When I was born my parents were newly saved. They were very sincere about their faith so the church was a big part of my life. From my earliest memories I was there several times a week being taught the Bible and Christian doctrine. I was like all little kids, self-centered and carefree. Around five years old my mother asked me if I wanted to “be saved”.  What I remember is kneeling at the bed and repeating a set of phrases.  My siblings thought I was in trouble and asked me what happened in there and she said, “Stevie, do you want to tell them what you did?”  I sheepishly confessed that I asked Jesus into my heart. So technically I fulfilled Romans 10.9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” but I always paid little attention to what was going on around me so I had little awareness of what I had just done. I don’t know how “saved” I was at that point, looking back, though what is important is my parent’s love for me and God’s unrelenting call on my life.


As the years went by I certainly didn’t act “saved”.  I was a sneaky little twerp.  Maybe because I was in a large family I had a very active seperate little world I could escape to going on inside. I was a little thief and enjoyed thinking of things I could get away with. At the same time I had a great fear and respect for my parents and was horrified at the thought they would know what I did or was thinking of doing.  I was very afraid of God too.  Some of my pastors were heavy on law and light on gospel and I was deathly afraid of God and had no assurance that I was safe. I dreaded the altar call at the end of each service but I guess I didn’t want to submit to God. I knew I was a sinner and thought I would have to be righteous to stand before God.  Outside of church I was also very fearful.  I was deathly afraid of the dark. When I went outside at night I was very afraid, maybe the contrast of leaving a noisy crowded house into into the open starry sky made me painfully aware of Creator God to whom I was accountable. I was also susceptible to all the talk of aliens and reports of UFO’s at the time. My love of science fiction didn’t help.


Finally, at some point I began to soften. I began to contemplate taking God seriously. At church I began to pray after the service at the altar with the other members. To some degree I felt like I was “pretty good”.. From an early age I knew that Christ died for my sins but I still thought how I acted mitigated the wrath of Holy God. Thus began the typical experiment with law. First I tried to live the perfect righteous life. This was very frustrating.  I was a miserable failure as I tried, failed, and repented again and again. I guess I hadn’t noticed in Romans 7 where Paul says, “ For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” The next conclusion I came to was; “well Jesus paid for my sins so my sin doesn’t matter.” Again Paul addresses that in Romans 6: “How can we who have died to sin still live in it?”  Indeed I was miserable in my sin. I could see the slavery of it and where it was taking me. Though I was no longer afraid of God, now I was fearful of the effects of the depravity I was contemplating.  This was during the great cultural upheaval in our world in the 60’s.


In the late 60’s we got a pastor who started a series on God’s grace. What I began to learn was that although God is holy and I could never stand before Him, He is also perfect love and has sacrificed His Son to atone for my sin. Yeah, I already knew that but I also applied it to my inability to keep His law now. The emphasis now was not on what I could do for Him but what He did and continues to do for me. He has done all the work. I began to learn moment by moment to apply the cross to my life. Look at Romans 8. It tells the complete story of how Father God knew me, called me, justified me, and using all my ups and downs and failures is making me to be like Jesus. Wow, what a change. I now spent evenings outside just looking at the stars contemplating the love and mercy God had on me.


I am still a sinner. I am still self-centered. I still do stupid things. I have often fallen back to thinking something I can do can make God like me but I always crash and realize I already have peace with God through Jesus Christ our lord,  He raises me from the grave I just dug for myself and then sets me back on track with the life He has for me.
If you haven’t come to that perfect peace with God I urge you to begin to seek Him. Read your Bible.  Start with John and Romans. And don’t quit, keep seeking until you have that assurance that you are His child.  You’ll know, His Spirit will tell you.                                  Steve Page  stevapp@gmail.com


You’ll Like…

He just came out with another album with the same kind of stuff

I was born on his birthday. He was a wonderful guy. He soon became my guardian. He was a very powerful man and it was kind-of cool that he was part of my life. He wanted to make sure he was on top of everything. He decided to get involved in my education. He would come into town and boss the school board around and even slip them money to make sure they were teaching me the way he wanted. He even wanted to help pay for my lunch. As I got older it was sort-of assumed I couldn’t get by without him. And I did depend on him. But we all started wondering, “where did he get all that power and money?” Soon we started to get this vague notion that Uncle had some bad habits. It seemed like he might be getting money from other people-you know people who already have enough. When I started my first job he quietly told my employer how much he had to pay me and how to treat me. But when I got my first paycheck some of the money was missing. I looked and Uncle had garnished my wages. Seems he had other nephews now that need help and “I won’t even miss it” and he thought he should save some of it for me in case I ever needed it. As time went on he took more and more money. I don’t think he was banking it. He was starting to look very sick-and gross-and fat. I was pretty sure he was using it to feed some very addictive habits. It was now obvious we had a co-dependant relationship. I was pretty sure I could get by without much help from him if he would just stop taking and interfering all the time but he wasn’t about to let me alone. He was showing up in every aspect of my life. He is now getting creepier and I want out but it isn’t that easy. He is sure I need him. But I now know I am his enabler and if I love him I am going to have to exhibit some tough love. Since he seems to be able to take what he wants the only thing I know to do is to work less so there is less money available. I also need to find others who he is “helping” and convince them he isn’t doing them any good.

By now you know my uncle’s name, Sam. (and I was born on the fourth of July.) Here’s what I’m doing to cut the apron strings:

Working less so he can collect less taxes.
Using a Tracfone-less taxes there.
Buying less-less revenue for Government untill they get smaller.
Giving more to those who don’t get government help-churches and missions.
I think we will all have to sacrifice and live simply now in order to force a smaller government or have it forced on us later under their terms.

I do have six wonderful uncles who have been good examples. Two have passed on.

An afterthought: Maybe I sould have entitled it “My D’Keynesian Uncle” rather than Dickensian

It being Easter I gave a little lesson yesterday on how Jesus is not just a story but IS good news.  It says in I Corinthians 15 our only hope is in a resurrected Christ.  Tonight I am studying the last half of Romans 8 with a group.  I woke up thinking about the fact that we are “Just so many sheep to be slaughtered. ”   (But it doesn’t matter because God is using that in our redemption of our lives and even the creation.)  Then I read about what mankind has done to ourselves in  THIS  guys blog about the bad part of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.  It drove home to me that humanity is completely depraved and the farther we get from Christ the worse we get.  I have no doubt after reading this that there is a Hell.  God wouldn’t have to create it. All He has to do is step out of the picture and let us have at it.  Make sure you read all of his posts on Atlas Shrugged.

This story may be a little embellished but I’ll tell it like I remember it.  Our family lived in the Denver area.  We were on our way back to Kansas to help with wheat harvest.  We would usually leave right after school on a Friday evening and drive all night.  This was before interstate highways so the roads were narrow, hilly, and lonely.  It was an exciting time for me, trying to stay awake all night sometimes laying in the back of our huge Dodge Polaris station wagon watching the stars.  We also took turns talking to my Dad so he could stay awake.  These were some of my best times with him-Nothing to do but talk and get to know each other better.

About midnight we pulled into Great Bend, Kansas.  We decided to stop at the A&W drive in.

The stalls were full of rowdy kids.  Before our order came some kind of dis-order came about and things got tense.  Soon there was some kind of confrontation.  I don’t claim it was anything like West Side Story but I was kind-of scared.  Soon the manager came out and starting yelling.  I don’t remember if the police came but I think we split that scene before things got out of hand.  I do remember how much security I had in my Daddy to take care of us.  That’s the kind of relationship we are to have with our Heavenly Father because of what He’s done through Christ: (Romans 8:.15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

I know this is going to sound kind-of severe.  I was reading from Calvin on self-denial and found this:

For he who has learned to look to God in everything he does, is at the same time diverted from all vain thoughts.  This is that self-denial which Christ so strongly enforces on his disciples from the very outset (Mt. 16:24), which, as soon as it takes hold of the mind, leaves no place either, first, for pride, show, and ostentation; or, secondly, for avarice, lust, luxury, effeminacy, or other vices which are engendered by self love. (Book 3,Chap 6,sec 2)

Now this gave me a whole new perspective on the Christian concept of effeminacy.  Effeminacy is here simply loving luxury, wanting to live a soft life.  In a sense I can see how it might be the opposite of passion.  I did a little more research and found this from an old book called Defenseless America by Hudson Maxim.

“When Cyrus the Great, with his hardy mountaineers, had conquered the peace-loving, comfortloving people of the lowlands, he told his soldiers that they must not make their homes in the lowlands, but must return to their mountain fastnesses, because if they settled to a life of ease and luxury, they would become unwarlike, effeminate, and degenerate, like the lowlanders they had conquered and enslaved, and later would themselves be conquered and enslaved by other mountaineers inured to privations and hardships, who would descend upon them. Witness the wisdom of Herodotus, who said:

“It is the settled appointment of Nature that soft soils should breed soft men, and that the same land should never be famous for the excellence of its fruit and for the vigor of its inhabitants.”

To me this sheds a little light on why men are elders and pastors in the church.  We are to practice the kind of self-denial and self-sacrifice and tolerance for pain that only a man can.  A man will lay down his life,  be bold and stand fast in the face of opposition, and if he lives through it, stoically walk away giving the glory to his Lord.

I didn’t want to put the ending of my comments on sin ahead of the beginning so I posted them as an edit at the end…if you’re interested———Steve

Sin? What sin?

I Corinthians 6.8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor
revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Sin "gets better"

The modern church seems to be struggling with it’s relevance to society more than it’s faithfulness to it’s Head, Jesus Christ.  Some mainline churches have these creepy old graybeards with vestments and backward collars declaring what Paul said here is natural and not sin.  On the other side, the evangelical movement often either de-emphasizes sin or sees it as an obstacle to achieving “Your Best Life Now”.  (Narcissistic spiritual pragmatism).  But sin does matter and Paul is  concerned about it’s effect within this very modern church at Corinth and how it affects their witness.

His first point is that sin has soured their relationships.  Sin is first selfish and causes us to take advantage of others.  Their behavior shows a clear pattern of unrepentant sin and he makes it clear that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”  He actually calls into question their very salvation.  He asks that question again in his second letter when he says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” (I Cor 13.5).  From experience I know that unrepentant sin destroys my sense of
security in Jesus as my savior.  He explains why in Romans 6 when he says, ” How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”  It is Satanic deception to practice the things on this list and think we are in the kingdom of God. And now the list: I’m calling my interpretation of it “Bad News for Modern Man.” :

neither fornicators,-People who worship their own sensual desires.  We are encouraged today to obey our feelings.

nor idolaters,-People who worship things or other people.  For us this includes materialism, Love of money, worshiping people in the entertainment world, politics,and sports.

nor adulterers, People who tear other’s mates from them.

nor effeminate,-Those obsessed with female sexuality-both men and women nor homosexuals,-Those obsessed with male sexuality-both men and women. We are constantly being told all sex is good as long as there is mutual consent and protection.  Very little consideration is given to the spiritual and emotional effects of loose sex.

nor thieves, Those obsessed with getting other people’s things or money

nor the covetous, Those who secretly even want other people’s things or money

nor drunkards, Those who abandon self-control to liquor and drugs

nor revilers, Blasphemous people with foul mouths

nor swindlers,Those who get their kicks from deceiving others
will inherit the kingdom of God.

So we can see here that unrepentant sin has consequences.  It harms us and our relationships-especially within the church.  It raises valid questions which must be answered;  It raises questions from outsiders about God’s existence, His nature, and what kind of children He has.  And it should raise questions from fellow believers and even within us as to whether we are even in the faith.

How NOT to deal with sin in the church

God allows us to continue to struggle with sin after regeneration.  This keeps us dependent on Christ as our righteousness and not deceiving ourselves.  I think religion is the universal understanding of the reality of sin, God’s law and how to deal with it.  In our post-modern society it is convenient to use the concept of Karma for this purpose.  In the modern church it is dealt with in two ways.  Condemnation and Bastardization. In the more traditional and conservative churches the therapy goes something like, “You need to try harder.”  “You keep that up and you’ll lose your salvation.”  “You don’t have to
sin anymore.”  This is condemnation. In some mainline and evangelical churches the assumption has become sin doesn’t matter (because Jesus took care of it at the cross.)  This I would call bastardization.  I get this from my background reading the King James Bible:  Hebrews 12.5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. 6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

What is a bastard?  in a practical sense It is a child who has been abandoned by his father to raise himself-no correction, no provision, no love.  Is this really the kind of god we want?  A rich old geezer hardly aware of what his kids are doing; A drunken sailor who goes around having kids and then iresponsibably leaving them to fester; A sugar-daddy who blows into town occasionaly and buys off their love? I can see all three views in society today and in the modern church that has been influenced by it.  No, our God cares about us enough to stay activly involved in our lives at many levels:
Hebrews 12:6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.”  It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

God is in the process of making us just like Him.  That’s why we continue to struggle with sin and it’s consequences.  It is extremely useful in keeping us dependant and connected with Him and His true means of dealing with it, His perfect sacrifice of His Son.

Dealing With Sin Properly

Honest people recognize the reality of sin.  Even the most righteous person is
acutely aware of his sin-nature and the guilt that comes from it.  So then, how
does Paul deal with sin?
I Corinthians 6.11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you
were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and in the Spirit of our God.
He doesn’t deny sin but he puts these sinful identities in the past-(“such WERE some of you”).  We should be very careful about classifying other people or
ourselves.  The world tells people if they have certain perverse temptations or thoughts (such as homosexual or alchoholic) that they are to accept them and make them their identity.  If we are willing to agree with God that they are sin and put them in our past it is the first step in breaking the bondage.  He then reminds them of their new identity based on the three things which
make us children of God.
but you were WASHED, but you were SANCTIFIED, but you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
1.  You were washed:  Paul is talking about baptism which signifies new birth.
Baptism is the natural or spiritual means of getting from one world to the next.  Every person goes through at least two natural baptisms in life. The first is physical birth.  The last is death.  Jesus talks about a third, spiritual baptism in John 3 when He says you must be born of water (coming from that watery world of the womb) and of the Spirit.  Baptism involves 3 stages:
1. Death-running out of options to continue in the world we are in.                      2. The painful process of leaving a world we were once comfortable with.  3.Resurection-New life in a new world.

At first, a baby in it’s mother’s womb is quite comfortable.  It is warm and
comfortable in there.  He has food water and air.    All needs are completely
provided for.  All the harshness of the next world are toned-down.  Even
gravity is less.  In a few months things start to get uncomfortable.  One day the bottom drops out.  Suddenly this perfect world becomes a death chamber.  The pressure is too great.  She must get out of there soon.  He is horribly squeezed from that once-comfortable world into a new one where there is plenty of room to grow and develop.

My father died from a bad kind of cancer.  I sat with him in his last few hours.
Though he was in a coma the patterns of his breathing and writhing reminded
me of the contractions my wife went through when she was giving birth to our
children.  It occured to me he was in that same process of dying to this world
but passing into a better one.  For all of us, some day we will realize that our
old bodies and our old life were really ment to be a womb to prepare us for
eternal life.

It’s the same with the Spiritual new-birth. A person is comfortable in this
present evil cosmos but eventually he realizes he has run out of options for
meaning or life in it.  Death must come in order for Spiritual life to begin:
John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him
who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has
passed out of death into life.”

“You were justified”:

Baptism affects in at two levels.  At the spiritual level, before the creation God decides we  will be one of His children.  Then at some point He “kills” us, bringing us to an end of ourselves as we realize we are a mess and can never measure up to what we should be.  It starts to dawn on us we are truly sinful, hopelessly lost, and unable to do anything about it.  When there is nothing left but a dead body He re-animates it by baptizing, flooding, immersing it with His Spirit.  This spiritual, eternal reality is symbolized by the baptisms that are done in the church. The bible teaches that at this point the Spirit is a down payment on full redemption of all of our being as our body and old nature can still wreak havoc with what we want at the spiritual level.  Paul reminds us here that we stand fully justified before God.  Knowing we are justified we can now relate to God as our loving father.  We can’t let sin stand between us. But how do we deal with a sinful body living in a sinful world?

“You were sanctified”

At a sanctification level a similar thing happens repeatedly throughout our
lives.  The believer realizes he belongs to God and wants to obey His law.  He
sees Jesus’ example and longs to be like Him.  The Spirit in me even concurs with all this.  My next step is to fall, to not do the very thing I want because of my unredeemed nature.  I might even rebel or blame God or get angry at Him at this point.  I feel the condemnation of everything that is right and I might even say, “what’s the use” and give up. When I finally become repentant like a little child I am finally “killed”.  This is crucifixion.  I am now ready for resurection and  can come to God with a broken heart empty, and realize my life is in the risen Christ..  I can let His Spirit in me take over and reach out to my loving Father once again.  This is re-animation.  This is why a pastor should continually be reminding people of their baptism.  It truly was a one-time thing but it has to continually be re-played in our minds because our old sinful nature somehow wants to take over.  That’s why Paul uses baptism here; to remind us we are no longer part of that old world and identity.

My wonderful family Paul is on upper left

The following is posted in honor of my son, Paul on the occasion of his twenty-seventh birthday.  (Sorry, our picture computer is down.)

1.   You love Jesus.

2.  You properly worship and serve Him as what He is, The Christ  of God.

3.  You love truth.

4.  You love to read

5.  You were born excited and excitable.

6.  You have a zest for life.

7.  You love people.

8.  You are selfless.

9.  You have lots of energy.

10.   You are a deep thinker.

I really enjoy you, Paul.  God bless you.

I have been asked to re-tell this story:

I grew up in a foreign missions oriented church.  Our youth group was proud of how much money we earned for missions.  Our neighbor and youth sponsor thought we should raise pigs for the Lord so we started buying piglets.  We kept them at his place.  Saturdays were spent castrating them, cleaning pens, repairing fence panels and etc.  On friday nights we would round up the ones over two hundred pounds and take them to market.  We soon noticed we had quite a few runts so we moved them to our place where we had a small pen and could give them individual attention and skim milk. We had a milk cow and after separating the cream couldn’t use all the “blue” milk.  There was a problem though:  A normal pig doesn’t live long enough to learn to climb fences but a runt does.  Also, I think they are more wiry and develop “climbing muscles”.  One afternoon either Bill or I went out there, saw the pigs were out, and ran back to the house to notify the family.  Everybody went out there to try to round them up.  Our dog, Nicky, wasn’t much help as she just chased them in circles nipping at their tails.  As we would  get one back in the pen another would escape.


My dad went and got a lariat.  He grabbed one and put a half-hitch around its snout.  Pigs aren’t cows and haven’t “evolved” to know not to fight a rope so he was squealing through pinched lips and about to pull his snout off.  About this time my 85-year-old grandma came out to see what all the commotion was about.  My Dad, an only child, was still a little sensitive to the perception of interfering parents even after all these years.  After Daddy slipped and fell in the manure for the tenth time he got frustrated and got the gun from behind the pickup seat.


Grandma said, “Donald, what are you going to do?”  He said, “What’s it look like I’m going to do, I’m going to shoot them.  Well, he didn’t.  Somehow we got them back and I think we decided to cut our losses and take them to market before they got any smarter.