Monday, February 28, 2011

Big Announcement Coming Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will be making a big announcement here on my blog. Be sure to check back to get all of the details. The cartoon below is a hint of what the announcement will be. See you tomorrow!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gripped by the Civil War

I had the opportunity Saturday night to attend the final show of the musical, "The Civil War" at the new Tower Theater down at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. What an amazing production it was. There was no Civil War music. There were no Civil War sets. There were no Civil War costumes. But I have never felt more drawn into the Civil War in all of my life.

I have watched just about all of the Civil War movies ever made (Gettysburg, Glory, North and South, etc.). I have visited multiple Civil War Battlefields. I have read many Civil War articles. I have also attended several Civil War museums. But this musical did the best job of allowing me through music to experience the Civil War from so many points of view - the confederate soldier, the union soldier, the wives of soldiers, slaves, even Abraham Lincoln. It was almost awkward at times because I wanted to applaud at the very talented performances throughout the evening, but applause almost didn't seem appropriate due to the somber themes.

My entire family loves live theater. Saturday night was no exception.

Friday, February 25, 2011


JOY! What a great word. But most people really don't understand it. Most people think JOY is synonymous with HAPPINESS. But it is not even close. HAPPINESS is a feeling that comes and goes based on circumstances. When life is great, you're HAPPY! When you get a raise or a promotion at work, you're HAPPY. When your team wins, you're HAPPY! But as soon as your circumstances change, HAPPINESS vanishes.

Such is not the case with JOY! JOY is an inner contentment in spite of your circumstances. In other words, even when the bottom drops out of your life, you can still experience JOY! JOY has nothing to do with your circumstances (which are constantly changing) but everything to do with your position in Christ (which never changes for the believer in Jesus)! What we need today is a "JOY transfusion." So let me suggest two ways to make this happen:

First, beginning today, take time to also follow my other blog which is entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors." You can find it at the link below:

Beginning today at "Hope for Hurting Pastors" I will start a series of posts on the topic of JOY. the Bible has so much to share about this wonderful and important topic. I post a new article at "Hope for Hurting Pastors" each Monday, Wednesday and Friday so be sure to follow it for the next few weeks and learn more about what the Bible has to say about JOY.

Second, take what I like to call the "Philippians Challenge." There is no better book in the Bible to show true JOY than the book of Philippians. Even though Paul wrote this book while chained to a guard, sitting in a Roman prison, the main topic is still JOY. The book is just 4 short chapters. It would take you about 20 minutes to read it in one setting. So here is the "Philippians Challenge." Read the book of Philippians in its entirety in one setting every single day for 30 consecutive days. I guarantee you that at the end of the 30 days you will understand JOY better than you ever have.

So take a "JOY transfusion." Follow my posts on the topic of JOY beginning today at "Hope for Hurting Pastors" and take the 30-day "Philippians Challenge." JOY! It really is a great word!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quietness and Trust

The Lord gave my wife, Laura, and I a verse that has been our "theme verse" over the past 6 months. Actually it is a phrase from a verse. I know that is always dangerous because context is everything when it comes to proper Bible interpretation. But the phrase that has greatly ministered to us over the past 6 months is this phrase from Isaiah 30:15...


And over the past 6 months we have dedicated and devoted ourselves as a couple to quietly trusting in God for our strength as opposed to taking matters into our own hands. And when you understand the context of this passage it becomes even more powerful. Here is what all of Isaiah 30:15-16 says...

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.' Therefore, you will flee! You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.' Therefore your pursuers will be swift.'"

At the time this verse was spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, Israel was being threatened by Assyria. Instead of turning immediately to the Lord for help, Israel's leaders turned to their own diplomacy. They sought to get the help of mighty Egypt. But the horses of Egypt could never compare to the chariots of God. They should have waited on the salvation of God in quietness and trust. Instead they sought salvation in the the war horses of Egypt.

How often do we do the same thing? Instead of resting in the quietness and trust of God for our strength in difficult times, we take matters into our own hands and depend on our own resources or the resources of those around us.

Over the past 6 months Laura and I have been learning the beauty and the strength that comes with resting in the quietness and trust of our Mighty God. So if you find yourself facing a very difficult situation in your life today, may this verse that has brought us strength bring you strength as well:


Be sure to also read my other blog, "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Flying Fun?

This past weekend Laura and I took a trip which included flying the friendly skies. We got where we were going and back but the journey required quite a bit of flexibility. We awoke the morning we were leaving to find out that our flight from Harrisburg to Chicago had been cancelled. I called the airline only to be told that it would be two days before they could get us seats to our destination. Two days? That was hard for me to believe. I simply kept asking who else I could talk to and calling alternative numbers to the airline until I found someone who found us seats on a flight with another airline. When we got to the airport those tickets had not been reissued and it took right at about an hour at the ticket counter before we got our beloved boarding passes. But when it was all said and done we landed at our destination just 90 minutes later than our original flight would have been.

The flight home was just as eventful. Due to high winds in Chicago, the first leg of our flight was delayed well over an hour which caused us to miss our connecting flight from Chicago to Harrisburg. However, there is a bright side to everything. The delay did allow us to grab a hot dog. I love a good hot dog and you just can't be Chicago for a good dog. Ironically, at the little dive in the Chicago airport I actually ordered the New York Dog which has sauerkraut and brown mustard on it - and I mean "LAVISHED" on it.! WOW! That was a good dog. We did make it on the next flight to Harrisburg but our suitcases did not. Looks like they are going to be spending the night in the Windy City! Once we reported our missing bags, we took the shuttle to the parking lot where we parked our car which was now covered with 5 nights of snow and ice. The ice was also on the ground because walking to our vehicle I went down right on my back and cut my hand (but I didn't cry!).

So, I have to ask - "Is flying fun?" Well, this weekend the flying part of our schedule was anything but "fun." But the weekend itself was a very special one. It was worth the cancelled flight; the multiple phone calls to re-book; the extra hour at the ticket counter; the delayed arrivals; the delayed flight; the lost luggage and the spill on the ice!

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Father's Lap

I remember reading one time about a story from the days of the JFK administration. It was the first time in many years that young children roamed the halls of the White House. The story goes that one day JFK was meeting in the Oval Office with his Joint Chiefs of Staff - the most powerful military minds in the world. You will remember that these were tense times in our country with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs.

As they were meeting, little John-John came running down the halls of the West Wing. He ran past armed security guards. He ran past Secret Service Agents. He ran right into the Oval Office and jumped into the lap of the President of the United States. And when he did, JFK turned away from these great military leaders and focused his attention on little John-John.

Now, I have a question. Why could John-John get away with that but Scott-Scott couldn't? The answer is simple. John-John was a child of the President of the United States. Scott-Scott is not. However, I have an even more significant identity. Because I have put my faith fully and solely in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of my sin and my eternal life in heaven, I am a child of God (John 1:1, 1 John 3:1). Do you know what that means? That means that anytime I want, according to the book of Hebrews, I can run down the portals of heaven through prayer. I can run past angelic honor guard and saints alike, and I can run right into the throne room of God and leap into the lap of my Heavenly Father and He will focus His attention on me.

So if you are a believer in Jesus, let me ask you something. When was the last time you leaped into your Heavenly Father's lap and talked with Him. When was the last time you leaped into your Heavenly Father's lap and sang to Him? When was the last time you leaped into your Heavenly Father's lap and laughed with Him? When was the last time you leaped into your Heavenly Father's lap and cried with Him? When was the last time you leaped into your Heavenly Father's lap and just sat there still - knowing that He was your God?

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gravy and the Love of God

I John 3:1 is one of my favorite verses in Scripture. If you grew up in church you probably memorized this verse from the King James Bible as you sang the little round:

Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us
Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us
That we would be called the sons of God
That we would be called the sons of God

The New American Bible Standards says that God "bestowed" His love on us. But I like how the New International Version puts it. It says that God "lavished" His love on us. Think about that. What does it mean to "lavish" something?

When I go to Cracker Barrel to eat I always order the same thing. I guess you could say that I am in a Cracker Barrel rut. I always get country fried steak with mashed potatoes. For my two sides I always get fried okra and fried apples. Now if that meal doesn't sound appealing to you, you may be disappointed in heaven because I am pretty sure that if you know the Greek language you will find in the Bible that this is going to be the menu at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (just trust me on that one!)!

But when I order my meal at Cracker Barrel, I always give the server a special instruction. I tell them that I want gravy on my country friend steak and mashed potatoes. In fact, I want there to be so much gravy that when they bring my food out they are struggling to keep my potatoes from swimming right off the tray! I don't just want lots of gravy. I don't just want extra gravy. I want my country fried steak and mashed potatoes to be "lavished" with gravy!

And in a very real way, that is what God has done. He didn't just love us. He didn't just give us extra love. He didn't just give us lots of love. He "lavished" His love on us. Romans 5:8 says:

"God demonstrates His love for us in this...while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Security and Significance

If you were to take away the physical needs of mankind (things like food, water, clothing, etc.) and just look at the emotional needs of mankind, you could come close to summing them up in just two:

SECURITY - the need to be loved and to belong!

SIGNIFICANCE - the need to be needed and feel important!

People spend their entire lives trying to find someone who will meet these needs in their lives. They look to friends. They look to spouses. They look to their children. But the truth is that none of these people can perfectly meet these needs in our lives.

Only God can perfectly meet our need for SECURITY and SIGNIFICANCE. This is seen in the following verses from the Bible. Take time to think about them throughout this weekend:

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

"...the Spirit you recieved brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One Plane at a Time

How many difficult issues are you facing right now in your life? How many challenges are you up against? Do you find yourself with some major issues on your plate that need to be dealt with and dealt with soon? Do you feel like you are juggling several dozen plates and trying to keep them all up in the air at the same time so none of them fall on break? What do you do when you are under this kind of stress and pressure?

I was recently talking with a friend whose life I just described in the paragraph above. As we talked I told him of the time I had an opportunity to talk with a gentleman who had worked as an Air Traffic Controller at O'Hare Airport - one of the busiest airports in the world. Talk about a stressful job! He literally spent all day keeping dozens of planes up in the air and safe. Do you know what he said the key was to being successful at that job and not allowing the stress and dangers to control him? Here is what he said his secret was:


That may seem overly simple but it also just might be the advice you need if you too are described by my opening paragraph. You can't land all the planes at once but you can focus on landing just one of them. Deal with these issues one at a time. It's a lot like the answer to the old question, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer?


So if you feel like your life is overwhelmed with stress and you are trying to keep a dozen or so plates up in the air all the time so that none of them come crashing down, why not pick one of them and bring that plane down safely. Take one bite out of that elephant. Than bring another plane down safely. Take another bite of the elephant. If it works for an Air Traffic Controller - it just might work for you!

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When Gold Fish Snitch

Have you ever heard something that struck you so funny that you almost couldn't keep your composure? And then when you tell others what you saw or heard they barely chuckle why you busted a gut laughing at the same thing. Then all you can do is shyly respond with the words, "I guess you had to be there." Well, it happened to me yesterday morning.

I was driving to an appointment listening to the morning talks show on the radio when one of the morning announcers told a true news story that struck me so funny I about drove off the road laughing hysterically. Now, I'm warning you in probably won't do more than chuckle at this simple story, but here it goes.

Three teenagers broke into a house. I can't remember where this took place. But they stole the typical things you would guess teens would steal. They took the DVD player, some video games, the television and some jewelry. But the bizarre part of the crime scene was that the only damage they left behind was that they obviously had intentionally killed the family's 3 goldfish that were in their fish tank.

When the police caught the culprits they asked the young men why in the world they had killed the family's 3 goldfish. Their answer? Are you ready for this? I am not making this up. Their answer was that they killed the 3 goldfish because they did want to leave behind any witnesses!!!!

OK - I guess you had to be there!

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When Church Is Missing The "g"

This past Sunday Laura and I visited another area church with friends. This was a small town, country church that had both a traditional service and a contemporary service. We chose to attend the contemporary service. I don't think this little church gets too many visitors. When the 6 of us arrived they didn't seem to know what to do with us. We walked in the doors and there was no signage of any kind to point us to the auditorium. There were several folks standing in the lobby and they just looked at us like, "WOW! Visitors!" But they didn't know what to say to us. I finally had to ask which direction the service was.

Once we got our seats several people came up and welcomed us. There were less than 50 people at the service. A young gal who played guitar and keyboards (not at the same time, obviously) led in worship. She had a beautiful voice and picked some great songs. I couldn't help but bust out laughing, though, as one of the slides containing song lyrics came up on the screen. The song was, "Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty." Part of the song has the lyrics, "And together we sing!" When these words came up on the screen the "g" was notoriously missing. I couldn't help but laugh when everyone sang the words,

"And together we sin."

It reminded me of my Youth Pastor days. I was in charge of our Bible School in which each year 500-600 kids attended. I had just finished the master for the flier and was ready to send it to the printer. Our church secretary gave one final proofing of my work and it was a good thing she did. You know how on a keyboard the "w" and the "s" are close together? Well, we were having a big contest at Bible School and in big letters I meant to have put on the flier the words "COME AND WIN!" Instead, my master copy of the promotional flier said:


But in spite of the missing "g" in the lyrics, this gal did a nice job of leading the worship last Sunday. The message was another story. The pastor spoke on the topic of hell but his message was more philosophical than it was theological. I'm still not sure exactly what he believes when it comes to the topic of hell. And there was no mention of the atoning and redemptive work of Christ at all. I'm not sure how you can preach a message on hell without also including the redemptive work of Christ on the cross for our sins. I guess the "g" on the lyrics slide wasn't the only important thing missing at this little country church.

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Monday, February 14, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Saga of Sandi

Some of you have heard me talk about our dog. Her name is Sandi and she is a Jack Russell Terrier. She has some good traits and some, let's say, "interesting" traits.

On the positive side, she is a beautiful dog. And she is smart -I mean really smart - and very obedient. She is also a tremendous watch dog. She is also cage-trained.

But on the "interesting" side, she is very finnicky and very peculiar. She loves me and a select few others. But she does not really like most people including my son. All he has to do is walk into the house and she starts growling. She loves to have her neck scratched but she hates to be petted. If you pet her like you would any other dog, she will growl. If you don't stop then, she will snip at you.

She is also very territorial. No bird, rabbit or even worm can cut across our yard. When I sit in my chair to watch TV, she loves to sit with me. But she has to sit on the chair next to me ON THE LEFT SIDE. If I scoot all the way over to the left to make her sit on my right side, she won't. She will just sit there and look at me until I scoot to the right so she can haver her spot ON MY LEFT. How weird is that?

For several reasons (none that really apply to the description above) Laura and I have come to the realization that it is time to give Sandi up. So we need to find a place for her. She wouldn't be good with young kids. But for an older person or couple living alone that would simply like a good companion who will sit next to them (on their left side of the chair) and be a great watch dog - she would be perfect. The big question is - how do what we find a place for Sandi?

If you have any ideas - or any interest in a beautiful, smart, cage-trained, finnicky, peculiar dog who isn't a fan of a lot of people and doesn't like to be petted, let me know!

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Thursday, February 10, 2011

McWorship - Have It Your Way!

Worship in America has seemingly merged with our fast-food culture. Just like you might pick the style of fast-food you like best when you eat out, American church-goes often tend to make their Sunday worship choice based on the style of the worship involved - and there are many styles:

You have McDonald's style worship - McWorship - where the worship is contemporary, modern and lively.

You have Wendy's style worship - Old Fashioned Worship - where the worship is more reserved and uses only the age old hymns of the faith.

You have Kentucky Fried Chicken style of worship - Finger-Lickin' Good Worship - where there is a lot of focus on the quality of the instrumentalists and singers.

Worship has become a lot like Burger King - Have It Your Way. Remember that jingle - "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us, all we ask is that you let us have it your way..."

The truth is that there is nothing wrong with any of the above aspects of worship. There is nothing wrong with modern, contemporary worship. There is nothing wrong with worship that centers around the old hymns of the faith. There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for quality in the music and vocals in worship. But none of these in and of themselves is the heart of worship.

Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4 that true worship is when we worship God in spirit and in truth. So what is worship? Worship is a spirit-led response to truth about God. I've used this example before. I can't stand country music (after all, I am pretty sure that all radio stations in hell play only country music! Just kidding!). But if I were at a church this Sunday that only used the twangiest country music known to man - but the words of the songs focused my heart and mind on truth about God - I should be able to worship!

So this Sunday - whatever fast food-style of worship you may find yourself experiencing - keep your focus on what really counts...the truth about God being presented. When you have a spirit-led response to truth about God, no matter what style it may be, you will experience real worship.

Be sure to also read my other blog entitled, "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Tale of Two Teams

Being from Ohio (born and raised in the greater Akron area) I have remained a loyal Ohio sports fan my entire life. Now granted, that usually means more downs than ups and some extremely heart-wrenching disappointments (like the Browns losing to Denver in back-to-back AFC Championship games; the Indians losing to both Atlanta and Florida in the World Series; and Ohio State losing big more than once to to SEC teams in Football Title Games, etc.). So I shouldn't be surprised at what is happening in Ohio basketball currently.

Remember the old novel that started, "It was the best of was the worst of times"? Remember the opening to Wide World of Sports on TV which talked about the "thrill of victory" and the "agony of defeat" (as the downhill skier wipes out)? Both would be very appropriate descriptions of current basketball conditions in the great state of Ohio.

Let's start with the "BEST OF TIMES" or the "THRILL OF VICTORY": The Ohio State's Men's Basketball team is 24-0 and sitting #1 in all of college basketball!

But that is quite possibly being over-shadowed by the "WORST OF TIMES" or the "AGONY OF DEFEAT": The "Lebron James-less" Cleveland Cavaliers have now lost an NBA Record setting 25 straight basketball games!

So, as an Ohio fan watching ESPN Sportscenter each day I can truly say - "It is the best of times and it is the worst of times." Each week I experience the "thrill of victory" right alongside of the "agony of defeat."

But at the end of the day - I can't help but remain a loyal fan of Ohio sports teams.

Go Buckeyes! (Oh, yeah, GO CAVS as well!)

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope for Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Another Church Visit

Last Sunday we went with friends to the Sunday morning worship service at a church which was in a little town that is about a 40 minute drive from our house. In fact, I never even knew that this little Pennsylvania town even existed - but it does and right in the middle of it is a nice sized church that is running around 900 over the winter months.

The lobby of their facility was very inviting and it was obvious from all of the displays and information that they have a lot of really good things going on in their ministry. The auditorium also doubled as a gymnasium which is very common. In fact, both of the last 2 churches I have pastored have been set up in that way. The only major drawback to this facility (and to most facilities that are designed like this) is that the acoustics were not very good which does take away from the quality and energy of the worship. The bad acoustics were complicated even more by a weak mix, but finding a sound volunteer who is good at mixing multiple vocals and instrumentalists isn't easy, especially in a building that is not designed for sound quality.

The worship at this church wasn't bad. However, I do believe that there is a big difference between leading in singing and leading in worship. In my opinion, their worship leader and worship team led more in singing. The choruses they sang were all very good - a little dated but I have no problem with that. But the worship did lack energy. The friend I attended with used the word "droning" to describe the worship leader at times. With all that said, let me once again say that if you struggle to worship in church you can't really blame the singers, instrumentalists, worship leader, style, sound mix, or acoustics. If the message of the songs point your mind and heart to God, you should still be able to worship. So in spite of the technical criticisms I have just given, let me say that all in all I was able to worship and that is the key.

The message was very solid. The pastor was starting a new series on "Absolute Truth in a Whatever World." He did a great job of giving a foundation of the characteristics of truth. He then took Jesus' claims to be God and to be the only way to heaven and applied them to those foundational truths. His message was right on and I personally enjoyed his communication style (though I have to be honest and say that the friend I attended with didn't come to the same conclusion on that). I enjoyed hearing a solid message on the absolute truth of who Jesus is but presented in a way that allowed unbelievers and skeptics to be drawn into the topic.

All in all. this is a really solid and active church -one that I would go back to again.

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Super Bowl Commercial That Wasn't

A group called "Fixed Point Foundation" raised enough money to produce a commercial for the Super Bowl last Sunday. Unfortunately, in our politically correct society it was rejected by the network and you didn't get to view it on television. Too bad because the commercial is outstanding. Here is the gist of it:

A group of friends are sitting in a living room eating, drinking beer and watching the big game. They all go nuts with hysteria when the opposing quarterback gets sacked. But as the television camera zooms in on the face under the helmet of the downed QB, they see the "John 3:16" that is written in white letters on the black make-up worn under the quarterback's eyes. They ask each other what "John 3:16" means. One of them goes to look it up on his smartphone. The short 31 second commercial then ends at this point with these words...LOOKUP316.COM - A MESSAGE OF HOPE.

Now that would have been a great Super Bowl commercial. And in case you are tuning in to this blog and are not sure yourself what JOHN 3:16 means - here it is, straight from the Bible:

"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life!"

Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope for Hurting Pastors" at You can also leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Friday, February 04, 2011

Weekend Cheesehead

It's Friday and this weekend I have three major items on the agenda. First, I need to get all of mine and my kid's tax stuff put together. Second, I will use this Sunday to visit yet another church as "Pastor in the Pew" and see what I can learn from them about effective ministry. And, last but not least, this weekend I will watch the Super Bowl. That means that for this weekend, and this weekend only...




Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Thursday, February 03, 2011

21 Years Ago Today

21 years ago today I held my daughter, Joy, in my arms for the very first time. What thrill that was! Today she turns 21! Joy sure has brought a lot of JOY to her mother and I over these last 21 years (WOW - makes me glad I didn't name her "Terror," "Tears" or "Pain"). So I want to pause from my blogging today and simply wish Joy a very happy 21st Birthday. My only regret is that, because she is away at college, I can't hold her in my arms today like I did for the first time February 3, 1990 - 21 years ago today!


Be sure to read my other blog entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can also leave a comment on either blog or email me at

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I Have Been Set Free

When my son was growing up he played a lot of sports (basketball, baseball and soccer). As an avid sports fan, there were few things I enjoyed more as a dad than watching my kids play sports (my daughter also played soccer and volleyball). But that doesn't even come close to the joy and pride I feel when I watch my son use his music to glorify God and lead people in worship. Jonathan is a very talented musician and song-writer - and he is an outstanding worship leader. He is currently a Worship Arts Major at Liberty University and I can't wait to see what God has in store for him. Jonathan has written a new song entitled, "I Have Been Set Free." I know that I am somewhat biased but I happen to think it is quite good. You can listen to a rough version of it and some of his other songs at the link below:

Be sure to read my other blog as well entitled "Hope For Hurting Pastors" at You can also leave a comment at either blog or email me directly at

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Praying for Egypt

2.5 years ago I was able to visit Cairo, Egypt. It is an amazing city. Actually, it is the second most populated city in the world (behind only Mexico City). It is also the second most polluted city in the world (also behind Mexico City). It was unbelievable to stand at the Pyramids and the Sphinx while in Egypt and to eat along the Nile River (even though a dead, bloated cow floated by as we ate). I could have spent days in the main museum there as we looked at artifacts that dated back some 4,000 years (after all, Egypt was one of the first civilizations).

So I have been watching the "Chaos in Egypt" closely as it unfolds on our television sets. I also have been praying for the situation there. Egypt is one of the strong allies that America has among the Arab countries of the Middle East. Egypt is also just one of two Arab countries in the Middle East that are not hostile toward Israel (the other being Jordan, which is another country I have visited twice). So there is a lot riding on how all of this political upheaval concludes, not just for Egypt, but for America and for Israel as well.

I am praying that however this turns out, that the political leadership of Egypt would continue to be an ally of America and will continue to uphold their peace-treaty with Israel.

I am praying that God would give our President as well as the Prime Minister of Israel wisdom in knowing how to respond to this turmoil in Egypt.

I am praying that God would protect Christians who are in Egypt from persecution and harm.

I also am praying that God would use this situation to open a door for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread powerfully in places where it's message has been stifled.

So my encouragement to all of you is this: Don't just watch the news! Pray about the news! After all, nothing of eternal importance ever happens apart from prayer.