No Fear in Death

I was preaching on heaven and hell recently.  As I spoke to the congregation, I said, "We are all going to die.  In fact every breath we take is one step closer to the end."

I was taken aback when just then a man in the service began having a seizure.  He was ok and later that week he joked about how he had that seizure at that point in the message.  He was scared in the moment but later saw the humor in it. 

Google the term "fear of death" and you will get 160,000,000 results.

160 Million!

Coping, ovecoming, medical labels...there is a ton of stuff on the topic.  I get the sense that quite a few people out there must be afraid of dying.  I know that over the years I've been one of them.  

As a kid I was afraid of the dark, afraid of death and at times afraid of my own shadow!  My fear of death was not so much the death itself but the possible pain involved in getting there.  I was afraid of the suffering and misery, the long goodbye that is often associated with death. Even after I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I was worried about death.  I have had panic attacks sitting in doctors offices, heart papatations while getting x-rays and near nervous breakdowns waiting for test results.

I admit it.  I've been weak at times.

I know the Bible talks about fear. I quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 and Phillippians 4:6-7 until I was blue in the face.  No matter what I did, fear would only be tamped down but for a moment.  

I found Proverbs 12: 25 to be true. "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."  I was being weighed down by my anxiety.

Yet today, I can testify that that fear is rapidly diminishing.  I have grown more comfortable in my own mortality. Through prayer and God speaking through a friend and brother, I have been healed of that anxiety.  I know I am going to die and I am ok with it.  My eternal destination is one I long for more than dread.

My son CJ and I had a converations about heaven recently and listening to his child like faith, I found myself longing for the day I can spend eternity with no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.

I get excited because I am literally dying to meet Jesus!

I came across this quote while reading a Civil War history book today:

"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." - General "Stonewall" Jackson.

"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Victory in Jesus!


He Thinks I'm a Hero

My son drew this picture last month while we were at a Salvation Army Leadership Camp down in Gibsons, BC.

He was asked to draw somebody and he told me it was a picture of me as a superhero!  Apparently I was flying and able to shoot fire out of my hands.  Now I must admit, that would be pretty cool.  I would love to be able to fly and shoot fire out of my hands.  I would settle for just flying.  I was also tickled as a Dad that my son saw me as a superhero!  I know he won't always see me this way.

When my daughter was very young she also told me I was her hero.  I want to be my kids hero but more importantly, I want my kids to look at me and see Jesus living in me and through me.  I want my life, my actions, to point my children to their Heavenly Father.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

I have read that passage a lot lately.  I want my family to love God with all out heart, soul and strength.  I want to impress that on my children.  I want to share the love of God and how awesome He is.  If my kids walk with God throughout their life, then I truly will feel like a superhero!


Death On Hold

I am always hesitant to write anything around the death penalty.  I have noticed people's passions are such that they begin to go overboard in arguing their point.  I wrote about this topic and my wrestling with it way back in 2008 http://apperson.blogspot.ca/2008/11/wrestling-with-word.html and though the comments on this blog were not too over the top...I received tons of emails about it and even had people stop talking to me for a season.  I was fairly raked over the coals.

So at first I was unsure if I wanted to review Death on Hold by Burt and Anita Folsom.

This is the story of Mitch Rutledge, a man on death row with an IQ of 84.  He admitted his crime and was sentenced to death.  He also said he was sorry for what he did. A story in time magazine about people on death row addressed the life of Rutledge and the last line of the story said, "Forget him."

The Folsoms and a few others could do no such thing.  They began a correspondance with Mitch Rutledge that has continued on for 30+ years now.  Rutledge had his sentence upheld once, then saw it later reduced to life without parole.  He still sits in prison today.

He is not the same man he once was though.  With the support of his new "family" and a faith in Christ, Mitch learned to read and write, received his GED and later took college courses.  He became a model prisoner and has appeared in videos and given lectures to groups brought to the prison about the dangers of poor choices.

Mitch had a hard life before his crime but owns the fact that he also made por choices.  The take away from this book is that ALL lives matter, even a teenage murderer with an IQ of 84!  This is the story of how God can redeem ANY life.  It doesn't matter if you are for or against the death penalty, you should read this book and see how God can transform lives.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.


Raising Boys By Design

I am not a huge fan of parenting books.  It is not that I am a perfect parent, far from it.  However, the ones I have read always seemed a bit unrealistic.  It got to the point where I avoided said books any way I could.  Then I got an email offering this book.  I was intrigued...I sid Yes.

Raising Boys by Design by Gregory Jantz and Michael Gurian was not what I expected.  The first part of the book spent a bit of time looking at how mens/womens brains worked.  As I read what could have been a very dry section, I found myself very, very interested.  The authors drew me in with their explanations.  I started reading parts out loud to my wife.  My daughter picked it up when I left it in the car and started reding it.  She said it was very interesting. I learned things not only about my kids, but about myself as well.  I started sharing parts of this section with others.

I guess you could say I liked it.

The second part of the book was a practical application of all that was discussed in the first part.  Using the acrynom HERO, the authors provide a vision for parenting your son.


As they look at areas like character, sex, technology and other areas, the authors build a case for raising your son to be a hero.

I have to give this book 2 thumbs up.  Why not pick up a copy today.

This book was provided for an honest book revciew by graf-martin and Waterbrook Press.


The Irresistable Community

The table, the towel and the truth.  These are the three themes that author Bill Donahue weaves throughout his new book The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together.  

Set against the backdrop of the last supper, the author begins each chapter with a look at the events leading up to this meal through the eyes of each disciple.  He breaks the book down into the three aforementioned themes and the result is one of the most well written and insipring books I have come across in a long, long time. 

It wasn't long into the first chapter of The Irresistible Community before I began dog-earing parts of the book and going back and looking at it again and again.  I made notes, I found sermon ideas and I was challenged in my walk with the Lord. 

The idea of coming to the table with Jesus, picking up the towel of serventhood and hearing and speaking truth resonated with me.  This is a book I will go back to again and I look forward to mining for more nuggets of wisdom in coming seasons.

I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself.

"This book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review."


My Addiction.

I was once an addict. 

It started off innocently enough.  I was in the 3rd grade.  I came across some scented magic markers.  Like every other kid in class, I sniffed the various markers.  Unlike the rest of my class, I didn't stop.  I continued sniffing markers throughout the school year.  I huffed at school, I hufffed at home...and before long I became an addict. 

It may sound humorous...but it got worse. 

My parents caught me huffing markers...but they did not know I was also huffing gasoline.  My neighbor caught me inhaling exhaust fumes and my dad put a boot in my backside.  I was punished, lectured and addicted.  I can't recall how many times I got caught or when I eventually woke up to what I was doing but I was addicted for a couple years. 

Some addictions can be bad, even fatal. 

Today I am addicted again.  This addiction is life changing.  It is one that has impacted my whole family.  In fact we are all addicts and we don't want to quit.

Recently I asked myself some questions you would ask of an addict:

  1. Can you hardly wait until you are alone so you can experience the feeling that comes from taking part in the experience?
  2. Do you find yourself avoiding people because they interfere with your addiction?
  3. Do you find yourself daydreaming about your habit?
  4. Do you regularly turn to your habit when you are troubled?
  5. Do you feel better able to face life after engaging in your habit?
  6. Do you get upset if you cannot partake in your habit for a long period of time?
  7. Do you prefer to be with other people who do what you do?
I can and did answer yes to all these questions. 

This time I am addicted to Jesus Christ!

Psalm 84:10, "For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness."

This addiction isn't fatal but it is eternal!  It not only changes my life but my future as well.   I don't care if people support me or not...I just want more of Jesus.  I want to spend time in His presence, in His Word, worshiping day in and day out.

Jesus Christ has changed my life.  Believe in Him or not, I KNOW how He has changed my life.  I have seen to much to ever turn back. I serve a LIVING, LIFE GIVING, MIRACLE WORKING God!


Plowing Hope

"...That he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope."  (1 Corinthians 9:10b)

I recently read this passage of Scripture, found in the latter part of 1 Corinthians 9:10, and it has been rattling around in my head ever since. 

The thing that stand out to me is the word 'hope'.  Plowing in hope.  Threshing in hope.  Partaking in hope.  I love that word hope.  Day after day I am reminded that without hope, we have nothing. 

Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

I have been a believer for over 30 years and I have seen the Lord move in mighty ways.  I have seen people rise off their sickbeds.  I have seen instantaneous healing.  I have seen unexplainable miracles.  I know God is real.  I know He is active, calling, wooing, seeking, saving and setting people free!

Even when life seems at it's worst, when I have moments of doubt, I go back to those milestones and my hope is renewed. 

That hope stirs me, fills me and I am challenged to share that hope with others.  Too often we dwell on our mistakes or have our mistakes continuously pointed out to us.  The truth of the matter is we all sin.  We all make mistakes.  The Bible is very clear on that.  It is also clear that we are called to love God and love our neighbor.  We are called to share what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  I will share hope, I will share truth in love, I will speak life.  This world is not the end.  I have a hope of eternity.  That eternal hope causes me to rejoice today.

Suffering will one day end, pain will be no more.  Life is more than it appears, God still moves today.

I can't worry about tomorrow.  What comes will come.  Today, today I will rejoice in hope!  Tomorrow is a new day, and again I will rejoice in hope.

Live hope, breathe hope, speak hope and let the peace of Jesus Christ reign in your life forever!