Archive for August, 2015

“Your teeth are as white as sheep, recently shorn and freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.” Song of Songs 4:2 (NLT)

It seems rotten and missing teeth have never been considered beautiful, even 3000 years ago beautiful white teeth were highly valued; a bride did not want to have any missing teeth. Of course our culture has taken it to a whole new level, far beyond diligently brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. Multitudes of kids and many adults suffer through braces, retainers, expanders, rubber bands, globs of wax, and various other contraptions and procedures. It is not enough to have healthy teeth, they also have to be perfectly straight and perfectly white. So what comes out of a tube of tooth paste does far more than clean, it also dispenses fluoride, breath freshener, whitening agents, peroxide, and even sparklers. However, beautiful teeth and a great smile do not make for a beautiful mouth.

I was lucky; my teeth were fairly straight except for a small overbite. This got me a retainer I had to use for some years to expand my upper jaw, which it did beautifully. Then my wisdom teeth started to come in and shift things around until I had them pulled. My older brother had bigger issues but he hardly ever wore his contraptions (he thought they interfered in the girlfriend department) so the orthodontist kicked him out of the program and his teeth never did get straightened out. However, he did end up with a beautiful mouth.

So how did my older brother, how can you and I end up with a beautiful mouth?

  1. Know God’s definition of a beautiful mouth: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” Ephesians 4:29 (ESV).                                                                      “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” Colossians 4:6 (NLT).
  2. Deal with and clean up what operates your mouth – you heart: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” Luke 6:45 (NIV).
  3. Daily brush, floss, and use mouthwash on anything that corrodes: “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” Colossians 3:8 (ESV).
  4. Talk to who you need to talk to instead of everybody else: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” Matthew 18:15 (ESV).                                                             “Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end” Proverbs 25:9-10 (ESV).
  5.  Don’t participate in gossip with neither your ears nor your mouth: The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts. Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart” Proverbs 26:22-25 (NIV).                       “A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t associate with a gossip, with a person who talks too much” Proverbs 20:19.
  6. Speak truth, it is the best breath freshener and teeth whitener: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart” Proverbs 3:3 (NASB).                                                                                                           “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body” Ephesians 4:24-25 (NLT)

So do you have a beautiful mouth? Is what comes out of it refreshing? Can others trust what you say? If someone were to point out beautiful mouths would yours be among them? If God’s the groom and you are the bride, how would he describe your mouth?

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans





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In nature you find some wicked, nasty looking mouths. Like the mouth of the shark someone landed on deep sea fishing boat I was on, rows and rows of serrated teeth forming the gateway to a nasty abyss. That possum who cornered Susie in the staircase of our apartment years ago, what nasty, slimy, snarling mouth. Don’t forget the hippo, what a mouth, no wonder it’s one of the most dangerous creatures in African rivers. Gators, snakes, piranhas, komodo dragons, or go no further than the bats living under my roof tiles with their sick toothy grins. But the nastiest, most wicked mouths are found among our own species, no creatures in the animal kingdom can compare.

A shark can maim, kill, and eat you with its mouth but it is incapable of spewing lies, planting rumors, twisting the truth, wounding the soul, destroying trust, shamelessly exaggerating, deceiving, maligning, misleading, making all it up, embellish, being malicious. A komodo dragon’s mouth might be full of deadly bacteria but it will never repeat what shouldn’t be repeated, deny what is true, incite riots, degrade others, dehumanize, make empty or false promises, dish out abuse, fuel anger, slander, or encourage wickedness and violence, no that would be our mouths. A possums mouth will never filled with insincerity, deliberate barbs, say too much or say too little, it won’t circumvent, euphemize, minimize, evade, or inflame. Those bats will never stay silent when they ought to speak, issue empty apologies, spit out meaningless platitudes, speak without thinking, talk behind someone’s back, , gossip, or talk to everyone except who they should be talking to, no that would us.

No wonder God’s word addresses our mouths,Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on” James 3:10 (MSG). If there is any part of us that needs redemption surely our mouths need it. If we are serious about living the way God wants us to live then our mouths will have to become a construction site, we will have to schedule ourselves with a spiritual dentist, oral surgeon, orthodontist, and dental hygienist. We will have to have things pulled, implanted, filled, drilled, shifted, wired shut, and whitened. We will have to acquire new habits to keep our mouths clean and alter their use. How much treatment, learning, and change do you think you will need to make the following a reality? “We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” “Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor …” “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” Ephesians 4:15a (NLT), 25a, 29 (NIV).

If you want to see a lot of different creatures with nasty, wicked, bizarre, and frightening mouths I recommend you go visit a zoo, or where people gather, or sadly often times the church. But this should not be so, the church should be the place you’ll find the most amazingly beautiful mouths. May that be true of the church you are attending because you are attending it.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans



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Our dogs have it made, at the productivity level of around 0%, they still get full benefits, tenure, unlimited time off, plus free food, free rent, free just about everything, all for occasionally looking cute, doing something dogish we can laugh about, going for an occasional walk, and welcoming/harassing the UPS man or whoever happens to drive up. They even get a free burial at the end of their days. I have to hand it to them though, they do know how not to mess up a good thing.

What’s cute and acceptable among dogs does not, and should not translate to people. We are meant to grow up, to contribute, to take on responsibilities, to be productive. Being a baby when you are baby is very cute, but being a baby at 15, 25, 35, 45 is anything but cute. A toddler is supposed to be a toddler and it is okay for them to do toddlerish things and have a productivity level of around 0%, but it is ridiculous for an adult. You expect for kids to do the kind of things where you say, “What in the world were you thinking?” to which they will reply, “I don’t know,” and it will be true because they were absolutely not thinking (and many times you have to keep yourself from busting up laughing). This, however, does not fly for an adult, not thinking is inexcusable, as is being stupid and doing stupid things. For a young teenager to continually test the limits and to come up with half-baked excuses is halfway normal, but if he or she doesn’t grow out of it, it is anything but normal, but growing up is, becoming responsible is. There is a time to be baby, to be a toddler, to be a kid, to be a teenager, but then there is a time to be grown up, to be mature.

I admit, being grown up is not all it is cracked up to be, it entails a whole lot of hard work, it has just about 0% of room to live a dog’s life or any other kind of life. But if you have kids they will appreciate it, so will your coworkers, your bosses, your neighbors, your parents, your friends, and your community.

God’s word, the Bible, never encourages immaturity, irresponsibility, and laziness, no matter how it tries to excuse itself or how cute and funny it tries to present itself. Even to the church, the family of God, which has a responsibility to love and care for the needy, God through the Apostle wrote, “Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: ‘Those unwilling to work will not get to eat. Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good

2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 (NLT). To the Ephesians church he wrote, God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love Ephesians 4:15-16 (MSG).

Can you be mature, responsible, productive, and be young at heart, not lose your sense of humor, not act old and grumpy, be full of love, and be a source of delight to others? The answer is, absolutely, just imitate God.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans





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Herr Schweikhard, Herr Merkle, Herr Weihermueller, they were my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and 4th grade teachers. Mr. Schweikhard was an innovator, he used methods no one else did, but by the end of 1st grade everyone in his class knew how to read. Mr. Merkle was a barrel of fun, you wanted to go to school just to be with him, Mr. Weihermueller, a.k.a. “Kaiser Red beard” was tough as nails but he cared. He took small groups of us, especially the rowdy difficult ones, out on weekends to collect rocks, search for fossils, collect frogs, newts, salamanders, bugs, and other things he needed in class. Those three men impacted me, loving to read has been a blessing to me all my life. When you can read you can learn almost anything. Realizing that learning can be fun is something every child should discover. Seeing tough discipline in tandem with caring and deeply investing in others is invaluable. I suppose that’s why I fondly remember their names to this day.

The year I was an exchange student at Mariposa High I lived with the Heath family in Greeley Hill. Mike Heath, my exchange student dad, was the principal/8th grade teacher, as well as coach, and who knows what else. I saw firsthand how much time he put in, how much he cared about his students, his staff, his school.

I am married to a teacher and so I know that our teachers are not overpaid. However, I do know how much of her own time and resources end up in her work, how she constantly has to learn new things, keep up with changes in the law, curricula, teaching methodologies, sate requirements, testing, and a host of other things, and how she is continually searching for ways to have her students succeed.

As an adult I substitute taught for over 20 years and coached basketball and soccer for 10 years. This brought me in contact with many teachers and administrators right here in Don Pedro and all over several counties. I got to observe what a difference great and dedicated teachers, administrators, secretaries, bus drivers, coaches, and school staff members can make. I saw how important it is to our community to have our schools be well run and staffed with good teachers.

Jesus pointed out a reality, Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher” Luke 6:40 (NLT). It is in our best interest to support our local schools, to pray for the teachers, the administrators, the support staffs. It is important that our children know how to and love to read, that they develop a thirst and appreciation for learning, that they see and experience what discipline and caring look like together.

So, with the beginning of a new school year I hope you join me in praying throughout the year for the teachers of our children, for our administrators, our local Don Pedro Elementary School and Don Pedro High School, to appreciate and thank those who do excellent work, to be slow to criticize but and quick to encourage, to not believe everything you hear, to be involved (especially if your children go to school there), and to remember that our teachers are not the only ones responsible for teaching our children – it really does start at home.

To God be all glory, love you Pastor Hans

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