God's Clean Plate Club

October 16, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

It is easy to hate. Almost enjoyable to look down my nose and remember your sins with disdain.

"However," God says, "my goal is not hatred, but love. Not memories of horror, but glimpses of pleasure."

God challenges me to treat even the poorest and most awful humans with respect, to “love my enemies” and to “turn the other cheek,” when whumped. He ignores the easy way and commands the impossible.

"However," God says, "my goal is not revenge, but love. Not memories of horror, but the pleasures of forgiveness."

No Goats in Heaven

October 09, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

I’m not sure what God has against goats, but it looks like they’ll be missing in the New Earth. Sheep make it, but no goats.

Jesus' own words are recorded in Matt. 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.”

Jesus told the “Sheep and Goats” parable to people who really wanted to get into heaven. They listened eagerly, taking careful notes on how to make it through the gates.

When I Was 35

September 18, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

When I was 35 years old I was an ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastor and an academy principal.

When our son was 35 he was the chief marketing officer for three incredibly successful world-class companies.

When our oldest daughter was 35 she received a Making a World of Difference award from Vodaphone New Zealand.

When our youngest daughter was 35 she was a professional sports coach, had won national championships in mountain-bike racing and was beginning to win competitions as a professional road bike racer.

No Frijoles?

August 04, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

“Really?” I responded in starving amazement.

“Yes. It is true. We are out of beans, but if you wait about 45 minutes, we’ll have some.”

I exited through the side door, my stomach continuing to churn and my head spinning. How could Taco Bell run out of beans?

Alone in my car with Siri, I checked for another Taco Bell. “Seventy-five miles behind you,” she said kindly.

Beneath the Hoodie

July 11, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

Let’s call him Isaac because that’s not his name. He lives in a sweatshirt, a hoodie that hides his eyes so he can feel invisible. But, he’s not invisible; he’s just hiding. It’s rather like putting on a mask and pretending to be blind, deaf, unable to speak and broke. All at once.

It keeps folks from talking to you.

All except one.

She’s a teacher, a Christ-following teacher who believes that compassion is God’s gift to be shared. Without limit.

Dead?

June 24, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

“If I go to heaven immediately when I die, why stay alive?”

It’s a question I’ve heard numerous times in my ministry. Usually asked by someone who is on hospice care, whose cancer has just been pronounced inoperable or whose family is far away and disinterested. Seldom does this question come from someone who feels the daily love of family and friends.

Salvation for Dummies

May 23, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

The “For Dummies” books have made a ton of money for writers and publishers. There are scores of titles, each one describing complex tasks in simple language. They’re the go-to books for those of us who get lost in the 12-page/five-language directions that come with our new purchases.

Plumbing. Learning Spanish verbs. Doing taxes. Beekeeping. List any subject, and Dummies.com probably has a book for it. There’s even a Revelation for Dummies!

However, when I did not find one covering salvation, that set me to writing.

One Page

May 23, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

“And, finally, Lord, please bless the missionaries and the colporteurs around the world.”

The man assigned to the morning prayer in worship this week was one of the older elders, a retired pastor whose gray hair and halting steps spoke of many hard years. Clearly, he had thought through his prayer carefully and spoke to God for all of us as if he and God were having a personal conversation in his living room.

The Touch of God

March 18, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

I was looking for elk hide, enough to make a new set of buckskins for the Fort Bridger Mountain Man rendezvous. A banker friend, who looked like a 1920 fur trapper, recommended I “wander up to St. Maries, Idaho, and see my friend Lars Eidnes. He’s got more leathers than the Hudson Bay Company.”

That’s why I was standing in a fur trader’s warehouse among stacks of every kind of animal skin available in North America.

The Walrus Hunter

February 01, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

He was a hunter, a Siberian Yupik who lived in the village of Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island in the western half of the Bering Sea. An American, living 30 miles from Russia. A First Nation hunter, dying from the white man's disease, tuberculosis.

Many of the other villagers had also caught the disease. Most had died, leaving only a few healthy people in Savoonga.

Nathan Noongkook, hardly able to breathe, had reconciled himself to a wheezing death.