He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15

I’ve said goodbye to my dear mother whom I will see in heaven along with all our loved ones who kept the faith. And now my work takes me to Uganda to minister with old friends there as we tell the Story in words and deeds. I won’t be posting to my blog for a couple of weeks, but your prayers would be so much appreciated.

A few years ago a friend and I stood with a group of fellow pilgrims in Israel at the site where Jesus is said to have given the Great Commission (above) to his disciples. In the 2000-plus years since that event, countless millions have heard the gospel from the countless disciples who have been obedient to their Lord. My contemporaries and I looked at each other and prayed that we also would be witnesses as we left this “mountain top” experience.

Yet I sometimes wonder about the extent of my personal obedience. How many have I touched as I go into my world? Yes, I try to seize opportunities to share Good News in a needy world, but still I wonder… And then I remember the words of Henri Nouwen: “The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world’s problems before the end of time but to remain faithful at any cost.”

And so, as I go to Uganda, I ask God to help me be faithful to preach and live out the gospel at all times and on all occasions.

Heavenly Father, it truly is a marvel that you have entrusted such a treasure to frail humanity. But with your power working through us, we want to share all your goodness and your love. Help us. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


Her children arise and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)

Her door was always open, and many were the visitors who came for encouragement, wisdom, consolation, or exhortation. Momo was up to it all because she lived continuously in the presence of her Lord. Her door and her heart were always open.

Life had not been easy, but in yielding to its testings and difficulties a compassionate, loving heart was molded that would hear any confession or any heartache and provide a benediction and a prayer for resolution. She equally shared joys and pointed us all to see a loving heavenly Father who always brought everything together for his glory and our ultimate good.

Throughout my brother Jack’s and my life growing up, our days began with Bible reading and prayer and ended the same way. Christianity was not only spoken, it was modeled. Our home was not blessed with perfection; its blessing was authenticity—a family wholeheartedly focused on doing and following God’s will. Sometimes failing; always being lifted up and carried forward.

Momo went to be with her Lord on Saturday morning, July 25, 2015. I had the privilege of being with her. What a godly heritage we now have to pass on to our children and grandchildren and their children. May Momo rest in peace and rise in glory.

Father, how blessed I am that you chose Momo to be my mother. Please help me to follow you as closely as she did and to be the blessing to my family and community as she was. I ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NIV)

Are you always rejoicing or do you sometimes find it difficult to follow through on Paul’s instructions? He doesn’t tell the Philippians to rejoice sometimes, but it’s always. And he repeated himself.

The rejoicing Paul speaks about is not emotionally oriented. Like everything else we receive from God, it comes from a much deeper place that knows satisfaction and contentment in Jesus. Dependence on emotions can make us fluctuate up and down with the change of circumstance. Rejoicing in the Lord is something that we can do no matter how we feel.

Just begin with thanksgiving. Think of God’s faithfulness in everyday life. Look around at his creation. Remember all the ways he has rescued you, even when you didn’t know you needed him. Thank him for the prayers he didn’t answer according to your short-sighted vision. Before long, you’ll begin to rejoice.

Father, in your presence is fullness of joy. Cause us to relish companionship with you and give us a heart of rejoicing. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Watchman Nee, church leader and Christian teacher in China in the 20th Century, had an interesting perspective on recreation. He encouraged his followers to participate in recreational activities that refreshed and renewed them so that they could better serve their Lord. He made a very clear distinction between recreation and entertainment. defines entertainment as “the act of entertaining; agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; amusement.” I am struck by the definitions diversion and amusement and think of how much time (and resources) we devote to diversions and amusements while failing to be re-created and renewed for the tasks to which we’re called.

I love to be entertained as much as anyone, but I wonder if we focused more on recreation, might we be less frustrated, less emotionally and physically exhausted, and experience less burnout? It’s certainly worth a try and makes a lot of sense. And it actually costs less…

Dear Lord, draw my mind to wholesome, healthy activities that renew rather than deplete me so that I can be an effective and joyful servant. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” II Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)

I once heard a preacher quote the above passage, and then he added, “But he will take from an old grouch.” That’s possibly true, but I believe the joy comes to the cheerful giver.

According to the Charity Aid Foundation, the United States is the most charitable country in the world across all three criteria measured—volunteering, helping strangers, and donating money. We live in a generous country and are encouraged on every side to give.

But there’s more to giving than just financial transactions. One of the most sacrificial gifts we can give is ourselves—our time, our talent, our compassion, our understanding. The list could go on. How frequently are you “surprised by joy” when someone sends you a handwritten note or calls for no reason than to chat? Think of how that brightens your day.

Let’s make a mental list of ways to reach out and give to others: an email note of cheer, a card to express love, a text with Emoticons to bring a smile, a flower from our garden. This could become a family project. Share the love. Share the joy. Share Jesus in deed.

Father, you call yourself Love. Your greatest expression of love was your precious Son Jesus whom you gave for our redemption. Open my heart to receive and pour out your love through touching a life today in your name. AMEN.


May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Have you ever heard the children’s nursery rhyme that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” This was first cited in 1862 and was an encouragement to ignore taunts and criticism intended to wound. That may be very well in a rhyme, but the truth is that words can hurt. Poet Will Carleton wrote, “Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead, but God himself can’t kill them when they’re said.”

Our words are expressions of the heart and the mind. As God’s children, we are called to let [our] conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt… We can use words of grace that bless the hearer and season them with salt to avoid corruption and to bring reasoning to the discussion. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we thought before we spoke and if we prayed that whatever came from our mouths would encourage or build up or in some way bless our hearers?

Father, begin with me. I want my tongue to be an instrument of blessing and not cursing. I yield my whole self to you to be your instrument of grace, truth, love, and peace. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

I had a wise pastor who regularly encouraged us to take advantage of the church library. “You can only read so many books in your lifetime,” he said. “So read the best books.” That set me to thinking. If I read a book a week, I will read 52 books in a year. One a month would be 12 in a year. Multiply that by the number of years in a life, and that really isn’t a lot of books.

Yes, I admit that I sometimes read light fiction for a break from intense living, but it’s not my regular reading fare. Why? I want to read the best books, and I have limited time for reading.

What, you may ask, is the best book? My all-time favorite is God’s Book, the Bible. Some of its stories are stranger than fiction; there’s history; biography; futuristic reading; poetry; and so on. Real people go through the same things we do, and when they turn to God, he rescues. But the Bible doesn’t sugar coat the real life stories of its heroes and heroines. It talks about real consequences to sin and real blessings to obedience. And it reassures us that we always have a Friend to help us in all experiences and who celebrates with us all the joys that life can bring.

Do you have a reading plan? You know the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” There are many Bible reading plans available, and there are so many blessings attached to the reading. Spiritual growth is impossible without an intentional, regular devotion to reading the Word and living out its truths. An added benefit is that the Bible is the only book that guarantees good things following the reading.

Sure, I read other books besides the Bible, but I wouldn’t want to neglect it for any other reading. It’s brought me closer to the One I love most. If you don’t regularly take time to read God’s Word, make time. You’ll be glad you did.

Father, your Word heals, restores, brings lights, directs, encourages, reprimands, strengthens, informs, and the list could go on and on. Thank you for giving us this precious gift. Draw our hearts more and more to you and give us a renewed desire to read and study your Word. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

How many times have you heard or read the above words and yet crumble at the first sign that the hoped-for raise isn’t coming? Or that the proposal you expected is nowhere in sight? Or that the dream that seemed almost within your grasp has failed to materialize—again?

Could it be that what we call “disappointments” are really “his appointments”? That he has something even better that you had planned or expected? Look back at the times in your life when a door was closed, one that you’d really wanted to enter. Do you remember that later God presented an opportunity that you’d never imagined but that was definitely his doing and his gift? Stir up your memory to remember God’s faithfulness during those times you felt let down, when your plans didn’t materialize.

During times of disappointment, we need to do three things: remember God’s faithfulness, trust him, and wait. Disappointments are really excellent opportunities to simply WAIT to see God has coming. It’s going to be good because God is good. All the time.

Father, sometimes we bend and sway with the slightest breeze when you want us to grow into oaks of righteousness. Use our disappointments to turn our eyes and hearts to you in trust. We commit ourselves to waiting on you. In our Lord’s name. AMEN.


Did you hear the comments of any of the family members of those who died in Charleston? They were given the opportunity of speaking to the accused shooter at the bond hearing, and without exception, they said, “I forgive you.” One even went so far as to encourage the young defendant to turn to Jesus Christ and accept his forgiveness and salvation.

These were real people under real stress dealing with real loss. And when it was their turn to speak, they responded. They didn’t react. Their lives spoke volumes through the few words that each had to say. I forgive you. The same words they had heard Jesus say to them.

You know the analogy of the tea bag and the tea cup? You never know what’s inside until immersed in hot water. These Charlestonians, these Christians, showed us all—not just the accused—what was inside, and it was all Jesus. They were quoting Jesus and responding to what he had done for them.

They knew that to whom much is given, of him shall much be required. Can we, will we pass that test?

Father, wrap your arms of love around those precious people who’ve showed us your love and forgiveness. Comfort them and use their strong witness to grieving hearts around the world. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.