Something New

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:13

I parked the rental car at the trail head. We locked it up, loaded up our backpacks, and hit the trail!

John, Ed, and Clint above the river.

I’d say we walked about a mile or so. It took about an hour. But we were going over pretty rugged terrain that changed in elevation about 500 feet or so (in other words – we were on a semi-groomed trail going up and down). It was also pretty hot – about 95 degrees and no shade.

But it was beautiful!

We walked through a peaceful meadow. We took a switchback trail up to an overhang about 100 feet above our campsite and a bend in the river. Then back down to the river through a grove of birch trees.

Clint above the campsite.

We crossed the river at a point that was about 25 yards wide but it took us about a half-hour because the water was about 45 degrees (that’s really cold!) and we were barefoot (because we didn’t want wet shoes and socks) and the river stones were sharp!

But it was beautiful!

The camp site was a meadow on the banks of the river across from the 100 foot sheer rock face that we had been on top off about an hour before.

Our campsite from above.


We set up camp in the late afternoon, got a fire going to make supper and coffee, and then settled down for the evening. We were totally exhausted from the hike into the campsite but extremely happy.

As the sun set, the stars came out. Being about 200 miles from the closest city, there was absolutely no light pollution at all.

That night, if there was any doubt about our creator God, it was certainly dispelled!

Our days were filled with shorter hikes and fishing. Our evenings were spent studying Scripture and talking together.

Fishing in Idaho.

Not surprisingly, in that setting we talked about the new heaven and the new earth.

What would heaven be like?

When Jesus comes back, where will he be taking us?

Probably also not surprising, we all felt that heaven would be like where we happened to be at that moment.

It is a good question – what will the new creation be like?

“The new creation is described in ways that are both familiar and mysteriously unfamiliar. The Bible describes a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ in terms much like creation was before the fall, but entirely new and also different in certain ways.” (An Explanation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Field Test Edition, July 2016 © 2016 Concordia Publishing House. pg 105)

That was our thought out there under the stars in Idaho – that heaven will basically be the Garden of Eden before the Fall.

But “garden” doesn’t seem to cut it, does it? Mountains, rivers, star-speckled night skies, white sandy beaches, cooling waters, palm trees, babbling brooks, island paradise, ranches in the sky, on and on – let’s face it, heaven will defy description!

So, when will we get there?

That’s going to defy answering as well.

We do not know when the last day will come. But we do know that “we are currently living in the last days of the world and should be watchful for Christ’s coming.” (ibid pg 106).

How do we know that? Jesus indicates this in Mark 13 and Revelation 22, and St. Paul also talks about it in Romans 8.

What will happen on the Last Day?

  • Jesus will visibly appear in glory with His angels (Matthew 25:31);
  • the kingdoms of this world will give way to the everlasting reign of Christ and human history will come to an end (Revelation 21:23-24);
  • the dead will be raised, the bodies of all believers (those who are alive and those who are raised from the grave) will be glorified (1 Corinthians 15:51-52);
  • Christ will judge all people (Matthew 25:31-46);
  • Satan will be vanquished and banished forever (Revelation 20:10);
  • the current creation will be cleansed by fire and the heavens and earth will be made new again (2 Peter 3:7-13);
  • we will be reunited with all those who have died in faith (Revelation 7:9);
  • there will be a great feast with unending rejoicing (Revelation 19:6-9);
  • and God will dwell with us forever (Revelation 21:3). (ibid)

Certainly something to look forward to, don’t you think?

But in the meantime, let’s learn as much about Christ as we can. Let’s tell as many people about Christ as we can. Let’s follow in Christ’s footsteps in being compassionate, loving, and helpful to everyone we meet.

©2016 True Men Ministries


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It Can Only Get Better?

[Jesus] will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.   Philippians 3:21 

I’ve heard people bemoan that they feel things will not actually be better for their children or grandchildren when they grow up.

For a long time, in the United States especially, but probably throughout the world and throughout history, most people felt that life will be better for their children and grandchildren then it was or is for themselves.

I can appreciate that sentiment. Especially in the last one hundred years or so technology has made life easier, more comfortable, and especially more interesting.

But better?

Probably not.

There are a lot people who are of the opinion that the world is a better place today than it was five hundred, two hundred, and even one hundred years ago. There is the belief that it is inevitable that things will get better and better.

But there’s this little thing called the Second Law of Thermodynamics which basically says that all things fall apart and disintegrate over time.second-law-of-thermodynamics-equation

In other words, nothing lasts forever (which was the basis of the devotion here).

Which would naturally lead to the fact that this life doesn’t actually get better over time.

Things decay – buildings, bridges, roads, etc.

Ideas fail – philosophies, economics, social, etc.

Can we really expect good things for the future then?

The answer to that question – from the Christian perspective – is a resounding yes!

Even though people will get sick or grow old and die, death is not the end. And there will be an end to death one day.

When Jesus Christ makes his victorious and triumphant return, death will end for believers and eternal life will do away with the Second Law of Thermodynamics and all the others!

What can a believer in Jesus Christ expect?

“Jesus will raise my body from the earth and transform it into a glorified body for eternal life in the new creation.

“When I die, the God-given unity of my body and spirit will be broken. I will immediately be in the presence of Christ, in heaven, but my body remains in the grave until the resurrection.

“On the last day I will enjoy being with Christ in His new creation, in body and soul, forever.

“The present creation, like our own bodies, will be set free from its bondage to corruption and a new heaven and a new earth will come forth.  (An Explanation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Field Test Edition, July 2016 © 2016 Concordia Publishing House. pgs 103-104)

We don’t know when the Last Day will be, but we do have the promise that it will come.

In fact, Jesus says, “I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20)

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

©2016 True Men Ministries


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And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in April of 1945, the people of the United States went into collective shock.

For many people, Roosevelt was the only president they had ever known. He took office in 1933 and was the only president to serve twelve years.

Until April of 1945 it must have felt as if Roosevelt would be president forever!

In December of 1996, my wife and I took our son, Eddie, to make a visit to Santa Clause at the State Street store of Marshall Fields in Chicago. He would make


that visit for another nine years, being joined by his brother Kurt in 1999 and Mark in 2000.

But in 2006, we couldn’t visit Marshall Fields anymore. The store had been sold and renamed to Macy’s.

There are some things that seem like they are going to last forever, but they never do.

Buildings, houses, stores, teams (like the Baltimore Colts or the Lousville Grays) – none of these will ever last forever.

Today, in the United States – just days before a very vitriolic and contentious presidential election – some are asking if even the Christian Church will last in the United States. Some have been ringing the death knell of the Christian Church in the USA for years and by many indications it appears to be upon us.

“Will the Church always exist? Yes. The Holy Spirit will preserve the Church and keep it with Christ until He returns.” (An Explanation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Field Test Edition, July 2016 © 2016 Concordia Publishing House. pg 100)

However, we have been promised that nothing can destroy the Church – not outside forces like presidents, emperors, or governments and not even inside forces like apathetic or hypocritical Christians.

Jesus was very clear that not even the “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the Church].

Whew! That’s a relief!

But wait a minute. Before you get comfortable there, remember this:

We cannot expect the Church’s life to be one of continue peace and harmony!

We should “expect the Church in the present to be locked in a continual struggle with Satan as he lashes out desperately against Christ’s people” (ibid). The New Testament speaks of the life of the Church as one of warfare – Ephesians 6:12, 1 Timothy 1:18, 1 Peter 4:12-14, 1 Peter 5:8-9, and Revelation 12:12.

And while we can and should expect to celebrate victory in the end because Jesus Christ will return triumphant and victorious to take all believers in him to heaven, that isn’t yet.

In spite of elections, in spite of complacency, in spite of hypocrisy, in spite of spiritual warfare, we need to understand that nothing of this world will last forever, but the Church will because Christ is eternal and he is our Lord and Savior.

Fight the good fight and run the race with courage, confidence and strength!

©2016 True Men Ministries


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I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.   1 Corinthians 1:10

Where I live, if you like Major League Baseball you are either a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan.comiskey-park

The unwritten rule is that you cannot be both! You are either for the Northsiders or the Southsiders.

I grew up a White Sox fan. Some of my fondest early memories are going to Comiskey Park (the one they tore down in 1991) with my dad and brother.

I became a White Sox fan through my dad. He was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago and, thus, a White Sox fan.

Except for his father. My grandfather was the anomaly in my family. He was the only one on that side of the family to be a Cubs fan. I don’t know why that is, but I’m sure it’s a fascinating story.

I passed on my love of the Chicago White Sox – and baseball in general – to my own sons. Eddie & Mark both are White Sox fans and both play baseball. They are working toward playing professional baseball one day.

My wife – while not a fanatic – still likes baseball and even agreed to go to a White Sox game with me on our honeymoon, our 10th wedding anniversary, and our 25th wedding anniversary.

However, she’s from St. Louis and I always suspected that she was a Cardinals fan, deep down. But for the sake of family peace, she’s kept it well hidden all these years.

Then there’s Kurt. Kurt played baseball until he was in the 6th grade. He still likes going to games and keeping score. He indicated a love of the White Sox for all his life – until this past year.

He’s come out as a Chicago Cubs fan! What a year to do that, by the way!

At first, I thought that he was doing this just to be different, to set himself apart from his brothers and be his own person.

But then I remembered my grandfather. Kurt must have gotten a recessive gene passed down from my grandfather! I suspect that Kurt’s great-grandpa – whom he never met – would be proud of him.

Still, even though there is some division in our family as to baseball loyalty, it doesn’t drive us apart. We certainly do still love each other and nothing will ever change that.

Even though we have our differences, we still are a family. We continue to work and play together.

But we are not afraid of voicing our differences. We stand up for our teams – come wins or losses.

But this is baseball. In the end, it isn’t all that important and doesn’t affect our futures or our salvation.

But being a Christian does. Our Christian faith is about life and death. It is not something to be dismissed or sloughed off.

When it comes to our Christian faith and being a member of a particular Christian congregation and denomination, there are certain responsibilities that we should take very seriously. Such as:

  • We should continually pray for all our fellow Christians and work with them wherever possible to alleviate suffering within the world.
  • We should seek to prevent and heal sinful divisions between Christians and between church bodies that result from such things as political opinions, economic status, race, ethnicity, tribe, caste, and so forth.
  • We should express the unity of the church by practicing altar and pulpit fellowship with those church bodies with whom we have come to share a common confession of faith based on the Word of God.
  • When we experience disagreement with other Christians regarding the Word of God, we should not pretend that these divisions are unimportant nor give a false witness of unity by communing together.
  • We should lament doctrinal disunity among Christian churches and earnestly engage others in conversation with the sincere hope we can be reconciled and again commune together.
  • We should ask God to heal the divisions that exist within the church today that we might one day express our unity in the faith even as we are united in Christ.

(An Explanation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Field Test Edition, July 2016 © 2016 Concordia Publishing House. pg 99)

Baseball is one thing. In our household, we have a division between Cubs fans and White Sox fans (and, I suspect, a closet Cardinals fan).

But our Christian faith – and the living out our Christian faith – is a far more important matter.

Because Jesus Christ loved us enough to live and die and rise again to save us from our sins and give us eternal life, we need to take his teachings and words seriously:

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:17-21

Please pray for unity, clarity, and a passionate desire to live in the Truth of Jesus Christ!

©2016 True Men Ministries


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Meet and Greet Weekend

From my brother-in-Christ Keith, a “Meet & Greet” blog post! Thanks, Keith!

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at The Light Breaks Through!! Ok so here are the rules: Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post. Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, …

Source: Meet and Greet Weekend

Privileges and Responsibilities

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

An outstanding player had been signed by the Chicago Cubs in the off-season. He was introduced to the fans and the city at the Cubs Convention. Excitement was very high about the prospects of the Cubs this coming season!

Opening day came and the player that had been signed in the off-season was doing very well.

However, after the game, during the locker-room interviews, the player was wearing a Milwaukee Brewers t-shirt. He was asked the usual questions about the game just played and his role in the outcome. But when asked about the Brewers t-shirt, he replied that he was a die-hard Brewers fan and had been for a long time.

While some ink was spilled in the press about his Brewers connection, he continued his playing for the Cubs and doing ok, but the team was struggling. And he still wore the Milwaukee t-shirt during post-game press interviews as well as on the streets after the game.

This Cub player was also noticed to be involved in Brewers charities and fundraisers. He even missed a few team meetings and off-day practices because he was in Milwaukee raising money for the charities and then taking in a Brewers game.

While he was playing well for the Cubs, this didn’t sit well with most of the fans, as you might have expected. Some of the fans were ok with it – saying that as long as he was contributing to the team on the field, it didn’t matter what he did or said or where he went when he was off the field.

But these were not the feelings of the manager, the general manager, the owner, and his teammates.

The clubhouse was tense because of this situation. A lot of the players were visibly and vocally upset that their teammate wasn’t really a part of the team – not fully, anyway. His teammates were being distracted from their own playing by constantly fielding questions from the press and fans about him.

This player was approached by the owner, the general manager, the manager, and a majority of their teammates. He was asked to be “all in” with the Cubs. Along with continued production on the field, he was also asked to promote the team in the clubhouse during interviews as well as on the streets and on off-days and to be involved in Cubs Charities throughout the city of Chicago.

He respectfully declined, stating that he was a long-time fan of the Brewers and had many ties to the Brewers and he would continue to promote them.

He was soon-after released from his contract and the team promoted a player from within the system to replace him – a player who both produced on the field and promoted the team and its charities off the field.

The clubhouse became a more cohesive place among the players and coaches. They were now all on the same page and pulling in the same direction towards a successful season and – hopefully – a championship at the end of the season.

19213_820257804733195_7484378143913639296_nThere are benefits to belonging to a particular church, a particular congregation. You are part of a larger family that receives the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith through the Means of Grace.

But there are also privileges and responsibilities to being a member of a church.

  • We should regularly receive the Word and sacraments within the community of believers
  • We should adhere to congregations that confess and teach the pure Word of God.
  • We should beware of and avoid false teachings and teachers.
  • We should tell others about Jesus, participate in works of service, and support the ministry of the church with prayer and financial gifts. (An Explanation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Field Test Edition, July 2016 © 2016 Concordia Publishing House. pgs 98-99)

God made you a member of the Holy Christian Church by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave his life for you. You will live forever in heaven because of this. The Holy Spirit gives you saving faith in this good news, in this Gospel.

But until you are in heaven, as a member of the Holy Christian Church, you are strengthened in your faith through the Means of Grace. And in receiving this wonderful, ongoing, gift you will (super)naturally want to respond. That’s where the privileges and responsibilities noted above come in.

They are the response to being saved by God through Jesus Christ.

©2016 True Men Ministries


Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

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New Book: In My Father’s Footsteps, Volume 1

book-coverIn My Father’s Footsteps – the daily devotional from True Men Ministries – is now here!

It is available on Amazon Kindle here.

It is available in print from from Amazon here.

You can also purchase the book directly from our CreateSpace store here.

My thanks to all those who encouraged me and helped to make this a reality!

Especially my lovely and gracious bride, Nancy!