You’ve heard it said that youth is wasted on the young.  Squandered and down the tube.  Only them?  Can hear my Grandfather Fischer saying– ‘you’re smart like your father, you dope you!’  Rocket science riddles my DNA!

Reflecting on my early bird church ministries, I admit the following–too young, too immature, too self-centered.  Can you imagine?  Better not.  What’s best is a resolve never, ever to be that way again.  Too smart, too late?

Early career centers on a church membership number’s game–large…larger…largest!  I’m at the helm, of course, with most of the work done by underlings; likewise, of course!  I’m riding my high horse, too big for my you-know-what.  Hey, it feels good to confess.  Especially to the Lord.  As if He doesn’t already know?

When I receive my final church call, it’s truly miraculous.  For years I’d pray for that church as I exercise walking by it.  Then I’m asked to fill in for two summer Sundays, only to discover that they want me full-time.  Really?  Me?  Must have passed the test with flying colors.  Or they’re totally desperate!

Mostly, I feel a tug from the Holy Spirit to do whatever the Lord wants me to do.  For Jesus, first of all.  Then to find the lost, pointing them to the Savior.  For all of us to know Him better.  To push out the church walls, so to speak, supporting mission work way beyond our four walls.  To stay as long as He wants me to, along with the congregation’s glad nod.

My overall task?  To love Jesus and His people from a heart of service.  Feel the difference?  I’m glad the Lord allowed me to sink deep down in a churchy swamp.  For He pulls me out, and places me on dry land.  Just like for Jonah and that big fish.  I used to be the big Fisch!  No longer.

As it says in Psalm 123:1-2(NIV)–‘I lift up my eyes to you…to the Lord our God…’  In Hebrew language, the word order is different.  It reads literally–‘To you I lift up my eyes…’  Who’s numero uno?  Top of the list?  You know.  ‘To you…’–the Lord!

When we focus on Him, first and foremost, the world looks different.  You’ve noticed?  We can even bear bad breaks, knowing that Jesus makes all things better and for His own good (Romans 8:28).

Maybe this message isn’t only for me.  Someone else needs to take note.  Is that you?  Get off yourself and…well, you know!  Don’t you?


Thank you, Jesus, for being our Lord forever.  Amen.

WHOSE PERFECT LOVE? 1 John 4: 7-21

Searching for a new family practice doctor proves stressful.  Getting an initial appointment seems like asking for a miracle.  Takes months before new appointments can even be scheduled due to you-know-what that we’ve all been trying to live with.  I don’t even want to name it as I’m sick to death of it, figuratively speaking, thank the Lord.

Two months ago, calling the recommended clinic phone number at 7:30am, not my best time of day, I almost beg for an appointment, knowing there’s no way I’m getting one.  Not with that certain physician I prefer.

Remember about that miracle?  Well, it happens!  The Lord opens a door for me even with my faith being almost nil.  Yes, I get that appointment.  And it’s months off so I can relax a bit.  Ahh!

Until the day arrives.  Mask on, looking like the Lone Ranger, off I go about a mile away to the medical building where my new doc works.

Frazzled nerves an understatement.  Not his, mine!  What if I can’t stand him?  Or he’s pushy, wanting me to undergo immediate myriad procedures, seemingly funding his early retirement.  Tests and more tests.  Med’s galore.  All with my back to the wall.

I’m sitting in a tiny cubicle awaiting either Drs. Kevorkian, Jekyll or Frankenstein.  At that moment, a Bible verse pops into my fear-riddled mind–‘Perfect love casts out fear’ (1 John 4: 18).  Where did that come from?  You know and so do I.  From the Lord.

Hearing my anxious cries, He responds.  A word so gentle I wonder if I’ve made it up.  But I haven’t.  Unfortunately, however, I must admit that my love is far from perfect.  More like puny and dinky.

What I sense is nothing audible or scrawled upon the clinic walls.  No visions or signs.  Just a mellow whisper reminding me who’s love is perfect.  Hardly mine.  It’s Jesus’ love that’s coming my way.  And it’s mighty perfect!

Looking up I notice a crucifix above the doorway.  But it differs from usual ones.   Jesus has His hands raised in triumph as if ready to fly off the cross straight up to heaven!  I’m in a Roman Catholic hospital network that hasn’t forgotten the Great Physician, who I’m also seeing this day.

Here’s His message–it’s not your love that matters so much.  Not at this moment.  It’s His perfect love…for me and you.  Need some?  Who doesn’t?  Jesus’ perfect love helps wipe away jittery, shivery-quivery worries, along with weak-kneed butterflies that drive us up a wall…right to Him!

I’ll admit it.  I’m made of clay and dust.  But Jesus?  No way.  He’s perfect in every way!  Amen?

PS–I really like my new doctor.  So far, at least!


Thank you, Jesus, for being with us in scary places and times.  Amen.


A financial guru, referring to successes in the stock and bond markets (except for last Thursday!), urges us to ‘count our lucky stars’.  Do what?  Star-gazing seems more credible to moderns than praising you-know-who.  Better to grab hold of a ouija board?  Lady luck?  Check out your horoscope?  Your zodiac sign?  Karma chameleons!

I get so sick of it.  Don’t you?  How could Christians not?  Such an insult to God, the One and Only.  And rejection is everywhere.  Well, almost.  The Lord has His own to remind us who He is.  Has been.  Still is.  Always will be.  So, remember–don’t forget!

Hear the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah–“This is what the Lord Almighty says…’To whom can I speak and give warning?  Who will listen to me?  Their ears are closed so they cannot hear.  The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it'” (Jer. 6: 10).  Words so old they’re new.

Certainly true of our society.  Might as well turn to tea leaves.  See what the Dalai Lama has to say.  Or the Buddha.  Or infallible science, which changes quicker than those chameleons.  Or to politics, which unites bringing such peace and harmony.  As in our backyard city of Seattle.  Yeah, right!

But, to be honest, we’ve fallen down on the job when the thought of spending quality and quantity time in the Bible is too much bother.  After all, I’ve got my own agenda to look after.  Do my own thing.  Look after number one…Me!

Where does all this lead to?  If not for God’s grace and mercy, I’d have been ditched decades ago.  But He saw me through.  He was faithful when I was not.  Just me?

My best times are when I’m in concert with Jesus.  Harmonizing with His ways.  Singing His tune and lyrics with Him as lead singer.  You too?

If not, here’s where to start.  Open your Bible.  Read a psalm or two each day, every day.  No speed reading.  Turn off phones, tablets, whatever.  How about daily pouring over a chapter in John’s Gospel?  Not for information.  But for you and Him.  From your loving heart to His.

Get closer to Jesus.  You know that you can count on Him.  So forget those lucky stars!


Lord, we want to be close to you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


REALLY LIVING 1 Thessalonians 3

Don’t we all want a life worth living?  Not just putting in our time, waiting for the grim reaper.  Marking off earth’s calendar ’til heaven’s shores.  Hoping beyond hope not to mess up too much.  Less troubles.  More triumphs.  How sad to be given new life in Jesus only to fritter it away, hardly denting the enemy’s stomping grounds.

Making a mark for Jesus and His Kingdom–that’s what we want.  Listen to the Apostle Paul–‘…in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.  For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord’ (1 Thess. 3:7-8).

Really living.  Nothing phony-baloney.  Even through tough and terrible times.  Especially then.  We’re encouraged to faithfully stand firm for Jesus.  The old hymns rightly sing–‘I shall not be, I shall not be moved…’  So, ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus…’.

This kind of living has little to do with our net worth.  Or how many bathroom suites we have in our home.  Or which academic degree hangs above our desk.  Or how big our church membership happens to be.  Or almost anything else for that matter.

Real life has to do with being in tune with Jesus.  With God’s Word resonating within as our tuning fork.  Standing proudly next to Him.  Unashamedly outspoken for Bible teaching, being careful to be compassionate and caring.   Encouraging others.  Giving more than receiving–not only money.  His follower rather than His leader.

Life in Jesus seems quite different from the world’s definition of success and meaning.  Does that come as a surprise?  Shouldn’t.  On my better days, it doesn’t.

So today I’m going to align myself closer to Jesus.  Grab onto Him for dear life with some good old-fashioned faith.  Put Him first for a change.  Join me?  Why wouldn’t you?


Father, please make my life more for you and others.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen.