Mercury Theater (Ezekiel 1:5-10)

Mercury Theater is branded in the memory of American ethos because of one infamous radio broadcast on Halloween eve, October 30th, 1938. It was an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” and was the genius work of a young Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater company. Wells adapted the classic novel and changed the setting to the true town of Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, in the United States. Although Welles issued a disclaimer at the beginning of the broadcast, averring this was a dramatic adaptation of the famous science fiction novel, many listeners missed this introduction or simply ignored it. The result was hysteria and panic when thousands thought the earth was being invaded by Martians. Many anxiously rushed to Grover’s Mill and imagined tall water towers as evidence of the invading Martian spacecraft.



Our imaginations can sometimes create a more frightening and sensational encounter than reality. Words cannot adequately describe everything and we allow our imaginations to fill in the gaps. The same story or production may result in many different and sometimes, contradictory interpretations, far removed from the original intentions of the author.


And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze.  Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle.

Ezekiel 1:5-10 (ESV)


Ezekiel was an eyewitness to the glory of God. His attempts to describe it, recorded in the entire first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, catapults the reader through a maze of wondrous images. For centuries, theologians and artists alike have attempted to interpret and reconstruct these surreal descriptions. The images have ranged from literal interpretations to flights of fancy with several pundits proclaiming that Ezekiel was describing an encounter with extraterrestrial aliens visiting the earth. I certainly do not wish to add to the confusion but present one animated interpretation of this epic chapter.


Ezekiel’s Vision Chapter 1


If Ezekiel’s descriptions are difficult to interpret, it is completely understandable. How can one ever fully capture the glory of God? As believers in Jesus Christ, we don’t have to imagine or conjure fantastical images of God’s glory. God, through His Holy Spirit, indwells within us and He reveals His glory through faith and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (ESV)


He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Colossians 1:15 (ESV)


We can know the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God through the unique revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. His glory and magnificent beauty are only truthfully represented by Jesus. While we do not presently see His face, we will behold His full glory someday in Heaven. Until then, His glory is manifest in our lives through the workings of the Holy Spirit, transforming and conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ.


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


Hawaiian Wedding Song (John 1:14)

It was three months before my wedding and I was visiting my father in Hawaii. Because of a medical condition, he was unable to attend our wedding and he wanted to bestow upon us a special wedding present. He excitedly handed me a cassette tape.


I was intrigued. “What is this, a collection of love songs?”


“You must promise me that you will not listen to this until your wedding reception!”




“You must promise! Not until the reception.”


My dad was a prankster and I was genuinely concerned that he recorded something embarrassing. “Dad, I need to know what this is! If it is something offensive…”


“Son!” My father interrupted me. “Just promise me you will not listen to it until you play it at your reception.”


“I promise, Dad!” I clearly had no options but to be the obedient and dutiful son.


On my wedding day, there was an undercurrent of anxiety as my wife and I entered the hotel ballroom for our reception. I thanked our wedding party and our guests and with a great deal of trepidation, I signaled to the DJ to play the cassette tape. To my horror, the sound of a toilet flushing, not once, but twice, echoed throughout the reception hall and welcomed the audience. My father began his narration. “The sound you are hearing is the waves crashing on the beach at Waikiki! Congratulations on your marriage! I’m sorry I could not be there but here is my wedding gift to both of you.” And then, in the most memorable moment of the reception, my father proceeded to play the ukulele and sing, “The Hawaiian Wedding Song.” His beautiful voice filled the room and tissue paper was in very short supply!


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (ESV)


My father could not physically be at our wedding but his loving and thoughtful gift assured us that his presence would be felt. God, our heavenly Father is like this as well. His physical presence is not present with us but He once walked the earth as a Man, witnessed by thousands of people. God’s gift is salvation and everlasting life through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. His gift and His presence will always be felt if we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.


Months later, my wife and I saw my father face to face and shared a warm embrace, thankful for the gift he gave to us. Someday, in Heaven, all believers in Jesus Christ will meet their Lord and Savior and be able to thank Him for sacrificing His life for our behalf.


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


“Please Stand!” (Luke 15:10)

The conference center was packed and buzzing with nervous energy. Our family was attending a reception for prospective applicants to their university. We knew it was special since not all of my daughter’s friends, who also applied to the college, were invited to this presentation As we found a seat, the lights dimmed and a slickly produced short film introduced the university, highlighting its strengths and unique qualities as well as broadly sketching the future plans. In the end, the university Chancellor appeared was introduced to warm applause. The Chancellor surveyed the audience and with a smile, declared, “Will all the student applicants please stand!” My daughter and hundreds of other students stood up. “Ladies and gentleman. Please give a hand to all the applicants.” We all politely obliged. “You were all invited here because you represent our top applicants to our university.” He paused and flashed an even broader smile. “Congratulations. You are all accepted to the university! You will receive a confirmation by email in two days but we wanted to welcome you in person!”


I immediately turned to my daughter who was beaming. We were dumbfounded! What a classy and memorable way to announce a college acceptance. It made a very special event an unforgettable event. My daughter was being applauded by the very people whom we were seeking approval! That sounds familiar!


Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:7 (ESV)


Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Luke 15:10 (ESV)


These quotations by Jesus Christ have always warmed my heart. There is applause in Heaven when a single sinner repents. It almost seems incomprehensible that Heaven would literally stop and applaud a sinner who confesses their sins and repents. And yet, Jesus raises this act of contrition to this lofty height. Why? He loves us so much that He lived a life as a man, completely obedient to God, His Father. He was sinless and was led to die a painful and humiliating death on the Cross, receiving the full penalty of our sins, a penalty all of us justly deserved. Three days later, He was resurrected from the dead proving to all Creation that by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have salvation and eternal life.


Our family will never forget the day that a university honored its applicants. I will never forget the day I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. On that day, God honored me. I will be eternally grateful for His grace and mercy.


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


“How Can I Be An Influencer?” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

“Dad! This is the same brand that my friend is promoting!”


My daughter and I were browsing a mall store when she pointed out a counter of neatly stacked moisturizers and lotions. “Which friend?”


“You know, Sally, in my class.”


“Why is Sally promoting these? Someone is paying her to do this? Is she a model?”


“No Dad, she is an influencer!”


“Excuse me, an influencer?”


“Companies pay people who have a lot of followers on social media to use their products. That’s why she’s always posting photos of herself using this moisturizer, eating at different restaurants, wearing different clothes.”


My eyes opened wide as I struck a pose. “Hey! I want to be an influencer, too! I want people to pay me to use their products!” Then I had an epiphany. “I know, I can be an influencer for dermatopathology!” I pretended I was sitting at my microscope and spoke in a rehearsed voice over. “Everyday I am making life-changing decisions with my microscope. That’s why I only use Premium Microscope products!”


Rolling her eyes, my daughter informed me, “Dad! It doesn’t work that way! You have to be popular!”




For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
1 Corinthians 3:4-5 (ESV)

During the early years of the Christian Church, believers were forming cliques, centered around the different prominent personalities and leaders like Paul and Apollos. Paul recognized the danger of following different personalities-the early influencers of the ancient world. He redirected everyone’s attention to the true influencer, Jesus Christ.


I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (ESV)


I may not be able to become an influencer in the same manner as my daughter’s friend on social media, yet God has shown me a better way. How can I be an influencer?


The answer begins with the verse that ends every blog.


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


“The One Stock To Own! ” (Matthew 6:19-21)

To Millennials and Generation Z, mention AOL and they may think it is an acronym like LOL, but for an older generation, it was once the gateway for them and millions of others to connect to the internet. In its prime, AOL or America Online was the premier computer application that allowed users to access the internet. At the height of the internet craze in early 2000, AOL was valued at $125 billion dollars and the poster child of the rise and seeming dominance of the internet. The company shocked the financial world when it acquired the venerable media giant Time-Warner forming a new company called AOL-Time Warner. I will never forget seeing a popular business magazine cover touting AOL as the one stock to own for the next decade. By 2003, the dot-com stock mania had burst and the new company’s worth had declined by nearly $200 billion dollars. By 2009, the two companies quietly parted ways. In 2015, the tables had completely turned and AOL was now the company being acquired, this time by Verizon. I never read a mea culpa issued by that magazine, after their audacious recommendation. Buyer beware, indeed!


There is a real danger when the popular press hypes a stock. If everyone is touting an investment, it may be time to sell. Joe Kennedy, the father of President John F. Kennedy, was a successful businessman who preserved the Kennedy family fortune by selling many of his stocks before the great stock market crash of 1929, that heralded the start of the great depression. He gave this sage advice, still relevant for today. “Taxi drivers told you what to buy. The shoeshine boy could give you a summary of the day’s financial news as he worked with rag and polish. An old beggar who regularly patrolled the street in front of my office now gave me tips and, I suppose, spent the money I and others gave him in the market. My cook had a brokerage account and followed the ticker closely. Her paper profits were quickly blown away in the gale of 1929.”


Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)


There are very few investments that are guaranteed to succeed. Jesus Christ warned His disciples of the ephemeral nature of seeking financial gain through the material possessions of this life. Instead, He instructed them to seek ways to advance the Kingdom of God on this earth, laying up treasures in Heaven which will never be destroyed or stolen. How does one do this? By confessing and repenting of one’s sins and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the greatest treasure of salvation and eternal life will be yours.


There is no one stock to own nor is there is any guaranteed investment. Only faith and belief in Jesus Christ will guarantee everlasting peace and happiness.


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


“$2.90 An Hour?” (2 Thessalonians 3:10 )

“$2.90 an hour? No way!”


My friend stared at me in disbelief. “Yes, I was making minimum wage in the summer of 1979, working for a company in Hawaii.”


I still didn’t believe him. “I still have my first pay stub from my first job working at a fast food restaurant in Hawaii, during that same time period. There is no way the minimum wage was that low!”


“Go check it and see!”


He was correct. Forty years ago, the state of Hawaii and the federal minimum wage was $2.90 an hour. My decaying neurons and dendritic connections had failed me once again. At that time, I was living at home, enjoying the summer before my senior year in high school. I was fortunate to not have to work to survive but to gain practical life experience. Frankly, when I received my first paycheck, I felt very rich, but it was a false sense of security with no financial responsibilities. I didn’t have to pay rent, purchase groceries, pay for my car-all of the expenses that any working adult is familiar. Years later, when I was an intern in Denver, Colorado, I learned what it was like to live on a fixed income, responsible for all of my expenses, and it was definitely not like my high school experience. I slept on the floor of my rented apartment, ate nearly all of my meals at the hospital which were partially subsidized for the medical residents, and walked to the hospital as often as I could to save money on gas. Ironically, in adjusted dollars, what I was making was very close to the minimum wage that I was making eight years earlier, but I worked twice as hard to earn it. It was not easy and there were many days that I was unsure whether I would make it through the month.  I had no false sense of security, no safety net, just grateful to work and earn my money to be completely independent and make a living.


For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (ESV)


With rare exceptions, nearly all of us need to work to make a living. Even during the time of the early Christian Church, the Apostle Paul recognized that there were some individuals who chose to not work, relying upon others to support and subsidize their lives of idleness. In other passages, Paul is clear that we have an obligation to support those who are physically unable to work and to care for society’s disenfranchised such as widows and orphans. However, if we are capable of working we should. This honors God who gives us life and the skills to serve Him in His Kingdom on this earth.


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


“What Are You, Japanese?” (Luke 16:8-9)

From 2012-2015, the state of California enacted a statewide ban on serving foie gras. Yet, some creative restaurants found a way to skirt the law. One restaurant featured an intriguing offer on the menu: order a glass of Riesling wine and it will be served with a complimentary serving of seared foie gras on brioche toast. My wife and I looked at each other with a quizzical look which caught the attention of the owner. He strode over to our table and pointed to the offer.


“And if you don’t want the glass of Riesling, we will just serve you the foie gras.”


We suddenly understood his clever plan, sharing a smile with him. He winked at both us and said, “What are you, Japanese?” I nodded, unsure where he was going with this.


“I’m French! How can I not serve foie gras in my own restaurant? It would be like you not serving rice in your own home. It is part of our culture!”


I don’t condone the restaurant’s owner behavior but he did have a point as he appealed to our cultural upbringings. He was very clever to exploit a loophole in the existing law.


…For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

Luke 16:8-9 (ESV)


Jesus recognized that people will concoct shrewd machinations to skirt existing laws. As believers in Jesus Christ, we live in a world where others may not share our same values or customs. We are to be respectful and not ignorant of their dealings but need to have our own values firmly rooted in Jesus Christ so that when these schemes fail, we are there to support them and share the Good News and hope of Jesus Christ to a lost world.




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


Overplayed (John 3:16)

“Not that song again!”


My friend and I were listening to the iconic love theme from the movie, “Titanic”. Sung by the incomparable Celine Dion, her rich and beguiling voice filled the room with the strains of the familiar, “My Heart Will Go On.” Over twenty years later, it is still a magnificent song sung by one of the greatest female vocalists of our time. Images and literary allusions to the Titanic filled the airwaves and popular press at that time and underlying it all, this irrepressible song. It was repeatedly played on every radio station, and it was too much. It was overplayed and it was not soon that I would switch the radio station if it came on.


What is the definition of overplayed? Clearly, the answer is subjective. For some, the answer is simple, overplayed means they never want to hear the song again. Ironically, there are many songs that fell into this category for me but recently, I have been listening to a radio station that has reprised many of these songs, much to my delight. I was struck with the fact that although many of these songs fell into my definition of overplayed, now, I have a desire to listen to these songs once again. Like “My Heart Will Go On”, I find myself enjoying the nuances of the song that originally led myself and millions of others to fall in love with it. What is the difference? Perhaps revisiting an overplayed song through the filter of time and a lifetime of experiences may make it palatable once again?


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (ESV)


Even if one is not a believer in Jesus Christ, most are familiar with this verse. At nearly every major sporting event or public assembly, a placard proclaiming this well-known Bible verse is displayed. Cynics and critics may roll their eyes at this sight of this verse. Not again, they declare. With so much familiarity, the verse is usually ignored, much like an overplayed song. Is this message no longer relevant?


There are many familiar themes in the Bible such as love, redemption, reconciliation, salvation, and fellowship. Yet the entire Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ and the Bible, is encapsulated in this verse. This theme is present in every book of the Bible, from the Old to the New Testament. In a sense, it is overplayed because God is reassuring all of us that His grace and mercy will always be manifest through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. If we seek eternal life and salvation, God is offering it through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.


Is this verse overplayed? Hardly!


It is not played enough!


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


Why Did It Have To Happen This Way? (Hebrews 4:15-16)

“I can’t believe in Christianity! If Jesus was God, how could He suffer and die like an ordinary man? Why did it have to happen this way?”


I was attending a seminar given by a well-known evangelist and apologist for the Christian faith. This young man was vexed by the claims of Jesus Christ and he vehemently objected to one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity. How could God suffer and die a humiliating death?


His question resonated with me because I wrestled with a similar question when I was searching for reasons to believe in God. It was absurd that an omnipotent God could become human. It was even more absurd that He could die and then be resurrected.  But as I wrestled with these seeming incongruities, it struck me, if God is omnipotent, wouldn’t He be able to become a man, live a sinless life, die, and be resurrected? If Jesus did not live as a man, how would I ever know if a life following Him is worth it if He did not experience it Himself?


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)


Why did it have to happen this way? There was no other way for Jesus to prove that He could reconcile the rift that sin had torn between God and man. Jesus asks all of us, “Am I worthy to receive your love and trust?”


Yes, Lord Jesus.


Come quickly! Amen!


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


“I’m Upside Down!” (Isaiah 57:15)

If you stand in front of your average child and inform them you are upside down, they will undoubtedly look at you and laugh declaring that you are standing upright. If you state this to an older adult, they may shake their head and offer their sympathies, surmising that you are in some financial trouble. As many home and property owners know, upside down implies the amount owed on a mortgage loan for a property is more than the property is worth. It may be possible to ride out this financial crisis but for some, a sale at a loss may be the only feasible solution.


No one ever intends to be upside down on their mortgage but circumstances may change in our lives or in the local economy. With little or no warning, we may find ourselves in a dire situation that may force us into desperate measures. The analogy to my own spiritual life is sobering. I do not begin each day with the intention to commit sin yet how often, within a few hours of waking, do I find myself committing sins of commission or omission? Before I realize it, my spiritual life is upside down, trapped in a morass of sin. What hope is there for me?


For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)


I am upside down. I owe far more to Jesus Christ than I can ever pay. His sacrifice and death on the Cross took the penalty of sin that I rightly deserved. God, the Creator of the universe, took the initiative to come to earth as a humble and frail man, to redeem me of my sins. He revived my soul when I was dying in sin.


Thanks be to God that through His grace and mercy, He has made me upright so that I may be accepted as a child of God and fellow heir to salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.


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