Monday, April 29, 2013


          Oswald Chambers was a Briton who served as a chaplain to British soldiers at a camp in Egypt during World War I. He died in November of 1917 of peritonitis that was caused by appendicitis that went undetected. He was only 43 years of age at the time and left behind his wife Gertrude and a young daughter named Kathleen. Chambers is perhaps best known for his collection of devotional writings entitled “My Utmost For His Highest.” Numerous other books bear his name as well.
          Would you be surprised to learn that Oswald Chambers never wrote a book? How can that be, you ask? In turns out that Gertrude and Kathleen Chambers are the ones responsible for the continued influence of Oswald Chambers in the lives of so many believers. Mrs. Chambers had become very proficient at shorthand as a young woman. After their marriage, Gertrude made it her habit to write down everything Oswald said as he ministered in preaching and teaching. Following his death, she took it upon herself to publish what she had copied down. Prior to her own death in 1966, Gertrude Chambers had typed thirty one volumes of Oswald’s words, and was working on the thirty second. Kathleen Chambers then took it upon herself to carry on the legacy (source: Sherwood E. Wert, “Their Utmost For His Highest,” Christianity Today, June 21, 1974).
          Reading this story made me think of others whose influence reaches beyond the grave. Like Abel. The Hebrew writer tells us that he “...offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).
          We need to start planting the seeds of our ongoing work now! It could be that our greatest impact on the world will be felt after we have left it. If we are faithful to our calling, those we leave behind will be able to multiply our efforts as well.

God loves you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Winning Takes Care Of Everything"

A case could be made that Tiger Woods has been the greatest golfer of his generation and one of the best of all time.  But if you have followed his career, you also know that he is also well-known for his arrogance and rudeness.  Those character flaws contributed to a 2009 sex scandal that destroyed his marriage and nearly destroyed his career.  After some time off from the game, Tiger has worked to resurrect his golf game and rebuild his image.  Recently, he has even started winning tournaments once again.  Some claim he has learned from his mistakes and is a better person because of it.  But has this Tiger really changed his stripes?  A recent ad campaign by Nike, his major sponsor, raises some doubts in my mind about any real character reformation.  In the ad, a picture of Tiger is overlaid with a quote from him that reads: “Winning Takes Care Of Everything.”  Doesn’t that seem just a bit callous and cavalier in view of the damage caused by his recent life choices?
I suppose Tiger Woods couldn’t care less about what I think.  And my ultimate purpose here isn’t to cast stones in his direction because of his character flaws.  I certainly have enough character flaws of my own that need attention.  I’m more interested in highlighting the common but dangerous philosophy that he promotes.  Sure, winning may cause some sports fans to ignore, tolerate, or forget the sins of those they idolize.  But winning certainly doesn’t repair all of the damage done by the sinner.  Some of the destruction caused by our sin can never be repaired.  Sometimes relationships are destroyed that can never be restored.  And even in those cases where the damage is repairable, it won’t happen just because we become “winners” once again.
Our sin can only be dealt with when we turn in repentance to the One who truly can take care of everything -- God.  It is only with His help that we can begin to repair the damage caused by our sins.
God loves you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Deeper Kind Of Faith

          “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”” (Daniel 3:16–18).
          Periodically, it is good for me to examine my motivation for my faith in God.  Do I only trust in Him because He answers my prayers in the way I like?  Am I following His lead merely because my life is proceeding according to my plans?  Do I take a stand for my principles only when it is convenient?  While these motivations could be viewed as better than none at all, I believe God is calling us all to a deeper kind of faith.
          I’m impressed with the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.  As I read the account, I can imagine them standing within seeing and hearing distance of the roaring furnace of fire.  In response to Nebuchadnezzar’s threat, they affirm their faith in God’s ability to rescue them from the situation at hand.  My guess is that was the way they wanted to see the drama play out.  But it is what they say next that astounds and humbles me.  “But even if He does not...”  They were still willing to stand by their principles even if things didn’t work out like they wanted.  Apparently, their faith in God was based upon what God had already said rather than on what God might or might not do in a particular situation.
          It’s easy for me to become discouraged when life takes some unexpected turns.  But I need to be careful about letting the turns of life become a barometer of my faith.  “O for a faith that will not shrink...”

God loves you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Link In A Chain

          On March 10, 2013, twelve-year-old Josh McQuoid was playing with a friend in the surf along a beach in Napier, New Zealand.  All of a sudden, a wave knocked him off his feet and the undertow started to pull him away from the beach.  The lad struggled to regain his footing in the midst of the pounding surf.  A nearby police officer, Paul Bailey, was the first into the water to try and rescue McQuoid, but was having a difficult time himself.  He began to fear that he would become a victim as well.  Thankfully, another police officer instructed others on the beach to form a human chain from the shoreline into the water to rescue both McQuoid and Bailey.  A bystander took a video of the effort, showing more than a dozen people holding hands from the beach into the crashing waves to bring the two to safety.  With some feet firmly planted on the beach, those in the water were able to keep their balance as the water crashed around them.  McQuoid was unresponsive when brought in out of the water but was revived before he was taken to a local hospital (“Human Chain Saves Boy, 12, From Drowning,” Anthony Castellano, ABC News Blogs).
          This nearly tragic story highlights the power of community.  A group of people working together is nearly always more effective than someone working alone.  Perhaps that is at least one reason why God calls His people into a community.  Spiritually speaking, when we link our hands and hearts together into a “human chain,” we become a force greater than the sum of the individual parts.  Spiritual rescue is best accomplished as a team effort.  Even the apostle Paul, a great rescuer in his own right, acknowledged that he was just one link in the chain (1 Corinthians 3:5-10).
          Some are better suited to be anchor points on the beach.  Others are good at braving the surf.  But when we hold onto each other, we can reach into Satan’s stronghold and help God save a life.

God loves you!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Work-Life Balance

          “Former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan joined in the ongoing public debate on work-life balance this week, telling the world she had regrets over the sacrifices she made for success, and prompting renewed buzz on the topic...I can’t make up for lost time,” she wrote in a Sunday New York Times opinion piece, “Is There Life After Work?” In it, Callan, who resigned as CFO in 2008, describes how work always came first for her, often at the expense of family, friends and her marriage (which eventually ended in divorce)...She explains how work took over her life gradually...“I didn’t start out with the goal of devoting all of myself to my job. It crept in over time,” she writes. “Each year that went by, slight modifications became the new normal. First I spent a half-hour on Sunday organizing my e-mail, to-do list and calendar to make Monday morning easier. Then I was working a few hours on Sunday, then all day. My boundaries slipped away until work was all that was left.”  She also writes, “Sometimes young women tell me they admire what I’ve done. As they see it, I worked hard for 20 years and can now spend the next 20 focused on other things. But that is not balance. I do not wish that for anyone.”” (Beth Greenfield, “Former CFO Erin Callan Regrets Not Having Children, Reignites Work-Life Balance Debate”,, 3-11-13).
          Ms. Callan isn’t the first and won’t be the last person to regret taking better care of their career than their family.  Employment is a necessity for most of us.  Disciples of Jesus are encouraged to do honest work and provide for their families (1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-8,11-12).  Christians ought to be the best employees around.  But we must guard against letting our careers become more important than our marriages and families.  Sacrificing family on the altar of success is much too high a price to pay.

God loves you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Safe Surrender Site

          As I walked into a hospital in Folsom the other day, I noticed a sign on the door that identified the facility as a “Safe Surrender Site.”  These sites are the product of legislation aimed at helping to prevent illegal child abandonment.  “The Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows a parent or person with lawful custody to surrender a baby confidentially, without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment. This law allows for at least a 14-day cooling off period, which begins the day the child is voluntarily surrendered. During this period, the person who surrendered the child can return to the hospital to reclaim the child...A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally, confidentially and safely surrender their baby within three days of birth...As long as the child shows no signs of abuse or neglect, no name or other information is required. A bracelet will be placed on the baby for identification. A matching bracelet will be given to the parent. The bracelet will help connect the parent to the baby if the parent wants the baby back” (  This effort helps to address the fears of overwhelmed parents who are out of options.  A helpless infant can be given a chance to live instead of being abandoned to die in a dumpster somewhere.
          Surrender can be frightening.  When I saw the words “Safe Surrender Site,” I thought to myself: “That is a great description of the kingdom of God!”  We can safely surrender our lives to the One who knows us inside and out and still loves us anyway (Romans 5:6-8).  We can safely surrender our lives to the One who has a easy yoke and a light burden (Matthew 11:30).  We can safely surrender our lives to the One who will not allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Don’t abandon your soul to destruction!  Find refuge in God’s Kingdom -- the original “Safe Surrender Site!”

God loves you!