Found In A Bowl (Luke 22:15)

The late chef and food celebrity Anthony Bourdain issued intriguing and sometimes abrasive comments as he wryly observed the food cultures and habits of our world. His acerbic wit galvanized this current generation of foodies, myself included, frequently laughing in agreement.


One of his witticisms resonated with me. To paraphrase Bourdain, he quipped that when the last book on food is written, the best meal will probably be found in a bowl. It is the kind of statement that is food (pun intended) for further thought and debate. I agree with the premise and believe its wisdom derives from the fact that most comfort food is served in a bowl. From rice and noodles to soups and stews-even if served in a three-starred Michelin restaurant with exponentially higher levels of preparation than a street vendor, these dishes all share a common theme-comfort and home, safety, security and rest.


The food is important but it is the company we keep, the relationships that intermingle with the flavors that evoke such powerful memories of comfort. Jesus Christ elevated this ideal when He shared His last meal with His disciples. In a few hours, He would be arrested and tortured, abandoned by His disciples and friends. How did He prepare His disciples for these traumatic events?


Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…

Luke 22:15 (NKJV)


Why did Jesus have such a fervent desire to eat His last meal with His disciples? He wanted to comfort them. He wanted them to always remember that His Body would soon be broken on the Cross but they were to take courage, He would conquer death through the Resurrection. In the years that followed, all of them would face persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, instead of despair, they rejoiced to be considered worthy to suffer for His Name. They clung to the memory of their last meal with Him, assured of even greater glories in Heaven.


Will the best meal be found in a bowl? Perhaps. But I am convinced that if you confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will gain salvation and eternal life and someday, will share the best meal you have ever experienced in His presence.




Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

Tecovirimat (Ephesians 6:16)

The FDA recently issued the following statement. “To address the risk of bioterrorism, Congress has taken steps to enable the development and approval of countermeasures to thwart pathogens that could be employed as weapons. Today’s approval provides an important milestone in these efforts.”


This new drug, Tecovirimat, will be used to combat a deadly disease that can potentially be used as a bioweapon. The unexpected twist is the targeted disease-smallpox. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared this disease eradicated in 1980 but there is a growing concern that the smallpox virus could be used as a bioweapon by a terrorist group. Currently, only two sources remain, the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia and the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR Institute) in Koltsovo, Russia. Clearly a great deal of resources were devoted to combat a disease that has not infected anyone in nearly forty years. The threat is real and the dire consequences of new infections warrant such extraordinary measures.


There are many dangers to my life that I have never encountered but the threats are real and I need to be prepared. I have maintained health and auto insurance but have thankfully been healthy and never been in major accident. What about spiritual precautions? Are there threats that I have never faced but are real and could result in serious or even deadly consequences?


Living in the United States, I have been blessed by the liberties granted to me by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. However, these freedoms have lulled me into complacency regarding my faith. Until recently, citizens have the freedom to attend any church, to pray in public, and to read the Bible. Yet, ominous signs are emerging and attacks are increasing, fueled by social media and cloaked by the anonymity of memes and pseudonyms. In the public eye, activists, under the banner of equality and inclusiveness, contradict their own ideologies, demanding restrictions and denial of religious liberties for Christians, as they promote their own agendas that should be welcoming and inclusive for all faiths.


In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…

Ephesians 6:16 (ESV)


Hopefully, we will never have to use Tecovirimat but if the smallpox virus is weaponized, we will know how to defend ourselves. The current trend toward repression and muzzling of religious liberties is growing. If an actual attack does occur, we already have the best and proven defense, the shield of faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


“You’ve Never Visited?” (John 20:27-29)

Our family recently embarked upon a summer road trip to visit college campuses in preparation for my daughter applying this fall. As we all shared in the collective excitement, it was a completely novel experience for me. Growing up in Hawaii, I attended a college in Southern California, but never had the opportunity to visit before my first day on the campus. During orientation week, I asked a fellow classmate where the nearest restroom was located.


“Mason Hall, you can’t miss it.”


“Where is Mason Hall?”


“You know, the registration office, where we started the campus tours.”


I was confused. “What campus tours?”


My new classmate looked at me with incredulity. “You’ve never visited?”


“No.” I sheepishly answered.


“How did you know you wanted to come here?”


“Uhhh…just reading stuff about it, hearing about it from others who attended the school.”


“Wow! Guess you had a lot of faith that you were making the right decision!”


My daughter and her peers can readily avail of today’s opportunities to tour prospective college campuses. Decades earlier, before the internet, all I could rely upon were recommendations from high school college counselors and friends of my father’s, familiar with the school. It was a different era and high school students from Hawaii rarely if ever traveled to the mainland United States to visit prospective college campuses. If it had not been for one of my father’s patients, whom he greatly respected, giving an enthusiastic endorsement of the college, I may never have attended my college. Her experiences resonated with my father and myself and I was unafraid to commit, even though I had never visited the campus.


Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

John 20:24-25 (ESV)


Centuries earlier, Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus was confronted with the decision to place his trust in the resurrection. In spite of the collective testimonies of the other disciples, Thomas refused to believe that His Master was alive unless he saw the risen Christ. Eight days later, his request was dramatically answered.


Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:27-29 (ESV)


Like my decision to attend a college that I never visited, we sometimes need to make decisions based upon the testimonies of others. When my spiritual journey began, God sent many dear brothers in Jesus Christ to help me understand who He is. Their testimonies and witness led me to make the most important decision of my life, to follow Jesus Christ.


For all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, God gives the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He is the assurance we need to commit and believe in Him. I have never seen Jesus Christ, but I know I will be sublimely happy when I am someday in Heaven in His presence. As Jesus told Thomas, God blesses all those who have never seen Him but have believed.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


Jam Session (Acts 17:22-23)

I have been honored to play with many excellent musicians in my life. Singers, drummers, bassists, guitarists, keyboardists and horn players-all of the encounters have blessed me with fond memories and contributed to my musical growth. While many of these sessions were collaborating on gigs or performances, others were informal jam sessions. During these jams literally any genre of music may be approached-think folk meets punk rock and the seemingly endless possibilities begin to emerge.


The key to a successful jam session is finding a common link, a musical bridge between disparate styles and approaches. One memorable encounter I had was with a keyboard player. He had a knack for inserting musical quotes into his improvisations. Familiar snippets of melodies of contemporary songs wound their way through his intricate reworkings of the songs we were playing. I enthusiastically responded and attempted to quote other songs. At one point, we were both quoting the same Beatle song, weaving the familiar melody atop a completely different harmonic background. Flashing a smile at each other while we played, we found our link, our musical connection.


So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

Acts 17:22-23 (ESV)


When the Apostle Paul entered the city of Athens, he carefully observed and studied his surroundings. He found a spiritual link, a connection to their citizens, by observing their objects of worship. He wisely proclaimed that one of their gods was, in reality, the One True God, not made by human hands. He eloquently presented the Good News of Jesus Christ and connected with a few prominent citizens who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.


If we pray to Him, God will always give us a spiritual link to anyone seeking the Truth. The Holy Spirit, who dwells within all believers, transforming and conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ, will also work in lives of all who are seeking the Truth.


In music, if one is willing to listen carefully, a connection often be made. In God, if one is willing to prayerfully listen and be sensitive to the needs of others, the Holy Spirit will provide the connection and lead the true seeker to the doorway to eternal life and salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


Fear and Comfort (Acts 9:31)

“And now the breathalyzer test!”


Our entire family dutifully obeyed. We understand the necessity of this test since one cannot be even slightly inebriated when climbing! Our family was preparing to participate in one of the great tourist attractions in Australia, climbing the great Sydney Harbour bridge. For about ninety minutes, several experienced guides would lead us along a walk under and on top of the world’s largest steel arched bridge, a peak of over 400 feet above the water. The only problem, I had a deathly fear of heights but in spite of this, I was able to complete the activity. Numerous precautions were in place with guidewires and the guides helping along the way. It was a healthy dose of fear knowing what could happen if I did not follow the rules but also a great sense of comfort knowing that a very strong tether was attached to a guidewire and to our guides. In the end, I had a wonderful experience and even managed to conquer some of my acrophobia!


So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Acts 9:31 (ESV)


When fear is the only motivating force, it may exacerbate one’s insecurities and weaknesses, often resulting in failure. Knowing there is no possible way to fail is a great comfort. Fear and comfort need to be mated. My relationship with God is very similar. If I only lived in the fear of punishment by serving God, my service to Him would be timid and powerless. I would be paralyzed with the thought that I would be disappointing Him and His Church family. Thankfully, through God’s grace and mercy, He provides the tether, the unbreakable guidewire-the Holy Spirit, the Great Comforter. It is when I disobey God and seek to walk without His Comfort, that fear once again grips me and I am certain to fail.


Walking in the fear and comfort of God, this is always the foundation for success!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


Lower The p-Value (John 20:30-31)

Over 96% of all peer-reviewed medical articles report a p-value of < 0.05. This value is generally interpreted that greater than 95% of the results proposed by a research article are likely to be statistically significant, or viewed from another angle, there is less than a 5% chance the results occurred randomly and by chance. It is a time-honored statistical threshold and there is a growing movement to debunk it.


Critics have cast aspersions that the p-values are subject to misinterpretation and overtrust. A better or lower p-value does not guarantee that all facts or potential biases were correctly reported. With some papers, the researchers may not have included results which could have raised the p-value, not reaching the critical threshold.


Recently a group of scientists has proposed lowering the p-value threshold for statistical significance from 0.05 to 0.005. In other words, if this new threshold is implemented, the results of a paper would have a greater than 99.5% likelihood of statistical significance. This action would shift one-third of past medical literature findings from significant to merely suggestive. Needless to say, this proposal is not universally embraced and detractors state that many important therapeutic articles may be dismissed with this new threshold. Critics contend that there are other statistical tests that could be used alone or in combination to replace or augment p-value testing.


At the heart of the issue are transparency and reproducibility. If the premise behind any paper is disingenuous or biased toward a certain result, more rigorous statistical thresholds will not correct the misinterpretations. If researchers withhold or delete data that does not support their hypothesis, a low p-value with statistical significance can be achieved. While this may lead to acceptance and publication of their results, later attempts to reproduce the research will likely lead to failure due to the flawed premise.


Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:30-31 (ESV)


The Gospel of John elegantly presents seven miracles performed by Jesus Christ, not written in a chronological sequence of events like the other three Gospels. The Apostle John, guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote the Gospel to encourage seekers and unbelievers to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It was a divinely selected set of Jesus’ miracles with an explicitly stated purpose and bias. This is the total transparency of the Gospel. John then invites all readers to believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. In so doing, they will have eternal life in His Name. This is the reproducibility of the Gospel. Read the Gospel of John, consider the claims of Jesus Christ, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. There is absolutely no randomness or chance associations. The p-value is 0!


Jesus Christ.


There is a 100% likelihood that He is God and the only path to salvation and eternal life!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.




Ground Zero (Nehemiah 8:7-8)

During my family practice elective in Pohnpei, Micronesia, the island was afflicted with a whooping cough epidemic. It was public health crisis and I was at ground zero. With close living conditions and poor hygiene, the cases were multiplying and overwhelming the limited health care resources we had on the island. The medical director of the hospital where I worked seized control and issued a directive.


Every health care worker was mobilized as we set up a massive screening station outside the hospital. Working through the familial ties all of the workers, nearly the entire island’s pediatric population was brought to us.  For hours, we took nasal swab cultures and sent them to the University of Hawaii to be analyzed by the public health department. Meanwhile, other workers manned a complex supply chain distributing antibiotics to stricken children and triaging the very ill to the hospital. Additional workers assisted with patient education, instructing the families with proper hygiene and preventive care with vaccination. The rest of the population supported all of us with meals and transportation. Within a few weeks, the epidemic was contained and the crisis resolved. The entire population participated. It was magnificent!


Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

Nehemiah 8:7-8 (ESV)


The Jews were granted a return to Jerusalem after seventy years of exile in Babylon. They found the city walls in ruin, leaving the once mighty city defenseless. Nehemiah organized the returning Jews by tribes and families and oversaw the rebuilding of the wall. Meanwhile, the threat of attacks from hostile neighbors was a constant threat and half of the workers were needed to stand guard, sword in hand to defend the city. In fifty two days, the wall was completed. It was an astounding accomplishment and Nehemiah knew what needed to be done next. He gathered the entire population before one of the restored gates and had the Word of God read aloud by Ezra the scribe. It was ground zero of this physical and spiritual

restoration and it was more than fitting that God be praised at that spot. Everyone who had worked together to restore the wall was now worshipping God by standing and reading the Word, assisted by dozens of teachers who interpreted and helped the people understand what they heard.
Like the entire population of Pohnpei that was mobilized to successfully resolve the epidemic, the entire population of Jerusalem came together to restore the city walls. God blessed their efforts and preserved the Jews. Even when thanking and worshipping God, it was a group effort.


When God directs us to accomplish a task, He will ensure its completion and success to bless us and establish His glory!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


Popcorn Memories (Revelation 21:4)

A venerable department store chain is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. In the past few years, hundreds of its stores have closed across the United States. Although the closings came as no surprise as retail shopping has been supplanted by internet commerce sites, it was with some regret when I learned of the closing of one of the stores in the largest shopping center in Honolulu, where I grew up.


During childhood shopping outings with my father, we always seemed to end up in that store and once we entered, headed straight for the candy counter. A relic of bygone times in department stores, the counter was hidden behind a labyrinth of checkout counters and racks of clothing, but no one needed directions since the pungent aroma of freshly popped popcorn was beguiling. The largest sized box was always ordered and my father and I bonded over the shared treat. Eating that popcorn seemed to melt away any anxieties I had at that time. Of course, at that young age, the most serious issues I dealt with was whether I would get a new skateboard or if I was allowed to stay out late with my friends.


It was a simpler period in my life when my most urgent needs and hurts could be fulfilled and resolved by a box of popcorn shared with my father. A wise man once wrote he wished there was a way to know we were in the good old days when we are actually experiencing them and before we left them! So true. My father, the department store, and the popcorn are gone. As life has grown more complex and complicated, I find myself yearning for those popcorn memories that can anesthetize me to the harshness of my present life.


Is there a better way?


He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)


Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, and evangelist wrote, “If relationships bring meaning to life, then the ultimate mockery of life is the reality that all relationships are either ruptured by sin or severed by death. Each of us longs for a relationship that cannot be victimized by sin or destroyed by death. That relationship can only be found with God.”


Tears, pain, death…all the result of broken relationships and fragile memories. Why do I seek permanence in the transient and wholeness in broken relationships? God offers a better way. By confessing and repenting of our sins, and trusting in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the eternal and completely loving relationship we were all created to enjoy can now be ours.


Popcorn memories are good, but with God, the best is yet to come!




Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


Now I See (John 9:25)

Before the internet, newspapers, or the printing press, all information was shared by eyewitness accounts and by word of mouth. To confirm the veracity of events or accusations, the Bible required two or more witnesses to vet accusations and allegations against one another. Thus, in the Gospel of John, it is instructive that everyone that Jesus Christ healed or revealed His divinity was well-known to the local community and the miracle could be confirmed by multitudes of witnesses.


The invalid healed at the pool in Bethesda had been there for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). The man blind from birth, whom Jesus restored his sight, sat and begged in the town every day of his adult life and his parents were well-known to all (John 9). This all climaxed with the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus and the brother of two of his followers, Martha and Mary. He had been dead for four days, with his funeral and entombment of his body witnessed by everyone in the city of Bethany (John 11:1-44).


If Jesus were a charlatan, it is highly unlikely He would have chosen to perform His miracles upon people who were so well known to the local community. A fraud seeking to deceive the masses would have chosen strangers that no one could vet or worse, have His disciples use actors as part of an elaborate farce to portray miraculously healed sinners.


…One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.

John 9:25 (ESV)


Jesus still performs miracles today, through the power of the Holy Spirit. His miracles are evidenced by changed lives freed from sin, broken relationships restored, and guilt, shame, and tears wiped away. The most compelling proof was the statement offered by the man blind from birth. When Jesus healed him, he was still unsure who healed him. But after the healing, his eyes were opened, physically and spiritually, and he recognized Jesus as His Lord and Savior. Need more witnesses? Seek out anyone who has truly confessed and repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. No one who is a true follower of Jesus Christ will deny the miraculous salvation that Jesus Christ has brought to their lives!


May all of us have our eyes opened to see the Truth about Jesus Christ!


He is God, Incarnate, and Eternal!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


Keyboard Courage (2 Corinthians 10:10-11)

The vitriolic attack instantly went viral over social media. It was a harsh tirade against the politician’s religious convictions and was immediately conflated with criticisms of her positions on jobs, healthcare, and education. Dozens of other joined in with hateful rhetoric that should embarrass even the most progressive minds.


Keyboard courage.


It is the confrontational and fearless attitude that someone portrays when they are able to anonymously make postings and entries to internet websites. It is a feckless false bravado emboldened by the veil of anonymity.


For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

2 Corinthians 10:10-11 (ESV)


The Apostle Paul was one the greatest evangelists who ever lived. His letters, directed by the Holy Spirit, comprise much of the New Testament of the Bible and are the basis of Christian theology. With soaring prose and the grandest defenses of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Paul’s letters were weighty and strong. His critics and detractors had to find ways to minimize his significance and teachings. They could never mount a direct attack upon his teachings so they focused upon his physical appearance and criticized his oratorical skills. Paul suffered for his faith in Jesus Christ. He had been whipped, shipwrecked, even stoned and left for dead. Some theologians and historians theorize that Paul may have been disfigured or even partially blinded by these ordeals resulting in a physical appearance and other ailments that invited mockery. Paul directly confronted these critics. Unlike his detractors, he did not make anonymous threats or instigate rumors. He denigrated the first-century version of keyboard courage and publicly challenged his critics to confront him in person.


The Apostle Paul could do this with confidence because he was completely assured of his faith and salvation in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He had given up everything, a life of wealth and prestige as a Pharisee, one of the leaders of the Jews. He was one of the most educated scholars of his time. Yet, all of these accomplishments, all of these accolades, he considered nothing better than rubbish compared to the unsurpassed knowledge of knowing Jesus Christ as God.


May we all have the courage to publicly declare our faith in Jesus Christ! Repent and confess your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Take a personal and public stand for God!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.