“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you. “I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (John 14:15-21, CEB)

I thought Jesus was with us forever? Why is the author of the gospel of John telling us that Jesus said that he will ask the Father and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever?” I mean the end of Matthew is and I will be with you always even to the end of the age.

Well, Matthew and John are different books and are written for different people. They say things in different ways.

Jesus saying I am with you always is the same as another Companion coming. God is trinity according to our Christian understanding so Jesus being with us always is the same as the Spirit being with us.

And this is comforting. Because we are never alone.

Loving People. Loving God.


“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid. You have heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away and returning to you.’ If you loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. I have told you before it happens so that when it happens you will believe. (John 14:27-29, CEB)

What is peace?

I think we all have a conception of something when we hear that word. And peace that comes from God should be extra special right?

Peace is tranquility or silence according to Merriam Websters. But is that really what peace is?

Here is a story from an unknown author that I think really describes peace.

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall.

This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest … perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize?

The King chose the second picture. Do you know why?

“Because,” explained the King, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

That is what God gives us calm in our lives.

Loving People. Loving God.


When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they could carry out their plan. They pulled up anchor and sailed closely along the coast of Crete. Before long, a hurricane-strength wind known as a northeaster swept down from Crete. The ship was caught in the storm and couldn’t be turned into the wind. So we gave in to it, and it carried us along. After sailing under the shelter of an island called Cauda, we were able to control the lifeboat only with difficulty. They brought the lifeboat aboard, then began to wrap the ship with cables to hold it together. Fearing they might run aground on the sandbars of the Gulf of Syrtis, they lowered the anchor and let the ship be carried along. We were so battered by the violent storm that the next day the men began throwing cargo overboard. On the third day, they picked up the ship’s gear and hurled it into the sea. When neither the sun nor the moon appeared for many days and the raging storm continued to pound us, all hope of our being saved from this peril faded. For a long time no one had eaten. Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have complied with my instructions not to sail from Crete. Then we would have avoided this damage and loss. Now I urge you to be encouraged. Not one of your lives will be lost, though we will lose the ship. Last night an angel from the God to whom I belong and whom I worship stood beside me. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar! Indeed, God has also graciously given you everyone sailing with you.’ Be encouraged, men! I have faith in God that it will be exactly as he told me. However, we must run aground on some island.” On the fourteenth night, we were being carried across the Adriatic Sea. Around midnight the sailors began to suspect that land was near. They dropped a weighted line to take soundings and found the water to be about one hundred twenty feet deep. After proceeding a little farther, we took soundings again and found the water to be about ninety feet deep. Afraid that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they hurled out four anchors from the stern and began to pray for daylight. The sailors tried to abandon the ship by lowering the lifeboat into the sea, pretending they were going to lower anchors from the bow. Paul said to the centurion and his soldiers, “Unless they stay in the ship, you can’t be saved from peril.” The soldiers then cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away. Just before daybreak, Paul urged everyone to eat. He said, “This is the fourteenth day you’ve lived in suspense, and you’ve not had even a bite to eat. I urge you to take some food. Your health depends on it. None of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said these things, he took bread, gave thanks to God in front of them all, then broke it and began to eat. Everyone was encouraged and took some food. (In all, there were two hundred seventy-six of us on the ship.) When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea. (Acts 27:13-38, CEB)

This is another story now that has all new meaning for me after sailing on Lake Michigan. Yeah, it was a Great Lake and not an ocean, but the storms can be just as deadly. No, it wasn’t a hurricane, but they were some descent-size waves for the small boat we were in.

The story was that my wife and I were going to stay at a harbor in Door County Wisconsin with the captain of the boat I sailed on and his wife. We set out on our anniversary from the home sailing club and started a nice slow sail across the lake. The wind was very lite that day and we were only going a couple of knots per hour. But we were not in a hurry so we let it go. But as we were a few miles from the port, the sky turned dark and the wind started picking up, but blowing towards us and the captain who is usually very talkative, was dead silent and staring ahead at the storm. We quickly pulled down the sail and put on the motor, and the 25 ft boat was going over 6 foot waves, and the motor was coming our of the water on every wave and we were getting rocked and thrown. It was hard to stay in the upper deck and not go down into the cabin, but going into the cabin surely meant getting sick. The water from the waves was soaking everything, and our captain was intently staring into the storm to get us safely to port.

Much like Paul in the reading, our captain did his best to keep us all safe. And we arrived at the port, and all of us took a night to recoup and recover. Trust in one who had a connection is the way to live life on the edge and stay safe in the midst of storms.

What storms are raging in your life that you need to listen to God and/or that trusted source?

Loving People. Loving God.


When it was determined that we were to sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were placed in the custody of a centurion named Julius of the Imperial Company. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia. So we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, came with us. The next day we landed in Sidon. Julius treated Paul kindly and permitted him to go to some friends so they could take care of him. From there we sailed off. We passed Cyprus, using the island to shelter us from the headwinds. We sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, and landed in Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship headed for Italy and put us on board. After many days of slow and difficult sailing, we arrived off the coast of Cnidus. The wind wouldn’t allow us to go farther, so we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone. We sailed along the coast only with difficulty until we came to a place called Good Harbors, near the city of Lasea. Much time had been lost, and the voyage was now dangerous since the Day of Reconciliation had already passed. Paul warned them, “Men, I see that our voyage will suffer damage and great loss, not only for the cargo and ship but also for our lives.” But the centurion was persuaded more by the ship’s pilot and captain than by Paul’s advice. Since the harbor was unsuitable for spending the winter, the majority supported a plan to put out to sea from there. They thought they might reach Phoenix in Crete and spend the winter in its harbor, which faced southwest and northwest. (Acts 27:1-12, CEB)

I have read this passage of scripture many times and while it made sense, I understood it more after being part of a sailing team. There was a trip every year that the club the captain of the boat I sailed on belonged to called where the wind blows. The people who participated set a week to sail, and every morning they would rise and gather for a meeting and discuss the way the wind was blowing and determine the harbor they would sail to that day. They would then sail there and sleep on their boats for the night and do the same thing the next day. One could say they were at the mercy of the wind, or they were understanding that we could set a course for the week but the wind probably won’t cooperate. It was a fun trip for me because I am merely a helping hand, or weight during races, that is a whole other blog post. I had no idea how to read the waters or the winds, although I did learn a few things from being on the water with these sailors for so many years.

This text is not just a story, but an occurrence. The weather played a part in the journey, and like all of our lives, sometimes we have to be ready to abandon our plans and go where the winds blow.

But while you go where the wind blows remember to love along the way.

Loving People. Loving God.

Short term memory…

Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They responded, “We are Abraham’s children; we’ve never been anyone’s slaves. How can you say that we will be set free?” Jesus answered, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave isn’t a permanent member of the household, but a son is. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you really will be free. I know that you are Abraham’s children, yet you want to kill me because you don’t welcome my teaching. I’m telling you what I’ve seen when I am with the Father, but you are doing what you’ve heard from your father.” (John 8:31-38, CEB)

I always love this passage because Jesus says to the Jews who had believed that he was the Messiah that if they remain in his word they will be free. And they are like, Free? We have always been free. “We are Abraham’s children; we’ve never been anyone’s slaves.” Do they not remember the time under Joseph in Eygpt? The Exodus?

The Jewish people were all slaves in Eygpt.

We only seem to remember the things we want. But the other things are also a part of who we are. Our past is something that has produced who we are today, but does not need to hold us down, because Christ has made us new.

Believe and know you are set free from your past, it can not define your future but has helped make you who you are today. Remember. And tell others they can also be free!

Loving People. Loving God.

More history

“The tent of testimony was with our ancestors in the wilderness. Moses built it just as he had been instructed by the one who spoke to him and according to the pattern he had seen. In time, when they had received the tent, our ancestors carried it with them when, under Joshua’s leadership, they took possession of the land from the nations whom God expelled. This tent remained in the land until the time of David. God approved of David, who asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who actually built a house for God. However, the Most High doesn’t live in houses built by human hands. As the prophet says, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. ‘What kind of house will you build for me,’ says the Lord, ‘or where is my resting place? Didn’t I make all these things with my own hand?’ “You stubborn people! In your thoughts and hearing, you are like those who have had no part in God’s covenant! You continuously set yourself against the Holy Spirit, just like your ancestors did. Was there a single prophet your ancestors didn’t harass? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the righteous one, and you’ve betrayed and murdered him! You received the Law given by angels, but you haven’t kept it.” Once the council members heard these words, they were enraged and began to grind their teeth at Stephen. But Stephen, enabled by the Holy Spirit, stared into heaven and saw God’s majesty and Jesus standing at God’s right side. He exclaimed, “Look! I can see heaven on display and the Human One standing at God’s right side!” (Acts 7:44-56, CEB)

This is from the talk Stephen gave the council before his execution. He is explaining the history of the Jewish people and how it fits into the understanding of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.

The interesting piece in this to me is that God does not dwell in houses made by human hands. So God is not contained in the churches and temples we say God is. Also, the Greek word for dwell can mean tented. Jesus came as John 1 tells us and pitched a tent to be with us. God doesn’t need a house, God will come along side where we are and pitch a tent to be with us.

Know that God is pitching a tent to be with you!

Loving People. Loving God.


“When it was time for God to keep the promise he made to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly expanded. But then another king rose to power over Egypt who didn’t know anything about Joseph. He exploited our people and abused our ancestors. He even forced them to abandon their newly born babies so they would die. That’s when Moses was born. He was highly favored by God, and for three months his parents cared for him in their home. After he was abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and cared for him as though he were her own son. Moses learned everything Egyptian wisdom had to offer, and he was a man of powerful words and deeds. “When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit his family, the Israelites. He saw one of them being wronged so he came to his rescue and evened the score by killing the Egyptian. He expected his own kin to understand that God was using him to rescue them, but they didn’t. The next day he came upon some Israelites who were caught up in an argument. He tried to make peace between them by saying, ‘You are brothers! Why are you harming each other?’ The one who started the fight against his neighbor pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who appointed you as our leader and judge? Are you planning to kill me like you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he lived as an immigrant and had two sons. “Forty years later, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush in the wilderness near Mount Sinai. Enthralled by the sight, Moses approached to get a closer look and he heard the Lord’s voice: ‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Trembling with fear, Moses didn’t dare to investigate any further. The Lord continued, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have clearly seen the oppression my people have experienced in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning. I have come down to rescue them. Come! I am sending you to Egypt.’ “This is the same Moses whom they rejected when they asked, ‘Who appointed you as our leader and judge?’ This is the Moses whom God sent as leader and deliverer. God did this with the help of the angel who appeared before him in the bush. This man led them out after he performed wonders and signs in Egypt at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness. This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ This is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness with our ancestors and with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. He is the one who received life-giving words to give to us. He’s also the one whom our ancestors refused to obey. Instead, they pushed him aside and, in their thoughts and desires, returned to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods that will lead us. As for this Moses who led us out of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him!’ (Acts 7:17-40, CEB)

This is Stephen explaining the story of Moses to the leadership of the Jewish temple. As if they wouldn’t know this story.

Yet, there are details we sometimes forget.

Moses killed a person.

Moses was not accepted by his people.

Moses didn’t want to be called by God.

Moses ran away.

Moses needed to be convinced that God was calling him.

Moses needed to trust God but didn’t want to.

All except that first one of killing a person, pertain to me. And if we take the notion of killing to mean a mental death or a disregarding of people, that can apply to me as well.

We are more like Moses than most of us would care to say. We aren’t accepted and don’t want to go. Yet God still pursues.

Know this is love. The love of God that is relentless.

You are loved. And God wants you to show love to the world.

Loving People. Loving God.

I am the way, the truth, and the life

“Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. You know the way to the place I’m going.” Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves. I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:1-14, CEB)

This text has the line that makes people want to say that Jesus it the only way to Heaven.

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” But does this say that Jesus is the only way to heaven or eternal life?

This text doesn’t really deal with eternal life and so any mention of that added to the text is reading into what is written.

The Father’s house has many rooms to spare and Jesus is going to make sure there is a space prepared for you and will come back to take us there. And we know where he is going because he has shown us through his life. And then he says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus doesn’t say you don’t get into the house without him, he already said he was preparing a place for us there and was going to come back and make sure we didn’t get lost.

Jesus says the only way to the Father is through him. Or more specifically no one comes to the father except through him. Now does that mean getting into heaven or getting to be in the Father’s presence? Are these the same thing? I would say no.

There are many paths that lead to eternity and we should not say someone is damned because they choose to take a path different from us. Paul speaks about obtaining the third level of Heaven. So Paul seems to say at one point there are multiple places to arrive in Heaven. Eternity is a long time and we will all come to an understanding of loving as God does over that time and maybe you don’t get to be in the Father’s presence at first. Why do we want to say that this is the only way?

Jesus, himself said there are sheep from other folds that will be a part of this. and how did they get here?

We should be ok living in the shades of gray rather than looking for clear-cut answers.

Live in the questions and love that God gives us.

Loving People. Loving God.

I am

The Jewish opposition answered, “We were right to say that you are a Samaritan and have a demon, weren’t we?” “I don’t have a demon,” Jesus replied. “But I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I’m not trying to bring glory to myself. There’s one who is seeking to glorify me, and he’s the judge. I assure you that whoever keeps my word will never die.” The Jewish opposition said to Jesus, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham and the prophets died, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never die.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died and the prophets died, so who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is meaningless. My Father, who you say is your God, is the one who glorifies me. You don’t know him, but I do. If I said I didn’t know him, I would be like you, a liar. But I do know him, and I keep his word. Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see my day. He saw it and was happy.” “You aren’t even 50 years old!” the Jewish opposition replied. “How can you say that you have seen Abraham?” “I assure you,” Jesus replied, “before Abraham was, I Am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the temple. (John 8:48-59, CEB)

They picked up stones and threw them at Jesus. Why?

The last thing Jesus said to them was “I assure you,” Jesus replied, “before Abraham was, I Am.” I am. ἐγὼ εἰμί.

When Moses was at the bush and asked God what God’s name was. What was God’s response? I am that I am. ἐγὼ εἰμί.

Jesus just said he is God. Why would they not stone him?

People didn’t buy all the things Jesus said.

Do you?

Do you believe you will never die? And what does it mean to die?

Sometimes I think death is feeling unloved.

We need to love everyone so that all can know that Jesus was here for them. And they can know the love of God.

Loving People. Loving God.


The high priest asked, “Are these accusations true?” Stephen responded, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran. God told him, ‘Leave your homeland and kin, and go to the land that I will show you.’ So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After Abraham’s father died, God had him resettle in this land where you now live. God didn’t give him an inheritance here, not even a square foot of land. However, God did promise to give the land as his possession to him and to his descendants, even though Abraham had no child. God put it this way: His descendants will be strangers in a land that belongs to others, who will enslave them and abuse them for four hundred years. And I will condemn the nation they serve as slaves, God said, and afterward they will leave that land and serve me in this place. God gave him the covenant confirmed through circumcision. Accordingly, eight days after Isaac’s birth, Abraham circumcised him. Isaac did the same with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs. “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him into slavery in Egypt. God was with him, however, and rescued him from all his troubles. The grace and wisdom he gave Joseph were recognized by Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over his whole palace. A famine came upon all Egypt and Canaan, and great hardship came with it. Our ancestors had nothing to eat. When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there for the first time. During their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five in all—and invited them to live with him. So Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had purchased for a certain sum of money from Hamor’s children, who lived in Shechem. (Acts 7:1-16, CEB)

Have you seen the trinkets that say His story? They talk about how the Bible is the story of Jesus. This is Stephen telling His Story.

Stephen is telling them the beginning of the story of the Messiah, Jesus, and all of our stories.

This is your story.

Do you know it like Stephen?

Loving People. Loving God.