New Sermon Series

This last Sunday we finished the sermon series on “The Games People Play.” The series went excellent. In fact, I had more positive comments about this series than I had any series in recent memory. (And thanks for that!)

This week we start a new sermon series entitled.

Six Word Memoirs - Edited

The basic question is this: How would you describe your life in six words? – or – How would others describe your life in six words?

Here are the upcoming sermons and I hope you will join us:

May 5 “So I Only Get Six Words?”
May 12 “I Am Turning into My Mother” [Mother’s Day]
May 19 “Not Quite What I Was Planning”
May 26 “It All Changed In an Instant”
June 2 “Life of Faith, World of Sin”
June 9 “My Life is God and Family”
June 16 “I Wish My Dad Was Here” [Father’s Day]
June 23 “Last Chapter Hasn’t Been Written Yet”
June 30 “I Just Hope There’s A Sequel”

*The idea for this series comes from Smith Magazine. They have several books full of this six word memoirs and a site dedicated to keeping it going over HERE. Warning – it is not a Christian site.

Top Ten from Alaska

I recently ran across a list of “Top Signs you Attend a Country Church.” As I was reading it, I thought that it could simply be modified to apply to Churches in Alaska. So here is my updated version of “Top Ten Signs You Attend Church in Alaska”

10. There is a time of praise for gas prices dropping below $3.50 a gallon
9. The restroom is outside
8. You often hear Texas referred to as “that Little State down below.”
7. Never in its entire 50-year history has one of its pastors had to buy any meat
6. People wonder if Jesus fed the 5,000 with Salmon or Halibut.
5. During the Red Salmon run the church is empty
4. You have received seafood as a gift.
3. You think, “If this is not heaven, I bet you can see heaven from there.”
2. Opening day of moose hunting season is recognized as an official church holiday.
1. The pastor wears fishing boots and no one says anything

(For the locals – What would you add to my list?)

Church Report

I thought I would just give a quick report about several things at Homer Christian Church over the past week.

1) Last week our Church sponsored the “Feed the Kids” program for Homer High School. We had 53 teens attend and we fed them 15 pizzas plus soda, water and cookies. We also had 7 adults show up to help out (plus Rainy 7 Elias Sundheim). It was great to see everyone working together and it was a wonderful experience.

2) My Sunday morning Sunday School class has grown from a class for youth into a class for anyone. If you are looking for a “small group” setting at Homer Christian this is a great way to come and learn and get connected. Bob Craig still offers a class upstairs if my class is not for you, but mine is now officially open to anyone.

3) Last night we held our Derby Car Race. We had well over 20 participants this year. I think everyone had a pretty good time. Hunter Harris won it all and that is because of his amazing and skillful dad. Thanks to Dave and Gay Fraker for their work on everything and to Lynn Burgoyne and Diane Andress for their work with the food. Thanks to everyone who participated in this fun event.

Finally – Our time to celebrate our teens that are graduating is quickly coming upon us – May 19th. Plan on staying for a fellowship lunch that day and a time to say congratulations. I hope you can join us for another great day!


I am working on a short devotional thought for a group of teenagers today. I am talking about the value of a “never give up” attitude from Galatians 6:9. It led me to look into the life of legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano. On Wikipedia it says there is a phrase taken from his famous speech given at the ESPY awards written on his headstone.

His gravestone reads “Take time everyday to laugh, to think, to cry.”

Good advice no matter how old you are.

Church attendance

Several years ago our church in Indiana hosted a “Friend Day.” It was a day to invite all of your friends to Church and they would be treated to a special food tray, then our “best program” and finally they were given a gift before they left. It was a great day and we had a packed house.

After the program I was walking around picking up all the leftover bulletins. One caught my attention. On the front, written obviously in a young child’s pen (maybe age 10-12), was a question addressed to another young person. My heart warmed as I read, “Are you baptized?” My sermon had hit home, even young people are asking questions.

Then I flipped the program over to find another question, “Is your dad at the golf course?”

I often wonder if dad’s influence was far greater than our little worship program.


I almost shared this story as an illustration in this week’s sermon. I ended up deciding against it, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway.

It was a Tuesday night and I was spending the evening with my oldest son Hunter. Every other week on Tuesday nights it was time for Boy Scouts. He was a beginner in Scouting, a Tiger Cub to be exact. The pack met at a local community building in the small town where we used to live. There was not a lot of room for the 30-40 kids who tried to attend all the meetings there. During the first few months the weather was nice and we did all kinds of activities and games outside. No space problems for us at all. Later the weather in Iowa was in the teens for temperature and we had a great deal of wind. So all of us crammed into this little building trying to learn about life and country in a fairly unsuitable environment for learning.
Well on this one particular evening our Den Mother, or maybe she is called a pack leader, had some easy ideas for lessons. It was a simple task and the boys could learn without hurting themselves or others. The task was to complete a puzzle for the Tiger cubs – a group of about 8 boys. Actually there were two puzzles for them and the boys were to do one and then move over to the other one. The first was a map of the United States with only 100 pieces to put together. The second puzzle (where I was stationed) was a map of the entire world and had 300 pieces to assemble.
The United States map was completed rather quickly and the boys were now in the process of helping me do the world map. The map was hard to put together. Time went by and the boys were getting bored as we worked and worked on this puzzle. Finally the leader told the boys they were going to build bird feeders out of all natural materials. Most of the youngsters ran to do the new project.
While they were leaving the scene, a couple of other parents moved in to help out with the puzzle I was working on. There in the middle of this small room of screaming boys, three adults worked to complete this task. Maybe it was out of pride I was building it, but I told people it was to teach the boys a lesson of “finish what you start.” After about 30 minutes more of work we reached the end of the puzzle. There was now a new difficulty, we were 5 pieces short and had two extras of the same pieces. The puzzle would not be able to be completed, even after all our work.
We notified the leader of our situation and asked for her input. I was astonished when she said, “That doesn’t surprise me.” Then she laughed and walked away. You mean to tell me I spent almost an hour on a project I couldn’t complete? Do you know what this will do to me?
I once read an article that stated, psychologists have identified a phenomenon related to memory known as the “Zeigarnik effect.” It seems the brain remembers incomplete tasks and failures far longer than successes or completed activity. When a project is completed successfully, the brain seems to compartmentalized the memory and no longer gives it priority, causing it to fade away. But failures have no closure – they remain active. The brain continues to process the memory as if trying to fix it and finally move it to “inactive status.”
Now for the rest of my life I am going to be looking for the pieces to that puzzle so that I can finish it. Woe to me!! Oh well, people have always said things about me, I guess now they can also say I am a few pieces short of a full puzzle!

Fellowship of the Unashamed

This is a piece I have used several times. I do not know the original source. I once read that it was from Bob Moorehead, but I have no proof of that. I still like it and use it even though it seems funny that the author is unknown considering the content 🙂

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or back away.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheep giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I `will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go ’till He comes, give ’till I drop, preach ’till all know, and work ’till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner is clear: I AM PART OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED.


I ran across this little paragraph in my files. I originally heard it on a John Maxwell Injoy life club lesson several years ago. I do not know the real source. He says in the audio file that is was originally in Christianity Today

My counselor has finally forced me to face the fact that I am a failure in my ministry. Permit me to list my evangelical demerits:
“I have never been to the Holy land, neither as a tour guide nor visitor. Every program I have ever started has failed. Our evangelism explosion didn’t explode. It gave an embarrassing pop, rolled over and died. I attended a Church growth seminar and while I was gone six families left the Church. A refugee family we tried to sponsor refused to come. The last I heard they were seeking asylum in a Chinese restaurant in St. Louis. Every time I try Dial-A-Prayer, I get the wrong number. It’s either a funeral home or a chicken carry out place. I tried calling Dial-A-Meditation the other day and the tape broke right after the first sentence which was, “So things aren’t going so well today?” Our Church teams never win any games; baseball, basketball, volleyball, shuffle board, you name it we’ve lost it. The town little league champs challenged us, and won. I am thinking of sharing all of this with our denominational leaders, but they’re never around when I phone. And all their letters addressed to me are addressed “occupants.” I have been told that failure could be the back door to success, but the door seems to be locked and I can’t find a key.”

The Bible Mini Series

Okay, I know I am behind on this topic. My family has been either sick or very busy the last several weeks. As a result we DVR’d the mini series called The Bible. Finally this week we all had a chance to set down and watch it. We have only watched one episode but we have noticed several things.

1) They are trying to cover way too much material too quickly. The sad result of this truth is that the makers are skipping several very important Bible stories. How could they not say anything about Joseph who takes up 13 chapters in Genesis?

2) The makers are totally disregarding what the Bible actually says. For example, Abraham is going to sacrifice Isaac just a few minutes from his family when the Bible clearly says he traveled for 3 days with donkeys and 2 servants.

3) In an effort to make the Bible come to life, the makers actually made the Bible more unclear and unbelievable. I know this is completely subjective, but my family is still laughing about the Ninja angels in Sodom.

Those are just my initial thoughts about what I have seen. So what am I doing with this mini series? I have been watching it with my family and continually pausing it to ask questions. I am constantly asking “What is missing?” or “What is wrong with what they showed?” or “Why is this story so important to the future stories in the Bible?” The final result is that my family is still learning more of the Bible together although not in the way I thought we would learn.