Open the book, find the answers

Open book test

In 1998 I left my 17 year long food service career and began an apprenticeship to become a journeyman electrician. The apprenticeship was supposed to take 4 years. In order to take the electrical exam you need to prove that you have worked 8000 hours under the supervision of a journeyman electrician. By the year 2002 I had acquired 6000 of my needed 8000 hours. I got hired at a chemical plant that didn’t have a journeyman on site so the hours I worked didn’t count towards my apprenticeship. Finally in 2004 they hired a journeyman and in 2005 I had all the hours and training I needed to take the electrical exam. It was a grueling. It was an open book test. We could have 3 things with us, our code book, the Washington state regulation book and a calculator. It took 3 hours. The trick was not to know everything in the books, but to know where everything you needed to know was in the books.

I passed the test.

Since that day in 2005 I have had to continue to study my craft, and to stay current on the rules and regulations and the practices of my craft. My license needed to be renewed every 3 years and in those 3 years I have been required to obtain 24 hours of continuing education credits.

In a process that started in 2013, I was shuffled around in my job into a role that was no longer performing electrical work. By 2016 I was at a desk, creating process controls logic. I didn’t need my journeyman card anymore but I was determined to maintain it. I love doing electrical work. I seem to have a gift for it. I did maintain my card through renewal up to 2022.

My card expired on my birthday in 2022. I forgot to renew it. There is 90 days grace period. I realized I had forgotten to renew 180 days after it expired.

My only recourse now is to retake the test.

I don’t want to study for the test. I don’t want to sit through the 3 hour brain draining ordeal but if I want to continue in the electrical trade I need to have my license.

This morning at 3:20 am I was wrestling with my self loathing over forgetting to renew. I felt like God said to me. “Peter, all people on earth will soon take a test, you and and everyone else. It too is an open book test.”

We all are going to take an open book test. The book is the Bible.

As far as I know there are only 2 questions on that test.

The test has been presented to us by Jesus.

On that test question 1 is: who do you say that I am?

Question 2 is: I have told you to love your neighbor as yourself, tell me now, who is your neighbor?

It isn’t a career that is on the life here, it is eternity, and where we will spend it, with a loving heavenly father ? Or without Him? The answer to question one puts us in one of 2 groups. With God? Or without Him?

Question 2 is really an application of our answer to question 1. If we answer question 1 correctly, question 2 answers itself.

Who is Jesus to you?

Open the book to John chapter 14. The answer is in verses 1-6

Who is your neighbor?

Open the book to Luke chapter 10. The answer is in verses 25-37.

The test begins now.

Soon the timer will go off and all pencils will go down and only those who answered correctly will move on to our home with our Father.

Open the book. Find the answers.


From the inside out

No matter how good my shower head is ( and we have a doozy, a brand new $24.79 Walmart unit) a thorough cleaning of my outsides will not clean up my insides. Human hearts cannot be cleaned from the outside in. We must be cleansed from the inside out.

Matthew 15 starts out with Jesus telling us about this.

“15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[d] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

With humans we have this heart condition. It is deceitfully wicked. Kind of like a snowflake. The lovely pure white snowflake at its very center is a speck of dirt or dust. At our center, in our heart where we decide things, is a selfish center that we can’t fix or change ourselves. We are hopelessly imperfect. We need a heart change.

The problem with this selfish heart is that it keeps us separated from God. Jesus came to begin the heart change. First, his death and resurrection covers us with a perfection coating that restores our relationship with God. Then he begins to work on our heart. We get a new heart but our nature wants to go back to the “me first” selfishness and there will always be that struggle.

The word for this process is sanctification. It is The ongoing work of being conformed to the image of Jesus.

If we are following Jesus, if we have confessed him as Lord of our lives and believe he has been raised from the dead, then we can be sure that God the Holy Spirit is busy and active, dutifully Cleansing us from the inside out. The cleansing of our hearts is not always comfortable, scrubbing away a sin, cutting away or cutting off distractions and/or addiction but God is faithful to finish what he started in us. He will continue to change us and form us into the image of Jesus from the inside out.

EmPHAsis on the wrong syllABle.

EmPHAsis on the wrong syllABle.

I think I may be guilty of doing that.

I have been posting bible quotes and short studies and most if not all of them mention Jesus dying to pay for, or to forgive our sins. That is correct. He did die, he did rise again from the dead to be alive forever, our sin is forgiven but that isn’t the whole picture. I have said it but I have never emphasized the fact that the reason for Jesus’ death isn’t primarily for our forgiveness, the primary reason is so we can be restored to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We have to be forgiven to be in Gods presence but God doesn’t want us washed clean just so we can sparkle people with our brilliant white holy robes. He wants us to hang out with him.

As a dad I know how important it is for my kids to want to spend time with me. God is our Heavenly Father. God wants me to want hang out with him. He wants us to hang out with each other and with him.

I have done one other thing in these posts that I think I should correct. I have avoided using the word “you”. I felt like I was pointing ☝️ a preachers finger and so avoided it. We are all in the same boat. All sinners, every one of us. What I say of my condition is true of you and what I see in your condition is also true of me. I may begin to use you, I mean use “you”.

Speaking of boats, we have a boat, a boat story in Matthew 14.

“22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.”

Why did the savior walk across the lake?

To get to the other side!

We don’t have all the answers. We know what and who, we know where and when but we don’t know how or why. Jesus can walk on water. I don’t think he was showing off. He does show his divinity or at the very least his supernatural power over the elements in this act.

Then there’s Peter.

“If it’s you then call me over,” (????) He did it but then sank. Peter walked on water. Then he doubted and sank.

This Peter, me, I would’ve stayed in the boat. I have stayed in the “boat”, most of the time but sometimes Jesus will call us out of the “boat”, call me out of the “boat”, call you out of the “boat”. (The “boat” meaning the secure safe place in our life.) He will also catch us when we sink. Why? Because he loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.

Two questions for you.

  1. Have you accepted Jesus’ death as payment for your sins and Are you now experiencing experiencing our Father’s loving presence? You can, right now as you’re reading this, confess with your mouth that Jesus is now the boss of you and believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead. Say something like “Jesus I need you, I need you to forgive me, I need you to take control of my life, I believe that you died and rose again from the dead and that I am now welcomed by my Father in heaven. Thank you Jesus. I love you Jesus.”

If you just prayed that prayer from your heart, You are now in the family of God.

Question 2: If you are a believer, have you told anyone about this amazing Jesus who forgives sin and creates relationship with us and guides us through life with his word the Bible and his very own Holy Spirit? We live in a sick and dying world that will only know about Jesus if we tell them about him. Who can you tell your story to today?

Feeding the (spiritually) hungry

What would it be like to grow up without parents? I know that some children do. It would be so sad and lonely. So many things I learned from my parents just through example, just by being around them, honesty, working hard, love, how to care for people, how to respect the property of others, how to forgive, how to resolve conflict, how to worship God, how to know that there is a God, and on and on. I know about God because my parents told me. Not everyone gets that foundation.

( thank you mom and dad)

Matthew 14 has the story of the feeding of 5000 men, not counting women and children, with 5 loaves and 2 fish.

“13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

The thing that stuck out to me as I read it this time is that Jesus said, “you give them something to eat.”

The disciples would be shown that what they had was enough because God can multiply, he can make it enough.

Personally this story says that I don’t have to have it all figured out. Mary and I are moving out past our comfort zone and I don’t know what the month of May will hold for us. What will our address be? I don’t know. Can I trust that the God who has supplied all of my needs so far will continue to be my Father God and supply me? Probably. The God who feeds 5000+ with 5 loaves and 2 fish is still working miracles today.

There are many people who don’t know about this miracle working God. I think Jesus is saying to those of us who know Him “you give them something to eat, you give them something to believe in in, you tell them about me”.

If that scares you like it scares me, the overwhelming need for God on this planet, we should remember the miracle, he used what they had and made it fit the situation. I guess we should look at the need and then ask the God of miracles to provide so we can tell our story.

Just like there are orphans growing up without parents, there are spiritual orphans living life without knowing about our Loving, miracle working God. The biggest
miracle he has performed is forgiving all of our sin.

Forgiveness is available today to all who will ask.

Jesus, Who is he and why did he come here?

Jesus called himself many things. He said he was the gate, he was the good shepherd, the way the truth and the life, the vine, the son of man, the I am, among others.

Jesus said more than once that he came to save sinners. He dined with a tax collector named Zacheus and said this, ‘”For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

I spent the first 20 years of my life “knowing” I wasn’t good enough for God. I went through bouts of struggling to be good and then failing and falling and rolling around in my failure.

Then one day that all changed. Because of where and when it happened it had to be the Holy Spirit that broke through. I was in the back room of my parents restaurant, it was Sunday so we were closed. I was getting breakfast for my very pregnant new bride, ( honeymoon baby) and the verses from Ephesians 2 came to life in my head and my heart.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I couldn’t earn Gods love and mercy. I already had it through what Jesus had done dying for me on the cross. Salvation, Gods love, it is a gift and I cannot deserve it, we cannot deserve it. We just need to receive it.

As I began to study the Bible with fresh eyes I saw many other verses that confirmed what I saw in Ephesians.

One of my favorites is in Romans 5.

“6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

While we were still sinners Jesus died for us. He wasn’t waiting until we were good enough. He meets us where we are, in our sin and fallenness.

The blessings we can receive from God don’t stop with salvation. If God did not hold back his only son, what else will he give us so that we can succeed in telling the world about Him?

These verses from Romans 8 also confirm our salvation in Jesus and Gods gracious and generous heart towards us to share our story with the world.

“28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus called himself many different things, they all boil down to one thing, he is the one sent by God to save us, save you and me. He said it in many different ways so that in case we didn’t catch it in one story we might get it in the next. Jesus came to save sinners. We are all sinners. We can be nice people and still be sinners. It’s in our deep down human nature. Only Jesus can fix it.

Today would be a great day to receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

How about it?

Family Hug

I want to give my self an out I want a free pass. I want a conditional release from the next few verses of 1 John 3. 

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

1 John 3:4-10 

I don’t sin any more, (for comic relief I want to add, I don’t sin any less either!) so what is the true meaning of this verse? Do we really have to stop sinning? Is that possible?

I’ve had these verses on my brains back burner for months. Here is one thing that I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me. 

The prodigal son. (Luke 15). He left his father’s home, squandered his inheritance on prostitutes and parties. He came to his senses when he had lost everything and was hungry enough to eat pig slop but couldn’t even afford that. He decided to repent. He could not have been serious about repentance and stayed in the foreign land. He had to leave where he was and come home to his father to repent. 

We cannot stay in our rebellion, our sin that separates us from God and say that we have repented. Will we fall, will we stumble?  Does a baby learning to walk just stand  up straight, point their face like flint in the direction they want to travel and never stumble or fall? No. At least I didn’t and my kid’s didn’t and my grandkids don’t. We stumble, we fall, we sin. 

Where is the balance? How do we look at this and say how to live this out?  

We go back to chapter 1 of this same letter. 

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:5-10

If God is our Heavenly Father and he loves us as his children, then as we learn to walk we walk in obedience, but we may stumble and fall, we may go the wrong way. My children stumbled, they went the wrong direction at times. I did not abandon them when this happened. I helped them up. I rerouted them if they were straying. If I did that, what more will our father God do for us who did not spare his only son but gave him up for us all?

What about addiction? I don’t feel qualified to speak to people struggling with addiction. I have my own battles and wounds in this area. All I can suggest is that to keep coming home. Keep leaving the foreign land that wants to suck us dry then feed on our bones. Leave that behind and come back to our Good Father. Where will he be? Where will God be when we repent? According to the story in Luke the Father will Be scanning the horizon looking for us to return. 

“20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

I so want that. I want To be hugged and kissed by my Heavenly Father, Forgiven. Will you join me in our Father’s embrace? Family Hug!

He Finishes what He starts

One truth about Jesus and my life following jesus.

He won’t quit.

He will not give up on me.

He has plans for me and he will keep building toward that goal.

Even if I tear down what he’s doing as he’s doing it.

He will not quit on me.

This is true for all of us.

It is true for me and it is true for you.

Another thing that I believe is true for every follower of Jesus. At one time all of us will experience a version of what the apostle John experiences that he recorded in Revelation

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”
Revelation 5:1-6

There has to be a time when we see Jesus as the lamb slain. We have to see Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin


And we will see him as the Lion of Judah. Lions are the king of The jungle. Jesus is the king. Is. Not was. Jesus is the living King.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10

These verses show us this same thing, Jesus as Lord, the lion, the king, and we believe that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, that he died but now lives forever. The lamb that had been slain standing in the middle of the throne.

I encountered Jesus in these two ways. And now he promises to complete the project he has started in me.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

My prayer for any and every person who reads this is that they will see Jesus as the Lion and the lamb and that they will do as I am doing, stumble on toward completion.

I do wood working. My favorite part of any project is the design and build part. I dislike the finish work part. The tedious sanding and coat after coat of paint. The filling in of nail holes and all the other things that go into “finishing”. Jesus loves it all, every part of the process, he doesn’t tire of it, any of it.

Where am I in my own finish process? I don’t know.

How do you see Jesus? Is he your Lion? Is he your Lamb? He wants to be.

You stink

You stink.

I was thinking about a person I know that did some really bad stuff. I mean besides me. This person hurt people, changed people, damaged them forever and was never caught. He died free. He will burn in hell. Unless….

I will also burn in hell, unfortunately all of us are destined to burn in hell…….why? We are all sinners. It’s like we are all deposits in a pit toilet and each of us wants to say “I’m not as stinky as that pile of poo over there” pointing with our little poo finger.

We are all poops in the same pile. All of guilty of some sin and so all sinners. We are all destined for the same place unless…..

Unless what?! Get me out of the septic system and out of the fires of hell!

I can’t.

But Jesus can.

He paid for all of our sins. Even the sins of that guy that I want in hell. But if Jesus has forgiven him then I must also forgive him. So I do. And I hope that he heard about Jesus before he exhaled for the last time.

Where are you with Jesus? Have you accepted his gift of forgiveness yet?

You stink but so do I. We all do. Get that taken care of please.

Mud pie in your eye

John 9

Mud pie in your eye

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said.”

When i was 3 we lived in Wenatchee Washington. We had a large group of kids to play with. (I am a baby boomer).

One day my sisters made mud pies. I, being the younger brother and wanting to Play along, ate them. Later that day at the lunch table they came back up.

Mud is not good to eat. It’s not usually good to rub into eyes either.

Mud in the hands of a creative, creator God will do what He desires.

“Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Sometimes God uses strange and unpredictable ways of accomplishing his work. Mary and I are getting ready to make changes to our life that we don’t fully understand or comprehend but we are slowly moving forward towards an unknown future.

Can we trust God in this?

Here’s to mud in your eye.

Lord Jesus may we obedient to your direction. This man was told to go wash in the pool of Siloam. He obeyed and came home seeing. A man born blind was given his sight. May we see clearly your plan for us Lord or at least be obedient to walk each step as you direct.

What’s so good about Good Friday?

Easter. It’s not about a dead guy. It is about a guy dying. Same guy. A guy died. He just didn’t stay dead.

All through my childhood but especially in my teens this is what I heard. “What’s that? The church doors are open? Well then, we must attend. “ My mom.

Optional for guests. Mandatory for minor children.

Tradition tells me, We will be late. When we do arrive, We will smell of French fries, coffee and cigarette smoke. It was the perfume of the cafe my parents owned and operated.

We attended a Lutheran Church so the services were predictable; 3 hymns a 20 minute message and liturgy.

Sometimes there was a bonus.

Sometimes there was food in the fellowship hall in the basement.

Good Friday service In 1978 was just such a night. The service was somber but then there was food and noisy fellowship afterwards. It was winding down and my family was getting ready to leave. I had left something in the pew above us so I clambered up the stairs to grab it. The lights in the sanctuary were off, just the back lights by the alter and the cross on the wall. This year someone had added a rough wooden cross and it was standing on the platform between the pulpit and the lectern. The ladies of the church, two of them were ceremoniously draping the cross with a black cloth.

It suddenly hit me. This guy Jesus? The one we talked about, the one that had performed miracles. He healed. He delivered. He set free. He forgave. He brought back to life. That guy. He seemed so friendly. But tonight, for me in my understanding, he was dead.

He was dead. Even though there had been almost 2000 years elapse since it happened, the weight of the news hit me as though it had just happened that afternoon. I was washed over with grief and sadness.

I don’t recall the rest of that years Easter holiday. What I do remember Our Pastor, a fantastic old school bible preacher Joe McGaw didn’t use the term Easter, he called it resurrection day. If I had been listening, maybe the Good Friday service and the resurrection day service would’ve brought me into faith sooner. I had other things to preoccupy me though, I had guys to hang out with, a pretty girlfriend, a 57 Chevy truck that wasn’t going to restore itself. I was busy. Too busy to connect the two pieces.

A few years went by and it all started to make sense. Well, not in a worldly way of making sense. But i understood that I was a sinner. God hated sin but he loved me. He sent Jesus to die, and that death, Jesus sacrificially dying for me, brought God and I back together. All of my sin was washed away by the blood that Jesus spilled dying for me.

Then 3 days after he died, death could not keep him any longer and he rose. The tomb was emptied by him, walking out of it.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”

Jesus died. I am so sorry and yet so grateful. Jesus died But he didn’t stay dead. He rose from the grave.

Easter Sunday is a few days away. Resurrection day. We celebrate this event and would love for you to join us. We attend Desert Church. Our services will be at 9 am and 11 am. Most Christian Churches will be celebrating soon so if you can’t make it to our service, please just pick one and join us in the celebration.

Whether or not you come to church, I hope that you will come to understand and believe the truth about Jesus.

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8

How to build yourself abasement.

How to build yourself a basement 

The house had been abandoned. Left alone and derelict. Windows and doors had been boarded up, not cleanly with sheets of plywood but with random slats and planks, crossed and crisscrossed, nails and screws haphazardly pounded and bent, screws at odd angles and stripped heads. Pity the fool that ever takes on the challenge to remove them. 

And yet there he stood, “the fool” with a tool Kit in one hand and the deed in the other. He looked long and hard at the old place. He walked around it slowly looking it up and down. Taking note of every flaw and failure. The longer he looked the more his expression changed. When he first arrived his expression was serious, even concerned, but as the mental list Of all the repairs grew, the corners of his mouth began curling up, up and up

Until At the End of his survey and tour he was smiling, smiling a broad smile and he even began to whistle a soft tune, as he hit the chorus he began singing softly as he ran his hands over the siding of the old house, the dry cracked paint crumbing under his calloused And scarred hands, “yes, Jesus loves you, yes Jesus loves you, yes Jesus loves you, the Bible tells you so…”

This is the introduction to a book I hope to write some day. It will be an allegorical tale of redemption and rebuilding.

The house described above is me before Jesus came into my life.

Building abasement is a play on words. A basement, the lowest part of the house and also the foundation – abasement, the practice of humbling ourselves. The life of following Jesus is upside down from the world and it’s structure. In Following Jesus the greatest among us has become our servant. The king of kings washes our feet. The prince of light and life died for us plunging himself into death and darkness.

The house described above is me before Jesus came into my life. It is also can be you. And we can enter this process and be rebuilt by the creator…of everything.


Weeds. I hate them.

Sometimes weeds are just the right plant in the wrong place. Like violets growing in my grass or grass growing in my flower beds. So let’s not think about those when we say weeds. Let’s think about thistles.

Thistles spread in 2 ways. By seed but also through the root system. If you pull a thistle you are actually propagating new thistles. Every place on the main root system under ground where a plant broken off more grow back. It’s like Mickey in the sorcerers apprentice where every piece of the broom becomes another broom. Nightmarish!

I hate weeds. They are ever present. Weeds are a picture of sin. Weeds are also a picture of people with malicious and evil intent. Why does God allow weeds? Why does he allow people with evil intent to continue to live among us?

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a story about weeds.

“24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”’

I love stories about heart changes, about redemption and things cast aside as useless being brought back in and used. This isn’t one of those stories.

There is a day coming for those “weeds” of this world where they will be gathered and burned.

It breaks my heart to know that not all people will be put in Gods barn. Everyone can be, but not everyone will choose to be in the barn. It is a choice we make.

Jesus explains the parable later in the chapter.

“36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

John says this in his book about good news:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

Who will we choose today?

We get to choose. I Choose the barn. I Choose Jesus. I Choose life.

And you? What is your choice today?

Hump day, then what?

It’s Wednesday March 22. Its hump day, the middle of the week. I am anticipating that I have 2 more days until a weekend break, then work a week, then a short vacation, then work/break/ work/ etc for 14 years and then retire then grow old and then die.

That’s what I’m assuming will happen. But what if this is the day that a truck crosses the center line and I don’t make it? What if my extended plans for life don’t work out? What is the most important thing I can do today if it’s my last day here?

What if there is an eternity just the other side of our last exhale? Our breath leaves our lungs and our soul slips out of our body and then what? Heaven? Hell? In light of the fragility of life should I be prepared for eternity?

When Jesus was crucified he was hung on a cross between 2 other criminals, two thieves. All 3 of these men knew eternity was very close. They were swinging on a thread over the chasm of death.
Let us listen in on their conversation.

“32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”’

What are the words that I can write on this post to encourage people to believe in Jesus and receive him as savior? What can I say?

What do you believe about Jesus?
Did he rise from the dead? Did he pay for our sins with his death? Have you accepted that gift?

Eternity is coming, some call it death and expect it to be an end but the Bible tells us that the end of this life is just a doorway into eternity. Eternity has two options, with God or without him. I highly recommend the with God option.

Eternity yawns beneath us all.

Accept Jesus’ gift today. Today is all we know that we get. Today.

Family resemblance

Family resemblance. We look for it in our kids and in our grandkids. We tend to claim the good traits. Not so much those things that we wished we wouldn’t have passed on.

What is God’s will for our lives?

God’s will is that we would be made to be more like Jesus. He wants us to look like part of the family.

Romans 8:29
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

How is that possible? We are sinners and he is God/man, perfect in every way.

We can be Made to be more like Jesus when he is living inside of us. When he is the voice in our heart leading and guiding and correcting and reproving.

How can Jesus, who is God, live inside a human?

I don’t know exactly how that it is accomplished but Gods Holy Spirit will come and live inside us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and savior.

What must we do to make that happen?

In Romans Paul said it works like this: “8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

Up to the point of us saying those words, “Jesus you are Lord”, we have been the boss of us, after saying those words Jesus will be the boss of us. We shouldn’t take that transition lightly. The management has changed.

What is next? Well, what happens when a new baby is born? The baby is swaddled and fed and cleaned and taught and the process is repeated millions of times over until the baby begins to feed and care for itself. A new Christian is a baby who will need care. Christian spiritual baby care is found in a healthy church and in healthy Christian friends.

We need to find our Christian family.

Matthew 12 Jesus talks about what makes up the Christian family.

“46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Find a church where the people exemplify Jesus.

Yes church is part of the Christian life like family is part of the human life. We need each other to support, care for, protect, teach, cleanse, diaper, feed, train and so much more. We need community. We need family. We need each other.

Making room, but for whom?

It’s spring and it time to start preparing those garden beds. We clean them out, clear them out and if we don’t get back to them right away and get them planted they are immediately filled back in with a new crop of weeds.

Aristotle has said it, nature abhors a vacuum. If you remove one thing, other things rush in to fill the space.

This is true of our hearts as well as our world. In Matthew 12 Jesus says this about cleaning out a human heart.

“43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

When we accept Jesus as our savior he comes and lives inside of us. He lives in our hearts by his Holy Spirit.

John 14 says this; “23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

And in John 17 he prayed for us saying this; “20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus wants to fill the vacuous void inside of us. If he doesn’t, something else will.

Will we let Jesus come and live in our hearts today?

The notoriously forgiven folks

Is someone writing all of this down? My mistakes? My willful disobedience? Is there a record of wrongs in some file drawer? No human knows the total of my sin. No one person has the complete record of all of the wrong I have done. Well….Jesus is a man but he is also God…and He knows it all.

And yet…he has chosen to forgive me. All of it.

The next section of Matthew 12 Jesus mentions some notorious people. He doesn’t mention them to point out their sin, he mentions them to point out their state of being forgiven.

“38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.”

The religious leaders of Jesus day who prided themselves on a righteousness based on following the rules will be condemned by notorious sinners who repented.

Then let’s talk about The sign of Jonah, Jesus will die and be swallowed by death and the earth. This planet he created and the curse that was placed on it would swallow him. But not for long. Three days later he will rise from the grave and live forever. The earth and death and the curse of sin forever broken and beaten.

I quote this next verse a lot but it comforts me. I hope is does you too. I know I’ve done wrong, so does God. He knows it all and yet he has forgiven me.

“6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

I am forgiven. That is good news.

Have you heard it yet? We have been forgiven.

Have you received it yet?

Don’t be late to the gate

I stumbled upon this post looking for something else. It may be a timely happy accident.

The door was closed.
She couldn’t get on her flight.
She missed it and no one could or would help her.

I was at Seatac. I was at my gate early. Not bragging, just saying I was there early. Next to my gate was another gate flying somewhere far away, Texas maybe? I had seen this lady on the other side, the main terminal. She was being seated in a wheelchair by an airport worker. When she showed up at her gate she was walking. Earlier I had seen the airlines hostesses walking the length of the terminal calling out names of missing passengers and heard multiple announcements asking for passengers to go to the desk, announcing boarding and then final boarding. Then they closed up the desk, walked through the doors and boarded the plane. After all of that happened the lady showed up. She was at the right gate but she was late. She couldn’t find anyone to help her. She walked through the seats asking for help, loudly asking for someone, anyone from her airline to help but they were all in the plane already.
She tried crashing the door. She could see her plane still parked at the gate but she couldn’t get on.

When she crashed the door an alarm sounded and security personnel arrived rather quickly. But they couldn’t get her on the plane either. It didn’t seem to make any difference why she was late or how loud she got with her protests. She could not ride that plane. Even with a boarding pass she could not get aboard the plane.

It was a scene that played out in my life that I️ watched like it was a performance for me. It made me wonder and now over 2 weeks later I am still pondering it. As the character Scrooge says in the Christmas Carol, “why was I privy to this conversation?”.

At the same time I have Been reading 2 Peter. In chapter 2, Peter mentions some times when God’s timing and the peoples time ran out.

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;”
2 Peter 2:4-10

So did God show me this so that I would present it as a cautionary tale? As a culture we are constantly exposed to and driven by schedules and time tables. Is it a surprise that God also has a schedule and a time table for his plan for us? Not one of us knows God’s time table and schedule. Not even Jesus knew when it would be. Can we say that God is a meany head for having a schedule? Or can we say thank you to him for his patience thus far?

Further into his letter Peter had this to say,
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:3-9

My wife Mary calls me Debbie Downer because I see the dark side of things, I really don’t want this post to be that, a dark depressing tale.

God loves us. He sent Jesus to us not Just to say I love you, but to DO I love you. Jesus came to die for sins we cannot pay for or erase. Then he rose from the dead to lead us into God’s heaven. He made a way for us.

We get today. We have today to choose.

I don’t know the outcome for the poor lady who missed her plane. I do know the outcome of everyone who missed Noah’s boat. I do know the outcome for everyone who misses God’s grace in Jesus but I would rather talk about the splendor waiting for those who receive God’s great gift of forgiveness in Jesus.

Today, all aboard.

Binary equation

In a binary numbering system there are only two numbers, 1 & 0. If a number is not 1 then it’s a..0.

Binary, on or off, yes or no.

Is Jesus my savior? 1 I mean yes.

It turns out that for the Jesus question there are only 2 answers. Our culture has told us that there are three possibilities , yes, no and ‘?’. Or a fill in the blank.

Matthew 12 has this story.

“22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

These verses have a lot in them. I have focused on one verse.

“30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “

There will be a test in this. It is not an essay test. It is not multiple choice. It is a true or false binary 1 or 0 question.

I see it like this: i wake up dead. I am in a blue room, well it feels like a room but there are no walls, just blue. I am seated at a desk. It has a sheet of paper on it with this question.

Do I accept what Jesus did, his death, as payment for my sin? 1 = yes, 0 = no.

In front of me there is a screen with all of my sins being played out in a loop. So many. I cringe as I watch. Shame wells up, remorse, regret all wash over me.

Interspersed in the video of my sins is a video of Jesus death. I see him Being flogged, the crown of thorns, the huge heavy wooden cross that they drop on his whipped and raw shoulder. I see his trek up to the top of the hill carrying his cross, I see the nails hammered into his hands and feet, as they stand it up I see the bottom of the cross dropping into its hole, I see his body slammed against the nails. I watch him slowly die. I hear his words, “father forgive them…” then, “it is finished”. He looks at me with compassion and love and mercy.

I write a 1.

Because he died but rose again, as soon as I finish my test the blue melts away to the roar of people all around me praising God and Jesus himself welcoming me home.

1 or 0. Yes or no.

We can take the test now, today. We can fill in the answer today. I don’t know if we get the chance after we die. I made that up. I know that we can choose now. Today is the only day we can count on or do anything in. Today. 1 or 0.

Even if I am a bruised reed or a smoldering wick…

It could just be the daylight savings time blues. I’m feeling like a smoldering wick and a bruised reed.

Good news for me is found in Matthew 12.

“15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”[b]’

Jesus cares about the lowliest of us. He will meet us where we are. I don’t have to be a flowering vine or a mighty oak for him to care about me. Even the bruised reed gets his attention.

Time for some Spring Cleaning

What if Jesus showed up at the door to the museum of our life and asked for a tour? The museum is the store house of our memories, the place where our motives and motivation are kept, where our world view rests. Would our tour sound like this?

“Welcome Jesus to the museum of my life. You may look but do not touch. Please stay on the well marked pathway during the tour. Jesus you are welcome here but please do not alter or change anything, I like my life the way it is”.

What if at the end of the tour Jesus made some suggestions for changes to improve our life? Remove this, add that, clear out an entire area, change the focus of our world view?

Matthew 12 has another story about Jesus shaking up the religious establishments view on their rules.

“9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”

It’s very easy to see how the religious leaders were wrong here. I keep wondering what other messages should this story be telling me?

So I imagined Jesus coming to me. My life. Bearing all of my life to him. Immediately I think of things that I don’t want him to see. Then I ask myself, why are they there? If Jesus shouldn’t see them, then why are they still in my life? Is there anger or resentment that I’ve been hiding? Why don’t I let Him wash that out of me? What about my little room of guilty pleasures? Not outright wrong, or the little closet of secret sins? Wouldn’t it be nice to do some spring cleaning and purge that all away? The weight of guilt and shame, overwhelming for me,but not for Jesus. He can cleanse those all away.

Is Jesus welcome in my life? Yes. Generally speaking. What if he asks me to change something?

Jesus is the Lord of the sabbath. He is that because he created it. He created. Everything that exists, exists because of him. He is the author and architect of life. He created me. He knows what is best for me because he knows what he created me for.

Back to the tour.

Today Jesus is at the door of the museum of my life. I am handing him the keys and saying, “Jesus, welcome to my life. It is a mess. I’m tired of the gunk and junk, please help me clean it up and clean it out”. Just over his shoulder I see a dumpster labeled Sin Disposal. That is a welcome sight. All of my sins forgiven.

Today not only will be forgiven of sins committed by me, I will also be forgiving sins against me.

Time for some spring cleaning in my museum.