Monday, May 14, 2018

Receiving the Beatitudes as a Commoner

What if we read (heard) the Beatitudes as if we were a common person of the time? 

What Jesus says almost sounds like a fairy tale. 

After all, Jesus offers you entry into the realm of God’s kingdom. Jesus urges you to happily wait to talk with God, for He will grant your wish. Indeed, you can inherit the earth and enjoy its fruitful bounty. Don’t worry that God will tell His angels to toss you out of His kingdom. No, God will show you mercy, invite you in to His throne room, and adopt you as one of His children. 

After that, still greater rewards are yours given your love and courage in the face of persecution. Yes, you will be honored the same as the great prophets of old. Like them, you are now the salt of the earth and the light of the world. So, be courageous and bold so others will see the light and praise God as your Father in heaven. 

Only, it is not a fairy tale. See for yourself here...

Friday, May 4, 2018

"Then Nothing Is True"


This article isn’t for fans of Feodor Dostoevski and Brothers Karamazov, or Friedrich Nietzsche and The Genealogy of Morals.

This article also isn’t for fans of Shan-dao’s “Golden Saying,” Vladimir Bartol and Alamut, or Hassan-i Sabbāh and Assassin’s Creed.

As well, this article isn’t for oligarchs, philosophers, New Age practitioners, and “explicit content” music lovers.

Instead, this article is for that one reader whose world has shattered beyond recognition.

It’s for that one reader who feels suddenly, hopelessly untethered, as if gravity itself has ceased. 

It’s for that one reader who moans, “If this [shocking event] is true, then nothing is true.”

Yes, it’s for you.

Thanks to YouTube, Monk, Season 4, Episode 6, “Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk,” which aired originally August 12, 2005, lives on. Halfway through the episode, the title character is told that his late wife faked her own death. What follows here ($1.99) is painful to watch.

I know the feeling all too well.

Not because a loved one faked her death. Much worse. Because someone I love deeply told me, through tears: “I hate you. I’ve hated you for years.”

As soon as I heard those words, over the phone, the room started to spin. A hundred cherished memories flashed before me.

Someone I love deeply said it again: “I’ve hated you all these years.”

If that’s true, I gasped, impulsively bending over, then nothing is true.

For three and a half days, I felt completely untethered from reality.

Reality? Is there such a thing?

I honestly didn’t know.

It wasn’t the first time.

My purpose here, however, isn’t to tell my stories. Instead, it’s to make an offer. I’m willing to hear your story. 

You can write to me at IfGodDisappears]at[gmail]dot[com. 



Thursday, April 12, 2018

“If I had to believe in something,..”


Everybody believes... something. Recently my Dad told me, “If I had to believe in something, I probably would believe in Odin” (the god of Norse mythology). He’s half Norwegian, so it kind of makes sense (especially since he’s completely out of touch with the “Hollywood Odin” of Marvel fame). My Dad’s comment did catch me a bit off guard. Then again, everybody believes something... and I always want to respect that.

To pay my dues to my Dad’s disbelief, at age 18 I studied under a German existential philosopher. She was a happy atheist and we had a truly wonderful time working our way through more than four centuries of atheistic thought. My challenge to her: “Convert me or I’ll probably be a Christian the rest of my life.” I had decided to follow Jesus Christ at age 13, but deliberately put my faith on the shelf.

In the end, I came back to faith... and not just barely. Instead, I came back to an even more robust faith in Jesus. That doesn’t make me one bit smarter or better than my Dad or any of my other atheistic, agnostic, and skeptical family members and friends.

Still, in my heart of hearts, I would love to see my Dad put his atheism on the shelf awhile and happily study Jesus. I think if he read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, he very well might fall in love with Jesus... just like I did many years ago.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Are you fulfilling your God-given destiny?


Yesterday, my 4-year-old grandson, Noah, asked me an amazing question. His question: “What is a destiny?” Even though his 5th birthday is coming up soon, Noah can’t quite grasp “Thursday,” let alone “destiny.”

Then again, the whole trajectory of my life changed at age 13 when I learned the answer to Noah’s question.

Before my 25th birthday, I dedicated my life to helping others fulfill their God-given destiny.

One of my all-time favorite destiny Bible verses is Ephesians 2:10. It says: “We have become God’s poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” (TPT)

One of my all-time favorite destiny Bible prayers is 2 Thessalonians 1:11b. It says: “By His power, may God fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.”

What about you? When is the last time you pondered your own God-given destiny? If it’s been a while, I encourage you to ponder it anew this week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
















CLOSING THE BACK DOOR: LOVE NO MATTER WHAT
Had friends leave your church? 
(Don’t try to guess why. You don’t know.)
Explore 10 counterintuitive ways to love them anew...
Saturday, March 10, 2018, 3:50 - 4:40 p.m.
nwmincon.org

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy Graham, God’s Glory, and Lips of Clay

Billy Graham. 

What a life. 

What a legacy. 

Imagine preaching the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ to millions of people around the world year after year, decade after decade. Yet...

Billy Graham made it clear in the early 1980s that his ministry could be over at any point. “If I should ever take any glory away from God, God would take up His hand off my life and my lips would turn to clay.”

It’s a sobering thought that the Lord could nullify what any given individual does best. It’s potentially even more sobering to ponder, What am I doing that has eternal value?

Thankfully, God doesn’t divide life into “sacred” and “secular.” Whether at home or work, whether in the community or church, the Lord can work in and through us for His glory and honor and praise.

All a person has to do is ask the all-knowing God, the Omniscient One, for His wisdom for life here on earth (James 1:5). The Lord is more than happy to answer such prayers. Thanks to Billy's example, I’ve prayed it many times.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Please pray for Luis Palau


PLEASE PRAY! My dear, dear friend Luis Palau has Stage 4 lung cancer. 

When I first got the news, I felt like someone had just punched me in the gut. I'm still reeling. Yet, as always, we pray with thanksgiving to God, and receive His peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). 

Details in Luis Palau's own words at http://www.palau.org/luishealth and his heartfelt video with his sons Kevin and Andrew at https://youtu.be/QbtiOP3_s_A

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Haitian-born American hero...

I want to applaud my very dear friend, Dr. Guesly Dessieux, who saved my life a few months after I asked him to become my primary care physician. 

Dr. Dessieux is one of the principals at Santiam Medical Associates east of Salem, https://www.linkedin.com/in/guesly-dessieux-54b322118

Even better? He's the founder and president of Project Living Hope, http://www.plhope.org, which provides medical and other humanitarian aid and services in his homeland of Haiti. 

I can think of only three men who inspire me more than Dr. Dessieux. He's a true Haitian-born American hero...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saint Nicholas - Man or Myth?

Is Saint Nicholas merely legend? 

This question comes up every December around the world, among young and old. 

What is the answer? 

It’s easy for us to think, Yes, Saint Nicholas may or may not have been a Catholic bishop in the 3rd or 4th century. We don’t have any factual data, however, about the real man (if there was one).

On the contrary, Wikipedia provides us with a wealth of historical data, artwork down through the ages, where his skeleton resides (two locations in Europe), who has forensically examined it (and used DNA to prove both sets of bones are from the same man), hundreds of ancient churches named after him, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas


















Thanks to Liverpool University’s Face Lab, the BBC, et al., we also have a facial reconstruction that shows his countenance in detail, including a nose that had been badly broken and veered well to the right, etc. Amazing! http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-30354994