Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My New Favorite Word


It means Fear of long words!

And because of Mike's recent post and comments from Bilbo, I felt that I had to share this video!
(Also appropriate for Fiona's Sunday post...Shame on me for making the contribution!)


Sunday, December 28, 2008


Well Blogger is telling me that this is post #300. Sometime this past week the hit counter went over 15,000 since it began counting in August of '07. Cluster maps says that since August of '08 I've been getting regular to irregular (10 or more) hits from 25 countries. Legit shows an average of about 75 hits per day. I know that it isn't much when compared to some of the blogs that I read, but it is far more than I ever expected when I began blogging two and a half years ago.

I have a great appreciation for bloggers like Bilbo and Mike that find something to post about on a daily basis. If I manage three per week that have anything to say, I feel like I'm doing well.

I would have liked to post a really super entry for #300, but I haven't really tried to organize my thoughts for this post as 2008 winds down and we get set for a new year. I've been looking back a bit at the past 12 months and trying to figure out a way to do the next 12 a little bit better.

Here are a few observations and plans:

I'm going to end '08 at about the same weight that I started it--that's not a good thing. I managed to lose about 16 pounds in the first four months of the year but have gained it all back plus a few bonus pounds that I've managed to shed prior to '09 showing up. I am starting to eat a little bit better and am starting to be a bit more active (again). The plan is to eat at home more often (which means eating out less). This will help to control portion size as well as what we're eating. I realize that this also means that I'll have to do more cooking but I am counting on some of the great recipes that fellow bloggers like Sicilian and health nut, Heidi post. Bilbo is also good for an occasional recipe. I am contemplating a garden, maybe just a small one...you know, tomatoes, peppers (hot), cucumbers and maybe some string beans. I'll have to see about that--I know that it's way more work than I would do by myself. I'll have to see if Chris is up for it.

I've noticed that some of my posts and/or comments on various blogs have not always been what you might expect of a preacher. That needs to change. If any of you readers or writers have been offended by a post or comment, please accept my apologies. I doubt that 2009 will find me without controversy and I know that my readers will not always agree with me. But I sincerely hope that we can have our disagreements without hurting one another.

In ministry, I am going to work towards my Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree. I am also going to be better about planned time and purpose for reading the Bible. The Bible is a great read. For anybody that has never read the Bible, but enjoys reading, give it try. There are stories of kings and adventurers from far away places. There are stories of wars and betrayals. There are love stories and stories from history. There are stories of success and stories of failure and reconciliation. And there is of course, the Greatest Story Ever Told...the story of a God that loves you so much that He would die so that you might live! I will continue to share some of my favorite stories from the Bible from time to time in the coming year.

I am also going to devote more time to magic. I am currently reading through the Tarbell Course in Magic. I have owned the eight volume set for some time and have used it as a reference. I recently decided to read it through from volume 1 and use it as a course in magic. I am also wanting to redo my show for the coming year. I have an idea of what I would like to do with it but am not yet ready to put the time into the new effects and production.

I seriously doubt that I'll have the time to take any musical instrument lessons. I would like to...there just isn't enough time to do it well.

I do enjoy blogging and reading the blogs that I follow. I don't know if '09 will find me posting more or less often. I do know that posts will continue to cover a variety of topics and provide insight, humor and an occasional rant.

I hope that 2009 is good to you. I hope that it is good for the United States and for the global economy. If any of you plan on traveling to Southwest Missouri or if you read that I'll be in your area, please let me know. I would consider it a great privilege to get to meet you.

Wishing blessings of good health and prosperity to you and yours in the coming year,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I know that sometimes people think that I see things differently than others do. I'm not sure why, I just keep looking from different perspectives to try to find out what is really happening.

Take the Christmas story for example: it seems that the focus of Christmas is always about the birth of the Christ (or Messiah, Anointed One, Savior,...Jesus). We seem to want to look at the human part of the God/man...and why not? After all, we're human. We look at the gift of Christmas and later we'll look at the great sacrifice that the man Jesus makes at Calvary. I tend to think that the greater sacrifice was made that night when God left heaven and took on the flesh of man.

In Paul's letter to the church at Philippi, he says that we should all have the attitude of Jesus, who didn't consider his godly nature as something to be held on to. But rather, he set aside those things to take on the role of a servant and humbled himself and became obedient to death...even death on the cross.

We think of God as a being that is omnipresent (not confined by space/time; all places at once), omnipotent (all powerful), and omniscient (all knowing). Jesus, though he remained fully God, set these things aside to become fully human. The all present being humbled himself to be confined in the body of a human...and not just any human, a baby. In a moment, He went from the all powerful God that spoke the world into existence, to an infant child that was completely helpless. From omnipotent God to a baby that has to cry if he's hungry and needs to be fed; or is cold and wants to be held; or if he's soiled himself and needs to be changed. It's a bit hard to grasp the idea of God needing his diaper changed...but he did.

The Bible also tells us that he grew in wisdom and in stature before God and men--he learned. Something tells me that he had a better memory than I do and that he was more attentive to his studies. This God/boy knew that there was a purpose to his being here on Earth.

Somehow I can't help but think that the sacrifice that Jesus made to come to Earth (Christmas) was far greater than the sacrifice Jesus made when He was crucified. In either case, the love that this God demonstrates is far beyond what I can imagine. God became man and then died a brutal death so that I could have eternal life. So that you can have eternal life.

Merry Christmas,


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Keeping a Promise...sort of

I'm late. I told Lindsey that I would post these links last night but didn't get around to it.

The Ocarina is an ancient instrument and somebody has developed an app for the iPhone so that you can play an Ocarina flute on your phone. Lindsey has an unusual way of playing the iPhone Ocarina. Check out her videos here and here.

You've gotta like a girl that can play her nose!

Right now I'm writing from the waiting room at the Surgery Center in Springfield. Hannah is having a ganglion cyst removed from her wrist. A great way to spend Christmas break from school, don't you think? This way she didn't miss any of the fall band semester and should be back to playing when school starts back. She'll also resume drum lessons in January (she stopped when marching band started). I've toyed with the idea of going with her and taking guitar lessons (I haven't played in decades and never really took lessons or played well) or perhaps bass guitar. I would rather take piano lessons but don't know that I want to put in the time to practice any of it. There is just too much to do this year.

I do want to work towards a Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree (finally) and am really planning on retooling my magic for the coming year. Both will take as much of my time as I can spare. They will both require lots of reading (which I enjoy) and learning about things that I'm interested in. I am really looking forward to 2009. Even though '08 has had its depressing side, I'm really feeling pretty good about it and looking more good things for next year.

A short post, I know, but surgery has gone quickly and it will soon be time to move to recovery. Hannah will be home today and probably doped up a little. Tonight and tomorrow she'll feel the discomfort but should recover quickly.

Just a little more shopping to do!


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Real Post....next time!

I promise.The next post will be a real post. For today I have some shopping to do and some assigned errands to run before going off to work. So for today...another Christmas video!

Hope that this helps set the record straight.


Saturday, December 20, 2008


Okay, so I'm not the brightest guy when it comes to technology or just plain computer stuff. Actually I'm a bit of a computer moron. But now that I've figured out how to put videos on my blog, I might as well share some of my favorites.

This one is a couple of years old but a great performance by a mens' a cappella group called Straight, No Chaser (gotta at least love the name).

By the way, at 6:04 AM CST on Sunday, the Earth will slip past the magical plane that marks the Winter Solstice. The Twelve Days of Winter Celebration begins and then ends at the New Year.


Sunday morning note: Woke up to 4 degrees (F) this morning, that's -15.5 C for my overseas friends. Welcome to winter!

Editing note: This morning I found that the video I loaded last night is no longer available due to copyright infringement. Straight, No Chaser has reunited after ten years and is performing again. The video posted now is from a month ago in DC.

Trying Something New

Here's one for the Christmas Season: Jesus vs Santa



Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Shopping

In about 30 minutes the date will turn to December 20th, giving me just 5 shopping days until Christmas. I'm thinking that I should start seriously considering what I'm going to get Chris for Christmas.

Before anybody thinks that the master procrastinator is thinking of running out on the Saturday before Christmas to brave the crowds and beat the last minute rush, I only said that it was time to consider what to buy. I still have 5 days. Actually, 4 days...between work on Wednesday and Christmas Eve stuff at church, I probably shouldn't count that day.

I guess I'll be ahead of the last minute shoppers after all!


Aaron is home...and as expected is out with the girl tonight. We'll manage to see him for a few moments each afternoon when he gets out of bed and figures out what he and Jenny are going to do for the rest of the day. He'll tell us if Jenny will be over for dinner or if he'll be eating at her house or if they have other plans (or whatever Jenny tells him they're going to do). Ain't young love grand?!

I think that Aaron may still have some shopping to do. I'm glad that he is following the example set by his dad.

Oh well, I guess I'll get a jump on Saturday and start considering while it is still Friday! I'm so proud of myself...getting an early start on Christmas shopping this year!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

From The Book of Acts

I'm currently reading through the Book of Acts. It is an exciting time in the history of Christianity. Christianity is in its infancy and isn't even called by that name...yet. Early believers simply referred to themselves as followers of The Way or disciples of Jesus. The church today looks to the Book of Acts to learn about church growth. Several different church planting organizations use the word "Acts" as a part of their name.

One of the things that stood out as I was reading was found at the end of the second chapter.

The Fellowship of the Believers
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(emphasis added)

Why do we miss this part? It's not like this is a new teaching or a new way. If we really want to see the church grow today like it did 2000 years ago, why not follow the model?

1) Devote ourselves to the apostles' teaching.
Today we have the written word to study along with countless commentaries and studies.
2) Devote ourselves to fellowship; to the breaking of bread.
Hang out with each other. Support one another. Take care of each other. Eat together.
3) Pray.
Pray together. Pray alone. Pray a lot.

This passage goes on to say that they met in public. They met in their homes. They ate together with glad and sincere hearts. They praised God and they enjoyed the favor of all the people! When was the last time that the church of today could say that it enjoyed the favor of all the people? When was the last time your local church could say that it enjoyed the favor of all the people? Why not make it more personal? Do you, as a believer, enjoy the favor of all the people?

I know. I know. Even Jesus had enemies or at least, those that didn't like him. And we'll have people that don't like us, too. Jesus even said so. But let's not give them a reason by being hateful, hurtful and judgmental. There is a real attraction to wanting to be around people that are joyful and enjoying life. If we are not causing people to want what we have, maybe we don't feel that it is worth having or worth sharing. Maybe we are not all that happy about our salvation.

...enjoying the favor of all the people.
It was just one of those lines that jumped out at me. Thought I'd share.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Party Time

'Tis the season for gathering together with people that you normally wouldn't hang out with and for bringing your spouse along to meet the people that you work with. While co-workers gather and discuss things from work, spouses (that have no idea what you're talking about) linger, mingle and anxiously await the magical moment that you can safely leave, having fulfilled the annual requirement of your presence at the festive gathering (where half of the people only know half of the people and the other half only knows their spouse or significant other).

Of course, there are other Christmas parties that you both enjoy; meeting with common friends from various places like clubs, church, neighborhoods, family, etc. For the most part, either gathering is okay for me...I'm pretty comfortable in a crowd of strangers as long as I have some justification for being there. I also look at any social gathering as an opportunity to network and make some connections with new people from various backgrounds and fields of work, knowledge, etc.

Perhaps the best way to insure that both you and your spouse (or significant other) know and enjoy the people at the holiday gathering would be to host the party yourself. You are in charge of everything from the guest list to what food and drink will be served. You are also in charge of set up, clean up and spending some money. There always has to be a downside.

Progressive dinner parties are one way to share the downside and still deliver on a great night for a small group of friends. Sharing costs for a party room at a restaurant or having a caterer are other ways. I say all of this and it sounds like I'm a great host or party going sort of guy...I'm not. I'd be just as happy with a good cup of coffee, a Christmas cookie (or two) and my laptop or a good book to read.

I started down this rant because of another blog that I read. It had posted about a hosting a party of a different kind that immediately made me think of a few readers and fellow bloggers that may enjoy this particular kind of party. And it is not related to the Christmas season so you could do this anytime.

Bilbo enjoys cooking and he and Agnes seem to be the host/hostess type of people. Sicilian blogged about her mother's holiday fare and open house atmosphere. Perhaps she'd like to share some of those Italian recipes. I also thought that Heidi (who always has healthy eating on her mind) would be able to use this type of venue to help teach a few people about healthy choices and great meals. My brother Pat would use a party like this and I'm sure that other readers might also enjoy this kind of recipe sharing.

Personally, I'm more into the recipe tasting side of the equation and feel bad that I won't be able to be there to sample the cooking/baking that will taking place without me.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Looking for $$$ in All the Wrong Places

Okay, so I'm getting real tired of hearing how the Union has put the Auto Industry in the proverbial crapper. It may be true that union workers are getting paid a little bit more than their non-union counter parts, but I seriously doubt that this has been the demise of the industry.

Has anybody taken a look at what the big shots of the auto companies are making? According to this article CEO compensation is up from 25 times the average laborer's salary in 1970 to 500 times the average laborer's salary in 2004! My guess would be that has close to doubled that for 2008.

This USA Today website shows that the CEO of General Motors had a total compensation package worth nearly $16 million for 2007. Ford was nearly $23 million. Wal Mart's CEO (that's the company with a small full-time to part-time worker ratio...you don't have to provide benefits to part-timers) made over $29 million for '07.

I think maybe we need to shift the focus of salary to somewhere a little bit further up the line. If there is money to be found to save the industry, how about a little top-down trimming rather than the other way around?

For all of the non-union workers out there--laborers and management alike, you can thank the labor movement for your 40 hour work week, overtime compensation, employer paid (or partially paid) health benefits, paid holidays, paid vacation time, workman's compensation (if injured on the job), retirement plans, safe working environments, freedom from harassment and a host of other benefits that are taken for granted in today's work world. Don't be crapping all over the unions unless you're willing to give up ALL of your many benefits that they've won for all working men and women (that means protection against child labor, too).

National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) AFL-CIO
former District 9 International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chillin' on a Saturday Night

Today was a nice quiet Saturday at our house.

It began with an almost unheard of full night's sleep (eight hours!). The only problem that I have with a full night of sleep is that I wake up with a bit of a sore back. That doesn't happen with a normal four and a half to five hours of sleep.

In any case, I was well rested and ready for the day. After a quick shower, a cup of coffee and a few minutes to print off a couple of things from my computer, I was off to the monthly meeting of the Ozarks Chapter of the American Christian Writers (OCACW). This month's meeting was the annual Christmas/winter reading session. Writers brought some of their work to read to the rest of us. There are some fantastic writers in this group. One would expect the published writers to excel, but everybody that participated by sharing their own work did great. Poetry, stories, devotion type writing...all of them were extremely well done. I have a lot to learn!

We skipped the critique session afterwards and I headed for home. Just as I was leaving the house in the morning, Chris got a call from her dad. He was in Branson with a friend and they were wanting to stop by before heading back to Festus, MO. I called home and they were just getting ready to go to lunch. I gave Chris my order and arrived at the restaurant moments before the food came!

The afternoon proved to be a very lazy afternoon. Hannah and I went to take care of the horses and we all spent a few minutes this evening at the local Wal Mart. Now I'm just relaxing in front of the TV while watching the UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale.

I'm catching up on reading blogs, e-mails and e-news while keeping an eye on the fights. I'm looking forward to church tomorrow and a relaxing Sunday before the weather turns nasty tomorrow evening.

Hoping that your weekend is great,


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Live for Today

I know that it is sometimes very difficult not to get wrapped up in what might happen tomorrow. I know that in the times of a troubled economy it is hard not to worry about a vanishing retirement plan or even what you're going to do about buying Christmas presents. This past weekend I was reminded of a passage from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew, chapter 6. There Jesus says:

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

That last verse pretty much sums up the lesson that is mentioned by the sister of John Challis at the end of this video. John had plenty that he could have been dwelling on about a future that held one certainty--each day could be his last. The video ran on ESPN in August and was re-aired the other night.

Even though no one is promised tomorrow, we all live like we'll be here for sometime to come. I wonder how we might change if we were to think that there might not be a tomorrow. I'm not talking about living a reckless or irresponsible lifestyle. I'm wondering if we might not be more appreciative of the simple things in life and the people that we interact with every day.

After watching the video, I'm thinking that I really have no problems that I could compare to what John Challis faced...and no excuses for not living life to the fullest.


  1. Matthew 6:27 Or single cubit to his height

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just Plain Mean

I know that the Bush Administration has spent the last eight years actively destroying the gains made by organized labor. During the Clinton Administration, President Clinton had signed an Executive order that declared air traffic control to be an inherently governmental function. That simply means that the responsibility of providing safety for the flying public belongs to the government. Oversight of safe air travel is a duty of the Federal Aviation Administration.

President Bush quickly signed an Order that stripped the "inherently governmental function" from air traffic control to pave the way towards privatization of the industry. A vital part of the system--Flight Service Stations--has been contracted out in what has turned out to be the grand fiasco of the decade. The government now pays a private contractor to provide pilots with the information and services that were once provided by government employees. This was supposed to be a cost savings move. Instead, it just provides some politically savvy friends of Washington with a lot of money and little oversight. The service that was once providing general aviation pilots with all kinds of pertinent information is now the joke of the industry.

All of that happened some years ago and we (air traffic controllers) have been fighting to keep the FAA from consolidating facilities and getting air traffic controllers ready for contracting out. We have been in a contract dispute for the past two years, operating under imposed conditions when our Agreement clearly states that it will remain in effect until a New Agreement is reached.

And now, as a parting shot to federal labor unions, President Bush has signed an Executive Order to deny bargaining rights to certain government employees. You can read about it here.
Talk about just being mean! If our soon to be former executive wants to do something in his last 43 days (and counting) in office, why not do something meaningful? Why force soon to be President Obama to waste his time signing executive orders that nullify the personal attacks on organized labor? Why not just get around to issuing Presidential Pardons to our convicted Alaskan Senator and what ever other buddies he's going to pardon...and go home?

I know that the President's actions won't always be popular with all of the people...but that is just plain mean. It makes me think of the kid on the playground turning around and sticking out his tongue as he's being sent home for misbehaving.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Did You Ever Wonder...?

It’s Christmas time. When Christmas time draws near, we read and reread the Christmas story from the Bible. One of my favorite parts is the visit of the Magi. (go figure!)

Matthew 2

The Visit of the Magi

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east[b] and have come to worship him."

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ[c] was to be born. 5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'[d]"

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east[e] went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod.

Have you ever wondered about the gifts that the Magi brought?

I’ve heard sermons that talk about the gifts themselves...odd gifts for a child—gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold, a gift for a king. Frankincense, a gift for a priest. Myrrh (the strangest of all), a burial spice. (but that's all stuff for another post)

I think that God sometimes has an odd way of presenting us with the gifts that we will need. Often times they come in such a way that we readily dismiss them as coincidence. All of these gifts were valuable. I’m just making a guess that Joseph and Mary weren’t very wealthy people. I doubt that they were ready to move suddenly or take a long journey. Surely they would need supplies for the journey. They didn’t have the time to sell the goods that they couldn’t carry with them—at least, not at a good price. The Bible says that they left in the night. They may have taken some things...but they couldn't have taken much.

Somehow I see God providing Joseph with some quick getaway cash and also with something to sell later on. He would need funds to escape and then he would need a way to provide for his family. Maybe he would sell the incense to buy tools for his trade or to find a home once his family arrived in Egypt. The Bible never makes another mention of the gifts.

It just seems too well planned for this family of modest means to be given gifts of great wealth right before God tells them to move to a far away land. It makes me wonder...it causes me to do a little self examination. What gifts has God provided me with? And for what purpose? What gifts has God provided you with? And again, for what purpose? Are we using the gifts that He has given us for the purpose that He intended? Or have we decided to use them for our own benefit? Or maybe we’ve decided not to use them at all.

I was just wondering.



  1. Matthew 2:1 Traditionally Wise Men
  2. Matthew 2:2 Or star when it rose
  3. Matthew 2:4 Or Messiah
  4. Matthew 2:6 Micah 5:2

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Favorite Bible Story

This is another one of the great stories found in the Old Testament. It is a story that tells us something about the past as well as teaching us something about the present.

To give you just a bit of background, the Bible tells us that Solomon, the King of Israel, is the wisest king in all of the earth. He also has more wealth than any other king of his day.

1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at [a] the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.

6 She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness."

10 And she gave the king 120 talents [b] of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 (Hiram's ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood [c] and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

So check this out...

A rich young Queen hears of a King in a far away land that has far more riches than any other kingdom on Earth and is the wisest man that has ever lived. Naturally, she assumes this to be an exaggerated tale that is being told by the merchant caravans that bring news and supplies from far away to her own kingdom. Surely there can be no king that can have amassed the fortunes told about by the travelers that have come to the south.

But caravan after caravan repeats the same stories of this magnificent King of the north. Finally, the young Queen of Sheba must go and see for herself. Being no slouch in the wisdom department herself, she loads a caravan full with the riches of her own kingdom. She will bring them as an offering to the king and as a statement of her own wealth and prosperity. The Queen of Sheba and her mighty entourage set out on a long journey to visit the great king that she has heard so much about. When she arrives in Jerusalem, she can hardly believe her royal eyes.

In her audience with King Solomon, she tests his wisdom and asks him all that is on her mind. I imagine that many of her questions concerned the people of her kingdom. She may have asked about certain sicknesses and how to treat or prevent them. She may have asked about how to produce more food or conserve on the resources of the kingdom. Whatever her questions, King Solomon had the answers. She was truly impressed by his great wisdom. But even more than that, she was impressed by the subjects in his kingdom. Look again at verses 4 and 5:

4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at [a] the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.

Certainly she was impressed by the possessions that he had, and equally impressed by the possessions he gave up (sacrificed to the Lord), but she also arrived at her opinion of the king by the way his servants acted. She was impressed by their appearance and by their manner. She noted that they happily served their king. In the end, she said that even though what she had heard was hard to believe, she hadn’t heard half of the wonders and wealth of this great king!

She gave all of her gifts to Solomon and returned to her home.

If the Queen of Sheba formed her opinion of King Solomon based on his servants, I have to wonder what opinion people might have of Jesus based on His servants. What image do the officials (church leaders) of His courts give to those that come to check out our King? What is the appearance of the cupbearers and servants like? Do we happily serve our King? Would seekers of Jesus want to be a part of His Kingdom based on our attitudes of being members of His Kingdom? What do unbelievers think of Jesus based on how I (or you) act?

Because the Queen of Sheba recognized the greatness of King Solomon, she gave him many gifts from her own kingdom. You may be thinking that in order to recognize Jesus as your King, it will require you to give Him a gift of great worth. In one sense you’re right. It is not a gift of physical value or worth, it is the gift of your loyalty; the gift of your heart. He wants to give you an eternal home in His Kingdom. He wants for you to happily serve Him. Nobody is forced to endure the blessings of His Kingdom. Everybody is given the choice: recognize Jesus as Lord and live by the Kingdom Rules, or choose to live outside of the Kingdom.

Before you make your choice, there is one more thing that you should know about how the story ends. This visit by the Queen of Sheba is also recorded in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 9. Verse 12 says: “King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.”

Jesus is the same way. He will give you more than you can give to Him; more than you desire; more than you will ask for. He will give you an eternal place in His Kingdom.


a 1 Kings 10:5 Or the ascent by which he went up to

b 1 Kings 10:10 That is, about 4 1/2 tons (about 4 metric tons)

c 1 Kings 10:11 Probably a variant of algumwood ; also in verse 12

Monday, December 01, 2008

Can You Believe It!

It's December already!

Here in the Ozarks, we've welcomed December with a dusting of snow and some cold temperatures. (It's supposed to be back to 60F by Wednesday) Where has 2008 gone?

December 1st means that it's only 24 days to Christmas, 30 days to 2009, 50 days 'til Bush is out of the White House, 126 days 'til the Cardinals open the 2009 season at Busch Stadium, and 3 years, 1 month, 6 days until I'm eligible to retire!

Aaron was in Chicago last week and was able to check out the Moody campus and meet with the volley ball coach. Looks like he may be playing on the team when he gets to school in January. The kid is really growing up into a fine young man. I don't think that his mom is going to like it that he is going to be so much farther away from home. Such is life!

Hannah is also growing up way too fast. I enjoyed her company on the drive back from Chillicothe, IL Saturday. She'd like to be a writer but doesn't know how she might support herself while waiting on book sales to start rolling in. Hannah is very creative and I'm positive that she can make it as a writer if she sets her heart and mind to it. She is looking at colleges that are far away from home (no big surprise there). ACT in the spring. Scholarships are the name of the game!

Have a great December!