Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Jesus says, 'Follow Me and I will make you fishers of people' --  because you are perfectly positioned in your neighborhood ... in your job ... with your personality ... holding the life cards you've been dealt -- to fish.

So we could pray:  'God, if You can use my life to impact another person toward faith, then use me.  Help me live a life where people would ask questions.  I'll be praying for open doors.  I'll be watching - waiting - listening - for that opportunity to be a fisher -- not of the masses -- not of hundreds -- not of dozens even -- but of the one guy on my street - the one lady at my office - the guy I did that last deal with.'

And I really do hope we continue growing in our discipleship and growing in our worship and growing in our giving and growing in our community -- grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow.

And I hope we become better students and better husbands and better wives and better dads and better moms and better single adults -- better, better, better, better, better, better.

But more than all of that, I hope that we start living questionable lives - and that we never stop sharing about our relationship with Christ because we understand that with the incredible discovery we've made of Jesus that we also have an incredible responsibility to GO FISH.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 18, 2018


In the early 1980s, an Avianca Airlines jet crashed into a mountain in Spain.  Reports said the black box cockpit recorder revealed that a few minutes before impact the automatic warning system told the crew repeatedly to 'Pull up ... pull up ... pull up!'

The pilot, annoyed by the racket, thinking it was a malfunction, switched the system off -- minutes before the plane plowed into the side of a mountain.  The entire crew and passengers died.

You have a little black box inside of you.
You have an automatic warning system inside of you.

We can treat it one of two ways -- listen and respond to it -- or be annoyed with it, shut it off, ignore it and wait for a crash.

The amazing wisdom of secular society today counsels us to switch off our internal accountability system whenever we're plagued with guilt or bad feelings.  It tells us those feelings are almost always personally hurtful, if not flat out wrong.

But is that so?

Your little 'black box' is called your conscience.  Your conscience isn't really the voice of God.  Puritan Richard Sibbes said:  'The conscience is the soul reflecting on itself.'

But it has been taught and trained to get a particular reflection.  It didn't get it on its own.  It learned what to mirror.  It was programmed what to reflect back.

Because of that it's critical to get God's standard for holiness, purity and Godliness into our hearts.  Anything less reflects inaccurately, poorly, and dangerously.

In fact, your conscience can become so out of whack that it actually mirrors back that you ought to be lying, cheating or gossiping.  It can make you think that if you aren't getting drunk, having sex outside of marriage, or cheating someone that there's something wrong with you compared to everybody around you.

To get your conscience to mirror back properly, feed it regularly on the richness of truth -- from God's Word.  Establish His law deep inside your heart.

When you do, your conscience will work the way God meant it to work.  It will steer you, protect you, guard you and cause you to walk paths that are healthy, good and honorable.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


We've been given an inheritance because we've been adopted by God into His own family.

Hear it this way.

Mephibosheth is a very interesting Old Testament character and here's why.  

Saul is the first king of Israel.  He had a son named Jonathan.  Jonathan was a close friend of David, who would become the second king of Israel.  Saul hated David, even though his own son was David's best friend.  He was jealous of David because he thought David was a threat to his throne.  So he tried to kill David to get him out of the way, but Jonathan helped David escape the hand of his own father.

Complicated, right?

After both Saul and Jonathan die in battle on the very same day, David is eventually elevated as king of Israel.  And he asks if there is anybody from the house of Saul - the one who tried to kill him - who David could take care of for the sake of his friend, Jonathan.  There was one -- Jonathan's own son, Mephibosheth.

Interestingly, the name Mephibosheth means 'shameful one.'  I'm not sure why anyone would name their child that, but when Mephibosheth was only five years old, he was dropped by his governess and as a result he was lame and couldn't walk.

At the time David was looking for someone from Saul's house to care for, Mephibosheth was living in a place called Lo-Debar.  It was a town on the outskirts - a desert - ugly - not a place you'd ever brag about being from.  He's living in a barren place - empty - a location for outcasts.

And what does David do?  He calls Mephibosheth to him.  And Mephibosheth comes - hobbling, humbled, head down, fearful - thinking maybe he's going to be killed since he's part of the family that was so mean to David.

But David tells Mephibosheth he's going to give him an inheritance - all of his grandfather Saul's inheritance.

And David adopts Mephibosheth into his own family and he lets Mephibosheth eat at the king's table.  And the tablecloth of grace and adoption covers Mephibosheth's broken and wounded feet and spirit.

Friends, we are Mephibosheths.  Spiritually, we're outcasts.  We're shameful in our sin, emotionally crippled, seeking significance, searching for status, looking for grace, desperate for mercy, hungry for life.

Then God comes along and reveals to us what real life is about.  He shows us meaning and purpose.  He gives us Jesus.  He lets us eat at His table.  He shows us love.  He cares for us and showers us with grace.  He doesn't evaluate us by our broken feet or our wounds and scars.  His tablecloth of grace covers us and He adopts us into his family.

You are loved by God.
You are forgiven by God.
You are protected by God.
You are chosen by God.
You are accepted by God.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Everybody's looking for significance.

The problem with being a significance-seeker is that your status eventually becomes your ultimate goal.   And people will do some shocking things to achieve that.

Some will obsess about their career path.  Am I climbing the corporate ladder fast enough?
Some will be consumed with their relational portfolio.  Am I popular enough?
They'll be consumed by their social media network.  How many followers do I have?  Who's 'liked' my Instagram pics lately?  Who's unfriended me this week?

I know none of you do that, but . . .

Parents can be plagued about whether their children are stacking up against other kids academically, musically, athletically.
Couples can worry about how their marriage compares to other marriages.
Is the car nice enough?  Was the vacation great enough?  Are my clothes good enough?

It never ends.

Who you are and what you are - your true significance - your real value - needs to be grounded in the Gospel.

What does God say about you?  What does He tell you in His Word?  Because the Gospel brings us away from all of that.  The Gospel teaches us to be Truth-seekers.

There's no greater position, friends, than being a follower of Christ.  Nothing else has eternal significance.  Just Jesus.  Everything else is small by comparison.  Everything else is temporary.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Well, since today is National Doughnut Day, it seems fitting to recognize Paielli's Bakery right here in Kenosha, named Best Doughnut Shop in Wisconsin by Travelocity.

Way to go, Paielli's!

Way to go to our very own, Dave & Ellen Paielli!

Time to eat one.

And be blessed.