Bubblegum Christianity

Dear Lord; Happy Monday Father!

It’s been a good while since I’ve laid our conversations to print Lord… Quite possibly far too long. Which is why when I once again felt You urging me to pen my thoughts, I nearly dismissed those promptings.

Nonetheless… Here we are again.

As you well know Lord, I’m nearing completion of yet another full read-through of the Bible, this time following a chronological reading plan I found on It’s been a wonderful way to absorb Scripture for me Father, helping to add more of something I believe is vitally important to reading and understanding Your Word…


Your truths are eternal Lord… I don’t question that. But I’ve also come to understand through intense study and prayer that those truths and Your intent are very much presented throughout the Bible and in our daily lives in a context that gives pronounced and specific meaning to those You’re addressing and guiding. Therefore as we read Your timeless words in an attempt to embed those divine truths upon our hearts, I believe it’s absolutely essential that we seek a sense of the context in which those events occurred to truly draw Your will from those pages.

And without that contextual perspective Lord… I’m very much afraid we lose the message for the words.

Social media is a double-edged sword Father. On one hand it allows us to stay “connected” to an amazing number of people and share ideas, inspiration and encouragement. However on the other hand, it also provides an easily accessible platform for distributing misunderstanding, intolerance and hate. Recently, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriages this past week, both edges of that blade have been well sharpened.

And while through study and prayer I have my own perspective on that subject of which You’re well aware Lord, what’s been especially grieving my heart has actually been the outpouring of sentiment from what I believe to be well-intentioned “Christians” using “soundbites” of Scripture, completely out of context, to condemn and attack those with beliefs different than their own.

Take one verse from Deuteronomy, add a dash of Romans, toss in a line from Revelation and stir gently…

One serving of Bubblegum Christianity ready to post.

And in many cases Father these Biblical tidbits are also served up with a side helping of pithy catch-phrases such as “Hate the sin, but love the sinner…” (Which to be honest I believe only You’re truly capable of Lord…) or “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve…” (Which actually isn’t accurate either… You made Adam, Eve, Steve, Phil, Shannon, etc…)

All in all Lord, it’s a meal that’s not exactly prepared or delivered in the warmth of Christian Love… It’s nearly always served cold.

My point here isn’t to debate sin Lord… We do sin. Every day. All of us. It’s also not for me to decry the beliefs, perspective or choices of anyone… In the end, only You have that right. What I am speaking of is the need for us, as followers of Christ, to not approach Scripture as a collection of one-liners to be used in making a point, winning an argument or to malign others. Your Word is such a precious gift Father; one that’s worth every effort we can make to prayerfully and studiously gain Your true intent from those pages.

Therefore Lord, my prayer today is simple.

Open our hearts Lord…

Open our minds.

Guide us to see the true nature of Your Word and to diligently seek Your intent…

So that Your Love Story serves it’s purpose and draws us closer to You…

All of Your Children…


For it’s in Your precious name I pray Jesus…


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Why Do You Love Me?

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I find myself asking sometimes Lord… Why do You love me?

I read Your Word and pray for insight… But I know I often miss Your intent.

I strive to love and serve those around me… But my selfish flesh still dictates my actions far too much.

I teach people about Your message of forgiveness and mercy… And yet my heart doesn’t always let go of pain and hurt against those who’ve wronged me.

I know and believe Your promise to always meet my needs… But I often allow fear and worry to overwhelm me.

Your Word reminds us over and over that You love us wholly and eternally… And yet, I ask why.

As broken and flawed as I am and as often as I fail, how could the Creator of all possibly love me…

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” – 1 John 4:7-10 (NLT)

You love me Lord, Because You are Love, and You made me in Your image;

Formed with care,

Swaddled by grace,

Nurtured by Your mercy,

Redeemed by the blood of Christ,

And guided by Your presence within me.

Thank You Father… I pray that Your amazing love for me is reflected more and more each day in how I love others, and in how I live my life.

As I continue my Thankful Thursday list and note some of Your overwhelming Blessings in my life Lord, this week I want to recognize and thank You for:

661. Bacon Hot Dogs.

662. The encouragement of my ministry efforts by someone I respect.

663. The reminder that even though I’m undeserving of Your love for me, You give it to me unconditionally.

664. The devotional encouragements I receive each day in the “Joyce Meyer : Promises for Your Everyday Life” reading plan I’m following on

665. Server virtualization software.

666. My wife Shannon getting the opportunity to go visit her mother in Florida next week.

667. Jonathan being old enough to take over the lawn mowing and trimming, and doing a wonderful job at it.

668. The peace I feel sitting out on our deck at night and enjoying the softly lit gardens.

669. Being able to enjoy a bottle of clean, refreshing Humankind Spring Water while at the same time helping to provide clean water for those who don’t have it.

670. Our Neato XV-21 Carpet Cleaning Robot which lets me come home to vacuumed rugs each night.

671. The kind assistance of our next-door neighbors when we needed to move some heavy furniture this week.

672. A fun and relaxing walk with people I love out at Port Mahon this past Monday.

673. Shannon’s doctor remaining optimistic and dedicated to her recovery.

674. Old Dominion Morning Glory Espresso Stout.

675. Those individuals in our military that paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms.

And so very, very much more Father…

For it’s in Your Precious name I pray Lord,


~Phather Phil

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Deliberately Seek Joy

I’ve been chewing on some advice given in my Daily Devotional reading from the “Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – A Daily Devotional” Reading Plan on…


God wants His children to have some fun. The Bible says a merry heart does good like medicine. I think we all need a healthy dose of laughter every day – many times during the day. You just can’t overdose on joy!

I encourage you to deliberately look for something to smile or laugh about every day, and be sure to share a smile or a laugh with someone else and brighten their day too!

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your Word says that a cheerful heart is like good medicine. Thank You for helping me to find the joy and fun in life!”

I think in many cases, we allow the trials, struggles and worldly requirements placed on us each day to detract from seeking the joys God places all around us. It’s important for us to remember that while we’re certainly going to have difficulties in our lives, God very much wants us to fully delight in the peace and joy He offers us as well.

The Chains of Understanding

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

As You know Lord, for the last five weeks the group I lead on Tuesday evenings has been working through a study on Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love”.  It’s been an eye-opening and convicting exploration so far, and has challenged quite a few perspectives I’ve held on how to pursue a truly intimate relationship with You.

The group discussions this study have led to have been powerful to say the least, and have also stirred in me some challenging thoughts about other facets of my “Faith Life”, and how I perceive You…

For example, why in my arrogance do I keep You in a “box”… You’re so much bigger than that…

I study Your written word in search of Your will in my life… And yet, You’re bigger than a book.

I attend church services and functions to better focus on Your Presence… And yet, You’re bigger than a religion or a building.

I spend time and energy worrying about struggles in my life that seem impossible to overcome… And yet, You’re bigger than any problem I could possibly face.

You’re bigger…


It’s actually an amazingly freeing feeling Lord; the more I cast off the chains of “understanding” I’ve held onto for so very long and open my heart to You with abandon, I find You there waiting for me…

Beckoning me forward.

And so Father, as I continue to seek Your Presence through study, through worship and through prayer, please help me see past those earthly confines I’ve placed on You.  Expand my heart Lord, to more fully connect with Yours, and lead me to Your side.

In Jesus’ name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Missing the Message for the Words

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

Today Father, I’d like to spend our time together talking about a topic You’ve placed on my heart a lot lately…


Some time ago, I was interviewed by a local TV station.  They were doing a story on a recent computer virus outbreak, and wanted to get my perspectives and recommendations to assist their viewers in recognizing and dealing with the threat.  The reporter and cameraman came to my office, and we spent the better part of a half-hour discussing ways to protect against these digital infiltrations.  Later on that evening when I turned on the TV to view the results of that interview, I was shocked by what I saw…

The story had been “chopped” to less than thirty seconds of footage, which when removed from the context of our discussion made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Needless to say Lord, I was a bit upset.

We live in a culture of “soundbytes” these days Father; grabbing the “flashy bits” in speech and print, and from them deriving uninformed, lazy, and blatantly errant opinions and positions.  We’ve lost the importance of context Lord, and that perspective has truly damaged us in many ways…

Including the way we read and apply Your Word.

Since You opened my eyes to this Father, I’ve begun to see how deep the rabbit hole really is.

The Internet, the media, the press and even the pulpit are filled with painful examples of this each and every day.  In an attempt to make a point, defend an opinion, or stand in judgment of what we perceive as wrong, we search Your Word until we find and quote a verse or two that fits our needs…

Without digging deeper to understand Your intended Truth in those words…

Without YOUR context.

I fear we miss the Message for the words Lord… Much too often.

And I won’t lie Father… I’ve been guilty of this myself.

While I try to spend as much time as possible reading, researching and absorbing Your Messages in Scripture Lord, I also know I’ve used “soundbytes” of Your Word outside their proper contexts more than once…

It’s a practice I’ll be diligently striving to avoid in the future Father.  🙂

Help us Lord;

Open our hearts and minds to seek Your WHOLE Truth in Scripture, not simply the “quotes” that suit our earthly viewpoints.  Fill us with that Holy Message Father; make us vessels of Your Will, and ambassadors of Your Love.

In Jesus’ name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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