Monday, July 31, 2006

God, You, and the Middle East

Yesterday in worship I did something I've never done before.

I left the pulpit and sat on a bar stool while talking to my congregation. Now lots of preachers talk to their people without pulpits, but I did it to make a point--for one Sunday, I would not say, "Thus saith the Lord." Instead, I told everyone that they going to hear my opinion about the Middle East situation.

In the churches I grew up in, I never heard the pastor talk about current events. While that's certainly not their task, it did leave me with the notion that God either doesn't know or really care about what's going on in the world. But you can't read the Scriptures and not believe He doesn't.

So using a chessboard and its pieces, I briefly summarized the situation in the Middle East. You've got Israel and the USA on one side. You've got Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas on the other. Bottom line? They're a lot of Islamic fascists who believe you and the Jews should be dead because you don't worship Allah in their particular way.

I'm not a warmonger. But I believe war is sometimes necessary if you want a real and lasting peace. If you're not sure about that, consider Germany and Japan.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Swimming Lessons

All this week I took my three-year-old son David to kiddie swimming lessons.

On the first day, he completely hated it.

"I don't like it."

"I want to get out."

"I'm cold."

"I want to go home."

He has yet to figure out the magic words that will get him out of the pool: "I have to go to the bathroom."

We struggled through the entire hour. When it was over, David released his death grip on me and promptly ran to his mother. What did he tell her?

"I did it!"

Friday, July 28, 2006

Treading Water, Treading Faith

This week I've been taking my three-year-old son to kiddie swimming lessons.

He'll jump in the pool, but the moment he's in the water, he's crying, "Daddy!!!"

When I try to follow the instructions of the class swim instructor--laying my son flat on his belly or his back, he immediately curls up and clutches to me with a death grip.

He doesn't trust me entirely. He suspects I might drown him.

Soren Kierkegaard says that the role of a pastor is to make the lives of his flock harder; they are to intentionally make a believer's life harder by causing them to do and think about difficult things. By not allowing their lives to stay comfortable, stretching their comfort zone, they spur spiritual growth and trust in God.

As a pastor, I agree with what Kierkegaard says. But in practice, I'm guilty of too often wanting to make people's lives comfortable--because that's what I want my life to be--comfortable.

But this week, I'm fulfilling the role of making my son's life difficult. By letting go of him in the water, I ignite terrifying fear in his little heart. What he doesn't see is that he's learning swimming and water safety skills.

Are things hard in your life right now? Maybe it's God who's responsible. Maybe He is intentionally making things tough so you will trust Him. Maybe He's doing it so you will quit relying on your inner resources and rely on His. Maybe it's the only way you'll see God's power at work.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." --Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Camp Grace

This is a story I wrote nine year ago, shortly after I attended my first camp for adults with developmental disabilities.

Have you ever lamented, "What am I getting myself into?" when you agreed to volunteer for something? This is how I felt when I reluctantly agreed to be a camp counselor for adults with developmental disabilities (ADD). As camp week drew nearer, I worried about what I'd have to do for those who can't always do for themselves. I fretted about being tied down because of the constant supervision they would require. While I'd never worked with adults with developmental disabilities, I was convinced that ADD camp was going to be a gloomy week.

On Monday morning, the campers arrived and I met for the first time those I feared. Mike was autistic; he could only get out a quiet "yes" or "no," Brian wore a helmet because of frequent seizures. Ricky was terrified of storms. James' mouth hung open most of the time. Terry couldn't pronounce his words with clarity. Big Dan asked me, "Are you coming back next year?" Next year? We have even eaten the week's first lunch!

But his question was the beginning of a discovery--these guys and gals are full of grace.

Grace. Theologians define it as "undeserved favor." The ADD campers put it into action.

Someone asked, "Can I take your picture?" We've never met have we? A second person declared, "You're really nice." We met, but only a few moments earlier. Several approached me saying, "Let me give you a big hug." Ummm, I guess that will be OK. Another insisted, "You're a great guy." I am?

As the week progressed, it was apparent to me that they were the great ones.

Don't think we didn't have problems. We did. One cried hysterically when denied a soda pop. Another in a furious rage punched a counselor. Several sulked and ran off by themselves when they didn't get their way.

They weren't perfect. But then again, when God's Holy Spirit confronted my crusty attitude toward the campers, I found I wasn't either.

Before God, all of us are "disabled." We fail to love Him and our neighbor. Nevertheless, God demonstrates His own love toward us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God took the initiative to pay our sin debt. He did what we "crippled" folks could never do for ourselves. God offers grace and through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven and made whole.

Before camp started, I judged adults with developmental disabilities as a liability and a burden. But they simply showed kindness toward me. Their grace convicted me and then won me over.

Am I coming back next year? You bet I am!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Camp and ADD

Last week I attended White Memorial Camp and served as one of the counselors to adults with developmental disabilities (ADD). The 30 adults ranged in age from 18-66. Some were in wheelchairs. Some were fully mobile. Some were mute. Others were very vocal. All have some kind of disability.

The Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ offers three camps during the summer to these adults.

In my opinion, it's the best thing our conference does.

At the end of the week, and after the campers went home, another counselor and I were talking about our experience. Paul said, "You see so much transformation here. It's really incredible."

You do.

Those who sit around and do nothing suddenly participate.

One person found healing when she acknowledged privately for the first time something awful done to her in childhood.

Another person found hope for a difficult situation at home.

And the Spirit of the Lord flowed freely the entire week.

During the middle of the week, after cleaning up two messes for a camper who got sick, I asked myself, "Why do I keep coming back to this camp year after year?"

It didn't take me long to figure it out.

Camp transforms me.

It's not just the campers who benefit. I do too.

Many people view adults with developmental disabilities as burdens and liabilities. They certainly are a challenge, but the unconditional love and acceptance they display is so genuine, it can't but change you. And give you a lot of joy.

If you want to see the extravagant welcome of Jesus, just spend time with an ADD believer.

Monday, July 24, 2006

UCC- Puerto Rico Split Reconsidered

The June, 2006 UCC announcement of the Puerto Rico Conference (IEUPR) leaving the denomination is now "old" news of six weeks. However, examination of a yearlong timeline of events leading up to Puerto Rico's (PR) departure shows that PR's grievances over GLBT issues—while known—were never reported by the UCC.

In May 2005, a story in the news archives at tells about a delegation of 50 PR pastors and lay leaders who visited the national office in Cleveland. UCC President Rev. John Thomas called the visit, "historic.” According to Rev. Edward Rivera-Santiago, the UCC's minister for local church development and renewal, and one of the coordinators of the weekend event:

“The folks from Puerto Rico now have a much clearer understanding of the UCC, and that was one of the great, great elements of this,” Rivera-Santiago said. “I think people went back to Puerto Rico with a much better impression of the UCC. The people have a better understanding of the products and services we have, and the church now has a better understanding of the Puerto Rico Conference and that’s good.”

However in June 2006, 13 months later, the UCC had the sad task of reporting that the PR conference voted with a 75% margin to leave.

Rev. Thomas' personal statement on the PR decision to leave reveals that the PR conference grievances and concerns about GLBT issues were well known for some time. From Thomas' release:

"Leaders of the UCC have known for several years that theological differences between the General Synod of the UCC and the leadership of the IEUPR were becoming increasingly problematic. This included actions by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ regarding the membership and ministry of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians. Informal dialogue has taken place on these issues through pastoral visits to Puerto Rico, in meetings of the Council for Hispanic Ministries, and in the governance settings of the Executive Council and the Boards of Directors of our Covenanted Ministries where members of the IEUPR have served. Early in 2005 a discernment process regarding the relationship of the IEUPR to the UCC had been initiated by the Assembly. The action of the General Synod in 2005 to affirm the resolution, “Equal Marriage Rights for All,” intensified the movement toward disaffiliation. Attempts on the part of UCC leaders to open formal dialogue and conversation with the leadership of the IEUPR were not successful. I regret this very much."

The timeline then is this:

In "early" 2005, the PR Assembly took formal steps to evaluate its relationship with the UCC; hindsight suggests that this "discernment process" focused on whether they would stay in or leave the UCC.

Then in May 2005, the PR delegation visits Cleveland and the story is reported by the UCC. Given that General Synod 25 was only two months away, it's very likely that the PR delegation shared their concerns about GLBT issues and the upcoming vote on the resolution, "In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All” (EMR).

Two months later, General Synod 25 voted to support same-sex marriage.

Eleven months later, the PR Conference voted itself out of the UCC.

In the May, 2005 story, Rev. Edward Rivera-Santiago called the meeting a “kairos moment” in the UCC’s relationship with the Puerto Rico Conference, saying that "I think people went back to Puerto Rico with a much better impression of the UCC." John Thomas stated, "A key goal was to deepen the relationship between the Conference and the rest of the UCC."

Unfortunately, this goal was not met and the visit was not a "kairos" moment if that meant keeping the two entities in unity.

Here are some questions and observations that the timeline of events brings up:

Could it be that the PR delegation that visited Cleveland in May 2005 was not a true representation of 75% of people in the PR Assembly who opposed GLBT issues advocated by the UCC? The disconnect between the advocacy/beliefs of the UCC leadership and its laity in the USA is well documented on If the PR delegation was disproportionably made up of the PR laity's true feelings, someone in PR must take responsibility for creating a delegation that suited his/her own desires and squashing the opportunity for a true and honest dialogue.

However, in this writer's opinion, that is not likely. Rev. Thomas in his personal statement acknowledged that the UCC knew "for several years" the differences between the General Synod of the UCC and the leadership of the IEUPR. Give Thomas credit that he and others engaged in informal dialogue through "pastoral visits to Puerto Rico" and other ways. But after General Synod (GS) 25, "Attempts on the part of UCC leaders to open formal dialogue and conversation with the leadership of the IEUPR were not successful."

Is Thomas implying here that blame rests with the IEUPR leadership for not engaging in a "formal" dialogue, or is he admitting failure on his part? If formal dialogue after GS 25 did take place, what would distinguish it from the informal dialogue and how would it have made a difference? In this writer's opinion, most minds are already made up in the marriage debate. People might gain insight from listening to opposing views, but none would change their convictions about the nature of marriage.

What's likely is this: The PR delegation that visited Cleveland two months before General Synod 25 made it clear that if the "Equal Marriage Rights" resolution passed, it would do significant harm to their mutual relationship--and might well result in the IEUPR pulling out.

This cloud of trouble is nowhere to be found in the May 2005 UCC story. Instead it's a sun-shinny puff piece that celebrates the mutual ministry of the UCC and IEUPR. While it's good to emphasize strengths, it's dishonest to not report the existence of major problems—especially those that could lead to a split.

Why were these problems swept under the rug? In this writer's opinion, the national leadership of the UCC did not want to report any story about significant dissent within the ranks about marriage in the publicity run up to General Synod 25.

While Rev. Thomas stated in his June 28, 2005 pre-Synod speech endorsing EMR that “we are far from being of one mind in the United Church of Christ on this issue,” the EMR resolution passed by a near 90% margin. But when an entire conference leaves the UCC—66 churches and 5,700 members—along with over 120 US churches (as tallied by Faithful and Welcoming Churches)—it’s obvious that a significant dividing line about marriage exists between UCC leaders and laity.

Why bring up these grievances about past events? Simply put, to move forward, we must learn from the past.

First, if the UCC is to retain churches that don’t agree with EMR (or other issues for that matter), they should provide national and conference platforms for their grievances to be adequately aired and respected—not ignored. For example, the “God is Still Speaking About Marriage” resources provided by the UCC (found at the bottom of this page) leads you toward only one conclusion—same-sex marriage is OK. Will the UCC ever provide a well-reasoned opposing point of view?

Second, it would be prudent for the UCC to truly become a church where justice and advocacy resolutions only “speak to, but not for the local church.” Right now, this is not the case—evidenced by Rev. Thomas’ recent statement urging congress to against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Thomas is careful to say that he speaks on behalf of General Synod. Fine, he isn’t speaking for the local church, yet its obvious he isn’t speaking to the local church either.

According to Rev. Thomas, General Synod demonstrated its solidarity with Puerto Rico over the years. You could say the resolution process strengthened our mutual bonds. But that same process also weakened our ties and ultimately contributed to a break. If our polity truly honors the local church as the most important entity, membership in the UCC should not require active or passive support of justice and political views advocated by the national body.

These suggestions might keep us united, rather than divided.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Baby in the Bush

I like George Bush, but this is the funniest picture of a US president that I've ever seen, maybe second only to Nixon meeting Elvis.

It's not the crying baby that makes this picture great; it's Bush's reaction. The photo was taken in Germany. The accompanying story is here.

A Providential Call

"I kept calling his name and calling his name, hoping that he--just praying that anyone would come and pick up the phone. But they never did."

Those are the words of Lisa Jefferson, a supervisor at Verizon Airphone, and the last outside person to talk to Todd Beamer before Flight 93 crashed in rural Pennsylvania on 9-11.

A fascinating interview with Ms. Jefferson is posted at

She actually wasn't the first person at Verizon to take Beamer's call. Ms. Jefferson took over the call because the original person was traumatized by what Mr. Beamer was describing.

She firmly believes God providentially chose her for that moment with Mr. Beamer.

Verizon Airphone laid off Ms. Jefferson in April, 2005--after working 20 years for the company.

On p. 3 of the story, you can click an audio file to hear Ms. Jefferson pray the Lord's Prayer, as she did with Mr. Beamer--before he and others on Flight 93 stormed the cockpit and overcame the terrorists.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Psalm 19 Alive

Incredible pictures.

The Drudge Report thought so. They linked the first picture to their site from a story posted at the English newspaper, The Daily Mail.

The first picture--of a rainbow and lightning in unison--was taken in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The second in northern Idaho.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Out to Pasture

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I'm in a goofy mood this morning, so here's a goofy picture.

I saw this scene on Plum St., the north-south street between Little River and Hutchinson.

Two of my favorite books are the classic treasures on creativity written by Roger Von Oech--Whack On the Side of the Head and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants. As an exercise to spark your creativity and generate useful ideas, Von Oech suggests taking two seemingly unrelated things and imagining what they have in common. Interestingly, a lot of new products get developed this way. For example, who thought that cameras and phones could go together?

So what do cows and truck trailers have in common?

-They both take in "cargo"
-They both put on weight
-They both have "wheels" to move
-They both have a variety of colors on their "exterior"
-They both have ID tags (cattle get a plastic tag punched into the cartilage of their ear)
-Cows and trucks both have "horns"

I'm trying to brainstorm 10 thoughts. It's getting tougher.

-They both are heavy (not a good one, but hey, evaluation takes place after brainstorming)
-They both carry meat
-They both spend a lot of time outside
-They both occasionally stop and "park"

I did it. And I thought of one more. #11:

-They're both "out to pasture."

Now it's your turn. Have fun.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Door

Our local telephone company is building an addition. The work has progressed for the last couple of months. This is where it stands today.

I thought it was kind of strange and entertaining that this door was installed before the rest of the walls. As of this moment, it sure can't do its job very well--letting people in or keeping people out.

To me, this picture is a visual image of modern religion. Modern religion says, "Jesus is a way, not the only way to heaven." Modern religion says everyone in the end--no matter their beliefs--goes to heaven, or whatever it is that's on the other side. It doesn't mind a door, just so long as it's not the only way to get inside.

Jesus does offend our sensibilities when he says in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

He does it again in Luke 13:22-30. When asked if only a "few people" would be saved, Jesus replied, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'"

Why does Jesus offend? Why is he so narrow?

Is it is it possible that in the end, modern religious belief is merely a shell--incomplete, offering no real protection, and no real usefulness?

Is it possible that the exclusive way of Jesus gives life and salvation--if we will only submit to his message and believe?

Some thoughts for you to build upon.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Doyle Wins US Senior Open

The stage was set for Tom Watson to win the US Senior Open. He started the fourth and final round with the lead. He was playing in front of a very partial home state crowd. But Watson wilted and Allen Doyle went on to win his second consecutive US Senior Open at Prairie Dunes CC in Hutchinson, Kansas.

My Dad and I spent a lot of time on #6 tee. It's an elevated tee and the gallery ropes are practically right on top of the players. It's the closest point on the entire golf course where golfers and gallery come into contact.

From #6 tee, we saw Brad Bryant poke a 1 iron 270 yards. Bruce Lietzke hit his patented high fade. Tom Watson pulled his drive over the left trap and into the rough. And Allen Doyle slapped his drive straight down the fairway. How that guy generates so much power with his unorthodox hockey stick swing, I'll never know.

Even though Doyle spoiled the galleries hopes for a Watson win in his home state, Doyle was clearly the best player and the only golfer to shoot under par scores all four days.

I was definitely a winner getting to spend time with my Dad. We had a great time. It was a memorable week of vacation. Thanks for coming out Dad!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

US Senior Open Round 4

It's going to be a great finale to the US Senior Open today.

The last threesome is Kansan and leader Tom Watson, last year's US Senior Open champion Allen Doyle, and Loren Roberts, who yesterday shot 62--a record for any USGA event.

Yesterday during the third round, my Dad and I sat in the first row of the bleachers at the #1 tee and watched each one begin their round. When Watson appeared on the tee, the crowd roared with excitement. You could feel the electricity for the home state favorite.

It may come down to #18 (pictured above) to determine the winner. It's only 390 yards, but it requires a precise iron to a plateaued, unjulated green.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

US Senior Open Round 3

Tom Watson starts Saturday's round 3 atop the leader board after a remarkable 66 on Friday.

Dad and I saw Watson make a great 4 on #6. After driving his ball onto the lip of the left trap, with all sorts of tall rough around the ball, Watson made a good recovery shot into the fairway and then staked a 135 iron to two feet from the pin for his par.

The shot of the day went to Tom Purtzer. We saw him boom a 365 yard drive on the par 5 #7. He probably hit it so hard because he was still mad about 3 putting the previous green. Unfortunately, Purtzer missed the cut.

The funniest story on Friday took place on the 140 yard par 3 15th. John Jacobs, who birdied the previous hole and was hoovering around the cut line, hit his tee shot right at the pin. But the ball hit the false front and rolled away from the pin and off the green. After Jacobs let out a few choice four letter words, Gary McCord--a golf analyst for CBS and occasional Champions tour player--asked Jacobs, "Hey, you wanna be a member?"

Personally, I'd love to be a member of Prairie Dunes. It's an awesome course, even if it is tough and sometimes unforgiving.

Shown in the picture above is hole #8. Sports Illustrated and other publications have ranked this one of the best holes in all of golf.

Friday, July 07, 2006

US Senior Open Round 2

Friday is the cut day at the US Senior Open. Only 10 players out of 156 had a round 1 score under par. Bruce Lietzke (shown in a picture with me in an earlier post below) was one those players. He had a 69 and I saw him stiff a shot two feet from the cup at the par 3 15th hole where he made birdie.

Many golfers were bunched together at 74. My guess is the cut line will be at +7.

My Dad and I probably saw 80% of the field take at least one swing--including Gary Player, Hale Irwin, Peter Jacobson, Jay Haas, Lanny Watkins, Tom Watson, and Allen Doyle.

#9--shown in the picture above--was the most difficult hole in the opening round. It wasn't so much the unjulated fairway--a prime feature of Prairie Dunes--but the difficult pin placement that made putting difficult.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

US Senior Open Starts

Today the US Senior Open begins at Prairie Dunes CC, just a half-hour from my house.

The likely top contenders are Fred Funk, Loren Roberts, and Jay Haas, with Tom Watson a local favorite.

One important key to winning will be accuracy. It's critical to avoid the junk rough--something that John Jacobs doesn't do in the above picture off #9 green.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pictures from the US Senior Open

I didn't make it down to the practice round of the US Senior Open at Hutchinson's Prairie Dunes on the 4th of July, but I plan on going down again today. Here are more pictures from Monday.

Allen Doyle, last year's US Senior Open champion, talks with a reporter in front of the clubhouse.

Golf tricker and entertainer Dennis Walters (holding club straight up) gives an entertaining clinic to onlookers at the driving range. Walters, paralyzed from the waist down in an accident 30 years ago, encourages people to follow their dreams and overcome obstacles. Check out his website here.

Bob Gilder tees off on the par 3 #2. Hey Bob, sorry that I snapped this picture in the middle of your swing!

Tom Watson assesses his tee shot on #2. He hit it on the green. No surprise, Watson leads the Champions Tour in greens-in-regulation. If he can putt, he's got a great chance this week. Watson happens to be an honorary member of Prairie Dunes.

Watson putts on #2 green. The practice rounds give golfers the chance to putt from different points on the green and anticipate where the cup might be located during the tournament.

Watson's group walks up #11 fairway. The links style layout of Prairie Dunes is one reason that Golf Digest has consistently rated it one the best courses in the United States (currently #24). It also features lots of wildlife habitat.

Tom Kite makes a note to himself about the green at #13.

Kite signs an autograph. Most players carry a Sharpie in their pocket and sign for fans inbetween walks from the green to tee. That won't happen during the tournament.

Kite's classic follow through seen here as he tees off on #15, a par 3. Players need to hit the green on all the par 3s. If they don't, they face a dreadful uphill chip shot in deep grass.

Ben Crenshaw satisfies an autographer's request. Crenshaw loves Prairie Dunes and is a big golf history fan.

Crenshaw-- a two-time Master's chamption--tees off on the par 4 16th hole.

I'm excited to go back and see more action!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

US Senior Open

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This week the US Senior Open golf tournament takes place a half-hour from my home at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. I've got tickets for the week and when the tournament starts on Thursday, my Dad will be joining me.

Monday-Wednesday is the practice rounds. It's also the only time when fans can bring cameras to the tournament. So I brought mine. I took a lot of pictures, but this was the very first one--a snapshot of me with Bruce Lietzkie.

Back in 1976, I attended my first PGA golf tournament--the Ohio Kings Island Open near Cincinnati. Bruce was the first golfer to give me autograph. I was 14 years old at the time and Bruce was a second year pro. One interesting fact about Bruce is he almost never practices. He just tees it up. I'm so jealous.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Revelation 22:17

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." --Revelation 22:17

It's one of the most inviting and welcoming words in the English language.


Think for a moment how you use this word. "Come on over." "Come sit down at the table." "We're so glad you came." And in my house to my kids: "You come right now."

How often do ask Jesus, "Come"?

"Lord Jesus, come be with me today. Lead me and guide me." "Jesus, help, I need you right now. Come." "Please come and be in this conversation."

Calling on Jesus to be with you by means of the Holy Spirit is a frequent habit of an abiding Christian.

Yet there are times when a phone call to Jesus just won't do. When times get desperate, you need His very presence. That is the prayer of Revelation 22:17. It's not a prayer for the spiritual presence of Jesus. It's a prayer for the very presence of Jesus, similar to what we say in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

This prayer is two-fold. First, the Spirit and the Bride (that is, the church) in unison cry out to Jesus, "Come." Second, all believers who hear this cry are urged to echo it in their own heart, "Jesus, come."

But then, as the classical commentator Robert Swete observes, the verse takes a dramatic turn in attention. This prayer for believers suddenly becomes a plea to unbelievers: "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

This turn takes place because, as R.A. Torrey says, when Jesus returns to earth, it will be the happiest day for Christians, but it will be the saddest day for non-Christians.

Now, we live now in an age of grace. Christ has been crucified and raised. Your sins are forgiven. Will you believe this Good News?

But when Christ returns, he will come in judgment. Sin and sinners will be brought to justice before a holy and righteous God. That day is coming, but it is not yet here. Grace and forgiveness are available now. If you have not yet put your trust in Jesus--believing that only His righteousness, not your own, can make you acceptable before God--make this the day.

If you are trusting in Jesus, pray for the day of the Lord's return. But if you do, be sure you're offering the water of life to others.