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, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays from Jesus

Have you ever wondered what God’s view of Christmas is? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and I really don’t think it’s what we would have imagined. I see and hear Christians getting upset and forwarding emails about how someone removed a manger scene or is no longer saying Merry Christmas, but Happy Holidays.

First of all there is no where in the Bible that tells us to celebrate or to worship Christmas. Many say I’m not worshiping Christmas, I’m worshiping Christ. Are you really? Do you worship Christ the other 363 days of the year or just on Christmas and Easter?

You may ask is Christmas a religious holiday? Yes and No. However, it was not originally a Christian holiday. As far as I know all Christian or religious holidays are manmade. Christians seem to go nuts trying to make it a spiritual or religious holiday and the anti-Christians are trying to make it a non-religious holiday. All while we are in this battle we forget the main point and it’s not about worshipping baby Jesus.

Go back to when you were a kid. What was it you enjoyed about Christmas? The thrill of anticipation, the cold, (no snow here. in fact I’ve never had white Christmas) watching the Andy Williams Christmas Special or the old Rudolf show, shopping and of course as a kid it was hoping for that new toy.

I remember one Christmas when I was around 6 years old I had come across some coupons. Back in those days you could take them to the grocery store and exchange them for cash. I had a whole $1.25 in coupons. Then I went to the variety store and was able to buy everyone in my family (there was 6 of us) a Christmas gift and I even had enough left over for the wrapping paper. I’ll never forget it. It was a shiny purple. I wrapped them myself and I was so excited. It was a month long of a special feeling. Many of you probably still enjoy this today. However, the political war has been a distraction from the joy.

I couldn’t help but think what would God enjoy? Many times when I think of this I try to look at it from a parent perspective. What are the things we really enjoy about our kids? For many years I’ve been the Scrooge around Christmas. I’ve always wondered why I felt that way. I believe it is because of the internal battle of Religious verses Secular.

Hopefully as we’ve gotten older we have learned to enjoy the giving more than the getting, especially if you have kids. It’s another special blessing to give to those who don’t expect it or that may be having financial troubles at this time. I cannot express the excitement I feel when I see my children having a good time, laughing, excited and getting along and when I see them reaching out to someone else, well, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I can’t help but think of the Statler Brothers song, “The Greatest Christmas Present is one that You Can’t Buy.”

This is when it became apparent to me that this is probably what God is experiencing too. Watching us enjoy ourselves and loving each other. It’s giving to those in need and not just at Christmas, but all year around. There is nothing I believe is more pleasing to God than seeing His children loving each other. I really doubt He cares much about all the Christmas hoopla going on at the churches or if manger scenes are set out or if we have a Christmas tree in our living room. What is your relationship to Him now where you are and where He is?

I believe God wants us to worship Him and not Christmas and we do this by serving and loving each other. I’m sure it’s good for us to remember the arrival of Jesus on this planet. This is good, but don’t let it become a distraction of the present. Christmas to me is a time for family and Thanksgiving is as well. It is a time for us all to be together and enjoy each other and not bicker over stupid insignificant issues.

Don’t be too concerned about keeping Christ in Christmas, but keeping the truth of Christ in our lives every day. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hiding Behind Morality

“The gospel isn’t religion... Nothing hides our fellow man more than morality, and nothing hides the face of God more than religion. When we are most religious, we may be most at risk of losing touch with God.” Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
Everyone loved Ted. He was a most dependable person and one of the most loving people you would ever meet. He seemed to be involved in everything at the church. He was a Sunday School teacher, deacon and sang in the choir. He was involved with so many school activities and he managed to coach a baseball and soccer team. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect person. He was the perfect family man; a loving husband and a great father to his children. However, it did seem odd that his wife and the kids seemed to keep in seclusion. For some reason she never participated in the women’s functions and the kids always came home right after school. Everything they did, they did as a family.

Until one day out of the blue Ted’s wife took off with the kids and divorced him. The entire community was shocked. They couldn’t believe this woman could do such a thing to poor Ted. Many people came to his aid to give poor Ted comfort during his grieving period. The people of the town scorned his wife, calling her names and berating her. All the while she just kept her mouth shut because she knew it was futile to say anything. Ted was an upstanding pillar of the community and anything she said would just be turned around against her.

It was amazing how many women wanted to be the next Mrs. Ted. They would know how to treat this wonderful man much better than his old harlot ex-wife. They couldn’t believe how this ungrateful woman could throw away this prize of a man.

Several years later Ted was accused of raping a 14 year old girl. The entire town was in shock. They all came on Ted’s behalf to defend this outrageous accusation. They belittled the young girl and eventually managed to run her whole family out of town. All charges were dropped and poor Ted was able to resume his wonderful life.

Less than a year later, Ted was caught in the act of molesting a 7 year old girl. This really upset the town and made them all feel so foolish because Ted had beguiled all of them for so long. They came to learn that his first wife and children had been physically, verbally and sometimes even sexually abused. They were overcome with shame with how they had treated them and the girl he had raped. Ted’s entire life was a lie and he suckered and whole town into defending him.

At one time or another all of us try to hide behind morality. We don’t want people to know who we really are. Charles Spurgeon called it secret sins. I know you’ve all heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” I believe the reason so many reject Christ is because it sounds too good to be true, but it is. God doesn’t hide behind religion or morality. He doesn’t have to, He’s God. He is perfect! However, if a man appears to be perfect, be alert.

Pastors/Preachers, Priests, Deacons, Politicians and distinguished business men sometimes hide behind their positions to divert truth. Of course all of them aren’t corrupt, (except maybe politicians) but we should never let ourselves be blinded due to a position.

I don’t know about you, but when I see someone who is too perfect I get suspicious. I may not see anything obvious, but something in my spirit says be careful. Some of you may have had this intuition before you got married, but ignored it. I’ve known many people like this and usually something does come out later. I don’t think I ever have to worry about people thinking I’m too perfect because I have way too many faults. However, if you do, call me and I’ll straightened that out real quick.

Have you ever talked with someone and they are constantly saying stuff like, “Praise God, Amen or Hallelujah?” You could be telling them about working on your septic system and all you hear is, “Praise God, Amen or Hallelujah.” It’s really annoying and of course it makes me very suspicious. This is how I remember some of my pastors in the past. It was what we expected from them because this was the church language. I don’t feel like we gave them a chance to be real and genuine. We believed a pastor had a special connection with God and had a natural ability to be better than us. We denied them the right to be human. I think this was what they were taught to believe as well. That’s a lot of pressure!

We may think we hide things from man, but we will never hide things from God. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b.

We can be assured that neither we nor anyone else will get away with anything. The truth will eventually come out. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7,8

Monday, December 7, 2009


All of us at one time or another has endured some suffering. It could be physical illness or pain from an accident or even someone deliberately trying to hurt you. It could be emotional suffering from loss or verbal attack. Some may be suffering from mental and emotional illness due to depression and many other sources. Many of us feel we’ve endured spiritual suffering from attacks of fear or Satan. Many of these things we can’t do anything about because these were problems brought on us from an outside source.

There is a suffering we can do something about and I think this is where most of my suffering is rooted. This is due to expectations. When we believe or want something to happen in a certain way we have planned and it doesn’t happen the way we thought it should, then it brings on suffering and disappointment. This is a suffering we do not have to endure.

Did you expect to get that certain job or career and it never happened? When you got married did you have all kinds of expectations on having a perfect marriage and living happily ever after? What about your children? Did you expect them to love school, get a college degree or have a substantial position of some type especially following in your footsteps? Did you expect them to be a strong Christian walking close with the Lord? Do you expect your children to be grateful for all the sacrifices you’ve made for them? Did you expect to get that new house or car? Did you expect to get that raise or promotion? You see, when these expectations don’t come, they bring on disappointment and suffering.

I’ve experienced a lot of suffering from my own expectations. Nine years ago when I became a certified personality trainer I just knew that when I got back home and started having seminars, people would flock to hear this wonderful information. It didn’t happen. When I developed a seminar on boundaries, I thought the same thing and it didn’t happen. When I wrote a book on depression I believed it was going to be a big seller. Of course, disappointment and suffering was soon to follow.

Then there are those who give you expectations. Maybe someone told a person or you told someone they were going to be a great singer someday, all the time knowing they couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. This is called lying and giving false expectations. It’s disguised by saying, “Oh, I was just trying to be encouraging and nice.” I’ve know I’ve done the same thing. Maybe someone told you that you were going to be great at something and you feel as if you were not only a disappointment to them but to yourself.

Since my brief encounter with death one of the things I’ve heard a lot over the last year was, “I know God has a special purpose for you or you wouldn’t be here.” First of all this is not true. The only reason I’m alive is because God wanted me to be and nothing else. Not because He has great plans for me or anyone else. It’s simply because He is God and that’s enough. God is Sovereign! You may want to read Romans 9. One of my favorite scriptures as well as may be yours too is Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

This is where this really gets interesting for me. You may be saying, “Aren’t we are supposed to have hope. What is life without hope?” I want you to understand that hope and expectations aren’t the same thing.

“Expectations are when we expect God to follow our plans

And hope is when we are willing to follow His.”

There are some who say that since we are God’s children He wants to give us everything we want. The truth is He wants to give us everything He wants. His gifts are so much better than we could even imagine. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 One of the problems we have is we do not know how to ask for GOOD GIFTS. Our desires are usually selfish and materialistic. God neither thinks like us nor do we naturally think like Him. He wants so much for us to have the growth and maturity to think as He does. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

There is an old hymn that goes, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” When we learn to have all our hope in Him, this is when He can use us the most. I’m not going to say He is going to give you what you want, but He will always give us what we need. We need to set our hopes on something larger than expectation and that alone is Jesus. Years ago I thought I knew for the first time where I was going and what I wanted to do. Right now I don’t have a clue where my path will lead. That’s not my problem, that’s God’s. All I have to do is follow Him.

So are we not supposed to expect anything in life? Not necessarily. There are things we can expect God to do because He said it would happen. If you have accepted Jesus as your savior you can expect to go to heaven. Not because of anything you have done, but because of what He has done. If you have not accepted Jesus then you can expect to go to hell. Jesus said to expect Him to return someday and I do. I just don’t know when. If Jesus doesn’t come back in my lifetime, that doesn’t mean He’s not going to.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Friday, December 4, 2009


Recently, I was watching the movie, “The Right Stuff.” You might have seen it. The movie was what prompted me to send out the questions I did a couple of weeks ago. “The Right Stuff” is a semi-historical-Hollywood account of the great steps in aviation and test pilots. One, of many, of the main barriers to be broken was the speed of sound, or also called, Mach 1. Chuck Yeager was the first to achieve this goal and break it. However, it wasn’t long before Scott Crossfield came along and broke the Mach 2 barrier also. Concerning space travel, from a list of new astronauts Alan Sheppard became the first man in space. Gus Grissom was the next with a suborbital flight followed by John Glen who was the first to orbit the earth 3 times. There were a lot of “firsts” during those days. Just a few years later Neil Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon. Do you know who the second man was? It was Buzz Aldrin. What about the guy who waited for them in the command module? His name was Michael Collins. Not related to flying: Did you know that Mark Spitz held the world record for winning 7 gold medals at the 1972 Olympics? This record held until Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in the 2008 Olympics.

There are several points to be made by these events, one being, only people who are interested in that particular sort of thing will remember the milestones. Since my background is in aviation, these things are interesting to me, but maybe not to you. The main person who remembers these accomplishments is the person who accomplished the goal. However, the people who you will remember are the one’s who have done something for or you’ve done something for them.

There is only one “First.” There will never be another man to be the first on the moon. The greatest differences between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin is one of the greatest ever faced from mankind’s point of view. Most people remember Armstrong, but have no idea who the second man was. Some are really concerned with making it into the history books. In the end, in reality, there will be no history. Just HIS story!

We might not have a choice in where we place in life and sometimes we do. Our competitive nature might improve us and other times destroy us. Someone once said that there are too many people in this world to compete with, and the only person I have to be better than is the person I was yesterday. My wife says I’m a worse winner than loser when we play games.

No matter what kind of records we set, there will always be someone to come along and break them. Were you the child that was compared to other siblings or are you the kind of parent who compares your children to each other and other children? Do you compare yourself to everyone else? Do you feel less than or more than? If so, then this is absurd. We just can’t compare ourselves or our children to anyone else on this planet because none of us were cut from the same mold. WE ARE INDIVIDUALS!

I know I can get caught in this comparison dance as well as anyone else. Then I have to step back and remember this person is not me and I am not them. You are the only one that can let others put you down and make you feel inferior. No one else can do it. What do you believe? Why do we give others this power?

Mankind’s opinions are completely restricted to mankind. The only opinion that really matters is God’s. A thousand years from now it’s not going to matter who received gold medal and who set certain records or who was the wealthiest person in the world. In a thousand years the only thing that will matter is where you are, Heaven or Hell? The only thing we can take to Heaven with us is our children and hopefully several others.

I’m not against competition and it does have its place. However, we shouldn’t let it control us. We need to control it! What we might use to help us to better ourselves could also bring out the worst in us.

Recently my wife and I got a Wii sports and Wii Fit. At first we competed with each other, but when you have the record the only one to compete with is yourself. I ask, “Can I do better than I did yesterday?” This should always be our spiritual goal. We need to ask, “Am I closer to God today than I was yesterday?” It’s a little like the Army slogan, “Be all you can be!” Wouldn’t it be beneficial if we were all deaf to those spreading their negative poison?

There is another thing we older folks with health problems and such have a tendency to compare ourselves to: What we used to be or what we used to do. “Our past selves” I know from experience this type of contemplation can lead to depression. We must do our best with what we have right now. Easier said than done right? Our only hope exists in God and through His Holy Spirit we can accomplish this.

Here is a verse I have to remember frequently because I have a tendency to forget:

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12