Blog

Blog

Mistaken

Some opportunities you wish you had back. The Lil Thompson’s Steakhouse owner had a frequent visitor who was a friend to the owner. He got free food for years before he was famous. One night, the steakhouse held an Elvis Presley Impersonator context. The place filled with eager spectators and hopeful singers. One by one, performers stepped to the microphone, belted out their best Elvis tune, and sat down. Finally, the owner’s friend decided to take a whirl. He told him, “I’m going to mash this.” He sang Elvis’ trademark song “Love Me Tender.” The people were polite. He came in third. The final almost-good-enough performer was none other but real Elvis Presley. People important moments by mistaking them for something ordinary. Two men walked on a road, discussing the current events in Jerusalem. A man fell in with them as they walked. He seemed ignorant about the recent death of Jesus of Nazareth and the dashed hopes of the pair who talked. Once they arrived at their destination, they ate together. And Luke tells us the story. “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:31–32) The one they walked with and ate with was Jesus himself. And they had not recognized him. We meet Christ in strange places….hospital rooms, street corners, and even hurting friends. And yet, we miss him. We see the moment, not the Master. Yet, Jesus shows up, and only the spiritual discerning can see past that moment. Have you missed Jesus in your life? He’s here in plain sight for those who want to find him. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-04-26T11:08:35-05:00April 26th, 2021|Blog|

The Web

One of the marvels of the universe is the simple strands of silk created by the humble spider. Arachnids methodically spin and weave their delicate strands into geometric marvels. It becomes their trip to the unsuspecting insect. It also becomes the fascination of a child on an idle day. When dew and sun filter through a web, it is a wonder to behold. Few consider the wonder of that tiny filament that seems so flimsy. Yet, that strand, if bound together into a two-inch braid, could tow a jumbo jet without breaking. Yet, on its own, a single strand snaps at the slightest pressure. Much of our lives are bound up with others, as we have learned well in the last year. On our own, we are weak, helpless, and struggling. The reinforced truth is each of us needs all of us. Paul knew the power of the church was not in single Christians. Instead, it was the collective strength that made the gospel spread. Listen to is counsel to the Romans. “For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,” (Romans 12:3–4) As we move forward, consider the fragile web of the spider. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-04-12T10:54:55-05:00April 12th, 2021|Blog|

Three Hands

In his novel, Remembering, Wendell Berry tells the story of Andy Catlett, a Kentucky farmer who learned he needed some help. He and other farmers helped a younger farmer bring in a corn harvest. Catlett operated a corn harvesting machine. The machine jammed. Andy tried to clear it, but his right hand caught in the gears. He looked at his arm. His hand was gone. His wife scolded, “what did you do to yourself?” His shame answered. “I’ve ruined my hand.” Andy felt “defective” and withdrew into isolation. Another farmer named Danny Branch refused to let him sink even further. He forced him back into farming. “They learned to work together, the one-handed old man and the two-handed. They know as one what the next move needs to be. They are not swift, but they don’t fumble.” As Branch said, “Between us, we’ve got three hands. Everybody needs at least three. Nobody ever needed more.” Three hands. It sounds strange, but it is a Biblical principle. We all need more than we are by ourselves. As Solomon observed, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12) He could have written, “we all need three hands.” Fellowship provides a magnificent blessing. It gives us three hands, someone to help us when down. And everyone needs three hands. Who are yours? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-04-05T11:31:26-05:00April 5th, 2021|Blog|

Pursuit of…

The voice is not only familiar, but imposing. It is James Earl Jones. The trait that garnishes Jones the most attention is the voice of Darth Vader. His deep resonating voice has a sense of command to it. After finishing one of the Star Wars films in 2014, Jones sat down for an interview. In it, he told of a problem no one would suspect. Growing up, Jones stuttered. The ridicule shut his mouth out of shame. A teacher, who was quiet himself, read what Jones wrote. Impressed, he told him, If you like words that much, James, you ought to be able to say them out loud.” To overcome his stutter, he started reading Shakespeare aloud. Soon, he was performing in front of others. Jones stated, “If I hadn’t been a stutterer, I would never have been an actor.” But it is a struggle even to this day. “I mangle a word or two every night because the consonants get into a fight with the vowels.” The interviewer, Jay Wax, pinned the term on his struggle as “the pursuit of happiness.” But, Jones objected. By taking one step at a time, I’ve found great treasures. Every step I take ... It’s just about being content, that’s all. I don’t know what the pursuit of happiness is. What do you mean the pursuit of happiness? No, contentment. If that doesn’t put a glow on your face, nothing really will. In a society looking for happiness, we miss the genuine pursuit, the desire to settle life on what matters. People came to Jesus with faces on which worry had drawn lines. His eyes and words gifted them with compassion. He said, “let God do the worrying. For you, pursue his ways, and you’ll have what you need.” It’s a difficult message to hear but the right one. When we “seek God and his righteousness,” we get something better than happiness. You gain joy. And isn’t that what we want? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-03-29T12:19:29-05:00March 29th, 2021|Blog|

The Password

One of the more frustrating moments of modern life is to start your computer to find the following message: Your password has expired. Click ‘Change password’ to change your password. For most, it is another adventure into the tension of remembering another word. It happened to Mauricio Estrella one morning. And it hit her on a morning in the middle of a bad year when everything had gone wrong. She decided to choose a password that would change her life. She entered a new password: “Forgive@h3r.” When she started her workday, or when returning from lunch, she typed the characters. It reminded her to “forgive herself” and move on. The way she found to deal with life’s challenges was to remember to forgive herself. Jesus met a lot of people looking for forgiveness. But the truth is that the most difficult person to forgive is the one that looks back at you in the mirror each morning. If God’s forgiveness means anything, it means we must also forgive ourselves. Paul knew. His life had turned from the jailing of Christians to proclaim the Christ he had persecuted. He would call himself “the chief of sinners.” He also knew what forgiveness meant. He told Timothy: “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16) Forgiveness from God must include forgiveness from self. Then, forgiveness is complete.The next time God forgives you, don’t forget to do a little forgiving of your own. -Robert G. Taylor-    

By |2021-03-30T19:56:26-05:00March 22nd, 2021|Blog|

The Void

Arthur Miller is celebrated as one of the top writers in the 20th Century. His credits are vast. They include The Death of a Salesman, A View From the Bridge, and The Crucible. Critics showered him with awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. And yet, with all the fame and acclaim, a hole pierced his life. He stopped believing in God as a teenager and went on to his stellar career. He had all what it seemed life could offer him. Listen to how he reflected on his life decades later: I feel like I’ve carried around this sense of judgment. I could not escape it. I still felt like I needed to prove myself to others: to have somebody tell me that I was okay, that I was acceptable, that I was approved of. As someone has said, Miller made a bad bargain. He exchanged the God of Christians with the “god” of audience approval. And with all the applause, he never felt accepted. It remains a familiar feeling among rich and poor. Something is missing. Today, social media amplifies the loneliness when we compare our “likes” and “thumbs up” to others. We, like Miller, pursue the god of approval. Jesus met people with holes in them. They all asked, “what else do I need?” A young man came to him in Matthew 19. His question was simple. “I’ve done well, but something is missing. What do I lack?” Rather than a pat on the head, Jesus gave him a direction. “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21) Jesus tells him that he is so full of himself that he needs to pour it out on the ground. Then, come, follow, and find a life filled with purpose. What do you do with a void? Don’t fill it with more of what you don’t need. Christ can put the only thing that fits into your life--God’s will. What’s goes in your void? -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2021-03-22T11:32:47-05:00March 15th, 2021|Blog|

The Cross

The cross is so well-known, it looks like people would know what it represents. Apparently, no all understand. Franciscan University in Ohio decided to advertise on its Facebook page. It paid the fee and submitted the artwork. To their surprise, Facebook rejected it. Facebook informed the institution that they found the pictures of the cross “shocking, sensational, and excessively violent.” Such it is with the cross. The image doesn’t provoke the same sense for Christians like everyone else. And we are not the first. Paul preached “Christ and him crucified.” It was not always a popular message. He told the Corinthians: “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,” (1 Corinthians 1:23) A secular society misses the grace, the lavish love of the cross. They see it as the first-century world did. It was taboo, not mentioned or considered. Yet, through all opposition, the cross remains the supreme symbol of how much God will do to reclaim man, including you and me. Whatever Facebook believes, the cross remains as the avenue of salvation. We continue to preach it. -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2021-03-08T11:56:56-06:00March 8th, 2021|Blog|

The Ticket

Denis Waitley missed his plane by a few minutes. And it changed his life. On May 29, 1979 Waitley sprinted to his gate to catch the Los Angeles bound American flight 191. He got there and they had closed the jetway. He begged and pleaded to no avail. Irritated, he marched to customer service counters to register his irritation. While standing there, the loudspeaker crackled with tragedy. Flight 191 had crashed shortly after takeoff. Investigators discovered the left engine came off of the wing which caused the plane to roll. It flipped over and the crash claimed all 271 on board. It was the deadliest accident in aviation history. Waitley stopped his complaining, realizing how close he had come to death. It would change his life. He saved the unused ticket and mounted it on his office wall. It would remind him of each day he lived beyond that moment. We ignore our lives, thinking we have others. We are wrong. Each day is fragile. James heard the boasting of future events which seemed so certain. He reminds us: “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”” (James 4:14–15) Days come and go. That means every day we draw breath is a gift of God. Do you treat God’s precious gift with a shrug? Denis Waitley had his difficult days. All it took was a glance at the unused ticket hanging on the way to remind him that every day is a gift. Do you see today as God’s gift to you? -Robert G. Taylor-    

By |2021-03-08T11:55:35-06:00March 1st, 2021|Blog|

Meaningless

Victor Frankl witnessed the worst of humanity. After surviving a Nazi concentration camp, he wrote about what suffering taught him about living. He lived as the consumer society was arriving at full speed. He watched people do whatever their hearts desired to give them pleasure. Some ate large amounts. Others spent on trinkets. He commented on this pursuit of pleasure: Let us imagine a man who has been sentenced to death and, a few hours before his execution, has been told he is free to decide on the menu for his last meal. The guard comes into his cell and asks him what he wants to eat, offers him all kinds of delicacies; but the man rejects all his suggestions. He thinks to himself that it is quite irrelevant whether he stuffs good food into the stomach of his organism or not, as in a few hours it will be a corpse. And even the feelings of pleasure that could still be felt in the organism's cerebral ganglia seem pointless in view of the fact that in two hours they will be destroyed forever. But the whole of life stands in the face of death, and if this man had been right, then our whole lives would also be meaningless, were we only to strive for pleasure and nothing else—preferably the most pleasure and the highest degree of pleasure possible. Pleasure in itself cannot give our existence meaning; thus, the lack of pleasure cannot take away meaning from life, which now seems obvious to us. It is not new, only rediscovered truth. Solomon conducted a grand experiment on life. He dove into unlimited pleasure. "I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself." But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of pleasure, "What use is it?" (Ecclesiastes 2:1–2). After searching and sifting, he arrived at a conclusion. "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Society can get us caught in the whirlpool of things and events that provide a cotton candy life. It tastes good and then is gone. Life contains more than our goods, our feelings, and our excitement. Unless built on something lasting, it crumbles. The word Solomon used was "meaningless." Investigate your life. Is it worth anything lasting? -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2021-02-23T09:09:40-06:00February 23rd, 2021|Blog|

The Question

Tony Campolo posed a question all should answer. While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, he asked a sleepy student, “Young man, how long have you lived?” The boy quickly spit out his age. “No, no, no. That’s how long your heart has pumped blood. That’s not how long you lived,” replied Campolo. He then told of a time as a 4th-grade student in 1944. He went to the Empire State Building on a school field trip. The elevator took him to the observation deck of the then tallest building in the world. It overlooked all that he could see. He stood still. Reflecting on that moment, he told the students, “In one mystical, magical moment I took in the city. If I live a million years, that moment will still be part of my consciousness, because I was fully alive when I lived it.” He returned to the student. “Now, let me ask you again. How long have you lived?” The student hung his head and said, “When you say it that way, maybe an hour, maybe a minute, maybe two minutes.” We send so much time focused on a Facebook post or the worries of the day. We are distracted. The wise man said: Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:25-27) When we focus on living to please the Lord, we find out when live as we never have before. It is that day that you start living. Now, how long have you lived? -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2021-02-19T16:08:49-06:00February 15th, 2021|Blog|
Go to Top