Friday, February 22, 2013


"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)

"There is none righteous, no, not one… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10, 23 NKJV)

Some would disagree with such strong words.  They look around and say, "Compared to everyone else, I'm a decent per­son." You know, a pig might say something similar.  He might look at his trough partners and announce, "I'm just as clean as everyone else." Compared to humans, however, that pig needs help.  Compared to God, we humans need the same.  The standard for sinlessness isn't found at the pig troughs of earth but at the throne of heaven.  God, Himself, is the standard.

We are beasts… Our deeds are ugly.  Our actions are harsh.  We don't do what we want to do, we don't like what we do, and what's worse -- yes, there is something worse -- we can't change…

And then observe what Jesus does with our filth. He carries it to the cross… The sinless One took on the face of a sinner so that we sinners could take on the face of a saint. 

-- Max Lucado in He Chose the Nails


Thursday, February 21, 2013


"No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil."  (Isaiah 59:4)

At the very moment when the pulpit has fallen strangely silent about sin, fiction can talk of little except evil, not indeed viewed as sin, but apparently as the invariable ways of a peculiarly repulsive insect, which it can't help, poor thing; and there is no manner of use expecting anything from it, except the nastiness natural to it.

-- A. J. Gossip in The Galilean Accent [1926]


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me." (John Newton)

In today's it's-all-about-me culture, it's tough to recognize we're wretches. Fact is, though, our sin remains, whether apparent to us or not. And it's wretched.

Thank God that Christ is our bridge between a blemished, bleak life and a forgiven, eternal life. 

-- Cory Whitehead,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


As I've grown older, I've come to realize that life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today...that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where minor things aren't deal-breakers!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship! Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket -- keep it in your own.

-- Author Unknown


Monday, February 18, 2013


The power to break out of your sin alone [seems] unlikely enough, but the thought that there could be enough spiritual power to completely obliterate the choke hold of every sin that would ever be committed by anyone who ever lived sounds beyond comprehension.  Billions and billions of people were not able, even by pooling their power together, to overcome the lure of all these sins.  Every person who has ever lived added to, rather than subtracted from, the pile.

Everyone, that is, except for One.

That's the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ - a power that could overcome every spiritual failing, every sin, every weakness, in one explosive act.  When Christ rose from the dead, He displayed enough raw power literally to blow apart the prison walls of hell and buy back those souls who would trust in Him.  What we are powerless to do in our own lives, Christ was powerful enough to accomplish for every one who would believe. 

-- Bill Hybels in The God You're Looking For


Friday, February 15, 2013


Someone has said that our greatest security against sin is our being shocked by it.  The shock response is hard to come by in our day.  We are fed such a constant "diet of shock" in the media that we're not likely to be shocked by anything so subtle as passing thoughts of evil.  Besides, our culture excuses most conduct, including even the most reprehensible, by shifting the guilt to others. 

-- J. Ellsworth Kalas in If Experience Is Such a Good Teacher Why Do I Keep Repeating the Course?


Thursday, February 14, 2013


[The unchristian environment] is the place where we find out whether the Christian's meditation has led him into the unreal, from which he awakens in terror when he returns to the workaday world, or whether it has led him into a real contact with God, from which he emerges strengthened and purified.  Has it transported him for a moment into a spiritual ecstasy that vanishes when everyday life returns, or has it lodged the Word of God so securely and deeply in his heart that it holds and fortifies him, impelling him to active love, to obedience, to good works?  Only the day can decide. 

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) in Life Together


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


[When one repents one turns around, changes direction.] What [we] turn to is more important than what [we] turn from, even if that to which [we] turn is only a higher moral truth; but to turn to Christ is far more important than to turn to higher moral truth: it is to turn the face towards Him in whom is all moral truth; it is to turn to Him in whom is not only the virtue which corresponds to the known vice from which the penitent wishes to flee, but all virtue; it is to turn the face to all holiness, all purity, all grace.  It was this repentance, which the apostles preached...

-- Roland Allen in Pentecost and the World


Monday, February 11, 2013


Most of us think of worship as a Sunday-morning activity in which we gather in a church, sing some songs, and listen to a preacher.  Genuine worship, though, is when what flows out of our lips and out of our lives are words and works that glorify God and honor Him for who He is and what He has done.  We worship when we reflect His Glory -- His character and likeness -- to others in the way we live.

-- Nancy Guthrie in Holding on to Hope


Friday, February 8, 2013


With God, there is no big or small, easy or difficult, possible or impossible. This is difficult to comprehend because all we’ve ever known are the four dimensions we were born into, but God is not subject to the natural laws He instituted. He has no beginning and no end. To the infinite, all finites are equal. Even our hardest prayers are easy for the Omnipotent One to answer because there is no degree of difficulty.

If you’re like me, you tend to use bigger words for bigger requests. You pull out your best vocabulary words for your biggest prayers, as if God’s answer depends on the correct combination of words. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how long or how loud you pray; it comes down to your answer to [God’s] question… “Is there a limit to My power?”

With God, it’s never an issue of “Can He?” It’s only a question of “Will He?” And while you don’t always know if He will, you know He can. And because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence. 

-- Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker


Thursday, February 7, 2013


Death is often a measure of life.  In degrees it teaches about friendship, family and about love.  What it can also do is point out not how much is taken away but how much is left behind. 

-- Unknown


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


(NOTE: While visiting our Sister Church in Lithuania with our mission team in 2008, we had the opportunity to stop at the Hill of Crosses. -- Dave Wilkinson)


The people of Lithuania take cross bearing a little more seriously than we do. For them the cross symbolizes faith, hope and love. There are crosses everywhere in the countryside, on roads, in city parks and village squares. Communities and individuals erect crosses to bring them health and to commemorate events like weddings, births and christenings. Crosses are also erected to commemorate historical events. One of these is the Baltic Way, in which millions of people linked hands stretching across the Baltics from Estonia to Lithuania on August 25, 1989. About 9 monuments commemorate this extraordinary event.

The nation's pride is the Hill of Crosses, located north of Siauliai. Lithuanians erected crosses there as early as the mid-19th century. The Soviet government couldn't tolerate that kind of spiritual expression, so they totally destroyed the hill in 1961, then again in 1973 and 1975. But people kept erecting more crosses, until in 1980 their destruction stopped. Today the crosses number in the many thousands. They are different sizes and shapes, some simple, some ornate, but they immortalize Lithuania's troubles, misfortunes, joys, hope and faith.

For them, the cross is more than a symbol in the church. It is symbol for the world to see. A symbol that will not go away. It is a symbol of sacrifice. A sacrifice that gives each and every one of us hope and faith and courage. 

-- Billy D. Strayhorn in At Cross Purposes


Tuesday, February 5, 2013


There are great limits upon the human imagination.  We can only rearrange the elements God has provided. No one can create a new primary color, a third sex, a fourth dimension, or a completely original animal.  Even by writing a book, planting a garden, or begetting a child, we never create anything in the strict sense; we only take part in God's creation. 

-- C. S. Lewis in Mere Christian


Monday, February 4, 2013


And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

-- Paul Harvey


Friday, February 1, 2013


Concluding our run up to the Super Bowl, here are a few quotes from some past Super Bowl Champions here in Green Bay.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: "I’m just trying to follow Jesus’ example . . . one of my favorite quotes is by St. Francis of Assisi, who said: 'Preach the gospel at all times. And when necessary, use words.'”

Packers WR Donald Driver: "You’ve got to make Him first . . . when you wake up in the morning you’ve got to give Him first the glory and then you move on with your day."

Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers: “I’ve always said coaches get too much of the credit and often too much of the blame. You’re never as good or as bad as people say, but you’ve got to have faith in God to be able to handle the ups and the downs because usually there are going to be more downs.”