Tag Archives: hope

Her State is Now Fixed

Today, I write with a burden we all share at some time. I am writing from having lost a loved one. Though this timr is one not unexpected, it still is a time that makes us ponder that which is the next step in our journey. And while this part of our journey may be filled with moments of Muddy, Messy, and Marred shoes … for those that believe and call on the Lord, there is hope, there is forgiveness, there is all things new.

My eldest brother said it in wonderful words that each of us should hear. For you too can know this grace.

From the Facebook page of my brother …

At 3:15 am this Saturday morning, my sister and I stood by the bed of our mom while she breathed her last breath. There was a thought that kept crossing my mind over the next hour or so as we waited for the proper people to arrive and take her body to be prepared for her burial. The thought, “her state is now fixed” lightly embedded itself in my conscience. She was 86 years of age and was loved and respected by many. I loved her. Through all of life’s transitory events, pains, griefs, tears, joys, laughter, surprises, changes, sins and reconciliations, she was and always will be “mom”. Yet now, as I type these words that are inadequate to express the truth, mom is in an unchangeable and eternal place and reality that is beyond description. I know more that I know anything at this moment that she would want me to say to you, “ friend, there is a day, that will be your day to die and face a holy God. Once that day arrives it will eternally be fixed. You will not be able to change it. Jesus was not fearful of addressing people’s deepest and most urgent need. He warned of hell and gave free offers of heaven. We need Him. Our sins have separated us from God and the only reconciler is The Son Of God, who though while we were His enemies, He died on a cross and was raised from the dead, to bear our shame and deserved due judgment. What keeps you from turning from your life of sin to Him who receives sinners?”.

I love mom deeply, beyond expression. I honor her as the mother God ordained for me. But she would tell you that this is not ultimately about her. It is about Christ, her LORD and redeemer. For “ He who has the Son has life, but He who does not have the Son does not have life…”. Come to Him, by faith, that your soul may live and your sins removed fully.

She will be missed. Remember this date, February 5, 2022. For on this date you heard the news of the death of one who belonged to Christ and you also heard the news of how you this Christ can be yours.

PastorDude Podcast #10 – Five Questions

These five questions will determine if you can ‘steal’ or ‘seal’ your hope. Listen and answer these questions. If you need help with anything in life, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to share and pray with you.

To listen to the podcast, click here – are the graphic below. (7min25sec)

Will You Take the Vaccine?

Covid madness. Political twists. Billions of dollars in research. Lack of trust in the media. Scientist giving varied answers. How are we to really know what is going on?

So many things are swirling in my mind, so I just wear my mask in public and go about my life. I wash my hands regularly and try to be proactive. Living in a small town kind of helps too. So, as serious as I take this pandemic, I haven’t gotten obsessed about it.

But yesterday, someone asked me directly, “Will you take the vaccine once it is available?

I was speechless, which is weird with me. I thought and thought and then just hemmed and hawed and changed the subject. My mind kept thinking of movies like 28 Days Later and World War Z. After all, Hollywood would never mislead us on such an important issue. Still, doubts remained. To prepare myself to answer this question next time, I went to the authoritative source for information … I googled it.

Various companies. Multiple possibilities. Nanotechnology. Rushed trials (Russia). Forced vaccines (China). Your demographic and geographic setting will determine which vaccine you will probably get. Government oversight (and they never get it wrong (typed sarcastically)), and a national database. (A decent article as Q&A is here.)

Let the End Times conspiracy theories begin.

I still have no answer. Yet, I will continue to investigate the different vaccines, the side effects, the implications, etc. As I ponder all of this … I ask myself what the vaccine actually provides. And here is my answer …

The vaccine provides hope!

Hope is a powerful word, and an even more powerful thing to have in one’s life.

It may seem weak and frail, In the Greek myth, Pandora opened the box she was warned not to open. All the evils and monsters escaped to plague the world.

But one thing remained at the bottom of the box. Weakened yes. But truly wonderful. For what remained was Hope.

... one thing remained at the bottom of the box. Weakened yes. But truly wonderful. For what remained was Hope.

It’s Christmas. Such a great time for us realize there is hope. Hope, real hope doesn’t come in a vaccine, an economic bail out, an elected official. Real Hope has come in the form of a baby, born in humble surroundings, visited by shepherds and magi.

Real Hope has a name … and that name is Jesus.

The question should not be, “Will you take the vaccine, hopefully?” But should be, “Will you accept the real Hope, the hope Jesus brings?”

Post script … great new Christmas song this year by Passion City Church … Check out Hope Has a Name.

Youth are Looking for Purpose and Hope … Jesus Offers them Both

Recently, … “Barna Group researchers revealed that they believe that the 2020 Pandemic will accelerate a loss of faith among the next generation. It seems that we are in a season where youth need to be pursued more than ever by today’s church ...”

This was in the opening section of an exclusive interview with Greg Stier, the founder and CEO of Dare 2 Share Ministries. It is a powerful ministry designed and purposed to reach the next gen for Christ – and to equip them to reach their peers too. I thought an abbreviated report from that interview might be enlightening.

What do you see as the number one thing impacting youth in the church today?

Greg: Teenagers today are being saturated in a worldly world view. Their views of God are more impacted by Netflix, Social Media and their peers than by the church, their youth leaders, and their parents. Teenagers in the church have almost the same amounts of anxiety, sexual addiction and suicide rates as their non-Christian peers … (one source states) we are slated to lose a million teenagers from the church every year for the next 35 years at the current rate of faith/church abandonment.

Teenagers are looking for hope. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for purpose. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for community. The church offers it.

Greg Steir

Have you seen the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 disconnect youth from the church because of church gatherings not meeting in person?

Greg: … For those only meeting online, youth leaders tell me that many of their teenagers are “Zoomed out,” … they long for face-to-face interaction. … Recently, the Director of the CDC stated that we are losing far more teenagers to suicide and overdosing at this time than we are to the pandemic. For many teenagers, isolation has led to frustration which has led to an increase of drug use and suicide attempts. Christian teenagers aren’t exempt from these struggles.

Does that make you fearful for the next generation of the church or hopeful?

Greg: In spite of all the terrifying statistics, I am very hopeful. God does his best work when things seem darkest. Teenagers are looking for hope. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for purpose. Jesus offers it. Teenagers are looking for community. The church offers it.

A great witnessing tool is their free app … Life in 6 Words

How should the church go about encouraging our youth to take up their cross as Christ commands His disciples to do in Matthew 16:24-26 and mobilize them to take the gospel to their friends?

Greg: We must rebuild youth ministry on a biblical foundation. Effective youth ministry is more than fun and games and a short Bible lesson. Effective youth ministry makes and multiplies young disciples …

Steir sees the struggles, but he also sees the solution in and through Jesus – and the role of the church daring to share the hope, the purpose, the cause of Christ. Steir also write a book, Gospelize Your Youth Ministry which is free to download at his website.

For the full interview, go here.

A Sober Remembrance, A Prophetic Warning

There are some locations whose names just carry a depth of meaning. The Garden of Eden … where it all began and where we lost paradise. Pompeii … where nature’s swift and lethal destruction was shown without regard for humanity. Gettysburg … where the Civil War saw its worst in her bloodiest battle but also inspired a 271 word speech that described our nation and the test for resolve the war brought. Hiroshima … where science and warfare go to a new low, and over a quarter million lives were lost with the use of two individual weapons.

This week was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of a camp that reveals the very evil and depravity and ugliness of what man is capable. Auschwitz. A little suburb of a Polish city. Well, it’s actually more a collection of camps. Auschwitz. Where the Nazis engineered death camps that took 4 times more lives than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan did. Auschwitz. Where 1.1 million lives were taken. Auschwitz. Where mostly Jews, but others determined unworthy, were gassed. The elderly. Couples. Families. Children. No exceptions. Auschwitz.

In a powerful image, almost 200 survivors walked, or more correctly, re-walked through the gates. It has been 75 years since the camps were liberated by the Russians. Families gathered to remember.

From the writings of Anne Frank to Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, we see first hand just a glimpse into the intensity of the events that took place 75 years ago. The sober remembrance yields to a prophetic warning. We must remain vigilant to prevent such acts to be repeated by man. We must be reminded that it takes all of us to stand up against tyranny and evil.

Auschwitz. A sober remembrance. A prophetic warning.

May we remember and may we fight for each other.

But there’s also a problem. We can’t rid ourselves of the darkness. We can’t defeat the wickedness that lurks inside each of us. We just can’t … on our own that is. But Christ can change our hearts, make us new, and the Spirit empowers us for righteousness.

And it was at another location where we find the defeat of the wickedness and evil within us. A place that took all our darkness and took the punishment we were due. A place whose name was equivalent to execution … but because of one particular day that defines all of history … the name now means victory. Calvary.

There are some locations whose names just carry a depth of meaning. Calvary. Where we find victory. Calvary. Where He brings hope to those who believe. Calvary. Where God’s Grace is seen.

Calvary. A sober remembrance. A prophetic message of hope.

I hope you know and believe.


See more on the Auschwitz occasion here.

Chocolates at Christmas … thank you Germans, again

A little bit of the “magic” of Christmas. By magic, I mean way beyond what we think or dream.

A while back, I mentioned the heritage of birthday cakes (look at the entry on my birthday 5.15). And in that writing, I thanked the Germans for their contribution to birthday cake traditions. I enjoyed my Sprinkles cupcake. I miss those, but Evergreen does have the young Elder daughter and her culinary skills that surpass Sprinkles.

As we enter the Christmas season, I remember the joy of advent calendars that have the little doors for each of the 24 days building up to Christmas Day. Behind each door would be a small chocolate or treat. This adaption for the advent countdown is due to Gerhard Lang, a Swabian German (I had to look that word up … so I will let you do that if you desire to know). In 1908, he created the first one with 24 pictures. Thank the Lord he quickly adapted to little doors with treats.

Back then, with most people unable to read, calendars rare, and kids not really knowing – or caring – what most dates were … this tradition built excitement and great expectation to kids and big kids alike.

Expectation … can you imagine what it was like for the people 2000 years ago. Silence from the Lord (specifically the 400 years from close of the Hebrew Scriptures), longing for a deliverer, the Messiah, the anointed One to rescue and lead the people … a Word, a prophet, anything from on high. Their Hope was real, tangible … but it was fulfilled in a way they didn’t expect. Not in grandeur or in royal mansions. But in humility and simplicity of a manger in near solitude and lowliness.

Now, I could go on and on (I am a preacher after all, and we do ramble at times) … but let me start this season with two challenges drawn from today’s imagery …

One … do something this season to build your expectation and aura of Hope. Read scripture daily to build up to the 25th, have a prayer plan every day to focus on the glory of Christ and the splendor of His first advent, sing a carol or Christmas song every day, call or message a family member every day and wish them a blessing from the Lord … anything. Even buy a calendar with 24 little Dove Chocolates.

Second … prepare your heart to being open to God fulfilling your expectation, but maybe (or probably) not in the way you are thinking. When we release our desires to His, we often realize He has been blessing all along. Let Christmas remind you His ways are greater, more amazing, and way beyond what we could ever imagine.

And that is part of what I say is the “magic” of the season.

Let the countdown begin