Faithful God

Below is the article I submitted for publication at The News Tribune (Tacoma) for Sunday. To God be the glory!


Do you remember what life was like one year ago today? Businesses were open at full capacity. Students were learning in a physical classroom and not through a computer screen. We did not have to decide which face mask to wear today. Socially distancing from people was considered rude. Grandpa and grandma did not have to be isolated from the world. The toilet paper aisle in the grocery store was always fully stocked. And the word “pandemic” was associated with the Spanish Flu of 1918.

Just think, a year ago today we knew little about COVID-19 except that there something was out there making people sick. There were no pandemic restrictions and life was moving along smoothly. But within a couple weeks, everything changed as life seemed to come to a screeching halt. We may never be the same again, but maybe that is okay. Maybe things needed to change. But whatever the case, one thing is certain, God has been and always will be faithful.

As I look back on this past year, I see a God who continued to provide for His Church. I see a Church that adapted to circumstances, took advantages of opportunities, and continued to be the Church. I see a Church that was never shut down despite the narrative that the world tells. I see a God who has made us stronger. Many of you have been drawn closer to our Father in heaven. Many of you have developed a deeper faith in Him. Some have drifted away. Some are angry or questioning God. And many are even mocking Christians for continuing to cling to God amid this pandemic.

Yes, life has changed; it has changed a lot of things and people. Just like how 9/11 changed air travel forever, the COVID-19 pandemic will change how we interact with people and/or how we deal with the next virus that comes along. But never forget, through it all, God has been glorified, but that still does not mean we quit praying. Pray, pray, and pray some more that this pandemic ends. But more than that, pray, pray, and pray some more that people come to know God through Jesus Christ. That is why we are here and that is why God has been faithful. Nothing can stop God from advancing His will and purposes. Nothing can shut down the Church. Nothing can destroy the Body of Christ.

One year ago life was different, but that can be said about any time in history. Therefore we take the good with the bad and continue to praise God for His faithfulness. Hang in there! This world is indeed coming to an end, but God’s Kingdom lasts forever. Cling to the truth, that promise, that certainty. And in one year, let’s chat about this again and see where we are. To God be the glory, always and forever, Amen.

Morning Prayer ~ Turning My Eyes

Father God,
I turn my eyes upon You this morning;
seeking You.
I long to see Your face that I may not sin –
defiling this temple,
this jar of clay.
I long to know You better that I may not stray –
seeking after other gods,
placing my hope in them.
I long to be held by You and feel Your embrace –
knowing I am secure,
being at total peace.

O God,
Surround me.
Hem me in.
Guard me.
Protect me.
The Evil One seeks my demise and I am weary of fighting.
Fight for me.
Strike him with a devastating blow.
Glorify Your name in victory.

O God,
I praise You that the ultimate battle has been won –
the battle over sin and death,
the battle for me.
I praise You that Jesus is Lord, my Savior –
that he took my sins to the grave
and You forgive me.
I praise You that through him I will wear the crown of life.
O God,
You are mighty –
mighty in love,
might in mercy,
mighty to save.

Father God,
I turn my eyes to You this morning
and always.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Your Perfect Word

Holy God,
Your Word is mighty to save.
Your Word never fails.
Your Word is powerful;
it kills and it gives New Life.
O God,
Your Word is perfect and alive and thus there is nothing we can do to improve it.
Yet,
many try.
They tinker and distort the Word;
making it something that it is not.
They turn it into a lifeless word;
useless for salvation.
O God,
may we as a Church be faithful with the Word;
proclaiming it in all its truth and purity.
May we always take heart and trust the power of Your Word;
rejoicing in the fact that the results of the Word are squarely in
Your mighty hands,
because it is about
Your glory.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen

Worship Prayers ~ Those Who Are Homeless

As temperatures dip and snow falls,
I remember before You,
O God,
those who have no homes –
Precious ones of Your creation who are forced to scramble to find shelter and warmth.
O God, have mercy.
Send resources and people into their lives.
But,
may weather not be the only reason I remember those who are homeless,
rather,
may they always be on my heart,
leading me to search for ways to show mercy and compassion
in practical ways.
May I never turn a blind eye or a deaf ear.
May I never dismiss them as someone else’s problem.
May I never judge them as lazy, irresponsible or as troublemakers.
O God,
transform my heart that I may have a heart for
PEOPLE,
who happen to find themselves homeless.
Transform my heart to love and care
for Your children.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Hear My Prayer

Father God,
Lord of heaven and earth,
King of all creation,
Redeemer and Sustainer,
I praise Your great name.
You are worthy of all worship and then infinitely more.
Your great name is holy and therefore I seek honor it.
Your majesty is awesome, it leaves me speechless.
You reign on high and know every last star,
every grain of sand,
and every hair on my head.
You know all of this and yet You know the desires, joys and sorrows of my heart,
and not only know them
but deeply care about every last one.
O God,
I give You thanks and come before You with my prayer,
knowing that You hear me and give according to Your perfect and holy will.
You give me daily bread
and sustain me for Your glory.
And so here I am, O God in the name of Jesus.
Lord in You mercy,
Hear my prayer…

Worship Prayers ~ Your Church

Creator God,
through Your Holy Spirit
You knit Your people together,
and thus I take great comfort that Jesus is the head of the Church
and not sinful people.
You raise up leaders and provide for the Church
that we may glorify You in this dark world.
No one person is indispensable.
No one person carries the Body of believers on their own.
It is You and only You.
And since this is true,
create in Your Church a greater faith and confidence that,
though things may change over time,
You are always in control.
It is about Your will being done.
It is all about You.
O God,
hear my prayer in the name of Jesus my Lord and Savior,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Pandemic

Sovereign God,
so many people have been impacted by this ongoing pandemic.
Families are stressed.
People are out of work.
Small businesses are fighting to stay open.
Students are struggling with the uncertainties surrounding
school,
sports,
and extra-curricular activities.
All of this take a toll, not just on those individuals, but on all people.
O God,
bring healing and restoration to this world
on such a scale that people have no choice but
to attribute it to your mighty and gracious hand,
thus giving You the glory.
Give hope to the hopeless.
Give strength to the weak.
Give resources to the depleted.
Give healing to the broken.
Give Life to Your people.
O God, hear my prayer in the name of Jesus my Lord,
Amen.

Sunday Newspaper Article ~ Kindness and Honesty

The following is my Sunday article for The News Tribune (Tacoma). To God be the glory!


Has our culture become so unaccustomed to kindness and honesty that when we see or experience it, we have no idea how to respond or what to make of it? Allow me to share with you a case in point.

On Tuesday night my Dad called me to share a story about something he experienced recently. He went to a grocery store in Sun City West, AZ; one that he and my Mom frequent. There was an item on sale that he liked so he decided to get a couple of them along with a couple other items they needed – four items in total. The checkout person rang them up, my Dad paid for them and he went home. After arriving at home, he was looking at the receipt and noticed that only three of the items were rung up. This did not sit well with him. So, a couple days later he was back at that same grocery store, this time standing in line at Customer Service with that incomplete receipt. Normally people go to Customer Service to return/exchange an item or complain about something. I am sure there are other things but those seem to me to be the most popular. After standing in line for just over 30 minutes, my Dad handed his receipt to the gentleman behind the counter and explained the problem. The man looked confused at which time my Dad asked, “You haven’t seen this a whole lot, have you?” The man replied, “I have never seen this”. Soon, the man’s co-worker, came over and asked if there was a problem. My Dad proceeded to explain, again, the problem. The young lady also looked confused. The two customer service agents then proceeded to discuss this among themselves. The man behind the counter soon returned to my Dad and handed the receipt back saying, “Thank you for your honesty, but we don’t know how to handle this so here you go. You can go home.” A little dumbfounded, my Dad left. They would not take his money.

I thanked my Dad for the story but later started thinking about it and I became troubled. Was it really that hard to ring that item up and collect that money from my Dad? Really, they have never seen this kind of honesty before? I see a lot of unkindness across social media and in the news as they portray the dealings with our government. It appears kindness and honesty are just words we throw around and lecture people about, but when it comes to actually putting those words into practice, people are confused when they see it. What if kindness and honesty was not rare? As a follower of Jesus there are times I drop the ball on showing kindness. That receipt of my Dad’s? That has happened to me and I did not return to the store. God, help me be more like Jesus. Help me show kindness and honesty in all situations, so much so, that a ripple effect is started that makes kindness and honest no longer a rare sight. Oh God, help me to glorify you, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Redeemed

Father God,
You have redeemed me through the blood of the Lamb,
Jesus Christ Your dear Son.
You have set me free from the grip of sin and death.
You have given me the hope of the resurrection unto eternal life.
And thus,
You have given me a new story.
The old one has been done away with – crucified with the old Adam.
I have much in which to be thankful.
May this story be the one I joyfully live and share.
May it radiate from my very pores.
May it ooze out of every nook and cranny of my life,
so much so,
that people may see You in my good works, words and deeds
and give glory to You through Christ Jesus my Lord.
May the hope You have given me continue to draw me closer and closer to You;
transforming me more and more
into the likeness of Your dear Son;
my Savior.
O God,
hear my prayer in the name of Jesus,
Amen.

Never Done

Good morning and Happy New Year 🙂

It is that time – my Sunday article for The News Tribune (Tacoma) is due to be published this morning, so that is what you will see below. To God be the glory!


Merry 10th day of Christmas (on this 3rd day of January) and Happy New Year. I hope and pray that you had a wonderful Christmas, even amid this pandemic, and I also hope and pray that your 2021 will be filled with joy and peace; a joy and peace that only comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. But let us get back to Christmas, because it is still Christmas, at least for my family and me.

On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me — I am just kidding — I am not going to sing. On the 4th day of Christmas (December 28) my wife and I finally got the kids away from their toys and went for a drive to look at Christmas lights. Normally at this time, we are in the Midwest and in Arizona celebrating Christmas with our families. This year, due to the pandemic, we had to stay home but decided we would make the most of it. Our HOA and many neighborhoods around us had such wonderful Christmas light displays. So, during the time before Christmas, we spent many nights going for family walks to enjoy the lights. Now we thought we could enjoy these lights even longer.

As we toured our HOA we quickly noticed how dark it looked. Many homes had already taken down their lights or just did not turn them on. Some houses that had a Christmas tree prominently displayed in their front window had taken those down as well. We continued driving and only found a small sampling of Christmas lights. We went to another neighborhood and found the same thing. Some of our favorite displays were gone for the year. It almost felt like someone was trying to rip Christmas from our hands. For us, the festive lights were a reprieve from our pandemic-filled world. Now, it felt like darkness was trying to regain its grip. I did not like the feeling and neither did my wife. When we returned home, we noticed that half of our lights on our house were not on. “What is going on?” we thought. Thankfully, it was an easy fix and now our home is lit up again, and it will stay lit up through January 5 (the 12th day of Christmas).

Yes, the day on our calendars labeled “Christmas Day” has now passed, but Christmas is never done. The promises are not something you pack away. The light that came on that first Christmas cannot be extinguished. And more importantly, the darkness will never, ever regain its grip, for the light of the world, Jesus, has defeated the darkness and reigns on high.

Yes, the day will come when I will turn off my lights and pack them away. Our tree will come down and the decorations will be neatly stowed in their tubs. But Jesus lives and so will I. Jesus lives, and so you can too. Christmas is not over. It is never, ever over. So, I am keeping the Christmas lights on and the tree up, but more importantly I will cling to Jesus – lights or no lights. Merry Christmas, today and always. Amen.