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, August 31, 2009


I have grown up in church all my life or at least until now and I definitely learned about fearing God. I not only learned how to fear Him, but I learned how to be afraid of Him. It’s really difficult to have a relationship with someone when they keep running away from you. Imagine if you would try to talk to your spouse, children or a friend and every time you tried to talk to them they ran away from you. It would be very difficult to have any kind of relationship with them.

I learned how to fear God as well as seeing Him as distant and aloof. It was difficult to imagine a God who was really interested in my daily life other than watching me blow it all the time. I may have been taught about the Love of God, but I don’t know if anyone teaching me understood it either. I saw God as critical and unfair. I asked questions like, “Why did you make ugly, poor, born in this town?” I could go on and on looking for justifications of why I was such a bad person. Fortunately God understood and patiently led me to truth.

There are many that are stuck in this belief and even though the Bible says countless times that God wants a relationship with us, they think we’re being disrespectful if we become too familiar with Him. The legalistic attitude that God wants me to grovel and crawl to Him in constant unworthiness and shame is totally unscriptural. One of the main reason religious leaders do this is because it gives them control over people. God wants us to recognize who He is in all His Glory and Power and then realize this Almighty God wants a close, familiar relationship with us. Wow! He wants us to know everything about Him. And we think how awesome it would be to stand next to a famous star, political figure or some other person of fame.

This is the part that is really awesome to me. We get to call Him Father, but to go another step into the amazing is we get to call Him Abba Father. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15 Abba Father is another way of saying “Papa or Daddy” in our modern language. Remember that it’s only because if Jesus that we are able to do this. Jesus, through His Blood and sacrifice gives us this privilege. If you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart and life you cannot share in this.

I have 3 sons and sometimes they call me Papa. I love it because it is a term of endearment. If you are a child of God you have the privilege to call Him Papa, not because of anything you have done, but because Jesus gave you that privilege.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Can’t Talk to Stupid

So many times I see people get into knock down drag outs trying to convince someone to their way of thinking. They know they’re right and they go on and on never convincing the other person to their way of thinking. I’ve even probably done it once or twice myself. There are times that I start to get into it with someone when I realize I’m wasting my time because you can’t talk to stupid. You know you’re right and there may be very convincing proof that you’re right, but you can’t talk to stupid.

So what are we really talking about? These people really aren’t stupid usually. They just seem that way because 1) they don’t agree with you or 2) they are closed minded and unwilling to listen. I’ve been there too. This was something Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people.” Sound familiar?

If you’re constantly arguing with someone at work or with a friend, you can’t win. Now, when you do this with a spouse you know you both lose because you damage the relationship. It’s like playing tug-o-war with an expensive, delicate heirloom. You may get the bigger piece when you rip it apart, but now it’s worthless. As you know, even if you win, you lose overall. Did you know this is found in the Bible? "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6 If a person’s mind is made up, it doesn’t matter how good of an argument you present because they’re not listening. By the way, there are several applications to this scripture. Here’s another one from Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

One thing we should never argue about is the Bible. This is where we need to let God do the mind changing be it yours or the other person’s. Believe it or not I have been wrong on some things before and I’ve had to retract my statement or belief. If I learn or hear something new then I test it to the scriptures in context to make sure I’ve not been deceived. Don’t ever take my word for it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are You in the Box?

Scott wanted to watch the news before he went to bed and then he watched a sitcom to get his mind off the news. Sarah went on to bed since she was so tired. Scott eventually turned off the TV and went to bed. He was exhausted and had a long day. His head had no more hit the pillow when he heard the baby start crying. He thought to himself, “I’ll just sit here a few minutes and maybe the baby will go back to sleep.” After several minutes the child was relentless and wanted attention. His next step was to wait out his wife and hopefully she would hear the baby and respond. Another 5 minutes passed and she didn’t even move a little. He came to the conclusion she was probably faking it so he’d have to get up and tend to the baby.

Scott couldn’t believe how uncaring and insensitive that Sarah could be. He began to imagine all sorts of horrible things about his wife. She was lazy, uncaring, insensitive and manipulative just because she thought she deserved more sleep that him.

Since he was a good father and apparently more loving than she was he finally got up and took care of the baby. After 30 minutes or so the baby went back to sleep. Then he had difficulty getting to sleep because he was so angry at his wife for being this manipulative demon.

The next morning when they both got up he was cold and aloof to Sarah and she had no idea what his problem was. Sarah actually was a loving, giving and very sensitive person. She was a great mother and she really was asleep when all this was going on. Everything Scott had created was in his imagination.

This is called self-deception or being in the box. We’re all guilty of it and we do it everyday in many kinds of situations. At home, work, church or even with our friends or strangers.

All of this started when Scott first heard the baby. If he would have instantly got up, took care of the child and went back to bed, he wouldn’t have had to let his imagination run wild. Instead, he sat there and waited. Then he felt guilty and had to come up with justification why he was waiting and the only way to do this was to make his wife out to be a worse person than him. When he finally got up this fueled his justification and raised him to a higher level above his wife. The only one at fault here was Scott. This is a good example of James 4:17, it says, Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. He paid the price for his sin. He didn’t sleep well, he got up angry and miserable and even though he tried to blame his wife for his feelings, this was all the results of sin.

Many times we have desires that are extremely strong, but we know deep down that they’re wrong. Such as, if a man wants to cheat on his wife or if a wife wants to cheat on her husband they would need to make the other person out to be a horrible person so they within their mind could justify their actions. So in reality their spouse probably really isn’t this demon they’ve created. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:14

Guilt is extremely powerful and can cause us to do all kinds of things. We don’t want to ever feel guilty for making mistakes, hurting others or sinning so we are constantly in search of a scapegoat (excuse) or justification. Think about it a minute. The problem that you are having now with your spouse or ex or anyone else for that matter is the same problem you had before you ever met them. Who have you been blaming for your feelings, actions or poor behavior? It may seem convenient, but it will always catch up with us in the end.

Let’s take a quick test.

  • Are you still blaming your mother, father, spouse or ex, children, relative or friend for how your life has turned out or problems you are having? If so, you’re in the box.
  • If you know something good you’re supposed to do for someone (refer to above) and you resist it you are in the box.
  • Are you taking responsibility for your feelings, attitudes and behaviors or are you trying to get someone else to do this for you. If so, you’re in the box.

There is one person in every problem that we have and that is ourselves. It may make us feel better at the time to blame our problems on someone else, but eventually we will have to face it. It doesn’t matter how many times we marry or when we get that better job or live in that new house trying to correct our old problems. We need to come head to head with the issue that’s holding us back.

What it boils down to is ownership. We have to own everything we do in our body. It really doesn’t matter what happened to you and me years ago because we are still responsible for ourselves. When we stand before God and have to give account of the things we’ve done in our body, those excuses and justifications will go out the window. Adam and Eve already tried blaming each other and God and didn’t get away with it.

You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12

This is long so it will be continued tomorrow or a few days. You may need to chew on it awhile.

Are You in the Box? Part 2

Jerry and Cathy had a son with a serious drug problem. They did everything within their power to reach out and help. They spent several thousands of dollars on hospitals and rehabilitation services. They also didn’t do many things to help their son. Even though it was extremely painful to them they had to go against what would make them feel better to help their son long term. This was genuine love.

For many years their son desperately tried to blame his father and mother for all his problems so he would be justified and have an excuse to fulfill his drug and alcohol desires. The problem was his parents just kept on loving him and this made him extremely angry. He asked them, “How can you still love me after all the things I’ve done to hurt you?” The parents said, “We just do and we will continue to choose to do so.” He then replied, “Why don’t you just hate me? That’s what I deserve!” His father said, “Too bad. I’m not going to make your life any easier by hating you.”

If we are in a situation such as divorced, problems with spouse or kids, trouble at work with someone and it seems this person or people keep doing things to keep us angry, then they’re doing it on purpose. When we get angry and especially when we retaliate, we play right into their hands. This will continue to give them the justification and excuse to keep on doing what they’re doing. In other words, you are actually helping them to stay right where they are and they will never grow. However, if we keep on genuinely loving them regardless of their behavior, this will force them to confront themselves or they will have to find another scapegoat. You see, your goal is not to change them. This is God’s responsibility. You are only responsible for your actions and response. What happens with them is God’s business. If you really want to get even…Love Them!

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay, "says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

The problem with this is most people don’t want to do this because as much as the other person is using them to justify there sins, they are doing the same with them. If I thought, I can’t treat them well because then if they grew and got better then I’ll have to face my own issues. As long as I keep them worse than me, this is all that really matters. I think I’ll remain in the box.

Everyday we see people stepping on people trying to get the prize without giving any thought to the outcome as long as they look good. They steal, lie, cheat, swindle or kill to accomplish they’re own selfish desires. They refuse to take responsibility for anything they do wrong and take credit for good things they didn’t do. To see someone stand up to the plate these days is very rare.

You may be thinking, “At least I’ve never done anything like this.” We are all guilty of this at some time in our life. In order to lash out at someone, gossip about others, lust after someone or resent someone for being wealthy, attractive, sexy or shapely, talented or intelligent they first have to become an object in our minds. We cannot look at them as people with past hurts, families or problems. We have to negate their humanity.

It would be very difficult for soldiers to go to war having relationships with their enemy. If they knew their enemies and looked at them as people with a wife and kids, father and mother and brothers and sisters instead of just uniforms, it would be extremely difficult to shoot them. This is also why big corporations can layoff thousands of employees without remorse because these people are just objects or numbers.

The moment we step in our box and start blaming anyone for our behaviors, feelings or attitudes we first have to view them as objects and dehumanize them. Now they are only here for our selfish reasons to avoid feeling a certain way we don’t want to feel. Guilty!

Years ago there was a movie many of you may have seen called “Silence of the Lambs.” In the movie there was a serial killer who was murdering women and mutilating their bodies. When they showed him speaking to one of his victims he would never refer to them with their names or even gender. He would refer to them as “It or That.” He could have never imposed the cruelty on his victims if he would have seen them as people. They were objects. You say this is an extreme example to prove a point. The scary thing is each of us do this every time we attempt to blame someone.

There are so many examples I could give you and you are thinking of many yourself. I don’t know if this is your situation or if you know someone in this situation but, sometimes it takes people a long time to file for divorce. The reason is simple. They’re waiting for the other one to do it. Why? Because then they can be the victim and say something like, “My wife/husband filed for divorce for some reason. I tried to keep the marriage together but she/he wouldn’t even try.” This way they don’t have to take responsibility for a failed marriage. You played into their hands.

So how do we overcome this? Apparently this is a major issue in our life. Well, first of all you have to realize this is not something you are going to accomplish overnight. This will take time and lots of practice. Mostly it will take help from God because this is too big for us. We would have to be constantly watching ourselves and others and this would require way too much energy not to mention legalism.

First of all give it to God literally. Pray and ask Him to help you…

• Love instead of Hate
• Take ownership instead of blame
• Walk away instead of fight
• Build others up instead of destroy
• Respond instead of React
• Control yourself instead of trying to control others
• Look at people instead of objects

I definitely can’t point my finger at anyone because I know I have as much problems as anyone in this area, especially when I’m driving down the freeway. We’re all in this together, but I want to make life better for myself and for you if I can.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What is the Church?

A few months ago I sent out the question asking people, “What’s the Church?” What’s it supposed to be and what is it about. I got several good responses. Maybe I’m making it a bigger issue than I need, but it’s something that has plagued me for several years. What is a real church?

Of course I hope you know that I’m not talking about the church building, but the church. The people or the bride as described in the Bible. Here are the responses I received and I wanted to share them with you.

Ideally, the church is a like a hospital, for healing, restoration and then you "Go" into the world, sharing the good news about this way station for restoration and reconciliation. Unfortunately, many churches have become retirement homes. Elisa

A fellowship of Christians worshiping God and true relationship with God. People who are in their heart. Mario

1) A house of God, a place for worship and nearness w/God, a place to foster growing nearer to God

2) Sincerity, genuine worship, and oftentimes His presence or the allowance of His presence. Beth

To me it is supposed to be about teaching Gods word and how you can relate his word to your life. I don’t really remember much about Catholic Church other then it was very regimented and hard to follow. You spent more time moving up and down off your knees then anything else. Now that I’m older and have gone through some experiences, I feel I really crave his teachings and feel he really speaks to me by hearing really good teachings about his word and how to use it. Jason

The church is supposed to be unified in Christ. To love, worship and come together in his name. The church is supposed to find ways to get the message to the people. Serve others. Brandy

Short and sweet…" More Jesus and Less Religion " Grace ,Grace , Grace ..Sandy

  1. A place to come together and worship the Lord and learn more about Him and to fellowship.
  2. It is missing humility. Jim

The “Church” is God’s children that have been saved by the blood of Jesus.

Love is what is missing. Christy

As I read through all these there is not one of them I can disagree with. As you can see the church isn’t a place to go to, but a place of being. I’ve learned to see what the Bible has to say about such matters instead of trying to formulate my own opinion. Today I read several chapters in the book of Acts looking at some of the characteristics of the New Testament church. Here is a controversial question. Was the first church of the New Testament started by Jesus and His Apostles or was the first church started by the Apostles on the day of Pentecost as described in Acts? Believe it or not this has caused many debates and arguments among scholars and theologians. It has also been the catalyst for many church splits. I know what I believe, but the real issue is not what happened then, but what is happening now and it’s not worth an argument.

The church is a group of believers that have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. There are many institutions out there that call themselves churches, but they are no more than a club or a conglomeration of religious practices and rituals. The church is people that have given their life and heart to Christ.

When my wife and I were leaving boot camp and everyone was joyful and so full of love we both were amazed. She looked at me and said, “Why can’t the church be like this?” This thought has stuck with me ever since. In Acts 2:42-47 it says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread (eating together) and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

We as people have something within us that drives us for fellowship with one another. I’ve seen this desire outside of the church as much as within. One of the best experiences my wife and I had was a time we were meeting with a small group in McKinney. The group was open and full of love. Another time was a few years ago when my wife and I led a support group for boot campers. There was a unity and love that was difficult to explain.

Years ago when I worked at the Love Field Airport I remember passing a small white church building. I began to envision a place of love, peace, security, freedom and a safe place one could go and not be judged or criticized. It was a place that a person could be completely open and not fear anyone’s harsh looks or judgmental attitudes. There was joy, thanksgiving, and unity, free of dissension and criticism and people having a great time of teaching, singing and fellowship and when it was time to go home no one wanted to leave. I didn’t know it at that time, but what I was describing and wanting was a Real Church. Many people today would describe it as New Age thinking. New Age thinking has already infiltrated the church, but this is not how. It’s kind of funny, but the New Age idea is not new. It’s been around for a long time since the beginning of time.

What we have to remember is the church isn’t a place for condoning our sin nor is it a place of condemning our sin. It is supposed to be a people that helps us to overcome our sin and not just accept it. It’s beginning to sound like to me that every time spiritual leaders in this country come across genuine Christianity or something they don’t understand they scream “New Age.” I would guess it has something to do with losing their followers, but mostly their money. The scariest thing about them is they appear to walk so close to the truth, but they left out one important ingredient and that’s “Love.” You can only fake love for so long and it’s easy to test. I can’t help but think of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 where is says, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.” I think this says it all.

The other day I heard something I can’t get out of my head. I heard a man on the radio explain and summarize the church. He said, “The church is not a function in which the Pastor, song director and choir are the entertainment, the congregation is the audience and God is the initiator and blesses the program. No, God is the audience; the people are the participators and the pastor and song director lead in worship to God.” Sometimes I can’t help but think how long it will be before they start selling admission tickets to church.

Be careful out there. I’m not going to tell you who to watch out for because I want you to use the above scripture to do your own testing.


Once again as I was looking back into my childhood I couldn’t help but think about some of the people who were called on to pray publicly. We would hear, “Would Brother ____ please lead us in a word of prayer.” Then you would hear the man drone on and on. “Bless this day and that day, bless the sick (and he would name all of them if he could remember) bless the weather” and then he would say, “We ask in Jesus Name” and everyone’s legs would bend and then he’d go on for another 5 minutes. My friend made a joke after he was finished and said, “He forgot to ask God to keep his shoe from coming untied.” Also it was more effective to pray in King James English by using “Thee’s and Thou’s” because this language is the one that God spoke and it was definitely more spiritual. (I hope you know I’m being facetious) Your legs would start getting tired and of course being a kid made this episode last even longer. You would see a lot of fidgeting kids starting to pray now that he would hurry up and get finished. I know the pastor was thinking about his choice to cut his sermon short or go over and upset everyone. If we as kids could see through these people as being put-ons and phony we couldn’t help but wonder if the grownups saw it as well. You could always tell who didn’t pray during the week because they tried to make up for it on Sunday.

This type of prayer reminds me of the scripture about the Pharisees praying on street corners so everyone could see how spiritual they were. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues (Churches) and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:5 What upsets me concerning this is there are many that think this is spiritual and this is the way it’s supposed to be. I forgot…we were supposed to put our hands together to make it official. I found out later they had children to do this just to keep their hands occupied.

So many times I see people who are afraid to pray in public because they don’t know how to do it “properly.” It’s a shame that this has become their belief and couldn’t be farther from the truth. The sweetest prayers I’ve ever heard came from inexperienced new Christians because they spoke from the heart. This is the prayers that God hears! He’s not concerned with our eloquence, only people are.

Prayer has no mystical methods to get God’s attention. He simply wants us to speak our heart to Him. Unload our concerns and petitions for others. He wants us to speak truthfully and honestly with Him. We are not hiding anything from God. He knows what we’re thinking. Quit telling Him what you think He wants to hear and tell Him what’s on your heart. If you feel the need to complain or yell at Him, believe me He understands. The cool thing is, when you get real with God, He’ll get real with you.