Tuesday, September 24, 2013



Several years ago when we lived in South Jersey, I arrived at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (C.H.O.P.) to visit a patient.  I watched from a distance as the security officer stopped every vehicle, checking each driver.  I had my visiting minister’s badge on and was ready in advance for his triad of questions: “Who are you?”  “Why are you here?” and “What’s the name of the person you’re here to visit?”  

But, I was ill-prepared for his fourth question: “OK, Preacher, tell me what will be the only man-made thing in heaven?”  I sat behind the wheel of my truck quietly thinking.  With cars waiting behind me, I resignedly said, “Sorry, I have no clue.  What will be the only man-made thing in heaven?”  The officer quickly replied, “The wounds of Jesus!”  He smiled.  I gulped.  And on the way into the parking garage I whispered, “Thank You, Jesus!”

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
Mr. Steve 


     When I was 10 or 11 there was a college student (I’ll call him, Sam) who would stop by and visit the children’s home on occasion.  He and I didn’t get along.  Maybe it was because I felt he picked on me; maybe it was because I called him names. 
     Anyway, one summer day, beside the children’s home pool, Sam decided to demonstrate to 20 or so of us boys how to save a person who was drowning.  He had taken a college water-safety class that spring and was anxious to showcase his abilities.  However, he needed a volunteer…. any volunteer…. so he pushed me into the deep water and jumped in nearly on top of me.  Before I had time to get to the surface to catch my breath, Sam’s left hand was around my chin pulling me underwater to the far end of the pool!
     I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t get away; and I couldn’t wait to jump out of the pool and tell Sam what I thought of his “life-saving” skills.  I called him the same name I’d always called him and (after he caught me) he did what he usually did – he popped me on the back of my head with his class ring.
     I didn’t see Sam again until 28 years later at a graduation ceremony.  He was married, had a family and was a respected citizen – I guess.  All I could think of was a children’s home pool and a class ring’s impression on my skull.  So, I stood there, 50 feet away, pretending not to see him.  I ended up leaving without even shaking his hand.  Not one of my better moments!
 Luke 15:21-24 – “...his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him ...put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet ...”

Sunday, September 8, 2013

MERCY CAME RUNNING - Bulletin 9-8-13


I found myself on my knees on an office floor surrounded by three godly men, all “Aaron’s” and “Hur’s” to me (Exodus 17:10-13).  For years, these three men had been my main source, outside my own family, of encouragement and support.

Now at my darkest hour they had come together to lay their hands on me and pray over me.  Each one poured out his heart to God on my behalf.  I was humbled yet so thirsty for their advocacy.  When the third brother began praying he started with the following six words: “God have mercy!  Christ have mercy!”  Over and over he prayed the same six words…. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes!  “God have mercy!  Christ have mercy!”

Years later I look back on this particular moment as my ‘Red Sea’ experience.  I was trapped – hemmed in from in front and behind – with no foreseeable way out.  But at just the right time, MERCY CAME RUNNING!  The waters parted and my family and I walked through our “valley of the shadow” on dry land!  “God have mercy!  Christ have mercy!”

by Phillips Craig & Dean

Once there was a holy place evidence of God's embrace
And I can almost see Mercy's face pressed against the veil
Looking down with longing eyes Mercy must have realized
That once His blood was sacrificed freedom would prevail
And as the sky grew dark and the earth began to shake
With justice no longer in the way
Mercy came running like a prisoner set free
Past all my failures to the point of my need
When the sin that I carried was all I could see

And when I could not reach Mercy   
 Mercy came running to me

"And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.”  Luke 1:50
God is good!  Mr. Steve

SURRENDER - Bulletin 9-1-13

I’m convinced that everyone has something they need to surrender: a stubborn will, an addiction, having their way, a pet peeve… a sinful life!  It is humbling to note that Jesus had to surrender more than any of us in order for us to receive Him!  The Bible reveals that Jesus surrendered: 
  • Heaven for earth
  • His will for the Father’s will
  • His throne for the cross
  • His life for our death

About thirty years ago, I listened to a message by Ted Kell from Matthew 2:7-12, concerning the gifts Jesus received from the magi.  (I’ve still got his notes in my Bible!)  Each of the magi’s gifts was specific to who Jesus was and His mission:  GOLD was an ancient gift for a KING; FRANKINCENSE – a gift for a PRIEST; and MYRRH was used to embalm dead bodies.  In other words, our Jesus was:
  • Born a King!
  • Born a Priest!  And…
Amazing!  Jesus surrendered before He was even born (Philippians 2:5-11) – before the WORD became flesh!  In fact, Jesus’ entire life on earth can be encapsulated by the word SURRENDER!  The Bible states: Jesus was led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1); He did nothing on His own initiative (John 5:30); and He came to do the Father’s will, not His own (Luke 22:42).  

My greatest battle is Satan using my wants and my way to sabotage my desire of being God’s man and His alone. Sound familiar? SURRENDER is a constant companion of every believer who truly desires  God to have HIS WILL AND HIS WAY IN THEIR LIVES!  How about it?  ALL TO JESUS I .....   

GOD IS GOOD!   Mr. Steve

At Home - Bulletin 8-25-13

At Home

The boxes are off the truck(s) and in our house “neatly” stacked up!   Thank ‘YOU ALL’ for your help, love and encouragement: moving us in; feeding us; moving us in again!  You haven’t spoiled us, but you sure have wet our appetites for what “family” means around here.  Plus, our neighbors pitched in and helped like we were part of their family!
Steve, Patti and Jessica Sikes have been blessed!  In our entire move, we had just the right amount of help at just the right time, every time!   Reminds me of Romans 5: 6 “For while we were still helpless, AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME Christ died for the ungodly.”
In Indiana and New Jersey the children called me “Mr. Steve”.  Every Sunday morning before our worship assembly, the children would come up front to hear me tell a Bible story, teach them a song, and pray.  During this precious time one or more children would invariably say something like, “Mr. Steve, guess what happened to me yesterday.” or “Mr. Steve, can you come to my birthday party?” …and so on – “Mr. Steve” this, “Mr. Steve” that, “Mr. Steve”, “Mr. Steve”.
         I can’t tell you how thrilled I was the other day when a child came up and gave me a hug and called me Mr. Steve.  I immediately felt right at home! 
         And Jesus said, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”  Mark 10:14-15
God is good all the time and all the time God is good.  Mr. Steve