these doctrines and truths. I am not so much sad for the young boy as I am for the millions who may have read that story and been misled into believing that they too can be "OK" if they believe in some such mythical magical story.

One of the myths many people believe is that there are many roads that lead to heaven. Jesus clearly set the record straight when he said - 

"I am the way, the truth, the light. No man cometh to the Father but by me." John 14:6

The Bible also says - 

"There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." - 1 Tim 2:5

"There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." - Acts 4:12

The truth is very clearly taught in Scripture: There is only one way to know for sure you will be "OK" when its your time to die. Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Believe that he died for your sins and that he will grant you forgiveness and redemption. Knowing this is the greatest gift you can receive this Christmas.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Home Plate is Always 17" Wide

I don't often outright steal an entire article. I usually poach an idea here or there and develop it further or change it a bit to make a spiritual application. Today I must confess to breaking one of the commandments. I have given credit at the end of the article so read it to the end. Enjoy.

Worth the read… For everyone especially parents and coaches
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Pointed side down.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.
“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“Seventeen inches!”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“Seventeen inches!”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls.
“And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over these seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Bobby. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of throwing the ball over it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”
“Coaches …”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.
Then he turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.
“… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.
His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.
(Copied post) from Elijah Steiner’s Facebook Page
Shared By: Melanie A. Peters

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Leader We Need or The Leader We Deserve

I don't know about you, but I am eagerly looking forward to this election cycle coming to an end. While I have no clue how it will all end up I am looking forward to not hearing all the ugly talk being spewed across the airwaves. I want to make a few comments from a biblically based perspective.

1. As Christians we are to live our lives with the absolute knowledge that God is Sovereign. To the unsaved that premise is laughable and outdated. To the believer it is an absolute platform from which we must address and base our comments and opinions concerning the political process. "IF" we believe that God has a plan and purpose that will not and cannot be thwarted by the world, the culture, and the "evil forces" at work, we must trust God for whatever happens in the political process. That does not mean we should not get active and vocal concerning the process. It simply means that God will have the ultimate say and we should accept that.

2. As Christians we are to submit and pray for our political leaders. 

1 Timothy 2:1-4 -I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

What this simply means is that regardless of how good or bad we believe our leadership is we should pray for them. The government under which the Apostle Paul wrote these words had some of the most despicable leaders of all time. The Bible teaches us that God ordains our leaders. That means we have a responsibility to accept them (for now) and pray for them. We should pray that they will come to a knowledge of the Savior (verse 4). We should pray that they will not rule harshly against the church (verse 2). We should pray that God’s will be done in their leadership.

Romans 13:1-7 - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

1 Peter 2:13-16 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
3. Regardless of how bad our country becomes, it is still our responsibility to live Christ-like in all our dealings with the lost of this world. We are to be an example of love and compassion. Though we may be diametrically opposed to their philosophies, opinions, and morals, we are to rise above that. We have a higher calling and purpose for being in this world.

Matthew 5:13-16 - Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth

I have heard it said, the choice facing us this election is a choice between the lesser of two evils. While I may agree on some level with that statement, it does not give me license to conduct my life like the rest of the world. God is still in control bringing about His plan and purpose for the world. No candidate ascends to power without God granting it so. Therefore, HE EITHER GIVES US THE PRESIDENT WE NEED OR THE ONE WE DESERVE!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Common Sense - Where Are You?

All I am asking for is that common sense prevail. 

Think about this. I say I do not want cross dressers, transgenders, and other “off sex” persons to go into bathrooms with children of the opposite sex. I am labeled a homophobe, bigot, and all round bad guy. I say that anyone who votes for our elected officials needs to be a legal citizen and should prove that they are such at the polls and I am labeled as a person who wants to throw grandma off the cliff and take away the rights of the poor. I say that our welfare system needs to be revised to help those in need get trained so they can work for a living. I say, instead of giving a freeway to life in the USA to those who may want to blow us up, let us take time to be careful to look closely at those who come from parts of the world where there are such people.

To me these are a few issues where common sense is not prevailing in our society. Most of us citizens in the US are kind hearted compassionate people who have no problem helping those in need. Most of us  come from a background where “immigrant” was our family status at one time or another. But when the Italians, Polish, Serbians, Russians, Greeks, etc., came to America they did not come with the intent to kill Americans. Of course not all people who come from the Middle East want to kill us. But there are many who do! Thats a fact supported by their own words and their own religious document.

We have reached a time in the USA where common sense has left us. We are now reacting to media driven frenzy and political correctness that is driving away sensible dialogue and leaders who have integrity to do the right thing.

Here is my take on common sense reactions to some of these issues (for what it is worth).

Voter registration - If you do not want illegal people to vote (and I hope you don’t) how would you make sure they don’t? If they cannot prove their citizenship by a driver’s license or some other document how do you know they are who they say they are?

Transgenders in bathrooms - Do you want men going into the bathroom with little girls? I hope not. What is your common sense solution to this?

Lifetime welfare recipients - Do you want able bodied men and women (who could work for a living if they had the opportunity) to live off of welfare for an extended period of time? Would it not be better for their self-esteem and their families if they could do better than welfare? I realize there are mitigating circumstances and some people cannot work. I am not advocating to stop helping them. Do you think there should be a way to get help to those recipients that just need to be retrained and given tools to make them more marketable? 

I ask you this question - Why are the Syrian refugees getting such treatment when untold millions of African refugees are being ignored? African countries have been decimated by civil and religious wars for decades. I do not hear a word about our government reaching out to bring them here (at least not on the scale of the Syrian crisis.) Common sense would say, “Lets at least make sure we are not paying for the plane ticket of those who want to kill us.”

We need to stop putting words in each other’s mouths (on both sides.) Common sense would dictate that there are solutions to these issues but they will not be reached when vitriol and hatefulness are the attitudes of the citizens.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Get Your Head Out of the Sand

IF you believe there is a God


IF you believe the Bible is His revealed truth to mankind


You must believe that the world is heading to a time in history where there will be a ONE WORLD government, a ONE WORLD economy, and a ONE WORLD religion. The Bible predicts this. (Revelation 13; 17)

I do believe there is a God that has revealed truth to man in the Bible. I do believe history is pressing toward the ONE WORLD entities I mentioned above. Because this is true in my mind (and it should be true in yours as well) we should interpret the news with that perspective in mind. With the formation of the United Nations in 1945 the structure for the ONE WORLD government is in place. If you don’t believe that the UN is a government just look at some of its various sectors: World Bank, Security Council, and the International Court of Justice. These are all responsibilities a sovereign nation should control.

There is an effort being made to destabilize the US dollar. Artificially low interest rates, crippling rising debt, demand for higher minimum wages, extreme restrictions on American manufacturing, and so on are all working against the US economy.

There is a trend of watering down the traditional doctrine of the church. Higher criticism, liberal seminaries, translations of the Bible that are extremely inaccurate, and ecumenicalism are all pushing the church in the direction of a ONE WORLD church.

Abortion on demand, an educational system that is dumbing down our youth, erosion of the traditional family, an unsustainable and incoherent immigration policy, and spiritual wickedness abounding, are working to destroy any semblance of a nation that was built on a Godly tradition.

Lest you think this is a Democratic problem alone, think again. Starting with Bush 1, Presidents Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama have all been pushing “globalism,” the ONE WORLD philosophy.

Everything happens for a reason. Everything that happens is in accordance with the predictions God gave us in scripture. Christians need to get their heads out of the sand and become knowledgable about the times. We are nearing the end. We must do all we can to faithfully teach truth and share the gospel of redemption with a dying world.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

If You Can't Say Nothin' Nice...

You can sure tell we are in the middle of the election season. All you have to do is check on social media and you will see a lot of hateful things said by people on both sides of the political aisle. A lot of accusations are being made about things that people either say or do that many times are not proven to be factual. Words being taken out of context. Misinterpretation of statements. Unsubstantiated facts. Name calling. Not to mention rumors and downright lies. Where has civility gone? Where has the grace to agree to disagree gone? Where has general kindness gone?

I am not saying that we all have to keep quiet about our opinions. I am not even saying that we should stop debating issues. All I am saying is that ugliness, name calling, and vitriol never solves issues or helps us elect officials that will promote the progress of our nation.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” - Proverbs 25:11

To me this means the right word, spoken at the right time, with the right motive and attitude. As a Christian I have an obligation (and a command) for my speech to be “… alway with grace, seasoned with salt.” - Colossians 4:6

There is a paradigm that teaches us to “hate the sin but love the sinner.” So often we forget the second half of that paradigm. We jump in with both feet to hate on sin. We relish calling out other men’s transgressions. We march in disgust to protest evil. All the while we fail to love the sinner.

The Bible teaches us that men will know we are His disciples if we have love for one another. We would like to think that means love other Christians (at least those that act like it.) Deep down inside we know that is not the truth. Jesus loved sinners so much he died for them. Jesus taught us to dine with the lost so we can win them to the Savior.

And by the way sinner, just because I hate the wickedness you are doing doesn’t mean I hate you. I can disapprove of your actions fully believing they are morally wrong and still be your friend. And just because I disapprove of your lifestyle doesn’t make me a  ________phobic. (You can fill in any number of words here) That word literally means I am afraid of your immoral lifestyle. We do not fear you, we fear FOR you. We believe there is a holy God that will judge the world one day. As a believer we feel obligated to warn you of that coming judgment.

I get the fact that you are offended that we speak our mind and intrude into your life. You might even tell us to mind our own business. Well guess what! It is not our business, it is God’s business. He created you for a purpose and that purpose is to please him - Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” 

So when we speak out against evil in the world we are really doing the business of God. Of course we need to speak graciously, kindly, lovingly, and fitly.

I would like to end by quoting a great theologian that most of you, Christian or not, would know.

“If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” - Thumper

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Minister Who Does Not Believe in God!

You can't believe everything you read on the internet. I get it. You can't even believe everything you hear on the news either. However, when an article quotes a man directly from his writings, I think we can at least be a little confident that what we read has an element of truth.

Having said that, I read an article about a Presbyterian minister who does not believe in the existence of God, yet believes he is a Christian! I suppose we should not be overly shocked by this statement. All the way back in time during the time of the Judges we read that "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes." - 21:25

Here is a link to the article:

We are increasingly seeing this erosion concerning morality in our society as well as in our churches. Several months ago I read another article about a church in Maryland that has a Saturday night bar service, complete with beer and wine. I think they called it a Christian nightclub. A few days later they did a news story on this church and interviewed several people in attendance who were obviously drunk.

Here is link to one article about this club:

For years there has been a huge gap between Baptist and Catholics largely rooted in major doctrinal differences. Within the past few months a very famous Baptist minister declared that the Pope was his Pope and the Pope for the entire church. Doctrinal differences set aside for the cause of unity (I Suppose).

Here is a link to an article about this quote:

I could cite many more instances that appear shocking and unbelievable. Here is the point. Why is this happening? What is going on in the world and Christianity in particular to cause this?

Erosion of the authority of the Word of God. I hear this all the time: That may be what you believe about the Bible but I interpret it differently. Or - The Bible is outdated and full of legends and superstitions. Its not relevant to us today.

We are living in the end times. God told us that in the last days people will not stand for sound doctrine. They will heap to themselves teachers that will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear. Some of the things they will tell them is:

Church is not important. You can worship God anywhere.
Don't focus on sin its too negative. You need to get the negative out of your life.
Name it and claim it. After all, God wants you to be wealthy.
Since love is central to God's plan for man, lets just love one another and forget about our differences.
All versions of the Bible are the same. Choose one you like.
You need to do what is best for you.

I could continue my list. I think you get the picture. Is it any wonder why the church has drifted so far away from God's truth? Seminaries are teaching the young preachers of the next generation that the miracles should be questioned. The Bible should be improved. We need to make our churches "Seeker sensitive." As a result we have a pile of ministers who do not know God and His word. Thats how we can have a minister who does not believe in the existence of God.

This is a travesty and we only have the Church to blame. We have accepted compromise and the smooth path. We need to get back to the old paths before it it becomes too late to recover ourselves.

Psalm 14:1