Phil Us Up!
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May 5, 2015, 4:01 PM

Mothers Day without Mom


 This Sunday, May 10th is Mother’s Day. It will be a first for my brothers, my sister, and me. I think that's the way it is supposed to be. Last December all five of Mom’s children, and many of her grandchildren gathered in Abilene and buried her. So this is our first Mother’s day without Mom.

It will have been almost 5 months since she died early that December morning. I don’t know about my brothers and sister, but something is different for me. Oh don't misunderstand, things have been mostly getting back to normal, but something seems very different, and I know it is. We live life now, without Mom.

I hope you are blessed this weekend to spend time with those you love, especially your mother. For me, it will be a time of reflection and thanksgiving. Oh yes how I miss my Mom, but mostly I will think about how blessed I was to have her all my life. I will think about how she wanted all five of her children to be as good as they could be. I have made a list of things I am going to do this Mother’s Day.

Forgive. It may sound funny, but that’s the first thing I want to make sure I have done. I had some pretty good arguments with Mom the past few years of her life. All mothers are human and make mistakes. I did my best to offer forgiveness before she left this world; the time for forgiveness is now. Forgiveness brings our emotions back in balance. If you need to offer it to anyone, do it now.

Consider Her Advice. We all know, or at least should; Mom seemed to always know what was best. I pray you have or had a Mother that really knew what is best for you and your family.

Believe in Her Love for You. I could talk about Mom’s faith, hope or her love. I believe with all my heart, God’s love for her is eternal, and so is her love for me. What ever happened in our lives, I never doubted her love for me, my sister and brothers. That’s what I will think about, and be thankful for this Sunday.

Paul writes in 1st Corinthians; When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

If and when you grow up, you can thank your mother.

These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

That’s why this Sunday; I will thank God for giving me such a “greatest Mom”.


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April 3, 2015, 10:00 AM

Son Like Father....I hope.

     I had to go to Abilene Thursday morning and didn’t listen to much news before I left the house. I listened to the radio on my way and heard the news. I had never heard of Garissa University College, I have now. It’s a small teacher training school located in Garissa Kenya. The reporter said at least 147 are dead, with that number expected to rise. According to other reports, the attackers went through the dormitories asking the students if they were Christian or Muslim. They shot the Christians and let the Muslims go. The terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, has taken credit for this latest attack.  It just breaks your heart.

     As I listened to the radio people began to call in. Nearly everyone they put on the show was understandably angry, another example of senseless killings. Most of the calls were demanding some kind of retribution, some kind of pay-back. As I listened I really wanted to agree with the anger. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe the Kenya police have every right to track down those responsible for these murders. But I wonder how does God expect us to react?

     Jesus’ teaching on how we treat our enemies is clear and well, downright hard. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43).

How to you love people that do things like this? I don’t know, but He did.

     Paul would write some time after Jesus’ teaching, “while we were God's enemies, Christ died for us.” For me the problem is not that I don’t know how to treat my enemies, I just find it hard to do it. For me it begins with actions that I know are helpful and beneficial to them regardless of how my heart feels. I can do for them what I do for those I love, pray and provide. I hope that’s what Jesus meant when he told us to “lay up treasures in heaven” if I do that, maybe somewhere down the road hearts will be softened, and my heart will come along. I know that’s what I need. I’m pretty sure God sometimes doesn’t like what I do, but he never stops loving.  It’s where as a son, I need to be like my Father. 

March 4, 2015, 8:00 AM

Haskell Donuts


     Have you heard this story? A man found dieting success by taking a different path to work, to avoid his usual stop for donuts. One day he absent-mindedly took his old route. He was about to turn around, then thought, “Maybe this is a sign! Maybe God is rewarding me for my efforts and hard work.”

     So the man said a short prayer asking God for a sign: If this was His true intention, let there be a parking spot right in front. Sure enough, as he went around the block for the fifth time, one opened up! This describes me in at least two ways: I love donuts! And I struggle in surrendering my will, to His will!

    When Haskell donuts opened just around the corner from where I live, I knew trouble was looming. When the sign on the front of the building says they open at 5 in the morning, and I know then they will have hot donuts, big trouble was coming. When I am able to ride my bicycle in the mornings I get to ride right by there, oh and it smells so good.

     Since the shop opened a couple of years ago I have enjoyed fewer than a dozen donuts. But it’s been a struggle. Just as I feared, the sign and the smell have been very tough to disregard. I even buy a dozen every week for about 7 months of the year, to take to ladies class on Wednesday mornings.

     When it comes to donuts and life I’m too often like the man circling the parking lot, at heart looking to do my will, all the while insisting I’m waiting on a sign from God. The problem for me is I listen to all kind of voices. The problem for me is exactly what Jesus pointed out in the garden. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Sometimes I even go the way where I know, I will fall into temptation.

      When measuring my will against God’s, there is no better standard than Jesus. In the next verse Jesus says; He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." Someway somehow that needs to be my example of submission. “Not my will but Thine.” Do you struggle with this as much as I do? It looks like even Jesus was struggling with it for a short time.

     Maybe I should spend more time speaking to God in prayer, and less time running around in circles waiting for Him to speak to me. Jesus sat still, talked to God the Father, instead of running in circles. We read over and over Jesus saying, His was to do the Fathers will, not His own, even when His disciples offered Him, maybe a donut.

     They came out of the town and made their way toward him. Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:30-34

     Have you tried Haskell Donuts fritters? They are really good. Have a great week.


February 17, 2015, 9:00 AM

I love Jesus! Church...not so much.

 One of our all-time favorite songs is Jesus Loves Me This I Know. And man, do we know! We know by what He did for us, how he takes care of us and what scripture tells us; Jesus loves me this I know! There is never a doubt about that.

     I also know I love Jesus! I hope there is never a doubt about that too. A young member of our church family was quoted recently. “I really love God, I just don’t like church” I appreciate children so much, first of all they are honest, often much more than we adults are. Secondly they rarely varnish how they really feel. In this instance, boy I do understand. Allow me to also say I’m not too worried about my young friend; I’ve been there and done that. I also know the attention span is often exceeded for our young ones, and sadly our older ones. Sometimes we are BORING. I wonder if Jesus was the only 12 year old that ever lived who wanted more than anything to be in church.

     My guess is we rarely question God’s love for us, or our love for Him. But church, well that’s a different story! Sometimes it’s hard to “love church”.

     People like you and me, are the church. I have made mistakes, and you have made mistakes. This reality makes it possible for others (who will also make mistakes) to join us. As a minister, I have made mistakes in trying to be a leader in our congregation. Sometimes it’s hard to love church, but I know I am loved. Maybe we just don’t communicate enough how much we love each other. Maybe we need do just that more often.

      I pray our visitors feel welcome, but just as important I pray our members feel welcome. Maybe we should make more effort to welcome OUR FAMILY, and let them know how much we love them and are so thankful they are here with us! Make sure you let someone know, especially a member of our family they are loved, not only by Jesus but by you too!

Have a great week!


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January 20, 2015, 11:00 AM

Playing it Safe

    I was reminded again; there are times in our lives we need to play it safe, and times we need to just go for it. Of course the important thing  is to KNOW when to play it safe or when go for it! It's painful when I get it wrong; it’s painful when I see someone else get it wrong. I left for service groups last Sunday evening, it was over, Green Bay had gone into Seattle and whipped the Seahawks, at least that’s what I thought. Morgan Burnett intercepted a pass with about 5 minutes to play and leading by 12 points. He played it safe and fell down, on purpose because that’s the safe play. So I left and went to service groups. I found out later the Seahawks scored 21 points in the last few minutes and overtime to win. So, do you play it safe or go for it?

     Sometimes I ask myself the same question when I work on lessons, do I play it safe or just go for it? I admit I have always had the desire to “go for it” but often found myself “playing it safe”. I have decided to go for it with some lessons on the Holy Spirit. Who knows Revelation might be next!

     There are so many differing opinions about God’s Spirit it’s one of those things the safe thing to do is to teach something else! I am going to try do both,, safe and go for it. Because I think there are things I KNOW about God’s Spirit. I’m going to go for those.

     First His Spirit changes priorities in my life. In fact that is one of His agendas. His Spirit expects to make changes in our lives. Sometimes it’s dramatic. I’ve seen people become Christians and immediately their lives change drastically. But more often than not it seems to me the changes are very subtle, in fact so subtle we don’t even see it happening.

     Secondly, when I allow His Spirit to take over my life, I pray differently. His Spirit changes how I think when I pray. Paul says in Romans 8:26, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” That is one of the great promises of God. He knows exactly what I want to and need to say, even when I don’t!

   Finally I want to “go for it”. The Spirit of God doesn’t depend on what I feel. It is IN ME. I think there are lots in the Christian world who are not satisfied with that. They are convinced if they don’t feel the Spirit He’s not there. So they spend a lot of time trying to get that feeling. Paul wrote to Corinthian brothers and sisters who had all kinds of Spirit gifts. In chapter 3 he says “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ.” The Spirit had not changed them, oh they were Christians, God’s Spirit was in them, but they didn’t live like Spirit filled children of God. They desired the Spirit for the wrong motive, not to allow them to serve better, but so they could BE BETTER THAN other servants. That’s the difference we must understand. Scripture never glorifies the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It always focuses on Jesus Christ. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Come on, let’s go for it this Sunday! I love you all. Philip

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