Phil Us Up!
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May 10, 2016, 2:52 PM


     I know before the week is out I will see again the estimated value of a mom, if she were paid what it would cost to have someone else do everything our mom’s do or have done. I admit I always feel a little bit uncomfortable with the amount arrived at. I even wondered if the amount is inflated, or deflated depending on your perspective. The latest estimate I remember was about 75 thousand dollars to “replace” everything our moms do. In a survey from, men were not nearly as generous, only 28% thought a mom’s dollar value was at that level, and 22% thought it should be about 25 thousand. It’s a game people play every year around Mother’s day.

     God’s word is full of statements concerning the value of a mother. The classic reading on the value of a mother is Proverbs 31. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” King Lemuel must have had a great mom.

     I have frequently used that text on Mother’s day, and it’s a good one. As I reflect on my mother, and grandmothers, I think about the valuables King Lemuel talks about. As valuable as those things are, I think there are more important things a mom and a dad for that matter, give to their children.

     There are many things we inherit from our parents, some good and well, some I’m still not sure about. Last week my brother Danny was in town for a short time. Someone commented about our physical characteristics that were very similar. I told him, “Well it runs in our family.” God’s word says a lot about what runs in our families. Deuteronomy 4:9 admonishes us to not forget what we have seen and heard as long as we live, and to teach them to our children and grandchildren.  That’s what I hope you remember on Mother’s day.

     Thanks Mom and Dad for sharing your faith with me, and my brothers and sister. It reminds me of what Paul said to Tim about his mother and grandmother. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. ... But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God–breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”Now that’s priceless! Tell your mom you love her today!




April 21, 2016, 8:52 AM

Turn That Thing Around!

     Do you know who Robert Cornelius was? I sure didn’t. He was born in Pennsylvania to immigrants from Amsterdam in 1809, and became interested in photography. At the age of 30 he took a self-portrait outside of his family’s store. It is the oldest known self-portrait known to exist in America, the first “selfie”!

     The older I get the more I understand this truth: there is not much new that comes around. But, we do find new ways to express the same truths that have been around a long time. Many of us, at this very moment have a camera, even a video camera within reach of, if not in our hands right now!

     It is estimated that over 1.4 billion are taken every day, with at least 680 million of those posted on social media, literally hundreds of thousand per second! More than a million of those taken every day in America are what we call selfies.

     I really wish we spent more time pointing our phones and cameras in another direction. I don’t think we are anymore self-absorbed than many of those before us, but we may be better at demonstrating it! Here’s a question for us; does the world really need to see more of me, or more of Him?

     The perfect Son of God, gave Himself on behalf of others, He refused to hold on to being God, he humbled himself to become one of us, so that we might become like Him. He was never interested in “selfies”, but always becoming more selfless.

     I was blessed to grow up in a loving family full of people who loved me. We all need to learn, and it usually is a tough lesson, life rarely revolves around us. No matter how good I am, how important I have become what I have accomplished, or how good I look on my phone, I need to see Jesus, and not the other way around. Maybe we simply need more than ever to understand it’s not about self, it’s about Him.

    John would write long after Jesus had ascended to heaven these instructions for us. The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:6

     I pray we could point our camera in a different direction this week! Maybe someone will see Him.



March 23, 2016, 11:13 AM

Your Move

     Most of what happens in our lives on a daily basis is probably not “that” important. I think  I probably spend too much time on things that really are just not that important. When instead, I should consider those things that are, what we like to say,“salvation” issues.

   Four thousand years ago Job asked a “life or death” or salvation question. “If a man dies, will he live again?” Job 14:14 Now that’s an important question. It’s a question that God would answer some two thousand years after Job asked it!

   We have all seen death claim someone we love, someone we miss. If you haven’t yet, believe me you will. It’s no wonder God through the apostle Paul says death is the “last enemy to be destroyed.” And that’s why the answer to Job’s question is important. It changes the way I will die and the way I live! A faith that doesn’t help me when I’m dying probably doesn’t help much when I am living!

   When Jesus walked out of that tomb, the people of God walked out with Him! He arose He arose, hallelujah Christ arose! If a man dies, will he live again? Yes, yes, yes, that’s the answer, to the important question! But there is one more thing.

   I saw a billboard recently; it had a picture of Jesus on the cross. Under the picture were three words; “It’s your move”.

   Jesus died on the cross; now it’s our move. Jesus rose from the dead; now it’s our move. God answered Job’s question and ours that Sunday morning with an empty tomb. This Sunday morning we will declare that Jesus is alive! It’s my prayer we all hear the angels voice; He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Have a blessed week, and join me to declare, He is alive!  Hallelujah

March 1, 2016, 2:29 PM

Brother for Sale

     A lady decided to sell her sewing machine, and it was made by “Brother”, (I have a Brother printer at home). So, she decides to do something  reasonable. She placed a classified ad in her local newspaper under the heading, "Miscellaneous For Sale" and "Items under $50," she bought several lines in the want ad section.

     The advertisement didn't come out exactly as intended. Somewhere along the way from purchase, to copy editing, to printing, the words "sewing machine" got lost. So she wound up offering a "BROTHER" for sale! Now wouldn’t you know, she has two brothers, and insists she wouldn't part with either one of them. Now my sister, Patty has 4 brothers and I believe today she would opt to keep us all, but a few years ago…..well that’s another article for another time. 

            Anyway, the want ad in the paper must have raised some eyebrows. And, it got some responses. One person called her and was given the corrected information – that it was a sewing machine rather than a person on the sales block. "Thank you!" was the quick response, and the caller hung up. Another person called and wanted to know if the price was negotiable!

     Have you ever been misunderstood? Been guilty of poor communication? Had a key word dropped from or added to your message? Been judged harshly by someone who read a false motive into something you said or did?

     Sometimes misunderstandings can be simply cleared up with better information. At other times, the person who misjudged a situation catches on, feels foolish, and takes the initiative. Sometimes there is nothing to be done – except try to go on with your life, without bitterness.

     Jesus knows about being misunderstood. His home life, for example, was less than ideal because his own brothers made fun of the notion that his life had a “divine mission”.

     When he preached in Nazareth, his boyhood home, the people dismissed him as “a nobody.” "Isn't this the carpenter's son?" they asked.

     He must have felt terribly alone when people misread, misjudged and misunderstood him. The big one, the icing on the cake if you will, happened when he was betrayed by one of his friends and left to be judged by a Roman bureaucrat who was clueless to understand a kingdom "not of this world." In that swirling mess, he told his apostles: "You will all leave me; yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me" (John 16:32).

     When misunderstanding leaves you abandoned, God’s presence with you, is the secret to survival.

     Of the brother-for-sale episode, the paper ran a corrected ad. One of her brothers said, "it’s okay. I needed a good laugh."

     Boy I wish every misunderstood situation would have so happy an ending.

     Have a great week!


January 26, 2016, 12:00 AM

He lives!

     I have given the message and attended lots of funerals over the past twenty years. I have buried some friends, some family members, and some people I hardly knew.      

     One of the toughest was a four year old little boy who choked while eating.  I was called to the hospital first to help deal with the emergency, and then to help the family with their grief. I had never met them before. Overcome with grief, the mother and father needed someone to talk with them through the obvious shock and grief. I remember praying, asking God to help me say something that might help them. I told them they could see their little boy again. I believe that because He lives.

     I remember Ben, nearly 90 years on this earth—kind of rough, no really rough around the edges. Ben died with great faith. His younger brother, Baxter couldn’t make the long trip to Alaska from North Carolina for the funeral. Baxter and I spoke on the phone today; he remembered what I said many years ago. Baxter would see his brother again. Ben died telling me to tell him, don’t be sad, and put your trust in God.

     Buzz was an anchor for a whole generation. He died 18 years ago next month. I remember so clearly, it was the first time I stood beside a grave and truly wished it was me there and not him. I was barely able to speak at his service. I look back today and remembered what I told my family and all his friends that windy day on the South Plains. He will live again, and I believe that because He lives.

     I told all of these people their loved ones will live again. Every time I’ve said that is because of what God did when he called Jesus out of the tomb. We don’t have to wait until death to let the hope of resurrection make a difference in life. Too many Christians think the resurrection is only about life after death. Unless you’re planning checking out right now, make His resurrection all about life before we die. The resurrection of Jesus is certainly about eternity, but it must also transform the way we live our lives today! Nurture your relationships in a new way, because He lives. Face your health struggles, as devastating as they might be, with a new hope, because He lives. Put you financial woes in God's hands; make better decisions today and tomorrow, because He lives.

His resurrection is about life today, and forever! Jesus said; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Paul wrote in Romans 8; And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 

All because He Lives, have a great week!




01-27-2016 at 8:16 PM
Tom Hagan
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