rescued dog2Rescued

He and his sister were found left to die in a bucket of water.  His sister was quickly adopted but he was much worse off and probably wouldn’t make it.  The vet who found them, after a few days found a home for the male puppy.  But it didn’t work out and he was brought back to the vet.  He was heartbroken that this little life had been through so much in a mere eight weeks but Otis finally found another, forever home.  Now years later Otis is happy, full of heart and grateful love for his owner.  Otis seems to bear no grudge toward whoever left him in that bucket to die.  He lives a life of gratitude.  My wife tells me she has never known a rescued dog that didn’t feel that way.

Last Sunday I retold again the greatest rescue story of them all.  Standing before the congregation I read Matthew 26:14-27:66 taking us in those 128 verses from Jesus’ betrayal to the sealing of His tomb.  I can almost hear the hard “thud” of a heavy stone being rolled into place with the accompanying total darkness which would have filled that cold, stone crypt.  At times I found it almost impossible to continue reading as Jesus’ situation became more desperate, more hopeless with each moment.

I am a rescued dog.  I had no future.  I had no hope.  I was utterly lost and no one wanted me.  When we are surrounded by family or friends it is hard to realize that.  But the day came when, 1500 miles from anyone who knew me I awakened with that realization.  It was then that for the first time in my life, I began to feel warm, gentle and totally undeserved acceptance.  I found a willingness to adopt me by the One whose hands bore the wounds of that time I read about Sunday.   Each time I remember at what terrible Cost I was adopted I must push the tears back that, welling up, render me unable to speak.

The Christian life is a life of gratitude.  I am a rescued dog.  One lifetime is not nearly enough to repay the debt of love I owe.  Christianity is not about denominations, liturgy, meetings, dinners, building programs or programs of any kind.  Christianity is about rescue, tears of gratitude and the desire to bring pleasure at any cost to the One who has given us our Forever Home.

jim elliotWhat the World Needs Now …


Abruptly, Jesus spoke to those wishing to follow Him, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”  (Mark 8:35)

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.” Jim Eliot had penned in his journal October 28, 1949.  January 8, 1956 Jim Eliot and four other missionaries were killed by Auca Indians in Ecuador.  They had flown over the Auca village for months dropping gifts to win their hearts so that they might share the good news of Christ with them.

“You fellows are crazy to waste all that good stuff on the Aucas.  They will be just as mean as before,” they were told by others.  The news of this tragedy “went viral”.  It was an unspeakably cruel act.

Two years later Elizabeth Eliot, Jim’s widow, and their three year old daughter, Valerie, were living in a little house with no floor, walls or furniture in the village with her husband’s murderers in order to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to them!   In 1966 two of those Indians, Gikita Komi and Yaeti Kimo, who had participated in the murder of these five men, having become Christians, traveled to Berlin, Germany to participate in the World Congress on Evangelism.

Today our world is rampant with violence, hatred, murder and every conceivable wrong.  During the week before Easter we think about the hatred of those who cried out “Crucify Him!” They were calling for the same crime which killed those five missionaries.  Crowds crying for death in Jerusalem, the murder of five missionaries in Ecuador, a tree trimmer beaten unconscious last week as he tried to help a child in Detroit.  No matter how much evil or wrong there may be around us, the Light and Love which come from God are able to overcome.  There is no darkness so great that God is not greater still.  Now that is worth celebrating!

Winning the Lottery

mega-millionsWinning the Lottery

“Anderson Cooper won’t get mom’s millions” the headline stated.  And he’s happy about that.  “I think it’s a curse.  Who has inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their own life?”  This was his response to the decision of his 90-year-old mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.  She told him there would be no trust fund for him.

Everyone has dreams of winning the lottery I suppose.  In the 1989 film, Back to the Future II, the antagonist makes billions of dollars by using a future copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac which detailed sporting events from 1950-2000.

Perhaps we all wish for a life easier than the one we have.  We wonder how life would be different if we won the lottery!  However history paints a picture a life of wealth different than what we imagine.  While money may promise a life of ease and unlimited opportunity it can‘t guarantee health, longevity or even sustained happiness.  The tabloids are filed with the sordid lives of the rich and famous.  But none of that has kept us from dreaming!

I wondered as I read Anderson Cooper’s story (Anderson Cooper is best known in his reporting for CNN) how my own life might be different if I had made different choices which might have secured a different financial future.  There have been many times when I have remained in a difficult situation or when I might have been able to buy my way to more prosperity if I had more money.   I have learned to be a plumber, electrician, carpenter, and mechanic because I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do those things.  I have realized that much of who I am becoming is because of the difficulties in and out of the church I have had to face.  If I could have, I would have paid someone or bought my way into a different place. At times I would have done almost anything to run away from my problems.

 “By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)  Almost all the greatest men and women in history attended the “school of hard knocks”.  The only one ever born who could have chosen a life of comfort, privilege and wealth, chose to be born among the working poor with little opportunity for advanced education or social standing (Jesus Christ!).  So while dreams may continue to abound of winning the lottery, just because “lady luck” doesn’t seem to smile on us it doesn’t mean we have a bad lot.  In fact, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)