Hello to you all, both long-time and new!

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I would like to acknowledge and say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have recently started following this blog. I truly appreciate the time you take to read and respond.

For those who have been reading, putting up with, and/or groaning over the past 3+ years, a hearty thanks to you as well!

It occurs to me that those falling under the newer category might not know all the backstory that comes along with me. I’d like to take this opportunity to allow you the opportunity to catch up!

As I am embarking on a somewhat new aspect of my journey as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have been asked to write an essay introducing myself to the folks who will be considering me for a Rostered (ordained) ministry position within the Lutheran Church. The following is an excerpt from that essay. It is my hope that you, New Dear Reader, will take the time to get to know me a little better (and for those who have heard much of this, you may hit the like button and be on your way).

Thanks once again for sharing the ride with me.

Part 1: My Story

I was born on January 11th, 1960 in Oswego New York to Kenneth and Evelyn Copps. I have one older brother, Carl. I had a happy home-life growing up in in that small town. My parents provided for all our needs and most of my wants in a caring way. Dad worked full-time as a machinist while Mom stayed at home. I had some close friends through the years and it seemed we always congregated at my house. It was warm and open to everyone.

My parents were Roman Catholic and raised my brother and me in that faith. It never meant much to me as I saw going to church largely as an inconvenience on my time. Other than Confirmation, weekly Mass was my only exposure to Catholicism. Things of faith were rarely if ever brought up at home. Tending to shirk responsibility in those days, I was more than happy to do my 60 minutes per week at church and leave faith at that.

At the age of eighteen I opted out of regular church attendance, going back only to be married in 1983. My wife and I attended her local church, Holy Family in Fulton, New York for a brief period after marriage, but that attendance soon faltered as well.

I was well into the downward spiral of alcoholism at this point. The ensuing years are a blur even now. Finally, with my health failing, my wife ready to leave and at the brink of financial disaster, I sought help. A three week stay in a detox-center followed by a 28-day rehab helped prepare me to live a sober life.

It is at the beginning of recovery that my faith life came to be. In fact, I count both my sobriety date and the date of my salvation the same: May 3rd, 1991. It seems that the Bible stories I sat through as a child had some affect after all! I knew in my spirit that the Higher Power the AA literature speaks of was in fact Jesus Christ. I received His forgiveness at the detox-center and have been a follower of His ever since.

That last sentence hardly speaks to the wonder of these last 29 years. I owe a great debt of thanks to Pastor Brent Dahlseng. He took a great interest in my spiritual journey. He encouraged me to read God’s word and to become a person of prayer. He was a tremendous mentor and friend as he helped me navigate my new life with purpose.

God has been faithfully persistent as He continues to call me to His service. Starting as a Small-Group apprentice leader, I have now had the privilege of being on many different prayer ministries as well as hospital visitation teams.

As the Lord has helped me to discern His call on my life, I attended seminary (Rockbridge Seminary) and was granted a Master of Divinity in 2014. We had begun a home ministry by this point and the schooling and training the seminary provided me had enriched my ability to serve. This has proved especially true in my Hospice work as I provide pastoral care to patients and their families.

I was ordained by the Elim Fellowship of Lima, New York in April of 2018. I have had the pleasure to officiate at weddings and our home ministry is now ‘on the road,’ as we serve people in their homes by providing bible study, counseling and the opportunity to worship.

It is with much anticipation that I enter into this next phase of ministry. I continue to trust God will reveal His will to me as I embrace a deeper understanding of Lutheran theology in the service of the church.

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Chuck

A Whole New Meaning to ‘Be Still’

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With New York State pretty much such down in hopes of preventing the further spread of Covid-19, many people are faced with something they have longed for, time.  In my walks around the neighborhood with Violet, I have seen a good number of garages and sheds being cleaned out.  No doubt similar cleanings, sorting and discarding’s are happening in their homes as well.

This is time well spent.  Betsy and I did some of it ourselves as we cleaned out a large closet, taking the opportunity to rid ourselves of things no longer used or long forgotten.  There is a feeling of satisfaction that comes at the completion of these tasks.

But I wonder, what will the majority of folks do once the tidying up is done, especially if this mandated quarantine stretches on.  There is just so much busy-work to do to fill the void left in our schedules.  May I suggest, Faithful Reader, that you put some of this time to the best use of all, getting to know God better.

Allow me to share with you how I endeavored to do this today.  As I was reading through the Book of Psalms, I came to a passage that is familiar to many:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

I have read and taught from Psalm 46 any number of times, but that in no way makes me an expert or learned theologian.  Realizing my limitations, I took to some of my reference materials out (and there are some very good ones on-line as well), in an attempt to learn more of what God is telling us when He says to be still and know that He is God.

As usual when I make the effort to get more understanding from the Almighty, He doesn’t disappoint.  The word still, as it was used in the original Hebrew, carries a different meaning than what I was anticipating.  To me, being still is just that, to stop moving or doing.  The original language takes this to a new level however.  To be still, as it is written here, means to hang limp, or sink down.  It has the sense of being feeble.

Working with this definition, it becomes clear to me that God wants more than just me stopping activity.  Rather, this scripture is reminding me to recognize my frailty, my lack of significance in the big picture and my over all weakness in the face of a global pandemic.

As I get my mind into this place, I can then better appreciate the rest of what God is saying here.  Once still in the sense of the original word, we are then to know that He is God.  I did the same research on the word know.  This particular word carries a similar meaning to the way we use it today.  It basically means to recognize or understand what is being presented.

But then it goes a little farther.  There is an intimacy attached to the Hebrew word to know as it is used in this passage.  This makes the knowing much more than simply a textbook-type learning.  It becomes a matter of the heart by seeing our great need of God in all things.

When we are still in this context, it becomes possible to begin to fathom how much we need God.  My wife Betsy often says, “The more I get to know God, the more I realize how much I need Him.” That sums up Psalm 46:10 very well my dear!

So Friends, what do you think? Is slowing down to know God better in the midst of a shutdown of life a good idea? Please let me know how you might be doing this.

Thanks for reading,

Pastor Chuck

The Wonder of the Cross of Christ

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Christianity 101 tells us that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to its theology. Jesus, the very Son of God, came to earth and lived a sin-free life as He taught and demonstrated of the nearness of the Kingdom of God.

He ultimately revealed the depth of His love for all mankind when He willing went to an awful death by crucifixion. As He did, He supernaturally bore the weight of the entirety of the world’s sin on His person in order that ordinary folks like you and me could be saved for all eternity.

The Apostle Paul sums this all up for us in his letter to the Roman church: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)

I would gladly welcome conversation on any of the above at any time, including questions, concerns and uncertainties. But let’s do that during another post. For today I want to focus on the physical cross itself that Jesus was crucified on. I believe that God is still calling us to Himself and that much of the invitation still lies in and around that wooden implement of death that God has wondrously turned into an invitation to life.

I have been giving some thought to the physical cross. I know that much of Christian art has depicted Jesus carrying an entire cross up Calvary’s hill. However, research seems to have shown that the Lord carried only the cross piece as the longer vertical pole would have been left in place for re-use.

Joseph Zias, an anthropologist with the Israel Department of Antiquities, and Eliezer Sekeles of Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem state that, “One can reasonably assume that the scarcity of wood may have been expressed in the economics of crucifixion in that the crossbar as well as the upright would be used repeatedly.”

If they are correct, and I have no reason to doubt them on this, that means that the crossbar that Jesus carried and died on was used again, possibly many times.

I think it unlikely than any of those being put to death by crucifixion by the Romans of that time for treason, speaking against the government, rebellion or murder (the crimes most often punished by this means) knew of the previous carriers of their cross-piece. Word of who Jesus was and what He had done was still confined to a relatively few people at the outset. How sad to think that the very piece of wood that had held the Savior’s body was unknown to them.

Conversely, how wonderful is it that we live on the other side of the event of the Cross of Jesus! Because He took the place of all sinners (that’s you and me again!) and willingly paid the price for all of our transgressions, we can know that our forever home has been secured with Him.

Yet as we celebrate this greatest news ever presented to human beings, let us not forget how it came to be. In other words, let us not lose sight of the significance of that cross-piece that Jesus carried. We have the opportunity to know why His Passion had to play out as it did.

As you contemplate that awesome truth again today, I ask that you also remember those who have no knowledge of what Jesus did (and is doing). Many are trudging through life carrying a burden that can only be relieved by the One who cares for us all. Please, if given the opportunity today, won’t you share the incredible story of God’s love for all as it is represented in the Cross?

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

No More Burnt Toast!

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I am blessed to be a part of a blogger chat group that meets via zoom on Saturday mornings. One of the regular attendees, Alicia, has a recurring problem: She burns her morning toast (a lot!). Though she does not claim to be the world’s greatest chef, Alicia finds this on-going issue frustrating; probably because it occurs more often than not.

As the discussion turned to failed attempts in the kitchen this morning, talk of Alicia’s toast problem surfaced. It was as I listened to what happened that God nudged with some Spirit-filled advice for her. You see, the root cause of her burning bread was not the toaster, but rather the fact that in an attempt to use her time constructively, Alicia goes off to do other chores while the toaster does its thing. Invariably, one task leads to another and the inevitable burnt toast pops up.

The words of the Prophet Micah popped into my head and in them I believe is the end of all of Alicia’s failed toasting: But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 NIV)

The God-given answer seems clear: Stop all other activity and wait by the toaster form your meal! Knowing as I do that Alicia wants to make every second of her day count, I then counseled her to use that time of waiting to praise God. Maybe a short gratitude list of things she is thankful for. Or perhaps spend those few minutes while waiting for her toast to pray for her kids and husband. Using time in this way is certainly productive, with the side benefit of not having to throw out burnt toast.

As I like to do, I then apply this advice to myself, looking for areas where I allow busyness to cloud or even block my awareness of God around me. Having identified a few, I will take the same Spirit advice I shared with Alicia and apply it to myself. Very rarely is a thing to do so important that I cannot slow down to simply be in God’s presence. He already knows my heart, so why not bask in His wonderful presence. Doing so will make whatever is pressing at hand fall into a clearer perspective.

Like Micah, I will watch in hope, knowing that God has only good for His children. I will wait for God my Savior, for waiting for Him is better than anything I might accomplish on my own and I will cherish the knowledge that He hears me. And not only hears, but listens with a loving heart that will direct me in His ways, if I only will open myself to Him.

So I tip my cap to the last burnt toast Alicia ever makes, and join with her as we proclaim the greatness of the God of the Universe!

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Checkin’ in

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Greetings in grace to you Most Appreciated Readers! I wanted to take this quick opportunity to check in with you all.

I realize I am not the most prolific blogger on WordPress. Yet even my less than regular jottings have been even more spaced out than usual. Hence the update.

As you may remember, I have gone back to my old painting job at Le Moyne College for the months of June and July in an attempt to help my replacement (who also happens to be our oldest son) get the thousands of square feet of dormitories and other living spaces re-coated before the new academic year begins in August. This effort keeps me more than busy during the week, as the 8+ hours of painting each day go speeding by.

Weekends are spend primarily doing the things around our house that get neglected during these weeks, thus leaving little time for blogging. I don’t know how it is for you, but the less I write makes me more aware of how much I enjoy sharing this time with you.

Even in these uber-busy times of my life, God is faithful. In fact so much so that He is presenting me with a new ministry opportunity. Beginning in September I will be joining the staff at a Lutheran Church just a few miles from our home. I will be serving there ½ time, as I also go back to seminary to tackle some courses in the Lutheran foundations. This tract will be leading me into full-time parish ministry so time down the road.

I will embrace this new chapter while maintaining my roots in the local church Betsy and I belong to, as well as seeing to the ministry opportunities presented to Lakeside Christian Ministries.

I realize that some folks get to my age and begin to slow down or at least start to look at the possibly of life after work. I say blessings to them.

But for me, it is full speed ahead (with God’s leading)! I am energized by what lies ahead while enjoying the blessings of the moment. God is so good!!

I hope to keep you all posted (a little more frequently) going forward.

As always, thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Freedom for All!

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This 3 day weekend here in the States has given many the opportunity to celebrate our country’s independence. With Covid-19 on the run in many places, folks have traveled near and far to join in these festivities with family and friends. To many, the lifting of restrictions has a feeling of release from pandemic prison. I find it a joy to see the many happy faces around our neighborhood as they share laughter and food with others for the first time in a long time.

Yet I also know something of human nature and when tomorrow, July 6th gets here, many of these same people will trudge off to work. The thoughts of weekend celebrations will quickly fade into the dull routine of earning a living.

Part of the reason for this drudgery, in my opinion, is the fact that though we celebrate July 4th as a mark of freedom, most are aware that we live in a culture that is far from free. Racial and social injustice are still painfully prevalent, and no amount of celebratory fireworks can mask that truth. I believe that as a nation we carry this fact with us, thus quickly dampening the good feeling of celebrating something that is not universally available.

Thanks be to God, there is a true freedom that is offered to all; the freedom that Jesus Christ has procured. It is by His sinless life, His crucifixion in the place of sinful mankind and His glorious resurrection that this freedom comes.

Jesus spoke of this freedom while He still walked the earth. John’s gospel records it his way: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV) The Lord is speaking here of the freedom from the bondage to sin. He knows that only His perfect sacrifice will satisfy the wrath of God against all sinners, of which you and I are included. The word Jesus uses for freedom in the original Greek means to be liberated from something that holds you captive. In the case of humanity, this means the sinful nature that we are all born with. It is this sin nature that prevents us from entering into this saving relationship on our own, therefore making the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross a necessity.

How to we get this freedom that Jesus offers? Simply put, we must recognize our need of salvation and our helplessness towards attaining it on our own. If we can do this, it becomes a matter of simple faith: Believe that Jesus died, was buried and then resurrected as payment for our sinfulness. The Apostle Paul spells this out directly: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Sound to simple to be true? It’s not! God loves us all. In that all-encompassing love He invites each and every person into relationship with Him. Salvation is from God and truly it is all about God. We are left to simply accept the gift of freedom as offered.

What, then, are we to do with this freedom once we accept it? Again, it is Paul the Apostle who gives us instruction: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

Faith in Jesus sets us free from eternal death. Paul’s point then is that we live in that freedom each day until the Lord calls us home. When, with the Spirit’s help, we live in this freedom to the best of our ability, we can know what the liberating power of God’s love is. If we can allow this love to permeate the depths of our heart, God’s love can flow from us to the world around us. Living in this freedom then ought to allow us to see all other people as they are, children of the same creator.

The freedom purchased for us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ truly levels the playing field. It allows us to shake off the shackles of hatred, distrust and jealousy so that we can be conduits for His love.

As you know, I have nothing against a cookout and sharing good times with friends and family. But those pale when compared to the celebration God calls us to. Please join me in continuing this celebration in all we do and say and may our hearts reflect gratitude to God for loving us so much that He has chosen to truly set us free.

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Jesus Christ! More than just swear words

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Each of the last five summers I have gone back to work at the “other college” in Syracuse, New York. As I have mentioned here before, I left full-time employment there in September of 2016 so that I could devote my full attention to our ministry. It continues to be a blessing and a joy to take up my paint brush and roller for the summer months as I help the maintenance crew get the dorms ready for the new school year.

The friends I made while working there are for the most part still employed by the college. It is a relatively small crew made up of about 30 workers. Having worked with them for over 12 years, they were all aware as to my reason for leaving. Though they may not have completely understood my motivation for moving on, to a person they have respected it.

I make that last statement based on their reaction these days when I walk in on or are part of a conversation that is laced, shall we say, with colorful language. “Oh, sorry, I did not mean for you to hear that” is the common apology I hear when this happens. My normal response is something like, “That’s ok, I have heard all those words before.”

I was prompted the other day to respond differently to a ‘blue streak’ I walked in on. As I entered a new suite of rooms to begin painting, I found one of the maintenance crew struggling mightily to put a bedframe back together. Before I could offer any help he let out with a string of profanity that told me this was a problem that had him completely frustrated. He ended his tirade with a loud “Jesus Christ!”

I saw the embarrassment on his face when he realized I had heard everything he had said. Rather than merely laugh this one off, I felt prompted to respond in a different way.

Speaking first, I said, “You know, that last name you used does not really belong with the rest of what you said.” Smiling kindly at his reddened face, I went on, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I have found that He loves me all the time, even when my mouth is running way ahead of my mind.”

“I know,” my co-worker said in a much softer tone. “He just has never seemed real to me, even when I heard those stories as a kid in church.” There was a brief silence. Then he added, “I don’t see much evidence of any Son of God in my life.”

I would love to tell you that at this the choir of heaven started to sing or that this man fell on his knees in sudden joy. But none of that happened. I simply assured him that I had been in that very place he was in and that I knew all about confusion and doubt.

I then left him with this assurance: “Neither I nor God are here to condemn you for your language or for anything else. But please let me leave you this one suggestion. The next time you feel your anger taking off, think of Jesus first, and not as simply a swear word. Ask Him to make Himself more real to you, that you might be interested in getting to know who He really is.”

That’s where we left it. But I don’t believe the Lord has. My prayer for my co-worker and all those baffled by confusion and doubt is that they allow for the possibility of Jesus Christ being more than a cuss word and in so doing, crack open enough of their heart to find out that He is so much more!

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Happy Father’s Day. Bag!

A tribute to my Dad and to our Gracious Heavenly Father (Originally posted in June 2018)


My father’s name is Kenneth Charles Copps.  I say is because that is still his name, even though he passed away early in 2002.  He was known as Kenny to family, friends and co-workers; but for the last 30 years of his life, I called him Bag.  An unusual nickname you might say, and it was.  I’ll save you the backstory as to its origin, and probably just as well given the ‘G’ rating of this blog.

I loved my Dad as much as any son has loved his father.  In my eyes he was the complete package: hard working, patient, and possessed of a down-to-earth wisdom that guides me to this day.  He was a family man first and last, providing for his wife and 2 boys with nary a complaint; and oh, how he loved to laugh.  His whole body shook (picture a dog shaking itself off coming out of the water and you get a picture).  It didn’t matter if you told him the joke or if he was repeating one for the 100th time, his laughter was a whole-body work-out.

I believe much of the happiness in my Dad came as a result of what he had overcome in life.  As a child, frequent ear infections left him hearing impaired from an early age.  This proved no deterrent in his schooling, as he graduated from high school at the age of 16.

He then entered the workforce as a tool and die maker/machinist apprentice.  He worked his way through the training, making himself one of the best in his trade.  Unfortunately, that did not translate into a high salary in those days, so he took on a second job as a dockworker.

It was at this job that he suffered a near fatal accident, as a cable broke on the crane that was off-loading material.  The pallet crashed to the dock, glancing off my father’s head, crushing his right arm and breaking both his legs.  The injury to his arm was devastating.  The surgeons did all they could to save it, but remember this was 1958, and medicine was nowhere as advanced as it is now.  Though he kept his arm, he lost use of his ring and pinky finger and worse still, the bone that allows you to rotate your palm upward was pulverized.

As he began the long process of convalescence, the doctors told my Dad he would never work again.  But they didn’t know him! He worked feverishly on his re-hab, getting both legs back to full strength.  What he was able to do with that right arm was simply amazing.  He not only went back to work at his machinist trade, but he resumed participating in his favorite sport, bowling.  The only change he made was to switch to a lighter bowling ball and even with it, he still excelled.  Basically, those who didn’t know his story (and if he had on long sleeves), wouldn’t have realized that there was any disability there at all.

My Dad retired at the age of 66, having worked the last 17 years at a job that finally paid him for what his abilities were worth.  He and my mother then had 5 wonderful years of retirement, tending to grandkids and their garden, traveling and relaxing.

Unfortunately, all those years of working around the metal dust of machine shops, along with his 30 years of smoking cigarettes, brought on COPD, something he would not be able to overcome.

By this time, I had sobered up and had begun to live a life that at least began to resemble the one my Dad had lived.  A growing faith in Jesus Christ had been born in me as I realized He was the only answer for my addiction.  My Dad, a once a week church attender, was nonetheless interested in what was going on with/in me in this regard even though outwardly he seemed content that his weekly attendance was all he needed as far as God went.

He welcomed my prayers for his healing as his disease worsened, to the point where he would allow me to lay hands on him as we sought a miracle from God.  In my private prayers, I asked God to restore the health to my Dad’s lungs, that he might enjoy many more years of happiness that I believed he had earned.

Yet, no matter how hard or often I prayed, Dad’s health steadily declined.  I was deeply saddened as I watched him waste away before our eyes.  Finally, the call came from my mother, he had been admitted to intensive care with little or no chance of coming out.

I spent most of the last 96 hours of his life with him as doctors, nurses and family came and went.  We talked, while he still could; followed by him listening to me and lastly to just looking with deep affection at each other.

Not knowing why all my prayers had seemingly gone unanswered for healing, it occurred to me to ask Dad what was next for him when this struggle ended.  He whispered, “I hope I’ve been good enough, I hope I go up to heaven.”

I have come to realize that what I said next was inspired by God: “Bag,” I said, “how would you like to know for sure what’s next.”  I then briefly explained why Jesus had to do what He did; telling Dad that the forgiveness of God was a personal thing that the Lord had accomplished by dying for us and then being resurrected.  “If you believe Jesus did that for you, Bag, and if you will ask Him to forgive you, you can know without a doubt where your next stop will be.”

A peace came to his face and eyes as he whispered, “Yes I believe, please forgive me Jesus.”  Six hours later my Dad passed away, physically.

Later that night, with my emotions on a roller-coaster, I fell into a fitful sleep.  It was then that God revealed to me His greater purpose.  While I had been praying for my Dad’s health to be restored, God had been after his heart.  I awoke realizing that God had answered my prayers after all! I had been praying, somewhat selfishly, to be allowed to have more time with my Dad.  God, in His wisdom and immeasurable love, was making it possible that we could be together forever in heaven.  My heavenly Father had indeed healed my earthly Dad.

If you are reading this and share in the assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and if you get to heaven before me, look up my Dad.  When you find him, ask if it’s ok to call him Bag.  Then enjoy that full-bodied laugh.

A Blind Faith?

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I was involved in a discussion about faith the other day. Some of those involved were agnostics, some atheists and others, like me, claimed to believe in the God of the Scriptures. We talked about many things like coincidence, random occurrence and the possibility that all things were some part of a greater plan known only to someone or something else.

Though the talk was mostly amiable, one person, exasperated by my claims of an unshakeable belief in God, told me that I merely possessed a “blind faith.” Their point was that I basically had to have my head buried in the sand to actually think that all that happened around me and the world in total was watched or even cared about by some higher being.

Having never argued anyone to heaven, I soon left the conversation. I felt sadness for those who could not or would not open themselves to at least the possibility of an Almighty God.

But also, I was left with the desire to examine this faith I professed in hopes of renewing/strengthening the belief within me. Specifically, to clarify in my heart and mind that I was not acting as an automaton who goes through life blissfully unaware of what is happening around me; acting solely on a blind faith.

Having fallen asleep with these thoughts, our ever-faithful God had some assurances for me as I awoke the next morning.

First and most clearly, He made it clear that there is no such thing as “blind faith” when it comes to Him. Faith itself, as the Apostle Paul writes, is something that God gives us: in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3b NIV). Faith then, coming from a perfect God, would not lack the ability to see. Now this is not necessarily sight as needed to get your driver’s license, but rather a gift of insight into the happenings of the spiritual world that is at work around us.

I believe God has given us all this type of vision and He uses many different passages in the Scriptures that mention it and guide us as to how to use this gift.

As I have quoted before on my blog, the definition of faith itself includes the ability to see with eyes of faith: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). This is the certainty that allows me to see God at work in the physical world around me. Eyes seeing with faith can see the addicted set free, the estranged family reunited and the healing of a broken heart as being God ministering to those conditions, as well as so many more.

To help us keep our faith eyes open on our daily journey, Scripture reminds us several times that by keeping those eyes focused on Jesus, they will witness more and more of God at work. The author of the Book of Hebrews says it this way: So we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 NIV).

I attempt to fix my eyes of faith on Jesus by keeping Him in the forefront of my thoughts each day. I make it a point to thank Him daily for enduring that cross for helpless sinners like me. I praise Him as He sits at His rightful place on the throne. By staying actively conscious of the Lord, I tend to ‘see’ Him with more clarity. Obviously, I am not seeing Him physically, but that does not diminish the reality of His presence with me.

What a daily blessing this gift of seeing in faith is! And it is a gift I can partake of as often as I like. The richness of our God cannot be run dry. He is always and everywhere ready to help in the honing of our ability to be aware of Him.

My prayer for me and you is that we use the tremendous gift of sight to look more intentionally than ever to see God with us. I am convinced that as we do, there will be nothing blind about our faith at all!

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Have you seen the wind?

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(image courtesy of tokarphoto)

Have you ever seen: Rain? Snow? Trees? Grass? Flowers? The sky? The sun? The moon? Of course you have. Your sense of sight sees them most everywhere you look. Your other senses remind you of many other of the multitude of things that surround us constantly in the physical world.

What about the wind? Have you ever seen it? You can see trees move and their leaves blowing around. You can also see the mighty force of wind in storms like tornados and hurricanes. Yet these things are the result of wind. I ask again; Have you ever seen the wind? I have not. But even though I have not seen wind with my eyes, I know that it exists. I have felt it on my skin and seen it move things, making me convinced that it is real.

What about God? Have you seen Him? Personally, I have not. I am alright with this because the Scriptures tell us that God does not need to be seen or experienced by our senses in order for us to know He exists. Much like we know the wind is real by what we see it do; the same goes for God.

But we do have to look (perceive) things a little differently for us to ‘see’ Him. The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians explains it this way: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

Basically he is telling us that in order to see God in the world around us, we have to take our focus off the material, tangible world. This is a difficult thing to do. Yet it is necessary so that we can be able to experience His presence with us day by day.

We have to practice using eyes of faith with the intention of getting them to a 20/20 capability. How can this be done?

Allow me to share with you my approach and though I am still a work in progress, I have found it to help sharpen my faith-sight. The author of the Book of Hebrews defines faith in a way that I use toward this end: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

I practice this as a two part exercise. First, I must be sure of what it is that I hope for, understanding that this hope is not like hoping to win a lottery but rather a calm assurance that the presence of God is a real and true thing. Next, by honing my faith eyes to see the things I cannot see, the faith that God has given me grows ever stronger.

As I said, this is a work in progress. There are times when the physical world around me brings me to near sensory overload. When this starts to happen, my eyes of faith tend to grow dim. The comfort here is that though I may be having trouble seeing what is unseen; this does not mean that God is not there. As I remember this, the unseen usually comes back into focus and with it the assurance of God’s loving care, protection and direction.

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I deeply appreciate your time and pray that these words may indeed help you to see the unseen a little more clearly today.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Two for One!!!

As I am sure you are aware of by now, Precious Reader, I have been an advocate for vaccination against Covid-19 from the start. I did, as I suggest all should do, my homework as to the safety of these vaccines and my research led me to trust the science behind them. I can honestly report that I had zero side-effects from either of the Modern shots I received.

Now, as more of the country begins to open up, it is time to step up and get vaccinated. Do it for yourself, for your loved ones and your community.

Now for the Two for One part of this post. This is Memorial Day Weekend here in the States. It is a time when we reflect and give thanks for the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country.

Betsy and I have attempted to show our gratitude for these people, as well as those serving today, by performing the Star Spangled Banner at many locations over the past 20 years. Please click on the link below to hear our rendition. (The harmony line was written and performed by Betsy)

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

A Tailored Fit

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(image coutesy of atpsupply.org)

Some time ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I had a job in a men’s clothing store. In those days, long before mega-malls and Amazon, a small local shop made its success by giving excellent customer service. In a store like that one, this meant measuring arm lengths, inseams and waistlines accurately. A fair amount of training went into learning this process. Once mastered, I could confidently suggest styles and cuts that would best fit each individual customer.

I believe God is the most excellent tailor of all! (How was that for a quick transition!) I have been contemplating a passage of Scripture that is familiar to many of us, Ephesians 6:10-17, since my friend Dawn (https://dawnfanshawe.wordpress.com/2021/05/01/the-wrong-armour/) wrote an excellent blog about it.

As I understand it, God’s armor is not a ‘one size fits all’ choice. Rather, experience has shown me that the Almighty tailors His armor to fit perfectly to each individual.

The Apostle Paul gives us some detail on this in his instruction about donning the armor of God. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV).

Before putting it on, we are to establish in our hearts and minds the awesomeness of our God. To stand against the devil, we must stand in the Almighty’s power. In this power, He offers us each the armor that is described in this passage. It is God’s power, but it is tailored made to fit us each individually. As evidence of this, I have seen many godly people who have put on the armor of God, and each of them, though fully covered, manifests different aspects of the armor. This tells me that it is God who has ‘taken our measurements’ in order to have the perfect fit available.

As in all good bible study, the truth lies in the fact that ‘Scripture proves Scripture.’ For our purpose today, consider the young boy David as he prepares to do battle with Goliath. After convincing everyone that he is God’s chosen one to fight, King Saul offers the lad his personal armor for protection.

Earlier in the narrative, when Saul is anointed King, he is described as being a head taller than the rest (1 Samuel 9:2). It becomes obvious to all that the armor of a full grown man is not going to be any help to David. David says, “I cannot go in these, because I am not used to them.” So he took them off (1 Samuel 17:39 NIV).

In other words David is saying, these were not made for me, I must go in the strength that the Lord provides. You know the rest of the story; David, carrying only a slingshot, slays the giant Goliath.

We too must go in the power God supplies. He offers us His full armor. We in turn must figuratively put it on each day as we go out into the world. This armor, as described by Paul, will protect our body and our mind. God thus provides us protection in all areas of our life and then gives us the only weapon we need in our defense, His word.

May we all, Dear Reader, recognize that God has made and provided the perfect fit for each one of us. As we put on the full armor of God each day, let us go out and proclaim His goodness in all we do, knowing that we have a tailor made suit of armor at our disposal.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck