Month: January 2018



The day started with a doctor’s appointment, which set me back about an hour and a half from my usual scheduled work time. I am accustomed to starting my secular job, driving an 18-wheeler, at around 10 am.


The time for me to be working is not set in stone, so I can go in an hour earlier, or I could go a couple hours later if I needed to. Like many folks, I am a creature of habit when it comes to working, so I prefer to leave at a set time each day.


I am traveling a little faster than I should today, and I know it.  Since I travel this road five days a week, I know the spots where police like to hide, running radar traps, so I am constantly on the lookout.


 As I come down over this one hill, where I know the police are prone to wait for speeders, I’m watching my speedometer,  I know I’m going a little too fast, but there’s fresh snow on the ground, certainly not a day anyone will be running radar.


Heading down this very familiar slope, the road drops sharply, followed by a nice wide-open area; you can see clearly in every direction. I knew I was going faster than I should, but again, I was sure no one would be running radar on a day like today. I let my car drift faster than normal, as I came down off that incline and into the sweeping corner at the bottom.


After I careened around the corner at the bottom of the hill, satisfied I made it undetected, I took a quick glance in my rear-view mirror, and there, approaching quickly, the familiar silhouette of a State Police car; a quarter-mile later, his lights came on and I pulled over.


The trooper was pleasant and all business, issuing me a ticket for $221, I was going 61 miles an hour in a 45 mile-an-hour zone. I told the officer I was guilty, I knew I was going too fast, no reason to argue with him, or make excuses.


I went on to work that day, an extra half hour later now, due to the stop, and a couple hundred bucks in fines that I would have to explain to my wife soon, Oh boy!


I began pondering what happened, it certainly was no accident. I did not have to be to work that soon, another couple of minutes would not have made any difference at all. I knew I was breaking the law, and I thought I could get away with it.


I was actively looking across the landscape, to see if I could find out where the police were. I was wrong and deserved the fine.


That got me thinking about my spiritual walk, my daily spiritual drive if you will.  I wondered how many times have I broken God’s will, or how many times I tried to skirt one of His directives, knowing that I was wrong, sometimes trying to outwit God.


I wondered how many times I made lame excuses to God for my bad behavior. I wondered how many times I knew ahead of time I was going to do something God would disapprove.


I began to wonder what the consequences of those actions are going to be for me. Disregarding God’s commands is a very dangerous thing, and the consequences have eternal implications.  You cannot just write a check to God and pay a fine.


I recalled the Scripture about giving an account for the actions we have done in this life, whether good or bad; a wave of conviction flooded over me!


2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


The next scripture that came to my mind was the one where God declared that if we confess our sins to Him, he would forgive those sins; but more than that, He promises to purify us from ALL sin!


I spent the rest of the day talking to God as I drove my truck around my route. I remembered things I had said or had done, that I knew were displeasing to Him and I began confessing them.


His forgiveness washed over me that day, and since then, I am more aware of my actions and thoughts; keeping short accounts with God.


Perhaps the $221 fine had greater value than I thought. God was using this encounter with the police as a way of getting my attention, a way of reminding me that my Father in heaven always has His eye on me!


1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


I wonder if I am alone in this endeavor, or if perhaps this rings a bell in your own Christian journey. If it does, then take time to think about your own life, avoid making excuses for the sin that you commit.


Do not ignore it, go straight to God and tell him what you have done, and perhaps He will show you grace and mercy and forgive you still; He did it for me that day.


Do it now, before it costs you more than you can pay!







Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Holiness, Humility, 0 comments


I was living in Longview, Washington at the time; moving there in the spring, driving from Pennsylvania in an old beat up Chevy Nova. I had taken everything I owned, along with my faithful companion Brandy, a frisky little wire-haired Terrier.  

I went on a whim, looking for work and at 20 years old, I was ready to make my millions. I took a job with a local contractor; working in new home construction.


I recall one particular Saturday evening; it was mid-summer, and it was very hot that night. Looking for something to do, I decided to go for a drive downtown, on the strip. On weekends, everyone would head to the “strip” and cruise.


The strip was about a mile long and ran through the city of Longview. The procedure was to start at one end and drive to the other end; turning around and then do it again. Fast cars and cute girls were sure to be on this popular stretch.


After several trips through; Brandy sitting was on my lap, nose out the window, catching brief breezes as we moved from one red light to another, we caught a red light.


Next to me was a carload of pretty girls and they began swooning over Brandy; “Oh what a cute little puppy, he’s so adorable.”


I whispered to Brandy; “Turn on the charm pal, this is working!” The girls were cute and my silly head was spinning.


I recall the driver of the car hollers over; “Our light’s changing, we have to go; love your puppy.” I look over, sad to see them pulling away, I yelled back; “me too” and still looking at them I pulled away.


The problem was, the traffic directly in front, had not moved yet, and I promptly ran into the rear-end of a very nice, custom Camaro!


Two big guys jumped out of the car and looked at the bumper of the Camaro. With great anger, the driver shouted a few choice words at me and told me to pull over and that I had better pray to God, his car has no damage!


I distinctly recall hearing the carload of girls I was dreaming of, laughing as they pulled away. I looked at Brandy and said; “I think we are going to die tonight.”


Thankfully, no damage to the Camaro, and since we were on a very populated avenue, the guys decided not to beat the daylights out of me. After that encounter, Brandy and I went home and spent the night watching TV and eating popcorn.


Distractions easily draw us off course. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:25; “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” In our Christian journey, we are tempted daily to avert our gaze from Jesus to something else.


Recall the story of Peter in the Gospel of Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus calls Peter out of the boat, and Peter begins to walk on the water; how awesome is that!


However, as the story declares, Peter diverted his eyes from Jesus, looking at the wind and the wave, and that distraction caused him to sink!


Whatever the distraction you may be facing each day; whether the storms of life or as in my story, a pretty face, proceed with great caution and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, otherwise, you just might run into something or someone and the outcome can be quite embarrassing.


Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Humility, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
The Mite Song

The Mite Song

The Mite Song
Only a drop in the bucket.
But every drop will tell,
The bucket would soon be empty;
Without the drops in the well.
“Only a poor little penny,
It was all I had to give;
But as pennies make the dollars.
It may help some cause to live.
“A few little bits of ribbon,
And some toys—they were not new,
But they made the sick child happy,
And that made me happy, too.
“Only some out-grown garments:
They were all I had to spare:
But they’ll help to clothe the needy,
And the poor are everywhere.
“A word now and then of comfort,
That cost me nothing to say:
But the poor old man died happy,
And it helped him on the way.
“God loveth the cheerful giver,
Though the gifts be poor and small:
But what must he think of his children
Who never give at all?
Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Humility, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
Holier than Thou

Holier than Thou

Early in my pastoral career, I felt I had a corner on what it meant to be a Christian. My views were set, or so I thought! As an evangelical Christian, I always found it difficult to listen to opposing views; perhaps more accurately, different views, and I would do my best, to keep “my people” away from those who saw Christianity through a different lens than mine.


Annually, in our small rural community, through the season of Lent, area churches would come together in a show of Christian unity and share pulpits.


We would invite guest speakers from the local ministerial association to speak in our home churches each week, as the Lenten season progressed.


It was great; a Baptist preacher would share the message at the Catholic Church one week, then a Pentecostal preacher would share a message in the Baptist church the next week. The Christian community traveled to different churches, meeting new friends and sharing times of fellowship following the services.


Some of the more evangelical pastors were skeptical of having a “non-evangelical” pastor preach in their church, so they would quietly ask evangelical pastors if they would speak in their church the week the community came to their place of worship. I was one of those pastors.


On one particular week of the Lenten services, a “non-evangelical” pastor, known for occasionally shooting down claims made by the more evangelical pastors, would soon preach at one of the churches.


As the week for him to speak approached, I purposefully “forgot” to announce the location of that week’s Lenten meeting; secretly hoping many of my people would “forget” too.


The night of the Lenten service arrived, and I felt obligated to go to the service. I went prepared for a message that would be high and lofty, with very little, if any mention of Jesus Name; I was not disappointed.


I found myself analyzing every word; glad in my heart that few of “my” people attended!


Following his message, a fellowship gathering in an adjacent room, separated by a narrow hallway was getting underway. As people began to make their way to the fellowship gathering, I decided I would join them for a moment and headed in that direction.


As I moved into the narrowing hallway, and kindly old woman, with a crown of white hair, came toward me, gently grabbing my arms, pulling me in. She looked at me, her eyes looking larger than life, through glasses with thick lens, fogged up as tears streamed down her cheeks.


As she drew me in, she said to me; “Pastor Rock, was that not the most moving message you ever heard?”


I was speechless; I mean . . . I had nothing, not a word! The best I could do was gently form a smile; she smiled too, then released her grip and ambled down the hallway.


I stood motionless for a moment, stunned by her words, and I distinctly heard the voice of God; “Rock, you missed it; you missed Me, I was there, where were you?”


I focused entirely on my own narrow view and my own self-righteousness; so much so, that I never noticed God’s Holy Spirit moving in that place. I Left quietly and went out to my car and sat there sobbing, sorry for my ignorance and pride.


God taught me, one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned, and that is He has far more grace than I ever will have.


He taught me that I do not have a corner on Christianity; others have a place at the table too. I have heard it said; “someone does not have to be wrong, for me to be right.”


A Scripture in the Gospel of Mark reveals an important truth . . .


Mark 9:38-41

 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.


I think the point Jesus was making to John was a simple one; just because they do not belong to your group, does not mean they do not belong to Me.


I have seen Jesus work miracles in ways I never dreamed of and He uses people that I never would! His grace is indeed great, and I for one am very glad; He even has space for someone like me!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Holiness, Humility, Ministries, 0 comments


Years ago, we got our daughter a beautiful little green canary for Christmas and she affectionately called it Tweety. It was a happy little bird and when it was hungry, it would live up to its name, tweeting loudly until someone took care of the empty food dish.


Every couple of weeks we needed to clean the cage, and while cleaning the cage, Tweety would often escape; flying around the house tweeting gleefully. Once the cage was clean, we now had the task of getting Tweety back inside.


To get Tweety back in the cage, one particular technique worked very well. I would gently carry the cage to where Tweety was perched, lifting the cage to the tiny bird, calling its name.


Tweety would usually hop into the cage; perhaps enticed by the pristine condition of his home, not to mention clean water and food.


Our little bird flew right out the back door


One particularly beautiful afternoon, while cleaning the cage, Tweety was flitting about the house as we were cleaning his abode. Since it was such a beautiful day, we forgot the back door to the house was wide open.


Tweety saw that the door was open, and just had to go see what was out there! In a flash, Tweety was out the back door!


In a panic, we all ran outside to see where he went. We stood there in the backyard, and then we heard the unmistakable “tweeting” of Tweety. His tweeting was loud and robust; you could hear the excitement in his tone.


We looked up into the tree and there he was, his emerald colors nearly blending into the bright green leaves of the maple tree. He was perched on the second branch of the tree; perhaps I could coax him back into the cage.


I rushed into the house and came running back out holding his cage up toward the branches calling his name; “Tweety, Tweety.” When Tweety saw the cage, he decided that he was not ready to go back in and he flew up higher into the tree.


With my wife and kids looking concerned and worried, I did what any good dad would do; I started climbing the tree after that little green parakeet; taking the cage with me.


I found myself climbing a maple tree with a bird cage in my hand


I climbed about halfway up the maple tree and got really close to Tweety, once again calling his name; but he was enjoying his newfound freedom and decided to go even higher in the tree.


I finally found myself as high in the tree as I could go; the limbs were getting smaller and smaller and Tweety was chirping away, just out of my reach. I recall hanging on for dear life; one hand on the tree branches, the other extending the cage as far as I could, while calling, “Tweety, Tweety.”


I recall the elderly next-door neighbor coming out on her back porch, looking inquisitively at me in the top of the tree calling “Tweety;” she just shook her head and went back inside!


In that final precarious position, stretched out, and as close as I could get, begging Tweety to come back, the little bird decided his freedom would not be denied, and he launched out into the wild blue yonder, never to be seen again!


We were sad to see Tweety depart, but we understood his desire to be free. I think for most people, their lives resemble Tweety’s life; mine certainly did. I felt caged, trapped in a lifestyle I could not escape.


Occasionally I would try and break out of the bondage of the cage by trying drugs, alcohol, sex or some other vice, giving me an illusion of freedom, but I was still trapped, unable to be truly free.


If the Son sets you free . . .


Then Jesus, knocking on the door of my life, He beckons me to open the door to Him. I open the door and stand there; I see the amazing world that I only dreamed could exist. I can smell the fresh clean air, I can see the crystal clear river of life flowing nearby, and my senses are overwhelmed.


Jesus, standing outside of my caged existence, gently calls my name, and with a winsome smile, says; “Come, follow Me.” I step out and my journey begins . . . free at last.


Oh, the devil is never far away, always trying to tempt me back into the cage, calling my name, but the further I walk with Jesus, the less I hear him calling and that old familiar caged life is just a memory.


How about you, are you still caged? Come on outside and follow the Master; He is calling your name, and remember; If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Trust, 0 comments
A Sheep not a Lamb

A Sheep not a Lamb

I have to admit, I am a sucker for old poetry, Today as I was looking over my collection I ran across this one and felt compelled to share! Enjoy!


Lost Sheep


‘Twas a sheep not a lamb that strayed away

In the parable Jesus told,

A grown up sheep that had gone astray

From the ninety and nine in the fold.



Out on the hillside, out in the cold,

‘Twas a sheep the Good Shepherd sought

And back to the flock, safe into the fold

‘Twas a sheep the Good Shepherd brought.



And why for the sheep should we earnestly long

And as earnestly hope and pray?

Because there is danger if they go wrong

They will lead the lambs astray.



For the lambs will follow the sheep, you know,

Wherever the sheep may stray

When the sheep go wrong it will not be long

Til the lambs are as wrong as they.



And so with the sheep we earnestly plead

For the sake of the lambs today

If the lambs are lost, what terrible cost

Some sheep will have to pay!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
Take up Your Cross

Take up Your Cross

Our first church assignment came; it was a beautiful red brick structure, interlaced with sandstone from a nearby rock quarry. The church windows made of stained glass added to the sacred atmosphere.


The church had a working bell; rung by pulling on a long rope; the children would take turns tugging on the rope until the bell began to resound; reminding the neighborhood that church would begin soon.


When you came inside the church, you noticed the bright red carpet blanketing the floor; blonde oak church pews filling the sanctuary, and soft yellow walls beckoning you in. In the front of the sanctuary stood a large oak pulpit on a raised platform overlooking the congregation, and on the wall behind the pulpit, a beautiful wooden cross. 


The cross, fashioned of solid golden oak, stood four feet tall with the cross piece about three feet across. The wood beams, at least four inches thick, had a soft smooth beautiful shiny finish, very pleasant to look at, a reminder of the Cross of Christ. A person could not come into the church without noticing the cross.


As the Easter season approached, I preached a message on the cross of Christ.  As I studied for that message, I realized that the beautiful shiny, pleasant looking cross on the wall, wasn’t even close to the cross that Jesus suffered and died on.


I began to think about it, and I felt deep in my heart that I needed to fashion a real cross of life-sized proportions; a cross you could actually crucify someone on, to show the people what a cruel instrument it really was.


I would go and cut down a tree and make a cross


I got an ax, and I jumped in my pickup truck, driving into the mountains of Northwest Pennsylvania. I walked into the forest looking for the right tree; a tree you could build a cross from; strong enough to crucify someone. I wanted to cut a tree that was dead.


I did not want to take down a live tree, I needed something sturdy, something solid, and as I walked around the forest, I saw it; an old weathered maple tree that would work very well for a cross.


I stood there looking at the tree, and I took my ax, taking a hard swing at the ten-inch base of the tree. The weathered hard maple tree was not going to come down easy.


As I continued to slice into the base of the tree with my ax, my mind began to think of Jesus and the Cross He carried. Each time I swung and struck the base of that tree, I recalled an ugly sin in my own life; a sin His death atoned for.


I kept striking the tree; each strike bringing forward more pain; more remembrances of all the sins that I had committed. Tears began to flow down my face, as I thought of what Jesus did on the cross for me.


Not only, was it for the sins of the whole world He died, but it was for my sins, the ones I committed, and as I continued to chop, the tears flowed. The tree finally fell down with a loud crash, I went over and sat by the tree and I wept as I thought of what Jesus did.


I stepped off about twelve feet for the upright post; taking the ax once again, cutting off the cross beam making it eight feet long. I stood up the twelve-foot post, placing it on my shoulder, and I started carrying it out through the woods; once again, the tears came like a flood.


Bringing the cross to the church


I remembered Jesus trying to carry his cross, battered and beaten, blood running down his face, as he tried to carry it. I went back picking up the eight-foot cross piece bringing it back to my truck.


When I got back to the church, I unloaded the two pieces, and before taking them inside, I notched the upright post and the crossbeam, so they would lock together. I took them inside the beautiful, stately sanctuary and carefully lashed the two pieces together with 30 feet of half-inch rope. Once secured, I groaned as I stood the cross upright in the sanctuary.


I firmly secured the base of the cross, to the platform at the front of the sanctuary, walked back and sat down. The cross was large and rough, not at all like the pretty, shiny one behind the pulpit. It was evident, this cross, was a true representation of the instrument used to kill our Savior; once again, the tears came.


Finally, I found an old hammer, along with three ten inch spikes and I hung them on the side of the cross. I fashioned a wooden sign that read “King of the Jews,” and I placed it at the top.


Over the years, people would come from miles around to gaze at the cross. Some would come just to sit in front of it; most would begin to sob.


We even had people drive hours to come, asking if they could spend the night in the church, sleeping at the foot of the cross.


The Bible says it best . . .


“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”              

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)






Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Humility, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
Evolution and the Pesky Problem of Soft Spots

Evolution and the Pesky Problem of Soft Spots

I was the pastor of a church in the small rural town of Emporium; a quaint little town nestled deep in the mountains of Northwest Pennsylvania.


During my tenure there, an old middle school, which had been the centerpiece of our community for nearly 80 years, was up for sale. Our church acquired the building and subsequently found multiple uses for it.


It was not uncommon for retired teachers, who taught in this building, to stop by and reminisce about the good old days, and to see what we were doing there!


One day, while I was headed to my office, I met one of the local school teachers walking in the main hall. As we talked, we both commented that we had attended school there; reminiscing about the teachers, classes, and activities we took part in.


In the course of the conversation, we discussed the future use of the old building and I divulged that we were considering the idea of running a Christian School there. I went on to share how I considered much of the teaching, in the public school setting, was not entirely accurate.


I could see that she was beginning to feel uneasy about the direction of the conversation, but I gently pressed the conversation.


Natural selection is inadequate in explaining evolutionary processes


I shared how I felt the whole idea of evolution and natural selection to be inadequate in its explanation of how humanity came into existence. She looked puzzled and said; “how so?”


I used a simple illustration to show the folly of evolution; here is what I shared with her.


I asked if she ever wondered why most living creatures, including humans, have eyes. Almost every creature that lives either on land or in the sea has them. I asked her; “In light of the theory of evolution, how can this be?” She looked confused, so I continued.


The theory of evolution espouses the idea of natural selection; or the “survival of the fittest.” The idea is that weaker and more vulnerable creatures, and those less able to adapt, would become extinct; the strong would survive. She agreed.


According to the evolutionary theory, it would have taken millions upon millions of years for the eye to evolve into the functional apparatuses that they are today.


The problem with soft spots


That means almost all the creatures on the planet would have to live with ever increasing “soft spots” right in front of the most sensitive part of their body; the brain; for millions of years!


It would seem to me, that those animals with this soft spot on their head would have been exploited by other, more aggressive animals, who would quickly take advantage of this weakness.


It would stand to reason, that from a purely evolutionary standpoint, the whole idea of an eyeball would have been a really, really bad idea! With that, she said; “Huh, I never looked at it quite like that.”


Indeed, when we use a little common sense, we can see the silliness of what so many take for, as fact!


Interestingly enough, as our technology increases and we unravel the mysteries of the human genome, scientists are discovering more and more evidence of complex intelligent design; at every level!


It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the theory of evolution


The intricacy of the creation that surrounds us is stunning, and with the advent of the electron microscope and other scientific tools, it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue with the whole idea of random chance, as the driving force, creating it all!


Many years ago, it was purported to be the solemn truth, that the world was flat. Anyone who denied this issue was criticized, mocked and called crazy!


As mankind bravely continued to explore the world, and study the cosmos, gaining knowledge and understanding, they began to realize the world was actually round! Who knew?


Unfortunately, there are still many who believe the earth is flat; disregarding the overwhelming evidence that it is not.


I wonder if someday soon, the evidence of an intelligent designer will become so overwhelming, that even the most ardent supporters of evolution will have to agree that this theory is no longer valid. One can only hope!


I am sure, just like the case with those who still believe in a flat earth, there will be those who refuse to see the folly of evolution and they will hang onto those myths as long as possible.


Finally, concerning the whole issue of creation, there is a rather old book; some would say an ancient one; that gave a great deal of insight concerning this topic. What book did you ask? Hold on. . . It’s the Bible, and here is a relevant excerpt:


Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.


This book, by the way, that has been mocked, burned, and made illegal in many countries; still has relevant truth today. Perhaps this current scientific generation, ought to consider the truths mentioned in its pages; doing so may just help illuminate the pathway to even more stunning discoveries; after all, the God of the Bible, is the One who created science in the first place!


God has placed an insatiable desire in the heart of mankind to learn, to seek, and to gain knowledge. It is as if God Himself has placed a trail of breadcrumbs for us to discover along the way, and that scientific trail will always point to Him!


So grab a microscope, a telescope and keep searching, keep looking; one Day, His face will fill your lens!



Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, 0 comments
Jesus Counts

Jesus Counts

While serving as pastor of a small church my wife Sherri, did far more than anyone would ever know. The pastor’s wife is often the unsung hero of any ministry endeavor! One of the many tasks Sherri took on was to record the attendance of the various meeting we would be holding.


Sherri would often get volunteers to count the folks who attended Sunday morning services; but when those volunteers were unable, she would do the count.


We held a mid-week Bible study too; Sherri also attended, and at the end of the week, she would let me know how many had come.


One particular week, I saw a discrepancy in the numbers she gave me. I remembered clearly that seven people attended; five others, Sherri, and myself yet she marked down eight. I went over it again and counted only seven.


I mentioned to her that I thought the count was off a little and I shared with her the names of those who attended. She looked quizzically at me and said; “you forgot one.” No, I am sure seven, were there that night. She looked at me again and said a little indignantly; “how can you forget the most important person.”


Did you forget Jesus?


I finally blurted out . . . “Who am I missing!” She looked at me and said; “Jesus was there, and He counts.” She went on to say that every time she takes attendance, she always counts Jesus, because He is always there, and He matters.


As I pondered her reasoning, I began to realize that many times we have had meetings and never acknowledged Jesus was there; and I started to wonder how many times He did not come, for that very reason!


Since then, I have made it a point, to always acknowledge that Jesus is present, and to never just assume that He is. I try not to talk about Him as if He were in another room, but rather as a distinguished guest. I do not always get this right, but I do make a concerted effort to remember His significance and to not just assume He is there.


Yes . . . Jesus counts; are you including Him on your rolls?





Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Humor, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
The Sandbox

The Sandbox

I was sitting outside recently looking at the landscape of our small yard and I noticed a slight depression near the edge bordering the alleyway. My mind drifted back 4 years ago, when in that very spot, there used to be a sandbox, and I recalled how the story of the sandbox unfolded.


I had built our youngest son a sandbox, so he could enjoy the fun of building and dozing in the dirt; something every little boy loves to do. During the summer months, he and neighborhood friends, day after day would occupy the sandbox.


As the years went by and our son grew older, the sandbox received less and less attention and began to fill up with weeds, and the fancy digging toys, now rusted tight, had lost their luster.


That year our youngest son Luke, spent most of his time riding bikes with friends, playing basketball down the street, and really did not spend too much time in the sandbox. I considered pulling out the sandbox, filling it in with topsoil, and planting grass.


As I contemplated the fate of the forgotten sandbox, memories of my own childhood flashed across my mind. I could remember hours playing in the dirt, the fun I had with the neighborhood children.


I remember walking into our house, gathering scornful looks from my mother, as I left a trail of dirt on my way to the kitchen sink to clean up.


What was to become of the old sandbox.


I asked my son one day what he thought about the idea of filling in the sandbox, and he seemed a little indifferent about it; as if it was not terribly important to him either.


Over the next few weeks, I gathered up some of the older toys, sending them off to the trash heap, never to be used again. I must admit I had twinges of guilt as I did it.


School let out for summer vacation, and one day I noticed my son, and a couple of his friends, ages 10 to 14, digging in the sandbox … and I mean digging! Over the course of the next 3 weeks, we had as many as 10 neighborhood boys, coming to dig in the sandbox; they were coming with shovels!


The sandbox measured about 12’ x 10’ and they had dug a hole in the sandbox that was about 5’ in diameter and about 4’ deep.


Soon, the neighborhood moms and dads were coming to our yard to gaze at the sight; at least a half-dozen boys or more, with shovels digging away, no set purpose, just digging.


Well, I was astonished and amazed. I asked the kids what they planned to do with this incredible “hole.” It did not seem right to fill it in, but what could they do with it. They thought of all kinds of things from a swimming pool to a well.


After several weeks of intense cogitating about what to do with the hole; to my amazement when I came home from the office one day, I saw that the kids had filled in the hole, and was starting another project in the sandbox.


This time they created incredible miniature cities, with lakes, roads, parks, stores; their imaginations were running wild. Kids were coming to the sandbox with dozens and dozens of matchbox cars, boats, and all kinds of “things.”


Night after night, the kids were filling our yard, and as daylight turned to darkness, they began planning the newest addition to continue the next morning. Amazing!


Important lessons about life were being learned in the sandbox.


The kids were learning incredible lessons at the sandbox, lessons like; cooperation, sharing, vision casting, honing leadership skills, teamwork, and so much more!


After watching this incredible display of innovation and leadership coming from kids, 10 to 14 years old, I wondered; what would happen if the church could catch this determination.


You see, the kids had one objective; “dig dirt.” What it looks like, how it happens, is not important; what is important, is dirt digging!


As long as “digging dirt” is the main objective, then everyone is happy. The minute one of the boys sees his corner of the sandbox becoming more important than someone else’s corner, the whole project gets bogged down; dirt digging comes to a sudden stop.


Only when there is a resolution to the favoritism, or if the pet project is relinquished, can the real work of “digging dirt” begin again.


I wonder if the church could learn these lessons too.


How many times do we forget that our primary focus in the church is to reach lost people with the Good News of Jesus Christ? As long as we stay focused on “Knowing God, and Making Him Known” then we can get much done.


We tend to bog down when we think that our particular ministry, or service project, is the best, or the most important. Our feelings get hurt when someone else’s idea eclipses our own; we take offense and go sit down in the corner, and the work slows down, joy ceases, and very little “dirt digging” takes place!


Sometimes we simply need to come to our senses and fill in the hole and start over! Then digging dirt becomes the primary focus again.


Works for the kids; maybe it will work for the church too. I for one want to spend more time digging dirt than slinging it.


Jesus said that we should be about the Father’s business, and what is that? It is reaching God’s cherished missing with the Good News that Jesus is Lord!


Grab a shovel and let’s get digging!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments