Thursday, February 22, 2018

reviewing the road of life

We love being on the road, and unlike years ago when you took your chances and made a reservation, today we have on line reviews and Tripadvisor.  Which can be a great tool in the right hands of a traveler, and which I am a reviewer on.  With over 400 reviews, from coast to coast, I use it enough to see through the complaints and the compliments, and see what reality is.  You may have had the best meal of your life, but if you have to wait for the check, some will condemn the whole meal because of it.  A five star rating at an Econolodge is not necessarily better than a three star at a Hampton Inn.  I only read the recent reviews, as changes in personnel, managers, and renovation are common.  So you learn to read many reviews, not just the title of the review, to get at the problem.  Or praise.  I haven’t been burned yet, but I have come close.  We al have our own personal rating systems....
I was reminded today of the simple mindedness of some, getting a question via TA about a place I stayed years ago.  “Do they accept pets?”  Why ask me, call the motel or go online to their site.  I think you get the point, there is a picture of my motorcycle, what makes you think I carry pets with me, and why wait for an answer you may not receive, when you are on a computer anyway and can access the motel?  Duh?  I tend to be honest in my reviews, describing highs and lows, and mentioning if it is biker friendly.  It can be a plus or a minus, some of us like to sleep, while others party on.  Too many subjective and not enough objective reviews. You either trust the review or your own judgment, the internet is its own animal.  Any questions, refer to Facebook people, or in my case, DON’T!  What you are looking for is facts, not just opinions.  But probably the most despicable and dishonest are those that pay for self created reviews.  I read an ad lately for a web page, which for $99 they would include up to 25 favorable reviews for your business, fabricated, even though they had never used it or seen it.  So beware, and don’t let opinions become a burden to you.  They are like Hondas used to be, everyone has one, and used ones aren’t worth the trade in value many times.  Seek the truth, it will still set you free.  And I have accumulated some free rooms over time.  Some worth every penny, some not.
If you were reviewing Christianity, what would your review emphasize?  Would it be true, a testimony, maybe only what you have learned, but not experienced, or would you make Jesus out to be a genie in a lamp, granting your every wish?  I have encountered all the above, and even more, but like travel reviews, it is best to go to the man himself, and read what he has to say.  Jesus is quoted many times, too many out of context, but how often do we offer him as a suffering servant, and that if you believe you will suffer too?  There is bad religion, fortunately there is no bad Jesus.  Only good advice, not based on reviews, but because he has been there and done that.  So do you trust the internet or Jesus?  Your lifestyle may not reflect your answer, be careful how you answer.  Other’s decisions may depend on it.
A review of the Last Supper may read different than the events in Jesus’ life after.  Do this in remembrance of me, and how the memories were about to change.  We are told his soul was exceedingly sad unto death, his loneliness, his disappointment with his disciples, his bloody sweat, the betrayer’s kiss, the binding, the blow to the face, the spitting, the scourging, the buffeting, the mocking, the crown of thorns, the smiting, and the heavy weight of the cross he had to bear.  He was exhausted, stripped of his garments, impaled after beating, his foes jeering, and his friends deserting him.  The final darkness, crying out to his Father, “where art thou?” and finally “it is finished.”  Who else other than Jesus can relate to your situation?  Who else other than Jesus knows your pain?  What other review do you need other than his?  Funny how God never asks you for your opinion, but confronts you with the truth.  Where do you go for advice?  Rather, who?
Jesus was tempted in all things, yet never sinned.  Yet we tend to seek advice that works best for us, bypassing any pain.  We want the cheapest, easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to live, a four star life at a one star price.  If you were to give a review of Jesus in your life, how many stars would it be?  And how many would you give him?  He has seen our infirmities, bore our sin, and paid the price.  Do your choices reflect that?  Does your life reflect him? 
What you look for in life will reflect what you get.  I want all I can get from Jesus, I don’t want to miss any blessing, and God doesn’t want me to.  Do you believe that?  Maybe it is time to get familiar with the person of Jesus, rather than just his teachings.  Just a Sunday service or two.  Maybe you fellow travelers need to consider this.  Sojourners we are called.  Where was Jesus born?  How did he enter Jerusalem?  Where did Saul get converted?  Where did he eunuch meet Philip?  Where did the two men meet a stranger and their hearts burned within?  Where did God walk with Adam and Eve?  If you said the road, you are right on all.  Life is a journey, take Jesus along.  Better yet, go with him.  Life on the road, that’s where you will find Jesus.  I hope you find him there too.  For the rest of you, there’s the internet.  Can you right click and find salvation in it?  Just one man’s opinion, glad mine is based on the truth of who Jesus is.  How do you rate Jesus?  How would he rate you?
love with compassion,

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

who will care for the Franklins when Bill is gone?

Thomas Hubbard never married, never had kids or a family.  What Tom had was Franklins, cars made from 1904-1934 in Syracuse, New York.  A unique car featuring an air cooled engine in a luxury car, and his lifelong passion was the Franklin car.  Franklin may have quit making cars in the Depression, but also had a part in the Tucker, as one of their helicopter engines was initially planned for the still born car.  Tom had an extensive library, did restorations and repairs, and was the consummate Franklin authority when he died.  Leaving his legacy via his museum in Tucson, donating the cars, the library, and also his home and grounds, with money to keep the museum open for all to see his love of Franklins.  And last weekend we got to visit it, not what we expected, but much, much more.
Down a non-descript road in an old neighborhood, it turns to dirt, and you wonder are you lost, and then the sign points you into the property.  Five buildings, including his 1930’s adobe home, some with cars sealed inside, some with cars that are still driven regularly.  Maybe the best museum of any sort I have ever visited...and our docent Bill made it come alive.  I have been escorted through museums before, but this time it was different, as Bill was a friend of Tom’s, they grew up together, and he was responsible for taking care of the cars.  He was more than facts and figures, he knew the cars intimately, and still serviced them for their weekly ride to the cruise in.  He knew the histories from being there, and when we were done, he gave us a tour of the house, not a part of the show.  You could see Tom and his cars at home, the Arizona room where they slept on hot summer nights, his bedroom with built ins, and the second bedroom, now an automotive library I could have spent days in.  Part of his five acre estate he donated, along with his cars.  But Bill was more than a caretaker, more than a docent, this was his heritage also,where he grew up, and returned to later after retiring, continuing Tom’s legacy.  A passion continued.  His stories were as real and contemporary as Tom’s, and I wondered, Bill was old, legally blind, and slowing down, who will care for the Franklins after Bill is gone?  Future docents will replace those of today, but who will tend to the cars, who will know Tom’s kids as Bill does?   Will the cars ever be as personable ever again?  Who will know and share the stories of the home, the buildings, the restorations?  Who indeed?
I often wondered if and how the apostles considered Jesus while he was alive?  Did they know the greatness they were encountering, or was it only after his death that mundane days became quotable testimonies in the Bible?  What was it about the gospels that each wrote that they wanted us to know about Jesus?  Critics may look for loopholes, but Jesus knew each one individual, and their writings reflect that.  Peter different from John, Paul different from James, but all telling of the same person, Jesus Christ.  He was the same, but impacted each life differently, personally.  As Bill and I sat on the front porch talking afterwards, it became obvious a passion keeps him going, and the stories he chose to tell us that day made Franklins, and Tom come alive.  It was more than fact and figures, it was names, places, events, and times, memories that made the cars come alive, and the house a home.  I wondered how many just got the facts, while we got insight to the man and his family, the cars?  It made me think of those who only memorize scripture, who read the Bible yearly as an accomplishment, who study and study, but never get to see Jesus.  Who miss the special times that appear as everyday life until we look back, and see him and the affect he has on us.  For some Jesus is little more than an intellectual exercise, facts, figures, quotes, and prophecy to be studied.  I’m glad the authors of the Bible didn’t see him that way, for it took the spirit to bring Jesus to life in them, inspiring the scriptures as we know them.  The spirit makes Jesus personal, so each one of us can be ministered to individually, as needed, a we each work out our salvation daily, and we each see a different side of Jesus.  Tom left his cars and an endowment, Jesus left us his spirit, to endow us with life, and to bring us to salvation.  Without which, the Bible is merely a book of stories, poems, prophecies, and history.  Jesus makes the Bible personal, it takes the spirit.  I wonder if the apostles ever wondered “now what?” that Jesus was gone, who will lead them?  Peter reveals us the answer on the day of Pentecost.  When the spirit entered, and the church was born.  Making it personal.  And Bill gave me the answer to who will care for the Franklins.
At his home a block away, he has a shop where the Franklins are maintained.  Where he also is teaching any kids who want to know how to fix, repair, and maintain Corvairs.  Another air cooled car, long forgotten.  No special classes, no tuition, if interested come and get your hands dirty, learning and being a part of the family.  Learning by doing, can we say the same thing about Jesus and our relationship?  By doing?  We often wonder who will take the gospel to future generations, schools are built and classes attended, but how many just learn by doing?  Who are called without an education, depending on the spirit solely?  Who may never make history, but whose lives effect others, whose mundane daily routines are a blip on the radar of prideful men, but who do more for the kingdom than many churches?  Bill is teaching a new generation how to, when to, and why to, hands on, and as any teacher knows, each student is different, and the only reason you study is to pass the test, then forget and go on to the next assignment.  Bill is making it personal, how personal is Jesus in your life?  Are your daily devotions voluntary, or a rite exercise, lest you miss one and shame yourself?  What does your life tell about Jesus no book or words can?  Are you just studying to be approved and by who, or do you read because you want to, because the spirit draws you?  Tom’s cars were his kids, passed on to Bill.  What are you passing on?  Or passing up?
An afternoon to a non-descript museum, buried in an old neighborhood, laid back and informal.  Not what we expected, but just what we needed and wanted.  Are you getting all you need and want from Jesus, or is it all religion?  Do you hear great teachings or learn great lessons?  The spirit gives life, insight, wisdom, and guidance.  Anything else is just a religious exercise, without Jesus it can never be personal.  Who is caring for you?
By the way, Bill once owned a Triumph dealership in Mankato, Minnesota in the sixties.  Something about Bill and air cooled motors.....relayed to us while sitting and bench racing on the front porch.  Amazing the things learned just by listening....and never filling a pew.  You never know where Jesus will show up, or how.  And how! 
If your walk with Jesus was a museum, would you visit it?
love with compassion,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

witness for the persecution

A few years back I was a witness to an accident, I was standing on the corner when the car ran through the intersection and t-boned the van.  I knew what I saw, the van was in the intersection, and the Nissan hit it.  End of story, Nissan guilty.  Until the CHP showed up and started asking me questions.  Which light was green?  Which light was red?  Where were you when it happened?  What did you see and when did you see it?  Suddenly, I wasn’t sure what I had seen, too many details for a split second observation.  In my heart I knew the Nissan was wrong, she hit the van, and even admitted it to the Chippie.  But he kept asking questions, and soon we were all confused.  I finally told him,” I’m going, I know what I saw.  You figure it out.” And spent some time with the woman and her husband and son who had been hit.  They wondered why all the questions, it seemed their treatment was being delayed, and they were being held as criminals.  All of us saw what had happened, we all were there, except for the CHP.  It seemed in the confusion he was the only one confused, and was trying to confuse us.  Just like no traffic jam until a cop shows up, his arrival just made the situation worse.  I was willing to go to court, even give a signed testimony to what I saw.  What part of the truth didn’t he get?
Now I understand some people are not so honest, don’t carry insurance, and will lie every chance they get.  I was in eight grade when a car ran into my father and I, the driver saying I was driving.  I was 13.  I was hit from the side once, the police took the report on one day, dated it the previous day, and I was told “it happens all the time.”  Funny how her insurance company without admitting guilt was willing to pay for all the damages.  What did they know the Escondido PD didn’t?  As a rider, every time we see a crash, we are trained they must be going too fast.  With all the losers on their cell phones while driving, which is against the law, why doesn’t it matter when reported?  I was rear ended in my new pick up once by a guy on is cell phone, who told me “let me finish this call and I’ll call 911.”  He hit me, yet the officer responding wanted to know where I was when hit.  Ask the dude who hit me where he was, “on the phone!”  So you may know what happened, know the truth, and even have witnesses to back you up, but under interrogation, you may doubt what you saw.  Isn’t the truth the truth?  Or has perception become the new truth?
Reading in Isaiah this morning, chapter 40, the verse stated how Jerusalem has received double from the hand of God for her sins.  On the surface, it may look like they were punished twice, and that God is mean, evil, vindictive, and cannot be trusted, all the things your non-believing friends want to hear.  They leave thinking they won the argument and were smarter than God, but they just prove their ignorance.  The term paying double was a term used in reference to those who owed a debt.  When they couldn’t pay it, a note declaring them to be a debtor was affixed to their front door. But if someone paid the debt for them, the note was folded over, nailed to the door for all to see the debt was paid.  A cool reference to Israel that God would send a messiah, Jesus, who would fully pay for their debt of sin, by his death and resurrection.  Just the opposite of what it sounds like.  The same offer extended to us today, Jew and Gentile alike.  We were all non-believers once, and God paid a debt we never could.  Maybe if we see things through his eyes it would make a difference.  What sign hangs on your front door? 
Our sign says “BE NICE OR GO AWAY.”  Yet many don’t obey it, and leave the same way, yet we try to offer them peace.  Think about it next time you are wrongly accused, aren’t the words not guilty, innocent, and forgiven beautiful to your ears?  When you know you are right?  But even if wrong, you too can be offered mercy.  You have to screw up to get it, so we all qualify.  In Jesus, I know who I know, I may not always have the words, many times the spirit has offered them without consulting me, and sometimes I can get confused, I’ll get back to you.  But the truth is still the truth, no matter how you interpret it, not your perception, not some exception concerning your situation, the truth is the truth.  I saw what I saw that evening, and the other witnesses backed me up, and I them.  The officer was looking for evidence, Jesus offers us evidence that demands a verdict, a decision.  Unlike the EPD sorry excuse for poor reporting, his word never fails.  I would love to see that officer before a judge, I forced it and he was reprimanded by his superior, but try explaining God to a non-believer without the spirit guiding?  Remember it was the Lord who set you free, someone was just the messenger.  So what is your message, if asked about Jesus, what did you see and when did you see him?  Your answer is your testimony, the answer I gave to one of the men in our fellowship who was sharing with another homeless friend.  The friend thought God was evil for the fire and brimstone he would cast the devil and his angels into, I told him tell him the hell Jesus rescued you out of, and that he was going to.  God doesn’t send people to hell, Jesus rescues them.  Your testimony is that strong, the world may think you deserve double, God give you more than that in forgiveness. 
That night two cars met by accident, you never meet Jesus just by accident.  God had me there that night to substantiate what had happened, I told what I saw, I testified.  I was able to comfort those who had been hit, and also the woman who hit them.  The spirit offers peace, the draw condemns.  Proved that night, at an accident, that really wasn’t, as God knew all the time it would happen.  No one was hurt, the cars would be fixed by the insurance company, and a deductible paid.  God’s insurance has no deductible, covers fire and theft from the one who comes to steal and rob.  Includes life insurance too.  Sign up with Jesus today and be covered.  Be ready to be asked and don’t worry about the answers.  God knows, now you know.  A witness can only tell what he has seen or knows.  So where were you when you first met Jesus?  You already have a testimony to tell....
love with compassion,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

the greatest champion

Love ‘em or  hate ‘em, the New England Patriots have been to more Super Bowls than any other team in the NFL.  They have also lost more, which some may bring up, usually pointed out by those who haven’t been there, trying to excuse their absence of losing.  It may amaze you that Tom Brady is not the highest paid QB in the league, nor are many positions players the highest salaried.  And some even take a pay cut or are not offered a raise, so they can bring other top players onto the team, and continue to win.  But the team has one unique man, that no other NFL team has, who is a Christian pastor, who acts as a character coach on and off the field for the players.  Jack Easterby, with an office right next to the coach, open to all.  Who also acts as an advisor when drafting new players, and advising on trades.  If they don’t or won’t fit into the team, they are not wanted, the team wins, not the individuals.  Some put up stats, while others collect rings and championships.  You may earn more, but never get the ring, we still play the game to win, don’t we?  Ask Tom Brady, and he points right at Jack, for his leadership and devotion, their reason they win.
The Patriots as an organization detect and reject anything that can become a problem for the team.  That doesn’t mean they don’t face adversity, it means they fight it together.  They might not win every Super Bowl, but like any championship racer will tell you, to finish first, first you must finish.  And if you never get there, you will never win.  Seems the Patriots practice what others may know, it is their choice, and they make no excuses.  Unlike Cam “the Crybaby” Newton a few years ago in the Super Bowl, he got his Superman cape caught in the door, and was too proud to  get it unstuck himself.  The team goes into the books as losing, Cam will always be a loser to me, even if he manages to get a ring.  Maybe a lesson on life we all need.
With all the rumors, innuendoes, lies, and fake news about Russian collusion, no one seems to notice they don’t care who they hurt, as long as they win.  They are not anti one party and pro another, they are anti-American, and are very successful at creating chaos within our own country, without ever firing a shot, or crossing our borders.  Just get the enemy fighting within itself, and they win, without posing as an enemy.  They are just an adversary, an opposing team, who have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, based on one person’s control over many.  Communism never works, just gets repackaged and reissued to a new generation, who is more concerned about their viewpoints than winning.  We are Americans first and foremost, and when we forget or neglect that, we can be divided and conquered.  As a society, we are the greatest in the history of the world, yet we are rotting from within, like the Romans.  Just get between family members, start an argument between friends, forget we are part of a team called the US of A, and the enemy wins.  He doesn’t need total destruction, distraction is enough, and they win.  And we have been warned...
Scripture tells us that the devil is an adversary, roaring about seeking for someone to destroy.  He never goes after the strong, but the weak are his prey.  Single them out, divide and conquer, and go on to the next victim.  Spiritual battle we face everyday, trying to fight them on our terms, when Jesus tells us the battle belongs to the Lord, it is his battle, and he wins.  We interfere.  We divide and are conquered, in the spirit we are unified and find victory.  When we come to Christ we lose something, our sinful heritage, but we gain something too, we become a part of the Kingdom of God, we are now part of the family, and like scripture reminds us, we are now children of God.  No one more important, nor less important, equal in God’s eyes.  With one law to obey, love him with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.  If we truly love God, we can  love that neighbor, that competitor as our self, for we are loved and don’t show it in degrees or by who they are, but who Jesus is.  Sin may abound, but grace abounds even more.  Let God be God, and all others liars.  Are you in it to win it, or just for the ring to show others?
We have very few chances to get to the Super Bowl, but we can win the battles of everyday life.  It comes down to choices, self control, and I find when I exercise it, by choosing my battles better I win more often.  My first choice, choosing Jesus, and the rest is easier, not easy.  Suffering from a lack of faith, in this world you will have tribulation, that is a fait builder to let God be God.  Or you can cry like C. Newton did.  Losers will always have excuses, I choose Jesus.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, he is the truth, the only team to gain victory over death, and be resurrected.  The secret of the Patriots is out now, has been for years.  Jesus is no secret, don’t be misled or divided by any others who start trouble and dissention.  Unity in the spirit, true unity starts with who you say Jesus is.  Your choice, become part to the team, or part of....remember your adversary.  United we stand, divided we fall.  And who was and is the fallen one?  Better yet, who is the risen one?  See you at the game.  As much as we are all macho in the locker room, we all want to be loved.
love with compassion,
read all about Jack Easterby and his ministry at