Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Holiday Is Over

John Podhoretz has an insightful comment on this morning's news:

The horrifying assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this
morning comes only one week before the Iowa caucuses and 12 days before New
Hampshire. It is a sobering and frightening reminder of the challenges and
threats and dangers posed to the United States by radical Islam, the nature of
the struggle being waged against the effort to extend democratic freedoms in the
Muslim world, and the awful possibility of a nuclear Pakistan overrun by
Islamofascists. This is what the next president will be compelled by
circumstance to spend a plurality of his or her time on. This is what really
matters, not the cross Mike Huckabee lit up behind his head in his Christmas ad.

American politics would dearly love to take a holiday from
history, just as it did in the 1990s. But our enemies are not going to allow us
to do so.

As John says, hopefully that holiday will come to a sudden halt. We remain at war because our enemies remain at war. We forget that at our peril, and only through deliberate ignorance bordering on pathological denial.

What a day to be proclaiming the wonderful message of the wonderful grace of God! Let's "get in the battle" for the truth and do our part--yea, go "beyond measure"--to get that message out to the masses about us. That's my New Year's wish!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our TV Is Back On ESPN

When we moved into our home in 1987 the local cable company offered to hook us up for free. With three boys, their offer of four sports channel made it an easy decision! Since the boys grew
into adult life, we seldom watch ESPN type channels. Thus it struck me this morning that the TV has been on ESPN almost continually since Saturday (with the exception of the Disney Channel and Nog/n when the smaller grandkids are in front of it).

That’s because our boys are back home.

All three with their families are here for the week. What a treat! They seemed to think that since I have become a cancer patient it would be a good idea. Whatever the motivation, I agree! Since becoming grandparents, Cynthia and I have often said that we should have skipped kids and gone straight to grandkids. They are everything you’ve ever heard they are. For sure they are God’s reward for not killing your own kids along the way!

We had family feasts on both Monday and Tuesday—Tuesday was a Jody’s home in Yorkville. Cynthia made her “to-kill-for” oyster dressing and we have been busy trying to pack a year into one week.

Rick is teaching for me tonight at Shorewood. I went to the doctor this morning only to discover that I now have shingles. I broke out with skin eruptions last Thursday and they are spreading over my back. Just something else to “enjoy” along the journey.

Frankly, cancer doesn’t seem such a frightening word with ESPN back on our TV. Sure, I still have a bit of hesitancy when I speak the word out loud. But I’m discovering that cancer is really weak. It can’t break love. It has only made stronger, more vibrant the love of my wife and my children and my grandchildren and my friends—and more real than ever the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.


Monday, December 24, 2007

"Only One More Sleep To Christmas"

Our friend Linda Nash sent an email reminder that there is "'Only one more sleep to Christmas' as the Muppet movie says in their 'Christmas Carol' personal favorite of the Dickens's story."

It really comes down to one simple fact: At Bethlehem a child was born who was God in human flesh. This is the central truth of the Christian faith—that God became a man. Everything else we believe derives from that essential truth--a fact we celebrate every day.

If you'd like to spend a bit of time in the Word, try John Verstegen's message What To Do About Christmas (HT to Charolette R.).


Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome New Readers

The current issue of The Grace Journal will have arrived in mail boxes about now and I want to welcome those who are visiting us for the first time. I put a note in the Journal and hoped you'd drop by. I would be happy to hear from you via the Comments, email or snail-mail. This isn't just a one way street!

Just a quick update on my ongoing physical battles: the radiation treatment for the cancer has taken more of a toll on my than I had anticipated. I just did a questionnaire for the study I'm in and it was interesting that of the five categories they were concerned about, I am only experiencing things in two of them. That means I'm doing lots better than I otherwise could have! Joy! I plan to be back on the road in January. The Florida conference is scheduled for January 11-13 and we look forward to a great time in the Word.

Thanks for all the kind notes and calls--and especially your prayerful interest. It is heartwarming for Cynthia and me. It seems that "virtual hugs" are great!

On the home front, we finally finished the remodeling of our downstairs living area, just in time for David and his family to arrive from Florida. Rick and his family come in on Sunday evening (they leave AZ after he preaches Sunday a.m.). So we will have a full house for the holidays. Not often we can get everyone together at one time! We will be having dinner on the 25th at Jody's house. Oyster dressing is naturally on the menu. Rick will teach at Shorewood on Wednesday evening.

The last weekend of the year we have a conference scheduled at Shorewood with Ted Fellows preaching for us. He and Sue will arrive before everyone has gone home, so its a good thing he doesn't take up much room! If you are in our area, come join us for a great weekend. It concludes with a Watchnight on the 31st. If you can't make it, join us via the Internet. Go to and follow the video prompt. It is real time, live and in color!


Alt. Ending to the Story

Keith Drury suggests some alternate endings to the story. Here is a slightly edited version:

1. A mom says no.
What if Mary had responded to the angel with, “No way. Not with me you won’t!”

2. A man gets a divorce.
What if Joseph had done what everyone else did—dump this girl who was pregnant-but-not-by-him?

3. A dad stays home.
What if Joseph had ducked his duty to enroll in the census so that an evil government would not get more money—besides, would God expect such a long journey with a wife 39 weeks pregnant?

4. A family skips church.
What if Joseph and Mary had skipped the temple visit so soon after childbirth—wouldn’t God be better served if they stayed under Herod’s radar?

5. Old saints keep quiet.
What if Anna and Simeon felt prompted to say something about a little child but suppressed their thoughts and kept their prayers to themselves?

6. Scholars continue to study.
What if the Wise Men had delayed action to continue studying—wouldn’t God expect them to be more thorough?

7. Workers go back to sleep.
What if the shepherds had applauded the angelic choir then rolled over and went back to sleep?

8. A Family doesn’t move.
What if Joseph had dismissed his crazy dream and stayed in Nazareth—certain it is a better place for Messiah than Egypt!

9. Scholars invite the king to worship.
What if the Wise Men did what they were told to—travel back to Jerusalem giving Herod the location where he could go worship the child?

10. A family stays put.
What if Joseph just stayed put in Egypt after Herod died—couldn’t the Savior of the world come from Egypt just as well as Israel?

Let this thought encourage you: Your life may seem rather mundane, but you never know what God will do through you. Who knows? You may be part of something much bigger than anything you can imagine! In fact, Col. 1:9-23, for example, demonstrates that “in Christ Jesus” you are!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Word of the Year

For dictionary (and current trend) lovers, Merrian-Webster has just released their annual Word of the Year winner. Selected by the vote of thousands of participants, the winner is….wOOt.

I know. I didn’t know it either, but there really is a word “wOOt” (note the double zeros, which is a tip off that it has its roots in the world of online computer gaming).

And what does it actually mean? Well, therein is the fascination: in computer-game-speak, it is an acronym for “We Owned the Other Team.” M-W has a bit more dictionary appropriate definition: They list it as an interjection “expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word yay.’” Ex.: wOOt! I won the contest!” Interestingly, they do not give a pronunciation!!

Second place went to facebook,” which is listed as a verb: “I facebooked Sid and posted a picture on his wall. He hasn't replied yet.” I also like blamestorm and sardoodledom.” In fact I knew the latter from being around 5 year kindergartners! But its hard to beat wOOt. Try it, you might like it!

P.S. None of the above words are in my spell-checker! Time to upgrade?


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Promotion To Glory!

Just to let you know that a fairly new GSB student, Bob Schuder, unexpectedly went to be with the Lord last night. He was in the hospital and just had a tonsillectomy, and apparently died during the night from complications or whatever. He was only 36 years old. I just spoke with him on the phone a couple months ago when he called so excited about receiving his first lessons.

I want to quote his statement of faith from his GSB application:

For years I thought I was saved through the Kingdom program of repentance and water baptism and "accepting Jesus into my heart." Then I read the manuscript of an end times novel given to me by Rita Bauschard and written by Deborah Kuzenski. I learned the truth about being saved by grace and faith alone and right division. I was so delighted, that I helped Deborah publish the book. Now my goal is to learn as much as possible from GSB and hopefully spread the message in Alaska.

In the face of "present sufferings" what a demonstration of the joy and rejocing of our hearts! And what a testimony to the importance of having a certainty of eternal life as a present possession!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Having a Rascally Day?

I received the following note and thought it might apply to those reading my blog also:

"One day God was looking down at earth and saw all the rascally behavior that was going on. So, He called one of His angels and sent him to earth for a time. When the angel returned, he told God, 'Yes, it is bad on earth: 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are behaving.'

God was not pleased with this so He decided to e-mail the 5% who were behaving to encourage them and to give them a little something to keep them going in the right direction.

Do you know what the e-mail said?


Okay, just wondering. I didn't get one either!"

I am ever so glad that I don't need to await a daily e-mail from God to tell me how I'm doing! He has already provided everything I need to know in His written Word, the Bible. And it is an overwhelming joy to know that He has provided so that it is available for me in my own language in the King James Bible! What a treasure; what a joy-divine; what a responsibility!

When you come to realize the complete acceptance we have in Christ Jesus and the total sufficiency of His revelation to us in His Word, life takes on new purpose and direction. No longer need I wander around seeking to "read" and "interpret" my circumstances or feelings or impressions so as to find God's will for my life. I already have all of that in complete form in my Bible. Now, I can simply give myself to understanding His Word (that's what right division is all about) and thus be "filled with a knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." That enables me to see my life, with all its varied situations and circumstances, for what it truly is: the stage upon which I can by faith apply His Word and will and thus "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work."

But, perhaps, you knew all that, didn't you!--because Colossians 1:9-10 already told you!! I just like to repeat it so I don't forget! Thanks for listening--and don't be looking for any e-mails for heaven, you simply don't need them. It's already all in the Book!


Pearl Harbor Day

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, a day to "live in infamy." It was our parent's generation's "911." It also resulted in what has become known as "the Greatest Generation" taking the field. Would that a similar generation were among us!

Today, Pearl Harbor Day reminds me of two things:

First, I'll turn 60 tomorrow! Hardly seems possible, but it is true. I can remember when 50 seemed over the hill. Hey, I can remember when 30 did too! But time changes all that. One's life is often broken up into 20 year brackets, with the 60-80(?) period labels with a title of eldership (or some such equivalent). It is true that your perspective changes--matures, you like to think--with the experience that the passing years provide. I taught Galatians 6:1 on a recent Sunday evening and one brother told me afterward, "I can't believe how much wisdom you have." I couldn't either! At least the perspective of experience gives a richness to the words on the page.

Several years ago a dear friend wrote to exhort me that I hadn't really suffered enough to appreciate the depth of the truths we proclaim. As I grow older, I remember that exhortation and find nothing but truth in it. How wonderful it is to not just grow older but to grow in grace and knowledge of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The other thing I am reminded about is water boarding. Now that is an odd topic, I realize, but is one I've intended to comment on. I have been struck by the recent hesitation to acknowledge water boarding to be what it in fact is: a ancient and time tested method of torture. Anyone familiar with the techniques of the Inquisition will recognize its use by the papists in their campaign to force recantations from those they branded heretics. I recognize there are political considerations that make some desire to hedge on this point, but its simply nonsense. Even if there were a justifiable reason to use it, water boarding is torture. Not to admit that is to play the fool.

The reason I mention this is that while having the seed implant procedure I was reminded how horrendous such a thing can be. No, I wasn't water boarded! No even close. The folks talking care of me were more than wonderful. BUT: while being prepared to be "put under," the doctor put a mask on my face. All of a sudden my anxiety level wentout the roof. The sensation of my sinuses filling was overwhelming; my lungs seemed to be totally useless. My reaction caused the attendants to immediately remove the mast, increase the dosage of the dream potion and in seconds I was wonderfully asleep. It was, however, an emotionally anchoring experience that has left me with the jitters every time I relive it.

My experience is only a very, very, very, very mild comparison to real water boarding (no matter what the actual technique used). But I can testify to the fact that it is torture, even if politicians will not admit it in order to cover their political assets.

I'm really not too concerned about the political mud slinging over this issue. But as a believer I'm aware that the potential in passages like II Timothy 1:8 and 2:3,4 is all too real. We have brothers and sisters around this planet who are daily subjected to real persecution--yes, torture--for their stand for the Saviour. The day is closer at hand that this will be true in our land. Water boarding has been used for that purpose before; it may be again.

My conviction has always been that we should be standing for Christ all along. That way when the time comes when we need to "take a stand" we will already be standing! Even if it means water boarding.


Friday, November 30, 2007

When Wisdom Speaks

The following is from Alex Kurz, my associate at Shorewood Bible Church, in answer to an inquiry about planned outreachs in December. One of our folks suggested we do some neighborhood caroling. Two weeks ago we asked those interested to meet after the morning service. A large group eagerly responded and will being doing this three weekends during December. We also have a Lady's Tea scheduled for the second weekend in December.

BUT: since Christmas is one of the religious holidays that we do not celebrate as an assembly, someone emailed Alex about why we were doing such a seemingly puzzling things. His answer is a classic response of both gentleness and insight—expressing the very heart of what our ministry is all about.

When I got the copy, I thought others should read it too. I think you’ll be happy you did:

Good questions to ask.

I don't believe we are
celebrating Christmas. Our goal is not to celebrate for 3
Sunday's. Rather, it as an opportunity to challenge people that are at
a more heightened level of interest. I am sure that the Ladies Fellowship
has no intention of celebrating Christmas but inviting lost women to hear the

We as an assembly are not caroling for or to
the church, nor are we celebrating the birth of Christ in
the assembly.We have no decorations, trees, or other religious plant
life setup in or around our building.

I do not believe that
what we seek to do for 3 Sundays on the streets of Rolling Meadows constitutes
the "observance of days" or "the esteeming of days." Paul is talking
about "yoke" type membership in the religious system for the purpose of
acceptance and sanctification with God. I don't believe anyone in our group
going out into the streets caroling does so for that purpose. We are not
trying to score points with God but to reach souls for

Personally, I do not believe the mark of true godliness or
faithfulness to the doctrine is measured by some sort of day observance or
lack thereof. Rather, as Paul teaches when referring to these
issues in the books of Romans and Galatians, love is the
core characteristic. A selfless, sacrificial charity toward one
another at the expense of one's own rights, liberties, feelings, and
possessions. In short, the mind of Christ.

Just my perspective. I
welcome any further thoughts.



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just For Fun: What's Your Accent?

Well, everything hasn't been all serious lately!

I recently was sent a fascinating web site called
What American Accent Do You Have? Try it and see for yourself.

My results? After all these years in the mid-west, fortunately its still the right one! The verdict:

"That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it."

Have fun!


To Catch Up A Bit

Cynthia is back home after a successful “girl-trip” to Alabama. By all reports they had a grand time. She was also able to be a part of helping her aunt Ida get relocated into a nursing home after a rather difficult illness. Now its back to the grind stone—and, of course, the joy of taking care of me (Prov. 18:22)!

She left Jody and me some of her delicious oyster dressing for Thanksgiving, which we dutifully enjoyed. He stayed here most of the time they were gone. It was nice having him around again. He obviously missed his girls. One of the joys of parenthood is to see your kids grow into good parents. Cynthia and I are three-times blessing in that regard.

For the most part I was able to spend a quiet time studying, answering mail and phone calls. I preached twice last Sunday to see if I my strength would hold up. I got through the messages fine—preaching actually makes a preacher feel better!—but Monday was a real downer. I realized that it was over doing it for the moment, so Alex will be doing Sunday evenings for the rest of the year.

I forgot that we had a special meeting scheduled for next Saturday when I cancelled my October and November preaching schedule. Art Johnson and the saints at Shorewood-South have been working hard to invite southside preachers to give a hearing to the grace message. They targeted over a hundred area preachers with mailings and phone calls offering answers for problems that only right division can solve. We have four sessions scheduled along with a free lunch and drawing for a full scholarship to Grace School of the Bible. All indications are for a good response.

I probably will not be able to do all four sessions, so Art will fill in if/when I run out of strength. This is one of those exciting experiences that you simply can’t duplicate! This assembly is a church plant from Shorewood Bible Church. It is in the heart of Chicago's African-American community and is without question a pace-setting black assembly for the grace movement. They have, by the way, already planted a daughter church of their own—which has also done the same! Our original goal was to have at least forty grace churches in the black community in Chicagoland. They are doing their part! Art’s personal friendship—along with his family—has long been very special to me. The saints of Shorewood-South are especially dear and their zeal “to make all men see” is a constant encouragement to my soul.

On the health front: I went to the doctor Monday. He was happy with where I am in the treatment process and indicates that my discomfort level is within the expected range, although on the high side. He said I am at the height of the radiation exposure this week and next week, so my career as a "glow stick" will never be brighter.

I want to again say a heartfelt thanks to so many that have sent cards and expressions of affection and good will. Three stacks over two feet high each sit on my table reminding me of all those who are “helping together by prayer for us.”


Monday, November 19, 2007

Home Alone

Well, I will be in the morning.

Cynthia, Heather and the grandkids are going to Mobile for Thanksgiving. I decided not to make the trip; Jody has to work. So it’s a girls outing. They will be staying at Cynthia’s parent’s home on Mobile Bay, always a relaxing time. We got a call yesterday that her aunt Ida was hospitalized, so she will be able to see and help her for a few days too. Otherwise it will be a family holiday time. Our grandkids don’t get to see their great-grandparents-aunts-uncles and cousins too often, so this trip has been planned for sometime.

I will not be going because my own physical condition has transitioned a bit; not necessarily in a positive way, yet. After the surgery, I had a few days of discomfort from the procedure itself along with a general sense of the “miseries”—sort of like a bad case of the flu along with a great deal of fatigue. Last Thursday I moved into much more “site specific” pain! I won’t say more than that, but you can perhaps get the idea. The fatigue continues but now the pain at times becomes acute, along with a frequency/urgency sensation that aggravates it. Enough of that!

We had a busy week last week. I finally was able to get the Journal to the printer; got six weeks of radio in the mail; answered dozens of letters and hundreds of emails. The office did a mass mailing for the Florida conference along the way too. I taught Sunday mornings and Wednesday night. I still haven’t felt up to doing both Sunday morning and evening—along with all afternoon meetings in between! Alex has done an outstanding job in my absence. Our attendance has also been very good. We actually hit a record last Sunday evening for attendance via the Internet! Also, Sunday evening three fellas showed up looking of me and itching for a fight. They didn’t like something I said on the radio that morning. In my absence they jumped on Alex! He successfully put them to flight, according to reports I received, and sent me word that I missed a good time.

I also started studying in earnest what I think will be our Wednesday evening studies in the new year. We just finished Luke—it took 7 years to the month! Now we are looking at a few carry over issues in early Acts (Acts is really Volume 2 of Luke’s account). I haven’t decided exactly what to do next and have received several suggestions. Our mid-week study is mainly attended by more advanced students and we have traditionally focused on the prophetic program during this time: I’ve taught Genesis, Daniel, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Hebrews thru Revelation on Wednesday evenings.

Some time ago I taught a series on the Messianic Psalms (after we finished II Corinthians and before we got into Galatians). While doing that I got to thinking how helpful it would be to teach through some of the chapters in the Old Testament that summarize the history of the nation Israel. (So much for those who say we never study anything but Paul’s epistles!!).

I started with a list of five chapters; before long it had expanded to 16! It is fascinating how many times the Holy Spirit has recorded a summarized history of God’s dealing with Israel; several of them are actually prophetic in nature, laying out that favored nation’s history in advance!

Needless to say, I’m having a grand time studying through the details of these chapters again. At the moment, I am thinking that we would study through Deut. 32 (Israel’s God given National Anthem), Psa. 78, Psa. 105, Psa. 106, Acts 7, Lev. 26, Lev. 23, and Rom. 9-11. But that would leave out Jer. 3, Ezek. 16, Neh. 9, Gen. 49, etc.!

When my wife is away I don’t sleep much or well. I have never been able to lie in bed when I’m awake; I would rather get up and do something. So, while the house is quite and the holidays draw people’s attention, I should have several days worth of time to give to uninterrupted study. I’m gona have a great time! Besides, I still can’t get too far from the facilities anyway!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

First Flurries

Yesterday we awoke to reports of the first sightings of snow flurries in our area. Not much; not everywhere; but enough to signal more to come. Winter is on the way!

I was also feeling better yesterday—at least, better than Monday! But then the devil is always in the details—which were finally spelled out for me after the implant procedure. It seems I’ll be rather restricted for the first two weeks; then they shared the nugget that the real symptoms from the implants begin to appear after 7-10 days and will last for at least two months!

For the technically inclined, I received 89 Cs-131 Isotopes with a per seed activity of 3.21 mCi. This equates to a total activity of 285.69 mCi with a measured exposure at three feet of 0.12 mR/hr. The half-life of the Cs-131 is 9.7 days and it should be inactive in a little over two months after the implantation. Energy: 29 KeV; total dose: 115Gy. The seeds are contained in titanium and are permanently in place.

One of the restrictions they gave me was for two weeks not to lift, push or pull over 10 pounds. This is so as not to dislodge the seeds until the prostate has time to heal and they are securely embedded. Well, that wasn’t hard to take since it allowed me to get out of some yard work that needed to be done this week! But: its was also easy to forget. So, Tuesday I “forgot” and wound up moving something that was far heavier. You guessed it. I almost immediately felt the strain and today have had a bit of a problem. After visiting the doctor’s office this morning, I decided (actually, Cynthia decided) I should rest again today.

While laid aside, I have been able to do some reading. Sunday evening I began the Robert Ludlum novel, The Bancroft Strategy. I finished it Tuesday afternoon. It turned out to be quite a morality play, as well as a page-turner of a thriller.

Tuesday evening I finished Cornel West’s Democracy Matters (I started it two weeks ago and got interrupted—its not “light reading”). West is, in my estimation, the leading black intellectual of our time. He describes himself as a committed “follower of Jesus,” but does so from what used to be called a Modernists viewpoint. Although not a Bible Believer, he is a steadfast believer in democracy and a penetrating thinker about culture from the philosophical view of Christianity. If you want to understand the reason the Black community (as a whole) views cultural things in fundamentally different terms from the White community, and what those differences really are—then you need to at least read West. I must confess that he makes me think, and keeps me balanced by reminding me I am not always right!

West’s critique on “Constantinian Christianity” and its use as a cover for imperialism, by itself makes this book worth the read. His treatment of the impact of Jazz is too!

Now I am on to Evangelism After Christendom, by Bryan Stone. This is a dissertation on reclaiming evangelism in what is termed our “post-modern/post-Christian” era. Beginning, as it does, with the declaration, “The church can no longer assume as it once did that the surrounding culture will assist in the task of producing Christians,” and moving on to the assertion that evangelism must encompass the “subversive activity” of the gospel, made me want to read this book!

Interestingly, he too has a section on “The Constantinian Story” of Christianity. This is, of course, a carefully crafted euphemism for Romanism—the institutionalizing of Christianity into an imperial religion.

Well, I guess that lets you know my mind is still working even if other parts of me are having problems. I just watched the midweek study from Shorewood via the internet. Alex did a grand job teaching on prayer; the connection was good. Interesting to see what folks are seeing when we are doing our thing!


Monday, November 5, 2007

Everything Is Fine

Everything is fine in Florida and Illinois. David's surgery was successfully; its was not perforated, so that was a plus. My doctors were happy with the way my implants went; I trust I will be, too, after a few days of recuperation! I came home with a bag of meds to take over the next two weeks, along with a list of restricted activities. Once again, when the docs say there'll be only "slight discomfort," they really mean its gona hurt like heck! Cynthia suggests if I'd experienced real pain, I wouldn't think its so bad. I countered that if she had a prostate she might reconsider. She's no doubt right; but I'm not giving in for a couple of more days!

Thanks again for all the cards, emails and phone calls filled with well wishes. Your are very dear to us and we rejoice in your fellowship. I'll be making like a glow stick for the next few months, but the good news is I wont be harmful to anyone near me. Just think, if I get a hug I might even light up for you!


Sunday, November 4, 2007

I've Been Upstaged!

We just got a call from Stacy telling us that David (our youngest son) has been admitted to the hospital with appendicitis! They will do surgery on him in the next hour or so. All I could say is that he couldn't stand me getting ahead of him! But emergency surgery is a bit much. They expect him to do well with the surgery, so that is encouraging. Stacy and the boys (Nathan, 3 and Bryant, 2) will be waiting on dad "hand and foot" as soon as they can get him home. (Hint, hint!!)

I also talked to Brother Ray Watson (of Maryville, TN) this afternoon. Ray has been in the hospital for several days for tests to locate the cause of headaches and other pains. Seems they decided he has artery blockage that will need to be cleared in the near future. He is home at the moment and was able to preach this morning (preaching always makes a preacher feel better!). Pray for Ray and Betty--they're a team we need to keep on the battlefield.

By the way, we had a great service this morning at Shorewood. Almost every seat was filled and the children's ministry was overflowing. Alex will teach this evening. I'm going to watch via video--unless I'm "indisposed" by then!

The Day Before

Today is the day before I have the implant surgery. I have quite an unpleasant set of instructions for this afternoon, evening and early morning tomorrow. The only things I can eat until after the surgery either is clear liquid or something designed to make things come out of me! At least I’ll be able to do these things to myself!

Brother Mel always says, “If it tastes good, spit it out!” Well, everything I’m taking in today must be REALLY GOOD for me.

I do want to again say special thanks for so many friends who have sent cards and expressions of well wishes. To have so many have you on their heart and in their prayers is a humbling experience. This is especially true when it encompasses such a personal issue. When people pray for me and the ministry of the Word we carry on, I know it is really an expression of thanks for what the Lord is doing in and through our labors. It is touching beyond words to have, in my present situation, folks praying for me simply out of personal concern. I am (and continue to) learning to accept this, too, as from the Lord. As I mentioned in the study “Don’t Waste Your Cancer,” one thing not to miss is the opportunity to accept love from others who give it out of genuine hearts. Thanks--from my heart.

I report to the clinic at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow. They tell me I’ll be home (Cynthia will be there, of course, to drive me) by mid to late afternoon. My doctors told me to expect “only minor discomfort.” BUT: he told me that on two previous occasions and it turned out that both times I hurt like #%$@&^% (yea, go ahead a fill in the blank!!) for three or four days. So, since he hasn’t personally had this procedure done on him, I ain’t believing nothin’ he says on the “comfort” front. I talked to a friend yesterday who had this procedure 6 or 7 years ago. He reported he felt poorly for sometime. We’ll see how it goes.

One thing for sure: I will not be slackening the pace of our ministry. Although I have taken a bit of a breather during October and November, I’ll be back on the road in January 2008. Also, I only plan on being out of the Shorewood pulpit Sunday evening and Wednesday. I’ve already prepared radio through the end of November and will be resuming TV taping the first week in December. The latest Grace Journal went to the printer this week.

That about gets you up to date. I’ve been answering questions about what and why I am following the course I’m taking. Suffice it to say I’ve researched multiple ways of dealing with prostate cancer. What I am doing is my best judgment for my situation. The natural/nutritional path I’ve been following for sometime will continue and, in fact, I’ve already begun to expand on it. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and our Creator has placed within our make up a marvelous capacity to heal. I’m doing all I can to enhance that capacity.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Yea, I Caught It Too

After posting the previous article I noted that the clock had turned up the next day before I got it on line. Just shows ya that I work late!

November 1 is, on the religious calendar, All Saints Day. Reformation Day is October 31. Just so you have something more appropriate for today, here is a link to the words and music to a grand old hymn, For All the Saints. Make sure you have your speakers turned on so you can hear the soaring melody that goes with this triumphant hymn. We rarely sing this hymn–in fact, I can’t remember the last time we sang it in a service, but it stirs the soul. A hymn like this is a good reason to not throw away those old hymnbooks!

One verse that I especially like:

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!


A Day To Remember

On October 31, 1517 an obscure monk named Martin Luther, desiring to spark theological discussion over the medieval practice of selling indulgences, nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That happened exactly 490 years ago. The spark he set off ignited a flame that spread across Europe and launched the Protestant Reformation. By challenging the church’s authority and its doctrine, Luther reclaimed for Christianity the central doctrine of salvation–justification by faith alone. Here is his own testimony:

I greatly longed to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and nothing
stood in the way but that one expression, ‘the justice of God,’ because I took
it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the
unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God
as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would
assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and
murmured against him.

Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what he
meant. Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice
of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith’ [Rom. 1:17].
Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through
grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to
be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of
Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas the ‘justice of God’ had filled me
with hate, now it became to me inexpressively sweet in greater love. This
passage of Paul became to me a gate of heaven….”

Later he wrote the hymn that came to be the “battle-cry of the Reformation,” A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. (Click on one of the links after the word “Listen” at the top of the page to hear a majestic version of this incomparable hymn). In his book on the history of gospel hymns, Ira Sankey (co-worker with D. L. Moody) tells the following story:

In 1720 a re­mark­a­ble re­viv­al be­gan in a town
in Mo­rav­ia. Jes­u­its op­posed it, and the meet­ings
were pro­hib­it­ed. Those who still as­sem­bled were seized
and im­pris­oned in sta­bles and cel­lars. At Da­vid
Nitsch­mann’s house, where a hund­red and fif­ty per­sons
ga­thered, the po­lice broke in and seized the books. Not dis­mayed,
the con­gre­ga­tion struck up the stan­zas of Lu­ther’s
“And though this world, with devils filled,Should threaten to undo
us;We will not fear, for God hath willedHis truth to triumph through

Twenty heads of families were for this sent to jail, in­clud­ing
Nitsch­mann, who was treat­ed with spe­cial se­ver­i­ty.
He fin­al­ly es­caped, fled to the Mo­rav­i­ans at
Herrnhut, be­came a bi­shop, and af­ter­wards joined the
Wes­leys in 1735 in their ex­pe­di­tion to Sa­van­nah,

If Martin Luther had done nothing else but give us this hymn, we would still sing it and be forever in his debt. Those stirring final words put steel into the soul of every Christian because they remind us of what matters most:

Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

On this Reformation Day 2007, we pause to give thanks to God for Martin Luther and for the recovery of the gospel truth that we are declared righteous in the eyes of God solely on the basis of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in his bloody death and victorious resurrection. We are saved

By grace alone,

Through faith alone,

In Christ alone.

And because of this we are not alone. Amen!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Just a Quick Update

For those who have been emailing and calling to wish me well with the Brachytherapy, I wanted to let you know it has been rescheduled for Monday, November 5. Should have gotten this word out sooner, but with all the other things going on I forgot! Seems strange to say it, I suppose, but I don't think much about the cancer. Its not that I'm not duly concerned; its just that I'm not worried!

Yesterday a man (who himself faces a quite serious malady) commented to me that he was amazed that I seemed to have such peace. Yet it isn't amazing to me--it is exactly what I expected! Romans 15:13 has proven itself over and over in the past; it still says the same thing in the face of cancer:

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

The key is "in believing"--not so much in my believing, but in believing truth. If I were trusting error, it would never bring the joy and peace that truth brings. That's why understanding God's Word rightly divided is such a critical and practical matter.

The response to the messages God's Word In the Face of Cancer and Don't Waste Your Cancer! has been heartwarming. They are still available on the site. DVD's can also be ordered through or by calling (888)535-2300. I have already received several touching letters from folks who are being encouraged by the message of grace as they too face cancer. PTL!

Ok, enough of that: today I am finishing up the last few edits on the next Grace Journal. Should have it to the printer by Wednesday. I've also written over a dozen letters as well as answered 53 emails.

We had an outstanding day yesterday at Shorewood. I am amazed at the steady stream of new folks who are coming out--and the number who are staying with us! As our culture progresses into what is termed its "post-Christian" era (!!!) there is a genuine hunger for truth. A wonderful day to be doing the work of the ministry!

By the way, as we are going through Colossians 3 on Sunday mornings we are currently dealing with "Measuring Family Life Today" (Co. 3:18-4:1). I had a good opportunity to really "lay it on" the husbands yesterday from Col. 3:19. That particular verse contains instruction about the most dangerous element a husband faces in marriage: check it out!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Psalm 30:12

“To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

This is an excellent verse for all musicians, whether they are church pianists, organists, choir directors, song leaders, orchestra or band members, part of special singing groups, school music students, etc.; whether they participate in the “specials” within their own church or wherever they are given an opportunity to serve. Anywhere you play or sing, you should remember that when you receive glory for your talents and abilities, you must direct those praises to God Himself! “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee.”

Well meaning people will tell you that you did a good job; they will say that they were blessed by your music. This is fine if you make sure that your glory sings praises to the Lord your God. It doesn’t take long for musicians to develop a pride in their performances. People who really mean well can accidentally turn a humble musician into a prideful artist. It is truly up to the musician, however, to make sure their glory sings praise to the Lord, not to themselves.

This difficulty for a musician is very understandable. Musicians dedicate themselves to countless hours and years practicing, practicing and more practicing. They learn to live in a little musical bubble while working hard to get to whatever level of musicianship they attain. The flesh is just itching to let pride flow. It doesn’t take much for a musician to be pumped up and exalted! They work hard to “be a blessing” to others, they cannot forget that their glory is to sing praises to Him!

Note that the remainder of this verse says, “O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” It is truly a high honor and privilege to be able to give God the glory for your musical talent. Your playing and/or singing can easily be your worship to God!

Count it a blessing: not many folks have musical talent; not many ever took lessons and stayed with it; not many can sing or play an instrument; not many can read and understand the language of music. Just be sure to use whatever you have to His glory, not your own!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Servant Heart

I was looking at John 4:34 a few moments ago:

"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

What sustained and nourished our Lord during His earthly sojourn was simply to faithfully perform that which had been marked out for Him by His father. That reminds us that "it is only through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Something You Should Know: A Special Announcement

Last Sunday I announced to our local congregation (and those joining us via the internet) that I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’ve been watching my PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels the past four or five years, have had two biopsies, the last one was in June and came up positive.

Fortunately this has been caught at an early stage and the prognosis for successful treatment is good. I have had a battery of tests and the doctors have settled on surgically implanting a radiated pellet into the tumor, intending, of course, to kill the cancer cells. This procedure is scheduled for October 29.

For some time I have been making nutritional/natural based efforts to deal with this and will continue with these approaches. Cancer is a sly enemy, so we are seeking to cover all the bases, both to eliminate the immediate threat and militate against future reoccurrences.

Times like these demonstrate the “family” aspect of our work. I appreciate the outpouring of concern, prayers and support for me, for my family and for the ministry we share together. Two things I would like to emphasis in that regard:

First, lets make sure that every man over 50 gets a regular PSA test. Prostate cancer is a leading killer of men; it is far more dangerous when it manifests in your 50’s and it is most often successfully treated when caught early. So, get tested!

On a personally level, one of the greatest things you can do is to continue your support of our work both at Shorewood and Grace Impact Ministries. I expect to continue for the present with a full schedule of ministry and travel. Your partnership is a needed and heartfelt encouragement.

I have lived in the grip and proclaimed the riches of God’s wonderful grace for well over four decades, and this will be another opportunity to enjoy the sufficiency of that grace and the power of God’s Word to sustain and give victory in all things (II Cor. 4:7-18).

You can listen to my Sunday morning message on “God’s Word In the Face of Cancer” at the site. I’ll be in Oregon next week for the conference there but will be back at Shorewood on September 30 and will conclude that message then. I hope these studies will encourage and challenge you. From time to time, I’ll have more to say about life with cancer.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Touching Conclusion To A Tough Week

Last week was a whirlwind of activity. It began with a good day at Shorewood on Sunday. I finished a four part series on Music in the morning and continued with Galatians 5 in the evening. We had good attendance in all our services with meetings of various types taking place all afternoon. The beginning of the school year gets most folks back into life's "normal" routine.

By the way: our services are now videocast live over Using Media Player allows for full screened viewing—you can actually read the chalk board!—and include the whole service: music, announcements and all!

Monday I worked on radio and prepared for TV taping and the upcoming weekend conference. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Detroit doing TV. One special treat was an unexpected (but genuinely welcomed) opportunity to take a short boat ride down the Detroit River.

We traveled the striking Detroit River front as far south as the Ambassador Bridge, circled Belle Island and ventured out into the edge of Lake St. Claire. The weather was perfect, the water smooth and the fellowship with Greg (whose boat we were on), Leon (who arranged the trip) and Tom (who is always a gracious host while I’m there) was truly refreshing. I appreciated it more than I could say. I have a special love for the water and boating. Greg’s 30-foot Sea Ray was a perfect ride!!

When I arrived home Wednesday afternoon—about an hour late due to flight delays—I had a message that Lynn Syer had departed to be with Christ. She had been ill for several years, and although still a relatively young mother, her death was not unexpected. We were destined to have an exceptionally blessed memorial service—I’ll get to that in a moment.

That evening I taught Luke 24 and had an intense counseling session with a trouble couple. And then, finally, Cynthia and I were able to go home and say hello!

Thursday morning Allen and Teresa Leach arrived from Pennsylvania by train. We picked them up at Union station—after their train was delayed over an hour (proving that flying isn’t the only place delays occur)—had lunch at one of our favorite downtown places, Ed Debevic’s, and then made our way home to prepare for the trip to the Ridge Farm conference.

Did I mention that in the midst of all this we are remodeling our master bedroom and bath? The demolition is complete and our house is thus in general disarray. Finding our cloths, shoes—even toothbrush—has turned into a real challenge! Friday morning we were at several home supply stores trying to decide on fixtures, etc. for the project. In the afternoon we drove south to central Illinois.

The meeting at Ridge Farm Bible Church is the longest continuous running conference I participate in. I started going there in early 1980’s and have continued till now. It is always the weekend after Labor Day and folks come from a wide area to enjoy an in-depth weekend in the Word. Morris Chesnut has led this assembly from its beginning and it is good to see the fruit of his faithfulness to the Word rightly divided.

After the Saturday evening meeting we drove home in order to be at Shorewood on Sunday. I taught Colossians 3:17 in the morning and continued Galatians 5 in the evening, but it was the afternoon that held the real excitement.

After Lynn Syer’s home going, it was her 10-year-old son who called to give us the news. Neither Cynthia nor I were home Wednesday morning to take the call so he left a message on our answering machine: “Hello, this is John. I wanted to tell you that my mom when to heaven this morning at 9:33. We are alright. It’s hard, but I’m ok.”

Needless to say, that message melted our hearts!! When we meet on Sunday afternoon for the memorial service, it was touching to see an extra large host of friends gather to pay tribute to Lynn and offer encouragement to her husband, John, her children, Katie and Little John, and her siblings. I had the opportunity to share the gospel with great liberty and the crowd gave close attention. I closed by quoting Little John’s message on our answering machine. There weren’t many dry eyes at that point! Lynn’s memorial turned into a time of great rejoicing and a grand testimony to “life in Christ Jesus.”

Lynn was an endearing person, but mostly she was an enduring saint. Having suffered one devastating illness after another over the past 7+ years, she continued to rejoice in the Lord in spite of “present sufferings.” Just a few days before her death we had rejoiced together over Romans 8:18; she genuinely looked forward to the “glory that shall be revealed in us,” and was a living demonstration of the excellency of the power of God’s Word to strengthened us by His Spirit our inner man “unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.”

We closed the service with the gospel song,

Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know ‘thus saith the Lord!’

Amen! It’s times like these that make “the care of the church” a benediction rather than a burden.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Picture This!

Here is a group picture from the California camp. The messages will soon be on We heartily recommend them!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Getting Back To Work

Tuesday morning Rick stopped to gas up his van on the way to Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. Gas was $2.55.9 (that is, of course, really $2.56!!) per gallon for regular. After arriving at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, we stopped on the way home to get gas in Cynthia's car. Gas was $3.08.9 per gallon for regular! On our drive from Mesa to Idyllwild, California we saw gas prices range from $2.69 to 3.03. So, Chicago gas is still higher than even in southeastern California. Welcome to life in the "big city."

Today (Wednesday) was a "crash" day for us. Although we both had lots to do--a week's worth of mail, for example--Cynthia and I spent most of the day on slow mode. Alex taught the evening study at Shorewood and we simply enjoyed his teaching and the fellowship of the saints.

That reminds me to tell you that we now have our own audio/video link to broadcast our services live on our website. Simply go to and click on the link. It is only active during the times of our services, of course. We have already begun to experience a growing audience this way. We will also keep our PalTalk room open for the services for those using that venue. It is amazing the way the internet is opening doors for the spread of the grace message.

I also want to send a shout out to Nick Markosian for helping me get the name of their assembly correct. It is Southwest Bible Fellowship--not Southwest Grace Fellowship, as I mistakenly stated. Their web site is worth checking out: Thanks, Nick!


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Since it was such an unusually cool day in Mesa today, I've been taking credit for bringing the nice weather. Hey, I'll take what I can get!

Cynthia and I will be flying back to Chicago in the morning. We had an outstanding camp in California. The trip over consisted of a four car caravan and a 6+ hour drive, but in the van with grandkids it was loads of fun (at least while they slept the first two hours!). The only hitch was the winding road up into the San Jacinto mountains above Palm Springs. The camp is at aprox. 6,000 feet so it was both a beautiful and stomach-churning drive for those on the back seat. We made it, however, and by the time for the first meeting we already had a larger than expected crowd. In fact, more than twice as many joined us as last year. Several folks brought friends they are introducing to the message of grace; numbers of "old timers" were back; and the young people were in abundance.

One new couple asked me to explain the right division wall chart a bit more thoroughly after the first session. He said, "The first time I ever heard anything like this was at John's church a few months ago. I've been hungry to learn more ever since. That's why I came." He didn't go away disappointed. In fact, by the end of the week he was a full participant in the program.

John and Rick did great jobs in the morning session--their messages were clear and yet profound, as they dealt with our completeness in Christ and the rest it brings into our daily lives. You will want to listen to the studies which will soon be up on John's site. The evening studies were also well received, for which I am grateful. That site will also have some pictures of the camp activities--at least the ones that are fit for public consumption.

One thing that these trips do is provide an opportunity for rich eating experiences. Camp food was better than expected (the really skinny cook has retired!). On our trip home we made a special stop in Banning at the Farm House Restaurant for a wonderful "home-style" meal. This is a favorite of Dave and Lisa Gerhart and we were delighted they invited us to experience it with them.

This evening, back in Mesa, Cynthia and I took Rick, Linda and the grandkids to my wife's favorite Mesa restaurant, the Landmark. Rick and I had lunch with Doug Blaheta at Rick and Doug's favorite BBQ spot; and it was great. But supper was very special, all the more so as a family outing. Everyone knows I like cloth napkins and real china and silverware. Cynthia likes nice (make that elegant) settings. Landmark has both, along with excellent food. We have eaten well all week!

So tomorrow we return home. There is much work waiting to be done. I checked email yesterday and only had 408 for the time I was out of touch. I've answered over half of them already, so was busy some today. The rest will be waiting when we get home. There were some genuinely touching responses to the rightly divided Word that I'll try to share with you soon. Two of the brothers out here also are helping get our new school website going, so we've also worked on that some.

Anyway, this catches you up a bit on what has been transpiring, so you can "know our affairs." I also wanted to send a shout-out to Tony S. He was at camp and told me he checks my blog regularly to see what is going one. He represents a growing number of folks that tell me they are reading this. I hope to soon make a way for you to register on a "friends" page so I'll know who to shout at!


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

California Here We Come

We flew to Phoenix this morning to return three of our grandchildren to their parents. It has been a delight to have them with us the past few weeks--first at the conference and then at home for a time of fun. They are growing up so fast! But we needed to get them home before grandma spent all our savings showing them a good time.

One delightful piece of info: Rick tells me that they are perhaps a week away from securing their own location for Southwest Grace Fellowship. One of the men in the church is trying to purchase a property and if the deal goes thru, the assembly will be able to aquire part of it for a permanent facility all their own. If it works out, both the location and venue will be great. PTL!

We will all drive to California tomorrow. Camp starts tomorrow evening. I'll be speaking on "Finding Rest In a Restless World." There are certainly many things to be jittery about these days. Rest, however, is not conditioned on circumstances but rather is grounded on our idenity in Christ Jesus. Gal. 2:20 is the secret. I'll be teaching thru II Thess. 2:13-17, with special attention to Paul's prayer in verses 16 and 17. Why not read it for yourself!

The rest of the week I'll be doing a series on "The Faith of Christ." I've found that everytime I have had opportunity to teach this topic it has resulted in great blessing. The fact that Jesus Christ was the God-Man makes Him the unique person of the universe! While His incarnation did not in anyway lessen the fact that He was and is the Second Person of the Godhead, it did add something never before imaginable: God Himself was "made flesh, and dwelt among us." He was also truly "the man Christ Jesus," as Paul says.

The term "the faith of Christ" is a Pauline term and refers to the fact that as "the Man" our Lord lived His life in the flesh in exactly the manner in which God intends man to live--in total dependence on the will and word of the Father. No wonder Paul exhorts, "let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus"!

I'll be going over new material--or at least approaching the subject from a new angle, so I'm looking forward to what I have to say! Give them a week or two and then check out and I'll bet they have all the camp studies available for download.

We are expecting a good turn out for camp. Do pray for this important week. John Verstegen and the saint at Berean Bible Ministries do a wonderful job and are making a real impact on the "left coast" for the message of grace.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life After Conference Time

We just concluded our Summer Family Bible Conference. This year we met on the campus of Wheaton College, one of our nation’s oldest Christian colleges. The city of Wheaton, Illinois was founded in 1859; Wheaton College was established in 1860. This probably explains why the campus covers half of “downtown.” It is an ultra modern facility and provided an outstanding venue for the conference.

The preaching and teaching were amazing. It is a benediction to my heart to see so many brethren delivering the rightly divided Word with such clarity and power. This is largely the fruit of the commitment of Grace School of the Bible to following the Pauline Design for Edification and as well as his Ministry Model. Men who have been with us “from the beginning” and men who were speaking for the first time demonstrated that a grasp of the message of grace brings insight and unction to the ministry of the Word. We had over 30 speakers and still didn’t have everyone on the program. A genuine “high grade” problem!

We had our usual house full of before-and-after conference guests. Cynthia is especially “given to hospitality,” and everyone is always well taken care of. It’s a joy to be able to enjoy the fellowship in a relaxed setting. We enjoyed the Baxter and Strydom families. Their kids are growing up and have numerous friends in our Shorewood Bible Church family, so it was a really active time. Our after-conference-picnic was an opportunity to unwind with workers and out of town folks who were staying over for a day or so. The Townsends from New Zealand were a special hit, as was Susi from Switzerland. We tried our best to teach them to speak "american," but that's still a work in progress!

Cynthia and I also brought home from the conference a very special treat: our three Arizona grandchildren. Rick and Danielle (11 year old twins) and Emily (9 years old) will be with us until we all fly to the California conference the end of the month. It is a treat to have them for a couple of weeks. I don’t get to see them too often (Grandma usually goes out there several times a year), and it is a delight to see how they are growing up. It has certainly made an active (and noisy!) time for us!

Yesterday Cynthia got the Tape of the Month ready and into the mail—usually a three-day job, she managed it in one day! (Did I mention that she works harder than anyone I know?) Today I did radio for our Chicago broadcast and prepared my studies for the California conference. Tomorrow I’ll get the school programs ready and in the mail. It is a genuine privilege to broadcast over these stations. The Chicago station alone covers over 9 million people—twice as many people as are in the whole of our home state of Alabama! They don’t all listen, of course, but the potential audience is tremendous. We have folks visit our meetings almost weekly from the WYLL (AM1160) broadcasts—in fact, last night two men came to visit who started listening “by accident” (they were taping the program before ours and accidentally taped ours too) and now rejoice in the riches of God’s grace to us in Christ!

Well, this is enough to let you know I’m still in the game—still pressing toward the mark. My blogging hasn’t been too regular; life has been full of things we could have been talking about; I won’t promise to do better—so I don’t set myself up for failure! But I do appreciate you stopping by and hope you’ll come back soon. I’ll try to, too.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Off To The Smoky Mountains

Cynthia and I will be leaving tomorrow--actually later today--for the conference in Pigeon Forge, TN. We have been working overtime to get ready to leave. Today I had to get radio done for two weeks for the Chicago station. The school network--15 stations for The Riches of Grace and 3 for Daily Bible Time--is already done through the first week in April. Cynthia got the Tape of the Month tapes in the mail this week--a daunting job of making hundreds of DVDs, Cd's, VHS and cassette tapes, packaging them and getting them to the Post Office. Right now she is finishing up letters I wrote today--she also functions as secretary. If she got paid she would deserve a raise!!

A close friend's dad died last weekend, so we attended the visitation Monday evening. Sad time. The funeral the next day was even worse. Her family is Roman Catholic. A "Deacon" came to the visitation to do his thing. No Bible; no hope; just empty words with no meaning. The funeral mass was very traditional, probably because it was an Italian family. Even less hope there. It was amazing, as a grace believer who is used to funerals being a time of rejoicing and celebration, to witness again first hand the emptiness of external religion.

This was my second Roman Catholic funeral in the last month. The former was for the sister of a good friend who died far too young of cancer. Her fourth grade son's school class made up the choir for the service. The most interesting thing that day was watching the fourth grade boys lining up get their drink of the communion wine! It was humorous to watch several try to get in line more than once. The idea struck me that it would be illegal to give alcohol to minors. But then, this was a Roman Catholic church and Rome has never recognized the authority of the government over its activities. They consider their churches to be equal to foreign embassies, since the Pope claims both spiritual and political authority. At the second, more traditional mass only the priest and deacon got the wine. But they did make sure it was all consumed!

To witness people talking about the things of the Bible and yet being so blind to the truth of the gospel is astounding. It demonstrates the truth of II Cor. 4:3,4. The few folks I was able to engage in conversation were totally uninterested in pursuing the crunch questions: Do you know for sure where you will spend eternity? If you could know, would you like to know? Would you like to see what the Bible says about having all your sins forgiven, eternal life as a present possession and heaven as your home? I personally asked four different people those questions at the second funeral. Not one person was interested or thought it was something they wanted to pursue! Romans 10:3 was in evidence; Roman 10:4 was greatly needed!

I hope to blog a bit from Pigeon Forge. I'm still trying to strike a balance and get in the habit of posting regularly. Most of my time there will be spent either in the meetings or putting the finishing touches on the workbook for our upcoming Marriage Matters workshop scheduled for March 31. I have a new gaget to keep me in touch with the office via the internet. Just what I need--now I can't get away from work no matter where I go. Pray for the meetings. I'll be preaching each evening, Saturday through Thursday, then driving home Friday.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

I'm A Great Grandpa!

Spiritually, that is. It happened last week.

Several year's ago our assembly gave birth to a daughter, Shorewood Bible Church--South, under the leadership of Pastor Arthur Johnson. In 2005 they sent out Brother Michael McDaniel to establish Westside Grace Ministries in Oak Park. We jointly ordained Pastor McDaniel and rejoice in WGM as our spiritual grandchild.

Now WGM has given birth to child of its own--our great grandchild! Kelley Temple Bible Church has been established under the leadership of Pastor James Kelley. James can be heard over radio on WYLL (1160AM) on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. and over Big Gospel Express (1570AM) on Wednesdays and Fridays at 4:00 p.m. As he wrote to me, "Our ministries are focused on giving people hope for the future and help for today. Our emphasis is on Bible study. We want to help folks understand and enjoy the Bible!" He can be contacted at (773) 512-3495 or

When we started Grace School of the Bible, back in 1983, our hearts cry was, "Lord, give us some preachers!" That prayer has been answered. Over these past years we have not only graduated scores of fine men equipped to do the work of the ministry, these men have established over 100 grace churches across the United States. We also have students and graduates on every continent who are busy establishing grace works worldwide. We have seen a movement develop without the presence of any type of organization beyond that of the local church. No religious politics or professional church operators. Just grace believers committed to "the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery" (Rom. 16:25) from the King James Bible and doing the work of the ministry according to the Pauline model (Acts 14:21-23). We seek to preach the right message from the right Bible in the right spirit. It has been, and continues to be, a wonderfully "wild" ride!

After almost 25 years, we are moving into the "great grandchild" era. II Timothy 2:2 has been our ministry motto and we are humbled to see such wonderful fruit abounding to our Savior's glory. I'm a happy Great Grandpa, indeed!!


Phil. 1:21

"Yet Not I, but...."

Twice the Apostle Paul uses this phrase. In Galatians 2:20 he wrote:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

Once more Paul used “Yet not I, but…” when he wrote to the Corinthians:

“But by the grace of God I am what I am; and the grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Cor. 15:10).

These two expressions, “yet not I, but Christ” and “yet not I, but the grace of God,” describe the entire ministry of Paul. He magnified and exalted two things: Christ and the grace of God.

"In all things, in all his messages and personal testimony, an exaltation of Christ and complete effacement of self are the great leading marks. He made his boast in Christ. He magnified Christ and the grace of God, which had been bestowed upon him.

How little of this self-effacement we see today. How many exalt themselves, boast of their attainments, their service, their ministry, their converts, instead of glorying in an all-sufficient Savior and the all-sufficient grace of God. The “soli deo gloria,” to God alone be the glory, is often forgotten. In all our service for Him, of whatever nature it may be, may we magnify Christ and the grace of God and to seek His glory only."

My Cardinal Blogger Sin

I know that I have committed the cardinal blogger sin—failing to file regular, frequent posts. You come to see what is new and find things haven’t been updated in over a week. In this case, several weeks. Inexcusable! Even worse: you don’t have a reason to come back so often.

Ok. I have been busy. I’ve had numerous thoughts that would have made outstanding nuggets to share with you, I've even put some thoughts on papaer; but my schedule—and a bit of a computer problem along the way—kept me from getting things posted. I will try to do better. Can’t promise anything beyond that; but I will make a regular effort.

One thing I’ve done is acquire a Verizon Wireless internet connection. Now I can be online with my laptop anywhere I go. Since traveling seems to be my middle name, this should help.

So, ya’ll come back, ya hear! And do it regularly.


Phil. 1:21

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reports From Trip to India

Dan Gross, director of Rejoicing In Grace Ministries, is traveling in India during February teaching the message of grace. He is sending reports from the field as often as he can and they can be read here. Check back for updates daily. And don't forget to be praying for this mission outreach. See II Thess. 3:1,2 if you're wondering how to pray!

Also, we have received an email from a missionary partner in China with some thoughts about India. You can find it here.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A "How To" I Found Helpful

As we have been moving the Grace School of the Bible classes in to DVD format, this web site was extremely enlightening—especially for a non-techy like me.

HowTo Burn (almost) any video file to a playable DVD

Check it out for yourself.

Sex, Education and Religion

The recent bizarre behavior of space shuttle astronaut Lisa Nowak and the circus surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith demonstrate that at least two of the three god’s of American culture—sex and education—are thoroughly jejune of worth. Neither “rocket science” level education, a la Nowak, nor sex-based adulation, a la Smith, were antidotes to stupidity and depravity.

Interestingly, the media has demonstrated in its coverage of both events its own utter bankruptcy—to say nothing of its growing useless. Their obsessed fixation with the stories of two people who had basically no influence on our society needs to be contrasted with the fact it barely flinched at a Muslim gunman from Bosnia who killed 5 people in a Utah mall. This act of terrorism was mostly ignored, and that is a significant reason why we will likely suffer another 9-11 type attack. Our culture is too deep in celebrating plastic people to notice that it is falling apart.

And on the religion front, Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette reports:

The Roman Catholic Womenpriests Community ordained eight priests and four deacons yesterday in a ceremony on a riverboat plying Pittsburgh's three rivers. But the Catholic Church in which the women claim a role says that by participating in the ceremony they have excommunicated themselves.

This is the fourth such group ordained worldwide since 2002, and the first in the U.S. Although a clear violation of Roman Catholic canon law, Patricia Fresen, a bishop in Roman Catholic Womenpriests, compared their movement to the anti-apartheid movement. "I am utterly convinced that our ordinations are totally valid," she said. "Although they break [canon] law, we believe we are breaking an unjust law. I come from South Africa. We learned from Nelson Mandela and others that if a law is unjust, it must be changed. ... If you cannot change it, you must break it.”

These folks are, of course, trying to make a point for feminism and political correctness. Such actions mean very little to Bible believers. The following comments by R. L. Dabney on why Paul excluded women from preaching are good enough for me:

"Not one of [the reasons Paul gives for forbidding women to preach] is personal, local, or temporary. Nor does he say that woman must not preach in public because he regards her as less pious, less zealous, less eloquent, less learned, less brave, or less intellectual, than man.

"In the advocates of woman's right to this function there is a continual tendency to a confusion of thought, as though the apostle, when he says that woman must not do what man does, meant to disparage her sex. This is a sheer mistake. His reasoning will be searched in vain for any disparagement of the qualities and virtues of that sex; and we may at this place properly disclaim all such intention also.

"Woman is excluded from this masculine task of public preaching by Paul, not because she is inferior to man, but simply because her Maker has ordained for her another work which is incompatible with this.

"So he might have pronounced, as nature does, that she shall not sing bass, not because he thought the bass chords the more beautiful—perhaps he thought the pure alto of the feminine throat far the sweeter—but because her very constitution fits her for the latter part in the concert of human existence, and therefore unfits her for the other, the coarser and less melodious part." [Taken from "The Public Preaching of Women," in Discussions: Evangelical and Theological, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1967 reprint), 2:109-110.]



Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Two Super Sundays

Losers and Winners

“The town is deserted!” exclaimed Roy as he arrived for our Sunday evening meeting. Highways carried midnight level traffic, restaurants were deserted--Chicagoland is the nation’s largest football market and they were tuned in to their Bears as they played in Super Bowl XLI.

By game time it had already been a long day. Our two morning services (on the coldest weekend in almost two years) were great times of fellowship, study and encouragement. Afterward we had an “envelope stuffing party” and our monthly Grace School of the Bible student meeting.

By game time our “super Sunday” group had gathered around the big screen TV in the teen room. The food was abundant, spirits high; everything was ready. We had planned this primarily as a teen event, but it turned out that many others attended! We did have our evening Bible study (we never call off services!) and in the end it was disappointing that da Bears lost. But I couldn’t help but marvel at the specialness of the evening. Teens, young couples, families, mid-lifers, older saints, folks struggling with life’s problems, even a newly arrived puppy! all gathered to enjoy the time together: as saints; as family. These type social settings allow us to enjoy just who we are: the household of God!

The previous Sunday had also been a super Sunday as we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. We have come to enjoy this time of congregational communion in a very special way. Rather than having the usual Protestant form of service appended to a morning service—what someone has called “the Nazarene Nibble” and “the Lord’s Snack”—we have an actually “Lord’s supper,” that is, a fellowship meal that belongs to the Lord.

For more information about the doctrinal thinking behind this you can read my handout Rethinking The Lord’s Supper or listen to the message here. The point here is that it is a special time of congregational fellowship. We eat together but our table-talk is focused on what the Lord is doing in our lives. That Sunday our time together was very special as table after table shared how the Lord was working in their lives. The testimony time alone took over 90 minutes!

“I never knew that about you;” “We had never met before and it is great to be able to really get to know you;” “I made some new friends today and we already feel like we have known each other for years!” These type comments could be heard as we departed. You see, we share the same journey, the same life in Christ Jesus!

One of the grand privileges of the fellowship of the local church is to provide for the saints “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). There is always the danger of learning the truths of God’s Word but never moving to a level where you know the love of Christ in a way that goes beyond knowledge—where it takes root in you life and bears fruits that demonstrates wisdom, appreciation and a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to our position in Christ.

Learning experiences with the Lord that come through His Word prepare us to move into relational experiences with one another through “the fellowship of the gospel.” These in turn prepare us to “bring grace to life” and the world about us.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


It’s the food, stupid!

Ok, I know this isn’t a sports blog, but come on—it’s the Super Bowl and it’s da Bears!

My prediction? Well, they say defense wins games…so Da Bears. But, Peyton is an amazing superstar…so the Colts. Both teams have good running games; two good coaches…a wash. But we can’t forget the Man who rode into town on a colt….and then there’s the fact that Colts are much faster than Bears, but if a Bear can catch a Colt it may well have a tasty dinner—but how often do ya hear of people eating Bear meat?

So….I think the most reliable suggestion I have heard is that it really comes down to two things: uniforms and food.

Here it’s really easy: Da Bears! They’ll be wearing their dark blue jerseys with matching helmets. Very intimidating.

Then there is the food: again, Da Bears! What is Chicago known for? Deep-dish pizza, what else. Now ask yourself: What food is Indianapolis known for? As a nonresident but repeat visitor, my answer would have probably have been the Pork Tenderloin sandwich. (I take mine deep fried, overflowing the bun by a good inch all the way around, with fries and a Dr. Pepper.) A more research minded friend, however, did a Google search on it and the number one response was White Castle hamburgers. Now I must confess to having enjoyed a “slider” or two (or six), but can you really compare them with deep-dish pizza? It just doesn’t compute.

So, if you need a prediction for how the big game should come out: Da Bears. If that isn’t sound enough reasoning, you’ll just have to watch the game for yourself. By the way, we’ll be in church during that time. We are studying the Book of Galatians on Sunday evening. That’s the best food being served for that time slot.



Friday, February 2, 2007

Busyness and Blessing

There is an old warning about the “bareness of busyness.” Well, I have had a busy week or more, but it hasn’t been barren!

The recent Bible conference in Plant City, Florida was an outstanding time. We were in a new location this year, moving from the Orlando area to the Tampa area. The facility was the best venue we have had in the past two decades! We didn’t know how attendance would hold up with the new location, but it was fine.

The brethren in Florida continue to demonstrate the spiritual growth and maturity that grace edification brings. It continues to be a really bright spot for the message of grace. And these guys can really preach the Word! When the messages get up on the web, I’ll link to them so you can enjoy the good preaching. We had folks in attendance from a wide variety of states—for example, one couple came from Minnesota (they first learned about right division through our TV program on DirectTV). This would be a great meeting to make in ’08.

While in Florida, Cynthia and I stayed a couple extra days with David and Stacy to spend time with our youngest two grandchildren. Nathan (2 years old) and Bryant (1 year) are doing well, growing and developing their own personalities. Like their dad, their biggest problem is being kin to their father—whose lineage goes all the way back to Adam (Rom. 5:12). We are praying they will get saved at an early age.

I had the opportunity to plan golf with Larry, Tim and Hal on Monday. Larry and Tim are real golfers; Hal and I are sort of on the “duffer” side. But Hal has been practicing and he had the hole of the day. After a really big drive, he drove the green across a rather large pond and then made the put for birdie. I was glad I was riding in his cart! Larry was glad they weren’t wagering anything on the hole. That evening I spoke for Pastor Fred Bekemeyer at his Monday night Bible study. Had a great time finishing the study on Gideon.

I also had an opportunity to go boat riding out of Tampa on Tuesday. But—when my wife heard about it, she “suggested” I would rather spend the day with the boys. It was, naturally, a much better choice. That evening Fred Bekemeyer’s nephew Andrew, who works for the Orlando Magic, offered us tickets to the game against the Mavericks. Honestly, I hadn’t been to a basket ball game since my own sons graduated High school. For me, it is about as interesting as watching paint dry. We went anyway, figuring it was a “once in a lifetime” sort of thing. Fred, his brother Jonathan (another pastor friend I hadn’t seen in several year’s) and I watched the Mav’s really put a beating on the Magic, but I must confess that it was really interesting being there in person. I could easily become a regular….sort of scary. Anyway, I noticed on the news Thursday that the Mavericks played the Chicago Bulls Wednesday. The Bulls won.

At noon on Wednesday I spoke at the Community Bible Church’s noon Bible study. We got home Wednesday evening just before midnight. Thursday I did radio—our regular weekly program for Chicago, four more for the weekly school stations and ten for Daily Bible Time. That was a long day. We get hundreds of contacts each month from the radio and TV programs. A lady called while I was gone exclaiming how excited she was about learning the message of grace. She had given over $50,000 to her church while her own children were going without necessities, just so she could pay her tithe. Learning that she was free from such extortionary bondage had her so thrilled she could hardly contain herself as she talked to Debbie on the phone. Those are the blessings that make the long hours worthwhile.

We had the Lord’s Supper at church on Sunday. We have come to observe the Lord’s Table in a rather different and unique way. Rather than have a little service after the regular service, we actually have a meal together. I am going to post a brief study on this on our web site if you are interest in the doctrinal thinking behind this. You can also listen to the message explaining what we do entitled, “Rethinking The Lord’s Supper.” It has turned into a really wonderful time of fellowship for our congregation. Our attendance has been good, even when I am gone. With Alex preaching, it’s like folks don’t even notice I’m not there!

Anyway, that about catches up on last week. This week has been more catch up and pastoral duties. Lots of folks are sick lately; so many are hurting. I have long said that folks don’t come in the door whole. They come in broken, burdened, bruised and bewildered. But the gospel of grace and the Word rightly divided have the answer. God doesn’t want our perfection—if had wanted perfection, He would have stayed in heaven! He provides perfection for us in Christ Jesus. What He wants from us is our trust. It’s our faith, resting in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us, that releases the power of the life of Christ in us so it can live out through us for His glory. That’s the GraceLife!

By the way, I was especially encouraged to begin this blog through the influence of a friend in Florida, Pastor Glen Caneel. Glen is a graduate of Grace School of the Bible and is leading a genuinely forward-looking new church in Plantation, Florida. He has his own blog you should check out. Tell him I sent you!g

Oh, and I can’t forget: Go Bears!



Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today we begin the journey

Having thought about blogging for sometime, and reading other's efforts for even longer, I decided to "take action" finally and get started. One hesitation has been whether I really had anything to say; and is there actually anyone out there who cares to know, if I do. Well, at least my grandkids--the ones old enough to read, that is--should be interested. So, why not!

I learned to journal over a decade ago from my friend Oscar Woodall. Woody was ardent about journaling. I am not. But I have learned the value of doing so. Looking over my shoulder in what Woody termed "after-action reports" has become a valuable learning experience. I'll try and post some, not all, of these acquired thoughts as time goes on.

It would also be interesting to hear from readers. One thing that makes the "after-action report" a valuable thing is that it puts more/different eyes on the experience. So feel free to comment!

Also, as a teacher this space will naturally be used to "teach a little." I can't help it. It's in my blood. But I'm not going to post long studies--my other sites do plenty of that. Here I'll try to keep it a bit more personal.

Ok. That's a start. So as I hit the "enter posts" key for the first time, welcome.