“Back Row, left (out)”

Bchurchy: John Thomas Heiligenthal

Let’s see, Church starts at 10:30 am Sunday and I get there at 10:35.  I mean come on nothing really happens for the first 10 minutes anyway.  I can sneak in the Church to my favorite seat; back row left side!  Oh perfect no one is in my seat.  Slide in and then sneak out early when the Preacher starts talking about being saved, well I think that’s what he says, I’ve never stayed around long enough to find out.

Do you know anyone like this?  Is this you?  Maybe, you don’t head to the back row or even leave early, but are you involved in your Church?  It’s so easy to go to Church, have your card “punched” then out the door and head over to lunch.  I’ve been guilty of this, head out of Church to grab good seats at the restaurant or to watch football.  People saw me at Church, so that’s all good in God’s book, right?  Psalm 100:2 ‘Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!’  Gladness in Church?  But, I just want to get in and get out and it’s Sunday, my only day off.

We feel we are doing well by attending Church weekly.  It is great, in fact we are told to gather together; Matthew 18:20 ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’  So, God is with us when we gather together, that sounds pretty amazing.  But, God gave us gifts and wants us to use them, 1 Peter 4:10 ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace’.  Can you use the gifts of God at home?  Sure you can.  You can also use your gifts with other people at Church, work, home and just out and about.  We use Church to lift each other up and be there for each other.

I see many people posting about how they are doing on their diets or at the gym; they call it “Accountability Day!”  I made it to the gym 5 days in a row!  Everyone likes their posts and encourages them.  That is what the Church is for, to be around your brother and sisters in Christ and be Accountable to each other.  James 5:16 ‘Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.’  Whether or not you meet in a Church building, school, house or the park get involved with your fellow Church members and help out.

So maybe next Sunday in Church you sit on the second to last row and get a new perspective, just don’t let yourself be “left out!”


*If for some reason your Church is so full and the last row is the only one to sit in, send me a picture of your over flowing Church!  I would love to see what God is doing in your Church!


“No time to pray”

By: John T. Heiligenthal

My calendar on my smartphone is full of “important” things to do today, tomorrow and well into next year!  Pick up the kids, help with homework, get them to ballet, go to the gym, buy groceries, do yard work, clean the house and the list goes on and on.  But I never schedule a time to pray.  I can pray anytime of the day, I don’t need to schedule that on my phone.  Did I pray today?  Well, I sort of did when I was going to bed last night.  Ok, well I said “Dear heavenly Father…” and well then I was out like a light.  Ephesians 6:18  ‘With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints’

So there, I don’t need to schedule my prayers, I just need to pray all day during my busy day with work, kids, friends and a million other activities.  I might have to rethink this.  Schedule a time to pray to God.  Maybe it’s the first thing you do in the morning or last thing you do before bed (not in bed).  Set a time to give thanks for all you have and the blessings you receive.  If you can make this a habit eventually you will not have to “schedule” a time to pray.

Dear heavenly Father please help me to set time to pray to you and become consistent with this…

God bless.


Don’t Laugh in Church!

By: John Thomas Heiligenthal

Sit down, don’t talk, leave your siblings alone and by no means should you laugh in Church if you know what’s right for you!  Aren’t these the rules we remember our parents telling us as kids in Church?  Then the preacher says “Now turn to Genesis 21: 6, ‘And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby?’  The Bible just told you that Abraham who was 100 years old and Sarah who was 90 were going to be parents!

When I heard this scripture I remember looking around to the Elders in Church who were most likely friends with God in school and thinking “Bob and Louis could have a kid at their age, YIKES!”  God has a sense of humor.  Abraham was faithful to God and because of this he fulfilled his promise to continue his line exceedingly.  Just because Abraham and Sarah were old in their age and all their friends had figured they would never have kids, God said “oh just wait till they hear this!”

Laughing can help you feel better.  If you look on the internet for Doctors saying that laughter is the best medicine just stop now.  Read Proverbs 17:22; ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.’  You just read that the Bible says laughter is the best medicine.  God wants you to laugh; he knows it will make you feel better.  Make a joyful noise in Church with laughter, singing and praise, this helps to lift your spirits and makes you feel better.

But you and I both know God is all knowing and powerful so you also must remember there is a time and place to laugh.  In Ephesians 5 … ‘Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting–all of which are out of character–but rather thanksgiving.’  God is talking about locker room type jokes here; there is no place for it in God’s Kingdom.  When you are with your buddies this can be the hardest thing not to laugh at because we all want to “fit in.”  When you don’t “fit in” that is what distinguishes you as one of God’s children.

Let me leave you with one final thought and scripture; Proverbs 14:13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.  If you are dealing with issues such as a death, loss of a spouse or friend, job situations etc. and someone tries to cheer you up the laughing will help.  But as the scripture says once it’s all over the grief will still be there.  This is your time to turn to God to pray and ask him to ease your pain.  God is with us through the Good and Bad times if we make him first in our lives.



By: John Thomas Heiligenthal

It’s an ever growing trend to see busy street corners with homeless men and woman panhandling for spare change. “Dollar, man! Can you spare a dollar?”  I’ve often heard this phrase as I’m walking into some of the big super saving box stores.  Even as I’m waiting at a light at an intersection I have been approached.  Crudely made cardboard signs that point to the fact that the person is hungry and in need of money and usually with a “GOD BLESS YOU” written or spoken.

“Sorry, I don’t carry cash on me.” is what a lot of people say; in fact it’s something that I say most of the time to homeless asking for a hand out.  Our society in America has become heavily dependent on swiping that plastic card in our wallet for everything and therefor you may legitimately don’t have change on you.  Maybe, you did have a couple bucks on you but you already have allotted that to your morning coffee or afternoon cheat snack that’s not on your diet.  You can’t just be giving away your change to complete strangers!

Proverbs 19:17Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.’ But how do you know the person asking you for money will use it for good?  That they will use it for food like their sign says.  Proverbs 21:13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.   “But I can’t give a dollar out to everyone on every corner asking for money, I’m going to be broke myself!”  Can you help that homeless person in other ways?  They are asking for money or food and maybe you don’t have anything to help but we can’t be quiet about their situation.

If you give them a dollar did you just fund their drug or alcohol addiction?  I personally have never had any luck at judging a book by its cover.  But in our society we have come to realize that it is a problem and we know we don’t want to contribute to such things.  So, where is the nearest shelter or church that you can direct the person in need to?  Finding out that information can be a way you can help if you are unable or untrusting to give them money.  Proverbs 31:20 ‘She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.’  This verse isn’t saying money was given out, it says she reached out to help.

As a Christian, God wants us to help the homeless and less fortunate out.  Is it weird and kinda scary?  I won’t lie, most of the time it is.  It is out of our comfort zone, we are not inside the four walls of our Church.  This is why Church is not a building or multi-million dollar theatre where God’s word is preached Sunday mornings.  Being a Christian means that your Church is on Earth and with the people you interact with daily, including homeless people.  Mark 16:15  ‘And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’  The Bible isn’t saying only talk to people inside your Church building about God but to everyone.  “Dollar, man! Can you spare a dollar?”  Be honest with them, get out of your comfort zone, give them a dollar, share with them a location to help them out…maybe just pray for them as you roll on by the street, just don’t ignore and hope the next person does something.


*An idea is to have some small business cards printed up with the information of a church or shelter that deals with homeless people.  You can even staple it to say an energy bar or bottle of water and keep a few in your vehicle.


By: John T. Heiligenthal

Social media has become such an everyday normality in our world today.  It allows us to update our status to let the world know that we are drinking the latest and greatest coffee drink that Starbucks has to offer or to show off the new shoes that we just purchased at Macy’s.  Apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and many others let us “check-in” to let our friends and family know what we are up to.  Check-in at the gym, coffeehouse, shopping mall, movie theater, tire store and anything else you can imagine.  We want and have the ability to tell the world what we are doing at any moment in time.

So, did you “check-in” to your church this morning?  Why not?  Is Church too private for your “world” to know about?  I’m guilty of this.  Coffee Bean before church, check; Taco-Salsa after church, check; Church in between, oh no no no!  Checking into church can be social media suicide!  We as a society worry more about hurting other people’s feelings because of our beliefs then to share our own salvation.  In Luke 13 starting with verse 22 Jesus is walking through the town speaking about how many will believe in him but only few with make it through the narrow door [to heaven].  Do you honestly think Jesus wants you to deny him on social media and then welcome you with open arms?  Luke 13 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.  Away from me, all you evildoers!’

When I’m within a block of my Church I can “check-in” to church but do I?  “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” (Luke 13:24).  I use the Bible app on my smartphone in Church to read the word of God and to take notes.  But when it comes time to quickly and easily tell others I am attending Church my fingers don’t seem to be able to function properly.

As a society in whole we have become very sensitive about what the “world” thinks of us.  Guess what?  The world hates YOU!  John 15:19 ‘If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.’  So, can you ever please the world? Not by any means will you be able to please the world we live in, so why try?  You are a Christian, a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, do things to please the one who gave you the eternal gift of life.  Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.