Jan 312015

thumbnail.aspxI am now about to close my eyelids, Lord, for my eyes this evening have finished their work and will return home, having walked for a day in the garden of men and women.

Thank you, Lord, for my eyes, windows open on the wide world; thank you for their look that carries my soul, as the broad sunbeam carries the light and warmth of your sun.

I pray to you during the night that tomorrow, when I open my eyes to the clear morning, they shall be ready to serve both my soul and my God.

May my eyes be clear and straightforward, Lord, and give others a hunger for purity; may my look never be one of disappointment, disillusionment, despair; but may it know how to admire, contemplate, adore.

May my eyes learn to close in order to find you more easily; but may they never turn away from the world because they are afraid.

May my eyes be penetrating enough to recognise your presence in the world, and may they never shut on the afflictions of men.

May my eyes be firm and steady, but may they also know how to soften in pity and be capable of tears.

May my gaze not soil the one it touches, may it not disturb, but may it bring peace.

May it not sadden, but rather may it transmit joy.

May it not attract in order to hold captive, but rather may it persuade others to rise above themselves to you.

May my eyes disquiet the sinner because in them they will see your light, but may their reproach lead to encouragement.

Grant that my eyes may be startling because they are an encounter, an encounter with God.

Grant that they be a call, a clarion call, that brings all the world to its doorstep, not because of me, Lord, but because you are to pass by.

That my eyes may be all this, Lord, once more, this evening, I give you my soul, I give you my body, I give you my eyes, that in looking at other people it may be you who looks at them and you who beckons.

Quoist, Michel (2014-09-05). Keeping Hope – Favourite Prayers for Modern Living: Selected Inspirational Prayers from World-Renowned Theologian Michel Quoist (Kindle Locations 1561-1573). Gill & Macmillan. Kindle Edition.


Jan 302015

missionary-tag-elderThe half cord of wood had been delivered, now it must be split and stacked.

I’d put it off as long as possible…the weather was cold and I was tired.


That’s when the “elders” walked up as I was surveying the task in front of me.

I wasn’t in the mood…

I told them I knew who they were, what they were doing, and that I wasn’t interested in the discussion.

“We just want to help”.

They informed me that they would love to split and stack this wood in their crisp white shirts and appropriately conservative ties.

You had to admire their dedication…

I told them that was a pastor, a Reformed pastor at that, and their efforts would be pointless.

“We just want to help”.

I informed them that they could help by not irritating me any more and that they should go irritate the neighbor next door who had been playing some form of meditation chants late into the night and into my bedroom window.

“We just want to help!”

I said very well…you can help.

Split and stack the wood, then I have some landscaping that needs finished, my truck needs cleaned, and my cat desires to be groomed…slowly.

“No problem!”

I continued…while you guys are doing all that, I’m going to go in my house and rest.

I’m not going to work, because all the work will either be already done or is being done for me.

“That’s a great deal for you…you rest and we’ll do all the work.”

“That is the Gospel”, I replied.

I explained that I was resting in the finished work of Christ, while they were trying to earn what can only be a gift.

They would never cease from their works, but the work I needed done was finished a long, long time ago.

They too could rest by simply receiving the gift of the work already done…what a great deal, indeed.

They could never work hard enough or long enough to earn what had already been given.

They declined the offer.

They didn’t stay to stack my wood, either.

Make your own application…

Jan 292015

randall24-2The headline was “Local pastor trusting God to heal wounds left by sex abuse allegations”.

Tom Randall is expert in the use of humble Christian quotes  and uses them once again to portray himself as the victim in the ongoing story of child abuse in the Philippine orphanage he supervised.

The more correct headline would have been “Whistleblowers trusting God for the truth to come out about sex abuse allegations”.

The real victims get short shrift in the article, while Randall and his wife try to come off as persecuted saints of the Lord.

They speak of the “pain of betrayal”…but the pain of children betrayed is not mentioned.

The reporter didn’t ask the real questions that need answers.

Why did Randall fold his enterprise into Joe Coffeys church?

The cynics among us suspect it is because it also buries their financial records from public scrutiny.

Why did Coffey and Randall lie to the church and repeat the lie through social media that all the charges had been dropped in this case?

Even their mouthpiece at the newspaper wrote;

“The charge of obstruction of justice against Randall subsequently was dropped. The two workers — orphanage manager Perfecto “Toto” Luchavez and his son, Mark “Jake” Luchavez, were released on bond the same day Randall returned to Northeast Ohio. The Luchavezes still face charges related to violating Filipino anti-human trafficking laws.”

I suppose I should thank the “journalist” for verifying what I wrote here.

The story that the newspaper didn’t cover was in the comment section.

Joe Mauk wrote:

“In a best-case scenario, Tom Randall has become a “Joe Paterno” of missions. A beloved, well-respected man of great achievement (and my personal best friend for 30 years) who failed to handle abuse reports concerning a subordinate properly. However, Joe Paterno never engaged in the denial that any abusive behavior took place nor did he engage in discrediting the ones reporting. It is sad that somehow Tom was implicated in accusations of being personally involved in abuse, there is zero evidence of this. However the evidence that abuse was commonplace at his institution (and well hidden from him) is quite substantial.”

John Shepherd;

“Once again all we here is about what happened to Tom.. He never explains why he and the Luchavez men were arrested.. Tom I am sure had done nothing wrong but strongly denied that HIS children were abused by the two men who cared for the kids ad now are facing a trial.. My wife was the principle at the school at the Sankey Orphanage and I retired and moved from Australia as my wife was unable to get a spouse visa because she had a Autistic son.. she is Filipino.. We built a house on Sankey property ( big mistake ) so we could be close to the Sankey kids and the school.. The time we first found out there was a problem when one of the girls asked my wife if she knew what was happening at Sankey.. she started to tell about the abuse and that a few of the boys use to be beaten and that the director was a womaniser.. Then a teacher who was living in with the older girls was told by the them about what happened and 2 girls wrote letters which were smuggled out by the teacher to Joe Mauk’s daughter.. this same teacher received threats so she was advised to leave Sankey.. About this time bout 10 of the girls but not all together would to our house on the Sankey property and talk about their abuse to my wife and me.. We feel that with us they could trust us to tell their stories.. Most of the workers were related to the Luchavez’s.. After the raid/rescue we were blamed by Karen Randall as she believed we were a part of it.. My wife received death threats and our daughter was bullied because the staff told the school kids not to play or talk to her.. We had to leave and return to my wife’s home town.. Tom said he would pay us a fair price for our house.. over 12 months and we are still waiting.. Why is he paying o much for the kids.. sending them on trips that he has never done before.. He is paying for the defense of the Luchavez’s.. many orphaned and street kids in the Philippines he could be helping.. so all I can say now is ” I was there and Tom is hiding something “.

You can get all the background and  details on this story in the articles and interviews we have already done .

Just in case there are any “real” journalists who seek the truth…

Jan 282015

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like” the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

Jan 272015

timthumb.phpThe ten most influential churches of the last century…

The history of inerrancy…

The prosperity gospel is the worst…

Hell, judgment, holy war…

How to battle for hearts and minds…

At what point do we get to say parts of Christianity are not Christian…

Discussions about creationism and science…

Rethinking the Sabbath…

Scripture, tradition, and church…

What happens to the soul after death…

When someone is in a storm…

Why do we treat small churches as problems…

Talking about the historical church…

The legacy of Thomas Merton…

Walking the world like the pardon of God…

The greatest danger facing the church…

Pope tries to put the kibash on proselytsm and competition…

Jan 262015

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The popularity of the film “American Sniper” is taking much of the media and indeed, the country, by surprise. While it’s not a film I’m interested in (I’m saving up for the new “Avengers”) I do believe it’s popularity says something worth taking note of.

That being, that this country is still fundamentally conservative, based on Judeo-Christian values by osmosis and by faith. A lot of folks have voted with their wallets in regard to this movie and I believe those same folks are growing weary of being told what to think in regard to their values. It may well be the first shot in a much bigger cultural backlash…

2. Beware of the teachers who preach “grace” as if they were the ones who bought it…

3. Biblical grace is always offered with an expectation of obedience when accepted. The truth that grace covers our disobedience doesn’t negate the weight of that expectation…

4. Looking for “balance” in theology is a fools quest…there is no balance, there is “tension” and that tension is meant to be held and expected to remain unresolved…

5. Christians have their own “fads”. In my lifetime, spiritual warfare, eschatology, and even Calvinism have become part of our pop theology. Now it’s all about “grace” and I pray that we don’t do it the harm we’ve done to every other doctrinal fad…

6. Pauls vision of the church in passages such as Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12 is antithetical to the American evangelical way of doing church…when was the last time your spiritual gifting was recognized and used in the assembly?

7. Why are the signs of the times always negative? The incredible advances in technology, medicine, communication, and transportation have to have some biblical significance as well…even if it’s just to praise God for what He’s given.

8. “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?””(Matthew 16:15 ESV) The answer to that question is what divides the orthodox from the heretic…

9. I was going to write an amusing line about “Deflategate” and under inflated balls, but I’ll just think it and chuckle to myself…

10. Miss Kitty likes to go about the house and neighborhood spraying out her territory as if she owns it. The problem is that she has the wrong equipment and no spray…reminds me of some preachers I know.


Jan 252015

thumbnail.aspxLord, I saw the sea attacking the rocks, sombre and raging.

From afar the waves gained momentum.

High and proud, they leapt, jostling one another to be the first to strike.

When the white foam drew back, leaving the rock clear, they gathered themselves to rush forward again.

The other day I saw the sea, calm and serene.


The waves came from afar, creeping, so as not to draw attention.

Quietly holding hands, they slipped noiselessly and stretched at full length on the sand to touch the shore with the tips of their beautiful soft fingers.

The sun gently caressed them, and they generously returned streams of light.

Lord, grant that I may avoid useless quarrels that tire and wound without getting anywhere.

Keep me from these angry outbursts that draw attention but leave one uselessly weakened.

Keep me from wanting always to outstrip others in my conceit, crushing those in my way.

Wipe from my face the look of dark, dominating anger.

Rather, Lord, grant that I may live my days calmly and fully, as the sea slowly covers the whole shore.

Make me humble like the sea, as, silently and gently, it spreads out, unnoticed.

May I wait for my brothers and sisters and match my pace to theirs, that I may move upwards with them.

Grant me the triumphant perseverance of the waters.

May each of my retreats turn into an advance.

Give my face the light of clear waters.

Give my soul the whiteness of foam.

Illumine my life that it may sing like sunbeams on the surface of the sea.

But above all, Lord, may I not keep this light for myself, and may all those who come near me return home eager to bathe in your eternal grace.

Quoist, Michel (2014-09-05). Keeping Hope – Favourite Prayers for Modern Living: Selected Inspirational Prayers from World-Renowned Theologian Michel Quoist (Kindle Locations 1238-1243). Gill & Macmillan. Kindle Edition.