Category Archives: Faith

A Voice from Theater 9

Marie, who wrote this blog post, was one of the unsuspecting innocents sitting in theater 9, in Aurora, Colorado when the gunman opened fire. Here is her take on what happened and why it happened. BTW, just for the record, I agree with her wholeheartedly.

STEPcoach Bob


(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

“So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.

Yes, I do indeed.
Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.
Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or  fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught.

He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.  It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act.  Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness.

We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional.  But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.

I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:
Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise.

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What  can mere man  do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

God is always good.
Man is not.
Don’t get the two confused.

We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.

Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways.

As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.
Still grateful for this wonderful life,
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Why can’t most people be satisfied in married life?

As a teacher and mediator, I am often compelled to chime in on discussions online, in public forums, and sometimes just sitting in a coffeeshop eavesdropping. This column consists of one of those times I couldn’t resist giving my opinion on what I feel is a very important question – why do people divorce so much? I hope you enjoy my answer – and I hope you will let me know what you think of my ideas. I welcome all comments and questions!

This is my answer to a question on the Quora website. Quora is a website of questions and answers to some of life’s most difficult … and sometimes silly … questions. I responded to this question because I thought the reasons for the high levels of divorce are very important to our society, our families, and the children who will make up our future. You can find the original posting of this question and answer at [ ]

Question: Why can’t most people be satisfied in married life? Why are divorce rates so high around the world?
My answer:

I’ve developed my answer to this particular question over 16 years of intensive work with divorcing couples, dissatisfied married couples, and re-married couples (“blended families”), as well as my own divorce and second marriage. I honestly believe that some couples should not have married in the first place. I agree, generally, that marriages are entered into too lightly, with too little clear, logical thought.

Marriages like these are NOT true marriages, they are couples playing house on a temporary basis.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment. A sincere, legal, moral, and often religious vow is taken to never leave or forsake each other through any difficulties that may arise. If this vow is not a flippant lie, divorce is impossible. I’ve never heard vows (though I’m sure someone has made up some) that allow for escape possibilities – “till boredom do us part,” “as long as you remain interesting to me,” etc.

Divorce is always damaging. Period. Even when the couple “is cool with it.” To have failed at a solemn vow degrades the personality and the soul. It makes the vow breaker think less of him/herself and makes all future commitments much weaker. When there are children involved, divorce is akin to abuse. Ask any child whose parents have divorced and they will tell you they wish their parents had resolved their differences and  remained married. The statistics of what damages are done to children of divorce are many, and all tell of children whose quality of life and happiness has been severely reduced.

But, the question is why people can’t be satisfied in marriage (someone said correctly that divorce rates have dropped in the US dramatically in the last decade). My understanding, again based on 16 years of working intimately with divorced, divorcing, and remarried families, is that their understanding of commitment is flawed, often by parents who taught them and society which reinforced that they could have whatever they want, they have an innate right to be absolutely happy all the time, and because they have selfish desires for new adventures despite what effect satisfying those desires will have on others.

Unpopular ideas, I know … but I’ve had far too many divorced/remarried people tell me those ideas are correct to doubt them. We want everything perfect and when our marriage relationships or home situations are not, we whine and run away. Society supports this dangerous behavior because the majority of society wants to keep that same option open for themselves.

Should some marriages be ended? Yes, but very few. I have successfully helped many, many couples rehabilitate their relationships who had experienced what society calls “deal breakers” – adultery, drug addiction, abuse, and betrayal of many sorts. These are only deal breakers if one or both sides are determined to give up and run away and abandon their vows.

Christians, in particular, have very few true reasons for divorce, and those are still excuses to lie. Yes, yes, yes, a woman (or a man) who is consistently abused by their spouse should get away from him and protect herself. But there are often alternatives to divorce. When children are involved, they must certainly be protected, but divorce of their two parents is not always the best, and certainly not the only solution. I’ve witnessed far too many families brought back to peace who were convinced divorce is the only solution.

… Now, if you’d like to see a few responses to my answer and my replies to those responses, visit the original Quora link at the beginning of this column. And, if you have any questions or comments for me, please just reply to this email message and I’ll get it and reply as quickly as I can.

STEPcoach Bob Collins

Who Should Apologize First?

Once again, studying in a coffee shop leads me to surprises … and insights.

Overheard from two young ladies chatting over lattes: “Well I really think he ought to apologize to me! He’s the one who started it!”

“Do you think he’ll apologize to you?”

“Oh, I doubt it. He never says he’s sorry about anything and I’m getting tired of it. He always thinks everything’s my fault. But this time, I’m not going to be the one who apologizes first!”

Who should apologize first? I get asked that a lot in therapy sessions. Individuals – ladies or men equally, it seems – are adamant that they shouldn’t have to apologize unnecessarily. They will argue and rationalize  endlessly to protect their right to NOT apologize to their spouse. Amazing!

What is behind this passionate desire to not be found wrong? Only one thing fits that bill – pride.

In my pride, I will not admit that you were right … or that you were even a little more right than I was. How many families has pride broken up? How many hearts has it broken?

The bible is pretty clear about God’s view of pride:

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
“Pay back to the proud what they have coming.” Psalms 94:2
“I will not put up with anyone with a proud heart.” Psalm 101:5

Not good. Why does God hate pride so much, do you suppose? Well, let’s look at the lady at the coffee shop. She was so determined that she would make her husband apologize, she was forgetting all about their relationship of love in order to beat him at a contest of pride.

Pride makes us try to hurt others so we can feel better about ourselves. In essence, pride makes us god of our lives and our world, rather than lovers and partners with our mates. Pride will eventually destroy relationships as you become jealous of your partner every time you don’t “win.” Being right becomes more important than your love for each other.

Q: Who should apologize first?
A: The first one who realizes they have caused pain to their partner should apologize first – and then not care whether their mate apologizes back.

Love doesn’t mean never having to say you’re sorry, as the movie line went. Instead, love actually means being willing to do whatever is necessary – including apologizing – in order to bless your sweetheart. Apologizing first is a win-win proposition. You apologize, they feel better, you feel better, everybody wins!

Do everything you can to keep your love alive and well.

STEPcoach Bob Collins

A STEPparent’s Job

Dear [stepparent],

Regarding your question about your particular responsibility about your husband’s kids, here’s how that lays out:

1) the stepparent is not legally or morally or physically responsible for their stepchildren. If a child gets into some sort of liable trouble (causing expensive damages to someone else’s property, for example), the biological parent is legally responsible for reparations for that damage. Not the stepparent. Morally, God places responsibility for raising a child and teaching that child how to be an adult on the biological parent. Not the stepparent.

2) The stepparent has the opportunity to bless the stepchildren; to teach them by example how to be a kind, loving, forgiving person. The stepparent also has the opportunity to demonstrate to the stepchild how to react, in a Christian manner, if they are insulted, ignored, or even harmed by the stepchild. The stepparent does have the responsibility to show the stepchild Christ in a very real way through daily living and lovingkindness (just as any child or person). Yes, this can be hard. I remember when my own stepdaughter slapped me in the face in public, (once physically and many times with her mouth and hateful attitude) in front of others, to embarrass me and to challenge me. As a Christian who just happened to be married to her mother, my responsibility was to demonstrate to her how a Christian would deal with a personal attack like that. (Remember what Jesus said about if someone slaps you on one cheek? Forgive and get over it and love them, He said)

So the stepparent, you and I, has no legal responsibility over the stepchild – but the Christian has a responsibility to witness Christ’s love and forgiveness to everyone, ESPECIALLY those in our household.

One more point; Just because a stepparent does not have the responsibility for their stepchild, they are family. And, as family, they have a relationship with those stepchildren. You and I, as family members to our stepchildren must be careful not to shun those children, but to reach out to them as family members. When Dad and the kids are doing something, a family member should show an interest and care about that they’re doing. If the stepkids reject your attempt, that shouldn’t make any difference in your actions. We are still family members with those children of our spouse, and as such we need to show the same care and consideration as we do toward our spouse’s parents, brothers and sisters, or their grandparents. Reach out with patience and love and respect because of who they are related to … your sweetheart.

It is a balancing act: love without having to, care without being forced to. But so is every other relationship we have – with our spouse, our parents, our siblings, etc, etc. It may not be the easiest, but it’s the right thing to do.

STEPcoach Bob Collins

Helping stepfamilies succeed since 1996 – STEP-Carefully! is just for you!

What is A "Christian Marriage"?

In an article discussing a televangelist’s recent statement that Alzheimer’s is sufficient grounds for one spouse to divorce another, the writer, Russell D. Moore, gave one of the best explanations I’ve heard of what a “Christian marriage” is. Far beyond a simple agreement between two adults to live together and help each other out, a marriage, in a Christian sense, is a reflection of God’s promise and relationship to man.

Moore begins by explaining that,

Marriage, the Scripture tells us, is an icon of something deeper, more ancient, more mysterious. The marriage union is a sign, the Apostle Paul announces, of the mystery of Christ and his church (Eph. 5). The husband, then, is to love his wife “as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). This love is defined not as the hormonal surge of romance but as a self-sacrificial crucifixion of self. The husband pictures Christ when he loves his wife by giving himself up for her.

Marriage is a crucifixion? Is he saying that being married is a slow, agonizing, torturous death sentence? Admittedly, some marriages I’ve worked on have looked like that on the surface, but that’s when both partners aren’t looking at the partnership correctly. Moore goes on to elaborate: 

At the arrest of Christ, his Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who he was. He didn’t divorce her. He didn’t leave.

The Bride of Christ fled his side, and went back to their old ways of life. When Jesus came to them after the resurrection, the church was about the very thing they were doing when Jesus found them in the first place: out on the boats with their nets. Jesus didn’t leave. He stood by his words, stood by his Bride, even to the Place of the Skull, and beyond.

Keep in mind here that the “Bride” doesn’t refer to the wife in today’s marriage, but to Mankind. In the same way that Jesus accepted His responsibility to protect his Bride (The Church) even to the point of taking her punishment on Himself, both parties in a marriage should see themselves as the never-leaving, refusing-to-give-up, to-the-death protector of their spouse.

The bible tells us that a “husband must love his wife as Christ loved the Church.” (Ephesians 5:25) Does this mean that a wife is less expected to love her husband sacrificially? I don’t think so. Paul was writing to a totally male-directed culture, so he emphasized the then-leader of the household should change his current attitude of ownership to that of sacrificial love. 

Both partners must be willing to lay down their lives for the other in a conventional Christian marriage. We should be willing to love each other “as” Christ loved His Bride. “As” here has multiple meanings. I means “in the same way as,” “to the same degree that,” “as far as,” and “to the death like.” 

And, while I see a few marriage relationships that go that far, I see way too many that wouldn’t even consider laying down their “life” for their mate. Their “life” here meaning their own selfish demands, their own interests, their own desires, their own comfort, or even their own opinions! If a husband or wife can’t gracefully say to their partner, “OK, Honey, whatever you want, I’ll go happily along with,” how can they expect to stand strong together through all the bitter attacks marriages face these days? And, if each is respecting the other, discussions will settle honest differences of opinion about issues that matter. (Or mediation will, as a last resort to peace.)

You and I, as spouses, must be willing to “take up our cross” for our spouses, putting their needs above our own comfort or even survival. We must be willing to die – literally and figuratively – for our sworn partner-for-life. If my wife cannot trust me in the little things, how can she trust me in the big things like fidelity?

Another thing Jesus said applies to us spouses, too. “You should be Perfect, just like your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). “B-b-but that’s impossible! No one is perfect!” you cry. Jesus knew that better than you or I do! But He was giving us a goal to aim for when He said to be perfect. Just as a good coach will say, “Go out there and win this game,” knowing that his underdog team has little hope of  winning, so Jesus was telling us husbands, wives, and parents, “Go out there and give it your 100% best try. If you don’t beat them, at least let them know they met a team who was giving it their best.”

Whether you are a Christian or not, you owe it to your spouse to give your all; to never just half-way love them; to pour yourself out for them. You promised. You swore before God, your family, and your friends that you would do your best to be Perfect, that you would love your spouse, “as Christ loved the Church.”

You have it in you to be a “perfect spouse.” You have it in you to amaze your friends and family with how strong and true you are. You have it in you to teach your children, through your example, how they should live their own marriages and how they should parent their own children. Dig down and pull that determination up. If you need help, I’m here. But I know you can do it!

God bless your whole family!

STEPcoach Bob Collins
If you have questions about any of the Christian concepts or “code words” in this post, I’ll be happy to discuss them, or explain them to you.
[the original article by Russell D. Moore is at]

What Are Your Rights?

One of my favorite times of the entire week is Sunday morning, 10:45. Our Sunday School class is refreshing, invigorating, and challenging … and fun. Pete Ramsey has been teaching our class since its creation a few years ago, and one of his secrets of success is allowing this classroom full of latent scholars the freedom to contribute, interject, and even argue with his lessons.

But underlying the participatory nature of the discussions, the teacher’s preparation lays the ground work for our lively lessons. A key to this sort of forum is providing topics to keep our minds popping and our ideas flowing. And we’re not talking about your typical topics, such as “why did Sarah insist on Hagar’s substitution for bearing a son,” or “what are the symbols in Isaac’s near sacrifice?” We, in this Adult 3 class, have all been through the easy stuff like that. Rather, the teacher digs way below the surface to mine the hardest minerals.

From this last week’s discussion questions:
* How does God want His people to respond to the aggression of others? – OK, this is sort of basic. It takes you back to a consideration of the Old Testament’s God of Wrath versus the New Testament’s Grace Gospel of forgiveness. But the bite comes in the second part of the question:
* Does the Christian have any rights? If so, what are they? – Ah-ha! Rights! Of course we want to stand up for our rights. But what rights are we talking about? Do we have the right to demand recompense in a court of law for wrongs done us in this world? Hmmm? “Of course we do”? But aren’t we taught to give more than is taken from us? To turn the other cheek? and how many times? “Seven times seventy.” A colloquialism for “as many as it takes.”

Was Christ more interested in our worldly rights to equal justice and equal standing among the rest of the inhabitants of this life? Or was His teaching more about sacrifice for the purpose of leading others to Him? When Jesus tells us daily, “If someone steals your coat, give him your shirt, too,” where does that leave us about filing charges against a pick-pocket, or a burglar, or a mugger, even? Or, for that matter, how is Christ asking us to respond to the mugger standing before us with a gun, demanding our money or our life?

As we delve deeper into these sort of painful questions, we are actually being asked to answer the question, Who are we? Are we just people, like everyone else, who just happen to go to church and call ourselves Christians? Or are we a holy, sanctified body, representing Jesus Christ Himself, as his ambassadors and His face to a lost world who needs to see Him?

And, to steer the discussion directly to the subject of this blog, how does this principle apply to stepparenting? Do stepparents have rights? Of course. But should we insist upon those rights to respect, to recompense, to politeness from our stepkids? Is it prudent to start demanding that our stepkids smile and sweetly say “Hello, dear stepparent; thank you for your sacrifices and your consideration”? Is it realistic?

Sure, we have the right to require that – we’ve certainly earned it! But how much more trouble will we stir up if we begin being pushy about what we want? I’ve seen many a marriage endangered just because the stepparent wasn’t strong enough to forgive and forget the many slights they receive. How do you determine the limits without damaging the possible relationships?

See what I mean? Pretty stiff stuff, huh? That’s the sort of discussion that keeps me anxious for each week’s next Sunday School class. I would encourage you to find a class like this for yourself. It’ll keep you from getting complacent about this life you have been granted. It’ll keep you thinking about who you really are in the Grand Scheme of things. Or, if you’re in Western Arkansas on a Sunday morning around 10:30, come on to East Side Baptist Church and find Pete Ramsey’s class. But bring your thinking cap – you’ll need it!

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS TOPIC – WHETHER YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN OR NOT, I’D LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK … in other words, as a non-Christian, do you think it’s hypocritical for Christians to preach “turn the other cheek” then call the police when someone keys their car? COMMENT, PLEASE!

How will American Christians Cope?

I get emails and newsletters every day, speculating about the collapse of the American economy and what it will mean to us, as Christians, as our civil and religious freedoms are taken away. We’ve seen the 10 Commandments removed from public; God, Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity in history verboten in schools; Cursing Jesus’ name is OK, but praising it is ridiculed or forbidden; evolution the new state religion; constitutional foundations cast aside as old fashioned … on and on and on. What does all this mean to us, to individual Christians and to our children and our families?

I can tell you exactly what it all means to us – relatively little! People, of all the  American citizens, WE have the least to be concerned about. Why? Because we have been through all this and much worse before! Time and time again!

We like to ignore history because it’s hard to keep up with, and it’s uncomfortable to think of how things have been before. I don’t know about your (step)children, but for mine getting her interested in history was like trying to feed her spinach! But if you push your children (and yourself) to take a bit of time to look back, you’ll be very encouraged by what you see … eventually.

Just after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the brand new baby church was almost snuffed out by the current general public. Civil religious rights? How about being shunned by businesses and government services? How about a school system that taught our kids to actually worship idols? How about being hustled out of our beds and homes in the middle of the night to be dragged into mock courts where we were charged with everything under the sun, found guilty without representation or recourse? How about having your family taken from you and probably tortured and killed? How about being the entertainment for a blood thirsty mob as you are murdered publicly in cruel and imaginative ways?

In the Dark Ages, we true Christians even had these things done to us by “The Church.” If we refused to accept the world government’s twisted version of Christianity, the very religion (in name) that we followed would jail, torture, or kill us!

Even following the Great Enlightening and the Reformation, which broke the monopoly of the false Catholic church, we were subject to the nearest king’s warped ideas of how we should worship, pray, or even believe. When we finally got miraculous freedom to worship publicly and we gained some influence over our own lives here in this new experiment of America, we saw enemies confront us on every front.

Despite political challenges, evolution, and a slowly eroding government, we have been able to relax into our illusion of security, forgetting where we have been and what we have come through to get here. We have found it easy and comfortable to think we have permanent home here in this world, when Jesus Himself regularly reminded us that we are strangers in a hostile land. We used to sing songs that were to serve as reminders: This World Is Not My Home, I’m only passing through, among others. But history is just to pesky to remember. And we’ve let ourselves and our children get lazy and complacent about our real position in a lost world.

And so, here we are again, about to be shaken from our reverie and woken to the harsh reality that we are Christians in a lost world. We may lose our temporary liberties to exercise our beliefs freely and openly. We may lose the right to worship at the corner church or promote our convictions in elections or wear t-shirts or bumper stickers that shout our ideals to the world. And we may feel really, really put upon and downtrodden and persecuted. And we may in fact be outlawed.

But, whatever else we lose, whatever else is taken away from us (or pried from our cold, dead fingers), Christians – true Christians will never lose our faith. Just as school boards may insist on no prayer in schools, but our kids can still pray silently whenever they want, in the same way we, their parents, can never be stopped from believing in our hearts that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. We may have to use codes, as some of our ancestors did in Ireland or Poland, but we will still be able to encourage each other. We may meet in back rooms and basements, but we will still pray and praise together.

So my idea of preparing for hard times is not to stockpile gold or bonds. Rather I’m concentrating on increasing my dependence on God’s providence, my familiarity with scriptures, and leading my family into a greater understanding of those Words of life. I know that, no matter what happens with the government, the economy, the ecology, the world community, or even the New World Order, my God will still answer prayer, He will still watch over His children, and He will provide for His own.

If we only survive a few years or months or weeks as fugitives and secret worshipers, we will leave others behind who know the truth and who know how to share it. And we will still have a wonderful, perfect future to look forward to in Heaven, then the New Earth with our God and our family. And it will be unimaginably better than anything we have had here, in America, over the last couple of centuries.

So, bring it on world, and Come Lord Jesus, Come!

STEPcoach (and Christian!) Bob Collins

Love On Me.flv

I just found this, while searching for class materials, and thought you’d appreciate it. The singer/writer is telling of his relationship with his stepdad. Title of the song is “Love On Me” by Jeff Payne. His site is at


All rights reverved. Entire song copyrighted 2008 by DTJ Music, a division of DTJ Marketing Inc., Nashville, TN 615-469-5883. Written by J. Alan (Jeff) Payne. Used by permission.

What do you think of this song? What does it make you think of? How’s your relationship with your stepparents?

How to Please the Master

This cute little video is really a life lesson lived out before you. In it, we learn all we need to do to please our Master.

1) come when we are called – even if we’re tired or doing something else

2) give Him our full attention, sit quietly

3) unless asked to speak up for Him

4) heed His call to prayer

5) bow humbly at your Master’s feet

6) pray sincerely, remembering others and to say thank you

7) never fear to ask for help to be a better person

8) enjoy His blessings and provision

9) accept and enjoy His love and praise when we do well

Bob Collins

Empty Bird Cages

This is about the clearest, most fitting description of Christian salvation I’ve ever seen. Please read it and let me know if you “get it,” agree, disagree, or even have your own “bird cage” story to share.

God bless y’all!
—- —- —- —-


There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.

Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak….
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

 I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” he replied.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.
“Take ’em home and have fun with’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease’em and pull out their feathers to make’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

 “But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden,
and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap,
used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.
Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

 “And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much? He asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.