Let Them Go???

There is an old saying that goes, “If you love something, let it go….”? May I just suggest that letting it go is about as stupid as it gets (pardon my use of the “S” word). If you love something, especially someone, hold on tight! Not so tight that you squeeze the stuffing out, nor so grippingly smothered that there is no breath left in there, but just hold them. People and things which are loveable are getting hard to come by these days. For that matter, “love” has been receiving a less than Biblical definition lately as well. Even with that reality, “letting go” happen far too easily.

When a mother holds her baby, she holds him gently enough that he can wiggle, yet tightly enough that he can’t wriggle free. When daddy holds his daughter’s hand while crossing the street, she still is walking on her own feet, but she is never out of his hand.

That is the same way we ought tbar n andro hold the ones that we love. Loosely enough that that person can be a real person and have an identity of their own. Loosely enough they have freedom to pursue things that are not especially of interest to you. Loosely enough that their breath and yours may come from a different chunk of atmosphere on many occasions. Loosely enough that you can’t become paranoid at every hint of anything that does not specifically include you.

On the other hand, we need to hold on tightly. So tightly that there is never a chance for that one we love to ever get away. So tightly that when they feel like trying to get away, and they just might from time to time, they can’t. So tightly that no one can snatch them out of your hand, even though some might try this as well.

There should be room enough for personal identities and interests. But there should never be so much room that there lacks any identity of togetherness. And there should never be even the slightest thought of an identity which is absolutely devoid of the other. After all, God loves you, and that is how he holds you. He has no intention of setting you loose just to prove that you are His.

See You SONday!

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29 NKJV)

© SF Gallagher 2013

Finding New Truths

In season 6 of Star Trek, The Next Generation, there is a two part episode called “Birthright.” In this episode, Worf, the Klingon character played by Michael Dorn, encounters some survivors of the Khitomer Massacre – there were reported to be none (the Khitomer Massacre was a Romulan attack on the Klingon colony on Khitomer in 2346). These survivors were both Klingon and Romulan and there were those of subsequent generations that were of both races. This was shocking to Worf who only knew of hatred and animosity between the two races, resulting in a large part from the Khitomer event. Yet here were Romulans and Klingons living together and happily ever after.

From the point of view that Worf brings to the encounter, there were several things that were conspicously absent from this new culture. While Worf was versed and rehearsed on the literature and dogma of the Klingon people, there was no one telling these stories to the young. No one was telling them of their proud heritage. They were instead mixing theirs with the Romulans and clouding the picture. Worf begins to tell the stories. Though he is met with some resistance, he is allowed to continue.

 Enter Ba’el. Ba’el is young girl, of mixed blood, who is taken by the stories of Worf. She listens to them. worf-birthright1She remembers them. She meditates on them. She asks questions about them. Her curiosity has been awakened and she wants to know more, because the teller of those stories has a passion for and eloquence with those stories like no one she has ever heard. As the episode nears conclusion, Ba’el questions Worf:

      Ba’el: “These stories you tell, are they true?”

      Lt. Worf: “I have studied them all my life and find new truths in them.”

 How often do you find an audience for the timeless truths in the immutable Word of God? Are those truths alive in you? Have you studied them all your life? Are they fresh enough for you to tell them any time the moment allows? Are they so much a part of you that you can’t possibly allow them to be absent? And, perhaps more importantly, is the “Truth” of the most grand story ever uttered, the reality of redemption, so real that you can find new “Truths” as God reveals the deeper things of scripture to you?

 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way. Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.  (Psalm 119:33-40 NKJV)

 (c)  2013 SF Gallagher

The Right To Protect

The Right To Protect

Seems everyone is talking about their anger against those who wish to infringe our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I agree with them in principal. Taking away my rights because criminals abuse theirs is wrong on every front, no matter how good the intentions are. I could argue this further, —— BUT! —- In the protest in favor of the second amendment, which is so clearly spoken on many fronts, I fear that we have missed a more important need. This is the infringements on the first in the Bill of Rights, our right to free religious practice, and speech and press and assembly and so forth. How sad it is that the mindset of this great culture has moved from complete freedom to have whatever religious practices one chooses, without infringing on other’s freedom, to a belief that we need to be free of religion.  It is a much better defense of my home and family to freely practice my faith than to simply keep and bear arms. Though I choose both, I rely on God more than my little bitty gun. Besides, God is a better shot than I am anyway.

How clear it is that we have practically abandoned so many things that were once thought to be top priority. Faith, especially Christian faith, is considered less important than just about anything else. At least that is the way it plays out in the public square. Our fights are no longer cries of God’s true and undiminishing word, as they are of social injustice or political unrest. By focusing our attention on the lesser of the important, we are losing all of the important.

Let me try to make the point a bit more clear. Faith in the one true God, the Lord and creator of Heaven and Earth, and the ability to express that faith fully and freely is vastly more important than the ability to keep and bear arms, or any of the other items expressed in the bill of rights. The fact that faith and speech and assembly are the first of the bill of rights indicates that our national fathers may have thought so as well. If Christians would practice that faith just as it is given that we should in the Bible, the other questions would likely never be given an opportunity to be on the floor for discussion.

syap 2013Do you want to protect your rights? Do you consider them to be God-given rights? Then be sure that, when you take a stand, you stand for the most important things first and most strongly.

 Today, students all over this country have gathered in light of their right assembly, expressing their freedom of speech as they practiced their freedom of faith. They prayed for their schools, their teachers, and one another among other things. They did not need a gun to do that. Pay attention. If we give away the first, we erode the others more quickly than any politician ever can. Living for God is the best protection for everything else. Nothing else compares.

See You SONday!

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12:29-31 NKJV)

  © 2013 SF Gallagher

He Ran Mine First


I attended the re-inaugural OBU Summer School for Pastors in July of 2012. After the first night, the group of pastors, tired from hours of sitting in a classroom and full of new information joined together in the lobbyobu crest of the dormitory (which happened to be a girls dorm – there is another story in that I guess), got online with our computers and shared whatever wisdom any of us could. There was one pastor who had other things on his mind for that 100 degree plus July evening. He laced up his red running shoes and went out to tackle some pavement.

As he went out the door, several of us asked him to run one for us. He smiled and said he would as he left. When he returned, I asked this pastor that I only knew from the day’s conference, “Did you get mine?” He quickly responded, looking straight at me, “Yeah, I got yours first.”red shoe

The next morning as we gathered in our classroom for the day’s lectures, we had prayer time together and, you guessed it, his prayer was for me. I am very grateful for someone who will run my mile first, then intercede on my behalf before the Father.

There is something of Christ in that fellow pastor whose name I don’t even recall.  I just hope I can show some of that to someone one of these days.

See You SONday!

© 2013 SF Gallagher

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 NKJV)

He Knows I’m Falling

In the 1957 film The Spirit of St. Louis James Stewart portrays Charles Lindbergh in his struggle to make his New York to Paris flight, the first solo transatlantic crossing. During the course of events portrayed, there are several flashback scenes which help to describe the struggles that led to the triumph at the end of the movie.

 One such flashback shows the young Lindbergh giving a flying lesson to a priest. The cockpit conversation turns to God – Charles Lindbergh was not known as a great man of faith. I enjoyed the way the priest makes clear why God is worthy of being the object of his faith. Here are a couple of lines from that dialogue;

 Lindbergh – Suppose you 1957_gallery_spirit-of-st-louiswere up in the air and the engine conked out and you were falling out of the sky, do you think God would help you then?

 PriestI can’t say yes or no … but He’d know I was falling.

 Isn’t it enough to know that God knows when we’re falling? I suppose that it should be enough, but there are times when it just doesn’t seem to be so. There are times that we want, and believe that we need more than simply the knowledge of His knowledge. After all, I have seen many airplanes falling from the sky thanks to photographers who knew that the planes were falling and could do nothing but watch and document. If watching is all that God does, is that enough?

 The theologian in me wants to say that it is, but the weak and wounded child in me wants to cry out at the top of my lungs, “No, I need more!!!!” And the reality is that God offers more. But, sometimes, before He gives us the “More” it is necessary that we become content with simply knowing that He knows. Then, be very attentive because God will always be near. He is not known for being just a spectator.

See You SONday!

 I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord  I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul.

 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.” (Psalm 142 NKJV)

 (c) 2013 SF Gallagher

The Best Inheritance

None of my family, neither my parents nor their parents, has ever been accused of being rich by any stretch of the word. So it stands to reason that when a family member passes away, there is no expectation for an inheritance of huge monetary worth. Since there is no expectation, there is no disappointment.

 Such was the case when my Granny passed away. She lived the last years of her life in a small retirement apartment and then in a nursing home. She left very little. But she did leave a couple of things behind. I got my little bit just like all the rest of us.

 At the home of one of my aunts, we were going through some of Granny’s left overs and there was this little blue glass jar. It was a Mary Lowell Hand Cream jar – Granny was forever putting lotion on her hands. It held a few buttons and a couple of little Granny JarChristmas type jingle bells. I am pretty sure that she never threw a single button out – ever. Nobody wanted that little jar, so I piped up and said I would take it. I took my little jar back home with me and set it in a place where I would see it once in a while. It would make me think of Granny for those moments when it caught my attention. It is my singular portion of the inheritance, well almost.

 One day, when I picked up my little blue jar and held it in my hand I remembered a conversation Granny had with me shortly after I surrendered to the ministry. My mind was taken back more than 20 years to that conversation about our family heritage. In that brief moment stolen from the din of many members of our huge family gathered for one of those holiday get togethers, Granny told me that I was now number nine in a long line of Baptist preachers. It took more than twenty years and the task of officiating her funeral service to bring me back to that conversation.

 I began to dig into my family heritage a short time later. That research showed me that nine generations back near Pickens, South Carolina, there was an illiterate itinerate Baptist preacher, John “The Ten Shilling Bell” Chastain. He founded and pastored the oolenoymOolenoy Baptist Church in 1795. I have found a person with the title “Reverend” or the certain probability of being a preacher in every generation since.  That along with Granny’s word is enough to convince me. I am a ninth generation Baptist preacher.

The research is ongoing. In fact, I stopped in the middle of this writing to send a question that came to mind as I wrote. I have found though that I have a heritage of faith that goes back to a man born in France around the year 1600. His family was persecuted for their faith. They were known as Huguenots. What a rich heritage I have!

I come across that little blue jar from time to time. And when I do, I think of my Granny who told me about my heritage of faith. That is the best inheritance I could ever want. It is much bigger than anything that will fit in any little blue jar.

See You SONday!

A Word About Faith

In the whole context of the couple or three “Faith and mountain” passages, did any mountain ever get moved? In all of the several “Faith made whole” passages, is it that faith which did the healing? Does faith really feed, or does God? Can faith move a mountain, or can God? Can faith redeem or does God redeem through it?

There are many who have their faith in whether they can muster enough belief. Theirs is actually a pretty weak faith in my estimation. It is a faith in faith, and faith alone is never the issue. This kind of “believe it enough to make it so” thing is a faith killer for many. It teaches them that it is up to them to be strong enough to make it happen. They have to hold on tight enough or wrestle long enough for their desired result to be seen. It also gives them permission to tell God what they want to happen and expect His sovereignty to have no place in the arena of their hopes and desires. If they are not strong enough, or can’t hold on tight enough, or whatever it takes, their faith must be faulty. Could it be that it is not what God was willing to do in the first place?

I have never been convinced that this is what God is teaching in these lesson passages about faith. In fact, I am really not sure if I can actually have enough faith to really make anything happen. That’s just not what I find the point of these passages to be. Many today have moved the object of their faith away from God and that simply has to be wrong.

For faith to have any value there must be something bigger and better than that which can be seen or touched in which to have that faith. It is just not enough to believe. One must believe in something – and in the case of the follower of Jesus Christ, that something better be someone and that someone better be God.

Be sure to keep the attention on God and not on either faith or the things that God honors our faith to do.  It is god who heals the sick. It is God who forgives sin. It is God who removes mountains. It is God who repairs the broken heart. It is even God who pays the bills. You can’t believe enough to make any of it happen unless it is God who does it. Have faith in Him.

Being a lover of hymns, I have to love the way B. B. McKinney penned it in this great hymn.

Have Faith In God

Have faith in God
When your pathway is lonely
He sees and knows all
The way you have trod
Never alone
Are the least of His children
Have faith in God
Have faith in God 

Have faith in God
When your pray’rs are unanswered
Your earnest plea
He will never forget
Wait on the Lord
Trust His word and be patient
Have faith in God
He’ll answer yet 

Have faith in God
In your pain and your sorrow
His heart is touched
With your grief and despair
Cast all your cares
And your burdens upon Him
And leave them there
Oh leave them there

Have faith in God
Tho’ all else fail about you
Have faith in God
He provides for His own
He cannot fail tho’
All kingdoms shall perish
He rules He reign
Upon His throne

Have faith in God
He’s on His throne
Have faith in God
He watches o’er His own
He cannot fail He must prevail
Have faith in God
Have faith in God

“Have Faith In God” © 1934. Renewed 1962 Broadman Press (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

See You SONday!

And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” (Luke 8:24-25 NKJV)

© 2013 SF Gallagher

A 2BChurch Policy Upate

Today 9-11 I have been inundated with some Chinese or Korean text or something (I do not read any of the Asian languages) trying to post on this site. Since I can not read it, I certainly can not allow it.


Therefore, for at least a little while, all users who wish to post must be registered and signed in in order for their post to even reach the moderator. I hope this does 2 things, (1) increases the user list, and (2) keep the spam off this site.




In The Perfect Church

In no particular order, here are some things that I have either thought or heard which can describe the perfect church. If you know where this church meets, please don’t post it anywhere. The rest of us will ruin it.

In The Perfect Church…

  •  People regularly come to Christ, and testimony is given about it.
  •  The custodial team cares that the building and grounds are ready for use rather than who left them not so.
  •  The pastor would be expected to preach the entire Word of God rather than just the entertaining parts.
  •  The folks would care more for people than for property.
  •  There would never be a single decision made solely on the basis of the availability of resources, lack thereof nor the amount needed.
  • Traditional and contemporary styles are never thought about as having very much relevance.
  • There is an acute and overriding awareness that, with very few exceptions, there will be a need for this church to exist 30 years from today.old-church-pews
  •  A complaint is brought by the person complaining to the person about whom the person is complaining, and no one else.
  • Prayer request time is never a gossip time.
  •  People assume every line in the Bible to be true.
  •  People assume every line of the Bible is relevant.
  •  Truth matters more than feelings or popular opinion.
  •  Fellowship does not necessarily always involve food.
  •  The choir leader does not need a degree in Kindergarten.
  • The bus is always left clean and full of fuel.
  • Someone who stumbles in their walk is always gently lifted to his feet.
  •  The pastor never feels like writing that Monday morning resignation letter.
  •  The accused is never convicted without proper, Biblical process.
  •  It is not necessary to fight God’s people to do God’s work.
  • Worship is not thought of only in terms of music.
  • The clock is not an active indicator of the quality of a sermon.
  • Each person serves within his gifted passion rather than his guilted position.
  • Every member tithes.
  • God’s way is more important than any other option.
  • The preacher and the musicians are not expected to be simply entertainers.
  • The Biblical models of authority and leadership are simply experienced and never need defending.
  • Peace at any price is never considered to be worth the cost.
  • Whatever it is, it is done with excellence or not done at all.
  • The leaders are expected to be human.
  • People who don’t fit in, do.
  • Unity matters more than polity.
  • Something broken can be repaired without official church action, even if it costs a lot of money.
  • Christ is exalted and nothing else matters in comparison.

Here is what Jesus thought the perfect church would be like:

  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

(John 17:20-26 NKJV)

See You SONday!

(c) SF Gallagher 2013

How To Have Great Kids

There are no absolute guarantees when it comes to child rearing, but here are some suggestions that just might be worth hearing.

  1. Be 182% committed to being married to the person to whom you are nowjust-married1 married, and to do so by God’s standard and not man’s. If you are not married, you should not be thinking about kids this seriously anyway. Your concern should be on either receiving the gift of the right spouse from God or remaining in possession of the gift of singleness – and childlessness – until God does differently for you. Be sure it is God who does it. You may think that 182% is not possible, but that is the point. Be so absolutely committed that any thought of anything else is not possible. Be sure that your spouse has the same commitment as well. Man’s standard leaves room for the marriage to break up. God’s standard does not. It really is that simple.
  2. Believe that it is God’s plan for the husband to be the head of the family. Not the “Lord of the Manor” but the person responsible before God for that home. As such, he needs to be in charge so that he can be accountable. Some here would defend manhood and put qualifications on the statement. But I simply assert that this is God’s plan. Since I did not invent it, I need not justify it.
  3. Commit that as long as there are children in the home – even after they go to school and become teen-agers – mom stays home with the kids, and dad does whatever is necessary so that mom can stay home. This must occur without dad being gone all the time too. One can not be the head of a home that he only visits. It has been argued that this simply is not possible in the economy of today. I’ll argue that it is very possible, especially if your kids are more important than things.
  4. Learn God’s purpose for your children great kidsand bring them up with that purpose in mind. They are to occupy the Earth. They are to leave the nest. They are to raise their own families. They are to magnify the God who created them. They are not to stay your baby forever, and you are not meant to raise theirs.
  5. Never expect your children to either understand or solve your problems. That is your job for them. They are not your sounding board,  nor  your counselors, nor best friends nor confidants. Don’t dump on them. Raise them.
  6. Be married before allowing any possibility of needing to know how to parent. Enough said.
  7. Know the difference between discipline and punishment. Never simply punish, and employ discipline when nothing is necessarily wrong. Teach all the time. It will make learning easier for them.
  8. Be firm and consistent, and start early with this. What is cute for that toddler is dangerous for the teen. Teach them young. That which is a simple lesson to the little one can be a painful or even impossible lesson for them just a few years later.Bethy Blue
  9. Expect excellence – not perfection. Teach them to give their all and do their best every time. To demand more is abusive.
  10. Don’t raise them on Facebook, or in your gossip group. Let them have the chance to tell their story as they want it told. Let them keep something that is embarrassing secret if they want it so. There is no place in scripture that tells us that our job as parents is to humiliate and embarrass our kids. That too may be a bit abusive, and just might cause them to keep something very important from you.
  11. Never make your children feel small. After all, everything you did today was not all that great either, and you are supposed to be the adult.
  12. Teach them the meaning of “No” and “Come” before they learn to talk or walk. Not “come — 1 — 2 — 3” and not “No unless you want to whine about it or throw a fit.” This may save their life someday. Let them know your words mean something.
  13. Don’t expect them to be adults at 13 years old. Let them be kids. They grow up more quickly than necessary anyway.
  14. Protect their innocence. The fact that their bodies are capable of reproduction does not necessitate a full knowledge of that art. Choose the right moment for that individual child to learn. Don’t believe the lie that every kid is going to be sexually involved so they have to learn it all by the age of eight. It is simply not true for more kids than the sexperts want you to believe. This requires a lot of work and supervision – I think that is called parenting. This is your job, not the school’s nor the church’s. Don’t give it away.
  15. Make everything about you be about them, not the other way around. This is not to suggest that you smother them and give them no space to grow. But it does mean that their birthday is not about your having given birth. Their musical talent is not simply a reflection of you having bought their lessons. Their great skills on the football field is not just yours handed down. And their times of misbehaving are not about how it will look to your friends if your daughter did that. It is about their character and their maturity and their talent and their ability. Parenting is all about the child and nothing about the parent. It is supposed to be that way.

I am sure that I have not exhausted this subject. There are many other Godly things that parents should do and be. And I am frankly not interest in what feels good or seems right to those who are supposed to know more that the rest of us. I want to know what God says. But, these principles represent a very high standard. If a parent is willing to go this far, I have a feeling that they will do whatever else it takes to have great kids.

 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV)

See You SONday!

(c) SF Gallagher 2013