Friday, July 28, 2023


     Most of us who had TVs back in the late 60s and early 70s remember the repeated scenes where “Impossible Mission Force” agent Mr. Phelps went to varying secret locations to listen to audio tape instructions for his next “Mission Impossible”.
  • “Good morning Mr. Phelps”: Then came the detailed info about the problem and the dangerous people to be encountered to solve the problem.
  • Mr. Phelps was then told, “Your mission, should you decide to accept it—”. Then this was followed by the exact desired outcome.
  • The mission was considered so perilous that he was told at the end, “As always, should you or any member of your IM Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions."  
  • Finally, Mr. Phelps was told, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” This was followed by the hissing and smoke of the burning audio tape.  
  • Then Mr. Phelps, in the privacy of his apartment picked from an IMF folder the specialists needed to carry out “Mission Impossible”.
     When I retired 4½ years ago, I didn’t know exactly what God had in store—and what was His mission for me. I wondered to myself, and to my wife—what are my next steps?
     I was fairly open to what God’s plan was for me. I retired from working after about 29 years in the mental health field—but I hadn’t retired from life.
     God showed me in a vision many years ago that He had a plan for me. I’m not special because I had a vision. Joel prophesied in Joel 2:28, and it was reiterated in Acts 2:17, “Your young men will see visions.”
     Yes, I was young at one time! I’m assuming that I am just one of many young men over the years that have had visions because of what the Bible declared.
     I won’t get into the details of the vision. That's not important. What is important is that it made me know with certainty that I was called by God to fulfill His mission in my life. And the mission God has for each of us is never retired—right? The mission continues until we finally meet Him in heaven.
     So, what is God’s mission for me—and you? Is it to be happy? Is it to be prosperous? Is it to have position and prestige? Is it to have a big family, including many grandchildren, and even perhaps great-grandchildren?
     God’s mission for us may include each of these things. Psalm 1:3 says of God’s people, who follow His instruction, “Whatever he does he prospers.” Does that mean only financial prosperity? Or does it encompass a lot more than that?
     Over a year ago I took an online Dallas Theological Seminary course entitled “Evangelism 101”. Dr. Barry Jones, the instructor, talked several times in the lessons about the Latin term “Missio Dei”. Dr. Jones said about it, “The Missio Dei is God’s purpose on the earth to create and sanctify a people for His own glory”. And also, “Mission should be the essence of the church—not just one of its many facets.”
     Dr. Jones strongly emphasized that the mission on earth for each born-again believer is to participate in “God’s Great Rescue Mission”. The Mission Impossible team, which was fictional, and non-fictional military or safety forces rescue missions are formed to save countries and the physical lives of people. God’s rescue mission, on the other hand—is to save the lives of people spiritually—and for all eternity.
     Physical rescue missions are very important in our lives. But the “Missio Dei” of God is of far greater importance than earthly rescue missions. Eternal life is in the balance.
     Satan wants to make it difficult, impossible if you will, for us to fulfill God’s Great Rescue Mission. He will go to any lengths, even to kill us, to stop the mission from happening.
     In the face of that, God is asking us to put all else aside. He is saying to each of us, “Your mission, should you decide to accept it” --is to rescue men and women everywhere you go.

Thursday, July 13, 2023


     This morning in my devotions I was reading Amos 9:1 where God said, “Strike the capitals of the pillars so that the thresholds shake.” It got me thinking about pillars mentioned in the Bible 96 times. I wonder, “Do we have pillars in our own lives—and in the church—that need to be shaken and perhaps struck down?”
     The Oxford Dictionary defines a pillar as “a tall vertical structure of stone, wood, or metal, used as a support for a building, or as an ornament or monument.” Or, it can be “a person or thing regarded as reliably providing essential support for something.”
     The Bible makes it clear there are good pillars—and there are bad pillars.

Five good pillars:
  1. When wandering in the wilderness Moses and the Israelites were led by “a pillar of cloud by day”, and a “pillar of fire by night”. These pillars weren’t made of solid materials like most pillars. But they were pillars the Israelites in flight could always depend on.
  2. The pillars of acacia wood that held up the curtains of the Tabernacle.
  3. The pillars of stone that held up the Temple.
  4. The church of God in I Timothy 3:15 is referred to as a pillar.
  5. A person can be a pillar. Jesus, in Revelation 3:12, told John to write to the people of Philadelphia the following: “The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go out again.”
Two bad pillars:
  1. Lot’s wife turned into “a pillar of salt” when she disobeyed God’s instructions and looked back toward Sodom.
  2. Solid structures were built by foreigners to worship foreign gods. Occasionally, however, even the Israelites built pillars to foreign gods. God, in every instance, instructed that these pillars be torn down and destroyed.
     So what about recent times and even today? Do Christians build pillars? I recently talked to Dee about fabulous structures like cathedrals. Also, in every town, there are usually very large churches made of large-cut stones. They’re majestic, and as Dee said, they lift our eyes upward toward heaven.
     I sometimes think of the planning stages of such structures. In my mind, I can imagine the excitement of teams doing the planning, sort of like the Israelites building the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. Then finally comes the moving-in day. People's senses, I'm sure, were overwhelmed when they walked through the gate, door, or curtain.
     But, sadly, very many of these structures are still majestic—but most are devoid of people. Because of their majesty and history, no one wants to tear these structures down. So many are being turned into museums, or repurposed to earn money for their expensive upkeep.
     What happened? Are these structures like the manmade pillars of the Bible that represented false gods?
     What about the structures of today? And I’m not talking just about physical structures. We have a trend today toward organizations like megachurches. Might they be considered pillars—some even bad ones?
     Do we in our denominations, and even independent churches set up pillars difficult to tear down? All of us, including myself like the comfort of doing things the same way. Ask my wife. We like procedures, bylaws if you will, spelled out to a T so that we don’t have to think too hard to follow them. But is this the best plan of action?
     Has everything gotten too big for us to even think about changing things up—to think about rocking the proverbial boat—to think about the fact that God by the power of His Holy Spirit might be directing us—to tear down some of the large pillars we have set up?

Friday, July 7, 2023


     The movie “Men Of Honor” is set in about 1950. It’s a true story about the rigors of men trying to become members of an elite Navy diving team. Their goal was to develop stamina and skill to perform deep-sea rescues in perilous sea conditions. Carl Brashear came from a poor farm family in Kentucky and was the only black cadet in the group. But he had the dream to become one of this elite team and would not be deterred from his dream. He overcame many odds, including racial discrimination rampant at the time, and became the first black Navy diver ever to make the team.
     Can you and I become men and women of honor? Can we learn the skills, develop the stamina, and overcome all odds to become part of an elite team to perform rescue missions to pull people from the deep swirling, and deadly waters of sin?