The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Is God Your Duty?

I have to admit I am working on not making God a duty in my life. Gasp! I can’t believe you said that and sometimes I can’t believe it either because I have been taught most of my life a good Christian makes God his first duty in everything. The really interesting thing is God doesn’t want to be a responsibility in our lives.

Making God a duty will always lead to guilt. I don’t know how many classes I’ve attended or sermons I’ve heard over the years that declared that God wants to be in my life and here’s how you do it. Now here comes the list of rules…

  1. Get up at 4:30 in the morning
  2. Get your Bible
  3. Find a quiet place
  4. Pray for at least 15 minutes or longer (the longer you pray, the better Christian you are)
  5. Read and study what you’ve read
  6. Memorize scripture
  7. Journal
  8. Oh yea, be sure to fast at sometime during the month.

Also here are your printed out cards to help you remember what order to do these thing in. All of this may have been said completely different, but this is what I perceived.

First of all let me say there is nothing wrong with doing any of these things. In fact, we should. The problem with it is the motive behind it. This would be the difference between grace and legalism. Do you have to do it or do you want to do it? How you do it is between you and God.

Personally I find this extremely boring and if this is what God is, then I guess He’ll have to do without me. What’s the real truth about this? Well, first you feel guilty for not having a quiet time with God. Then you feel guilty that you’re so disorganized and if you were a good Christian, then you should sacrifice the sleep and get with it. You may accomplish this feat a few days, but the first time you miss you feel guilty again.

This whole program is lined with guilt and shame and I have to tell you this is not how God works. This is how man works and controls. If God won’t force His will on us, then why do we let men force their will on us? Love never forces its will on anyone.

When I recalled a situation that happened in my past it helped me to understand. I have a wife that likes to make lists. (This is not just a wife thing, there are husbands that do it too) This would help her to be organized plus it made her feel good when she got to scratch an item off her list. I’m so much the opposite of this, but over the years I have learned to write things down to get them out of my head and also I have more difficulty remembering as I get older. Anyway, one day I happened to notice her list and I was shocked that I had made the list…”Time for Garry.” I have to admit this really hurt me and I discussed it with her. You see, I didn’t want to be an item that needed attention. I wanted her to want me and want to spend time with me because she loved me. I didn’t just want to be another duty and responsibility.

God doesn’t want to be a duty or a responsibility in our lives. He wants to be a part of our lives and to be life itself for us and He wants to be number one. Not on a list, but in our hearts. I feel the 10 commandments say it very clear. You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 He’s referring to “Self.” Also in verse 4 He says, "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. He wants a real relationship with us. I just realized the title itself of this story creates a sense of guilt because many of us don’t think we make God a high enough duty in our lives.

My encouragement to you is to learn to have a genuine loving relationship with God and take Him with you everywhere. Don’t leave Him at home when you go to work or out shopping. Learn to see Him as real and with you always. God wants to be the priority in our lives because we want to, not because we have to.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I know most of you are thinking that I’m writing about myself. Actually I wanted to share the definition I heard the other day about insanity. Insanity is when we do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

In one of my seminars we hand out a piece of wood with a hole in it and a square peg. Then I have everyone try to force the square peg through the round hole. They work and work trying all kinds of different angles hoping to accomplish the goal. Though many failed I had one person take out his knife and started cutting the edges off the square peg so it would fit though the hole. I commended him because he got the point. In order to get the round peg to go through the same hole he had to change something.

Assuming that the hole is everyone else in the world and the peg is us, we are going to have to change something. Many think they will change the round hole which means the difficult plus impossible task of changing people or we can change the peg which is us. I’m not telling you this will be easy, but it makes more sense than trying to change others. However, many try to accomplish the task of changing everyone else to fit in their world. I know some Christians are thinking, the Bible says come out from among them and be separate, not to change to be like them. This is not what I’m referring to.

I heard saying a on TV one day…If you want something you never had then you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done. Many years ago Thomas Edison invented or really tried to improve the electric light bulb. If he would have conducted the same experiment over and over never changing anything he would have never accomplished his goal. Each and every time he had to do something different or he would have continued to end up with the same results. He said, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” I’ve also heard he said that he didn’t fail 6000 times, but he found 6000 ways it didn’t work.

Hopefully we won’t have to try everything 6000 times to find out what does and doesn’t work. First of all we wouldn’t live long enough to do so. Fortunately this was the purpose of the Bible and that was to help us to take the shortcuts to understand what works and what doesn’t. The Bible is not a rule book of do’s and don’ts, but an instruction book for how to live on this planet. We need to apply it in context and not try to fit it into our feelings, philosophy or behavior. What does it have to say about certain issues such as relationships, raising children or consequences of sin?

I know for myself I need to listen. I’ve always been the one to try everything that doesn’t work before I concede God was right. I’ve been trying to learn to go ahead a trust Him even if I don’t understand at the moment. I encourage you to do the same for your benefit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God - Male or Fenale

This is a question some people are afraid to ask. I heard debates on both sides of the fence, some male chauvinist and the other side extreme feminist wanting to create God in their image. That’s not what the Bible says, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” Genesis 1:26 I’ve learned the best ways to settle disputes is to go to God’s Word and learn what He has to say about this issue. So, what is this referring to…“our?” We’ll talk about this in a minute.

First I want to address the fact that so many people have damage in their past or confusion of the truth, they really don’t know who God is or what He’s all about. If you notice I refer to God in the masculine sense because the Bible refers to Him that way. So naturally you’re assuming I see God in the masculine sense. Most of my life I’ve seen Him completely that way. I can even go a step further and say I saw Him as this old, white bearded man as you see manifested in TV or other sources looking vengeful waiting for me to mess up so He could make me feel shame and guilt. The others times in my life I couldn’t see Him at all.

I will admit I didn’t fear God. I was afraid of Him as if He was a tyrant wanting to bring misery to my life and hurt me. Needless to say I had the wrong picture. I’ve been wrong before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this far off base. One day as I was thinking, I heard a small soft voice ask me, “Garry, if I was a female, would you be afraid of me?” To be honest I had to say, “No.” It was then when I realized that because of my past or trauma from my childhood that I had related this belief to God. I had been bullied by older boys and molested so it’s easy to see I didn’t have a good perspective of the male gender. On the other side of the coin, females were the good guys and were there to help aid and comfort me. This may have something to do with having three older sisters. I was afraid to say this because I didn’t want my sisters to develop a God complex.

What God was saying to me was that He was both. They (The Trinity) were everything. They are complete, we are not. They created us in their image. We have to get away from how we see God and get to the truth and the facts. God is Love!!! I John 4:8 The embodiment of love itself. Not the love we think about, but a love that passes our understanding. God has a relationship within Himself. I’ve always looked at the Trinity as a hierarchy which it is not. It is a horizontal relationship of the Father, Jesus and The Holy Spirit.

When They created the woman they took a rib from the man’s side. “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.” Genesis 2:21 She was taken from his side to work side by side. Not from his head so she could rule over him and not from his feet to be trampled on.

I love this part. When They created man and woman They split themselves (so to speak) in half. Man or woman by themselves does not complete the picture of God and the relationship He has with the Trinity. Therefore He gave the union (not institution) of marriage to complete the picture. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 The only thing our children have to look at to see and understand who God is, is through their parents. If this picture has been destroyed or distorted, then they will develop their own set of problems. Of all the couples I’ve worked with through the years I can usually tell you the personality of the other mate just by meeting one of them. Why? Because we marry our opposites! If we were just alike then we wouldn’t need two. My wife and I have learned to work with our strengths and quit fighting in our weaknesses (most of the time) and using our differences to fill the gap.

Now I want you to understand something. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m telling you this because I care and love you. Any time someone uses guilt to control you, you can be assured that their motives are selfish and love is no where to be found. God never uses guilt to control us. Think about that!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Holding the Wrench

Several years ago when my oldest son was only a few years old, he was with me while I was working on the car. Of course he wanted to help, but because he was so young and small there wasn’t much he could do to help. He wasn’t strong enough to loosen the bolts and big enough to reach anything. He wanted to help and not just observe. Eventually I gave him a wrench to hold for me and I made it an important job. This made him feel important by giving him something to do when actually it kept him out of the way while I got the job done.

Over the last few years I have been busy working with people at boot camp and many times I have felt like I had no business doing this. When I’ve done my own seminars or worked with people on the phone I knew this situation was too big for me. It was out of my league and so many times I’ve felt like, “Who am I?” Then one day it dawned on me I was just “Holding the Wrench.”

God allows me to work beside Him even though I’m not doing anything really important while He’s handling the important stuff. However, He lets me participate in what He’s doing and letting me enjoy the results.

When I realize that He is really the one in control it takes the pressure off of me. I know I can’t do anything to help anyone and my words are just words. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that gives my words meaning and substance.

I would encourage you to let God be in control and handle the big stuff and you enjoy the pleasure of holding the wrench.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Choice

Some of you may not be aware but starting June 1, 2009 they will be coming out with a new law. It’s called the “Family Law.” After June 1st divorce will no longer be legal in this country. If a couple even separates avoiding the family law, their children will be taken away and they will receive the death penalty. The law was introduced because divorce is getting out of control and the destruction of the family unit is causing national instability. Living together will no longer be an option as well because it will be viewed as a loophole avoiding marriage and will be treated as a marriage with the same divorce consequences.

One night stands are also a thing of the past and infidelity will be dealt with harshly. This is due to the outbreak of communicable diseases throughout our nation. Of course you cannot keep people apart, however if someone goes to the doctor for this type of problem they will be quarantined for life or receive the death penalty. Pornography will also be abolished from the internet as well as strip joints, adult book stores and theaters because of the destructiveness to the family unit as well.

What was your first initial reaction to this? How did it make you feel? What emotions did you experience? Did you feel anger, fear, panic, comfort, joy, frustration, mixed emotions, celebration, rebellion or resistance? Did you get angry at me for even writing this? Your first initial reaction or response to this will tell you a lot about yourself and where you stand on commitment and values.

There are so many today that get married with divorce in the back of their minds. “Well, if it doesn’t work out then I’ll just get divorced.” If that was the thought in their minds you can be assured divorce is imminent.

Assuming the law was true. How would it change your life? If we knew that divorce wasn’t an option how would it change our behavior? Would we try harder to have a good marriage knowing we are going to be with this person the rest of our life? Would we attend more classes or seminars to help us learn how to get along? Would we read more books on the subject? Would we work harder on our marriage? Would we be strive to make a wiser choice? Would this help young people to take a longer look at the person they were spending the rest of our life with? Would desperation be eliminated in choosing a mate? How many of you thought, “Yippy?” Finally someone is doing something about this problem.

Many times I have heard people say, “I didn’t have a choice.” Many times this isn’t true. We usually have a choice. What if someone had a gun to one of your children and said if you didn’t do as they asked they would die. Many would say they didn’t have a choice. This is not true. They chose to preserve the life of their child and to do as they were told. There are situations where we may not have a choice such as illness or death. The choice we have then is how we are going to deal with it.

I want to say this story at the first IS NOT TRUE! I made it up, but I did for a reason. This story was not to give anyone answers, but for you to evaluate yourself and not for me to evaluate you. What I think doesn’t matter. The only thought that matters is God’s. What does He have to say about such things? The bottom line, as always, is we have a choice to think whatever we want, but if it doesn’t line up with God’s Word there will be consequences attached to it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Fantasy

I know that many of you have read books or seen movies of the imagination. It’s nice and sometimes even healthy to let our minds wonder about things that are not real. The one thing we have to remember is they are not real and just make believe or fantasies.

There are many (men and women) who have been drawn away into the Cinderella fantasy of being the prince or princess. Men like movies that for a moment they can be Batman, Superman or William Wallace and women may fall into the heroine or damsel in distress. Sometimes they may even want to be Sheena or Electra.

Many of you would agree that when we can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality we are headed for trouble. I see this all too often and it’s not quite as rare as one may think. Many of our disappointments and discouragements come from reaching for a fantasy that doesn’t exist. This could also be noted as expectations such as, the perfect relationship, the perfect marriage, the perfect children or the perfect job. All of these have one major flaw and that is the word “perfect.” There is no such thing. It’s fantasy to believe this.

Over the years I have worked with many married couples who are struggling and on the verge of divorce. I have also learned which ones are most likely to fail. If one of the spouse’s have someone on the side (having an affair) it’s very rare that the marriage will survive. The reason is simple. The marriage cannot compete with fantasy.

First of all is the conflict of betrayal: If they stay with the spouse then they betray the other person and if they stay with the other person, they betray the spouse. The other person usually wins because they are the fantasy. They are the ones who are making them feel good, not to mention the sneaking around is quite exhilarating. Then one day they cut the spouse loose to go with the next person of their dreams. Then only to find out that once they marry them, they start revealing their baggage and problems and they quickly find themselves in the same ol’ rut they were in. Then both of them spend the marriage wondering when their new spouse is going to cheat on them. The question will always be… if they cheated on their last spouse with me, then they will probably cheat on me. If the second or third marriage is the answer to their dreams, then why are most of the couples at boot camp in their second or third marriage? The grass may look greener, but you still have to mow it.

People who remarry who don’t have children have a greater chance of success. What one needs to realize is that when you marry someone you not only marry them, but their children, ex-wife, ex-in-laws and friends. This is why second marriages rarely work out because they had enough going against them in the first marriage.

Suppose there wasn’t someone else on the side. I’ve seen this too. There wasn’t some particular person on the side. It was everyone on the side. They could not wait to get into the dating world again and experience the time of their youth when dating was new and exciting. How you did those neat things to make each other feel special. The phone calls and the little notes that sent them sky rocketing. This is why some never marry because once the relationship gets too serious and mature, then it’s time to find that new person to bring back those feelings again. Those who have experienced the “New Dating World” realize quickly that it’s tough.

This is where we find the real problem, “Feelings.” When someone uses their feelings as a roadmap to happiness, they will always be disappointed in the end. Feelings are constantly changing in us and we can’t depend on them because they are unstable and will mislead us. We have to look at the facts and live in the facts and the feelings will come along later. I have heard many very attractive women and men make the statement that they felt ugly. That wasn’t the fact…that was a feeling. Some have said they felt stupid, but were actually very intelligent. There have been many times I have had to believe the truth and wait for the feelings to come later and they did.

Believe me when I tell you I had to learn all this the hard way. No, I’ve never been divorced, but we were close several years ago. I have experienced those feelings in my past and that’s why I could describe them so accurately. We will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in August and it’s by the Grace of God I can say this. We’re still not out of the woods and we will never be as long as we’re alive. We have to keep working and be on our guard. I have to say I love my wife more today than when we first got married mostly because I’m just starting to learn what real love is. This article was not about finger pointing, but hopefully to bring an awareness to help you. Don’t fall for the fantasy!

Some have already made mistakes that have been advised or counseled by a friend or parent about the matter. They are already feeling bad and will run at the slightest noise. I never want to say I told you so. Whenever we say, “I told you so” it is a declaration that I was right and you were wrong and it is an evidence of pride. It’s also dangerous because you may fall under the same temptation. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1 How they messed and why is not important. What’s important is that they have realized their error and want to try again. Consider the prodigal son. He realized his error and went home to beg forgiveness and was greeted with love and compassion, not guilt and shame.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I want you to look at the words below and see if you see something in common with them.













There is one common flaw with all of these words. Have you figured it out yet? You’re right it’s Self!” This is where all of our problems start because we base our life on self. It’s like polishing dog poop. It may be shiny when you finish, but it still stinks. You may think some of these are actually good things to have such as self-esteem. Self-esteem is based on you. What you can do, what you have, where you’ve been, money, job, physical appearance, mate, talents, abilities and even your special gifts. Any of these things are subject to loss. So when or if you lose them you have nothing left. Have you placed all your value in your spouse, children or abilities? Be careful!

I’ve seen this happen with myself as well as with others so many times. We place our value and worth in things we have or things we can do and the moment they’re gone, so are we. We men get much of our value from our job and I’ve also seen many men crumble when they lost their jobs because everything they were and had was tied to their job. This is getting more common daily. Women usually find there value in their home. So what happens when it’s gone? I’ve also seen women tie their importance to their jobs.

There is not one thing on this planet we can hold on to for security or esteem. It can disappear at any given moment. This is reality! I know for myself that at this time I have lost several things and if my value was tied up in these I would be gone too. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20 I have seen many people go from having a vibrant, healthy lifestyle to having a stroke or brain trauma and now can barely feed themselves.

So….what do we do? We need something that’s steady and does not change every time the wind blows. Let’s look at it this way.













As we go through the process of becoming more like Him and we can see life through His eyes, then it makes this life so much simpler and easier to endure. God never changes and this is so much a comfort to me. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Great Pet for Sale

Here is a great cat for sale. It’s a pretty cat and very gentle. If you don’t have the money right now, that’s ok. You can pay us anytime if you can find us. He’s not very old and we have affectionately given him the name Psycho. Please call us anytime day or night and please hurry.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s difficult to put the picture with the ad because of the cat’s body language among a few things in the ad. Would you want this cat? I know I wouldn’t.

However, I see people making these same decisions in seeking a spouse or other relationships. All the signs are there, but they simply refuse to see them. They become blinded by their own desires and lust. I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, “It’s my life and I’m doing what I want!” Maybe you’re the one who made it. Then a few months to a few years later they can’t believe they didn’t see the signs. The signs were there, but they were determined to get their way.

I will not work with anyone if there mind is made up. It’s a waste of my time and theirs. If you have ever seen the Dog Whisperer he says the only time you can train a dog is when their mind is in a state of submissiveness, which means open and willing to listen and learn. Have you taken on the persona that “No ones gonna tell me what to do or I think I know what’s best for me.” This is a place of rebellion and stubbornness and as long as one remains here they can be taught nothing. The best place to have a chat with someone is at the end of their rope. It’s remarkable how much more they’re willing to listen. Another reason may not be rebellion, but desperation. “If I don’t do it now I probably won’t get a second chance.” It really doesn’t matter because either one will cause you to end up in the same place. Have you ever heard the saying...The one who needs to deal the worst gets the worst deal.

I know through the years I wondered what had happened to God in my life. Where did He go and why wasn’t He listening. It’s simple, I had not tried everything myself and I had not come to the end of my rope. Therefore He wasn’t going to waste His time if I wasn’t listening anyway. It seems to me that most people come to the end of their rope in their 40’s if they live that long and some it takes longer. By then we’ve eaten enough dirt and have no place to look but up. That’s why I like working with people in their upper years.

Life comes down to a number of serious choices and whether they are good or bad and whether or not the signs were there, we still have to live with our decisions and move on. Toiling and feeling guilty for past decisions will not do anything but keep you stuck. The only thing any of us have is the “NOW.” Everything from yesterday past is out of our reach. The question is…What are we going to do now?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hiding Behind God

A few weeks ago my wife and I were eating at Chili’s and I kind of overheard two ladies having a conversation behind me. (Mostly because I was eaves dropping) What I gathered from their conversation was one lady was perplexed concerning a decision about what her daughter should do. My ears perked up when I heard her say, “I don’t know if it’s God’s will that she should do this or if it’s Satan misleading us?”

I know this conversation because I’ve had it with myself on countless occasions. Should I turn left or right, should I tell them or not or should I buy this or it is a trap. I’ve heard many in tears and was totally distraught because they didn’t know God’s will for their lives.

Let’s take a fast common sense look at this. If you are not at peace and if you are torn apart in a decision… then this will inhibit you from serving and loving God. So, who is the winner here? I know someone who agonized over a decision for nearly a year. All it did was produce sleepless nights and unhealthy weight loss. Is this God’s will? If you’re wondering, the answer is NO. Right or wrong it couldn’t have done them any more damage than it did.

One of the definite ways we can know God’s will is to see what His Word has to say about the matter. Should I have an affair or should I abuse my wife or children? It’s in there! What about things such as, should I buy this car or house? Well, it may not tell you specifically what to do, but you can look up principles on finances.

I have always hated making decisions and I would twist and toil over some of the stupidest things. I finally learned that peace comes with making a decision. Right or wrong I know that God is always there in my decision even if I make the wrong choice. He’s not necessarily going to bail me out, but He will use it to teach me something.

Years ago when my oldest son was around 3 years old we were at a grocery store and he saw the gumball machines. Of course he wanted go get something. He had one dime and was determined to spend it. When he went to the machines there were several to choose from. One was about empty, but it had cool toys and the other had plenty of gum. I strongly encourage him to get the gum because of the odds of getting a toy was slim, but I let him make the choice. Of course he chose the toy and didn’t get anything. He was sad and it broke my heart, but I didn’t bail him out and made him live with the choice.

Some people would have thought this was cruel. He refused to listen to my experience and wisdom so he suffered the consequences. Is this not true with us and God? To this day when my son has a difficult decision he will call me for counsel. I never give him the answer. All I will give him are choices. Then I let him make up his own mind. If I was to tell him what to do and it was wrong, then he could turn around and blame it on me. Most of the time we already have our minds made up. We’re just looking for someone to agree with us.

This finally brings us to the point I wanted to make. How many times have we wanted it to be God’s will? It was really what we wanted in the first place and now we have a so-called stamp of approval. By the way, twisting God’s arm isn’t the same thing as His will. If I told you that I felt God was telling me to tell you something and I was wrong…Then I can blame it on God and you can’t blame me either. We like to hide behind God so we will makes statements like, “I really felt like the Holy Spirit was leading me to get this new car or I really felt like God wanted me to share this with you.” That way if it blows up in your face then you can always blame God.

The funny thing about all this is when I heard the 2 ladies talking I wanted to say something to them and help if I could. Then I started twisting and turning over this decision…Should I or shouldn’t I?