Monthly Archives: April 2015

Come Lord Jesus — when the time is right

There are times when I can relate to John the Revelator.  Oh, I can’t relate to being an eyewitness to Jesus feeding 5,000 hungry men with a boy’s lunch or seeing Jesus on the cross.  Neither can I put myself in his shoes when all his fellow disciples had been martyred and he was exiled to Patmos (my Kansas friends think being in Flint is like being “exiled” to Patmos, but they are wrong.  I like it here). And I surely have never seen the visions of heaven and glory that he describes in the Revelation.  So how are John and I alike?


Well, we both have a brother (like John and James my brother and I would fight a little when we were younger).  I can appreciate John’s convenient placement in God’s Holy Word how he outran Peter to the empty tomb (see John 21:4).  I’ve been known to trash talk on occasion too.  But I can really relate to John’s heart’s longing and cry in the next to last verse in the Bible when he simply writes, “Come, Lord Jesus.”  There are times this week when I have said that too.


As you know I deal with some chronic pain issues (Shameless plug alert:  If you haven’t read my book, Chronic Pain, or given it to someone who also battles chronic pain type of junk, what are you waiting for? But I digress…).  Lately, I’ve been a little more headachy than normal and a little more aware of my frailties.  I don’t know why.  I think our lovely Michigan weather has something to do with it.  Adding to my prayer list as you know there have been a boatload of troubles (more like a “fleet of cargo ships load of troubles”) in the news this weekriots in Baltimore; the Supreme Court’s hearing arguments in the same sex marriage debateIranian aggression in the Strait of Hormuz; ISIS murderous assault on Christians and others; and an earthquake in Nepal. Like you, I have friends who are facing surgeries and doctors have used the word “cancer” to describe some of their ailments. Others have troubles in their homes.  Sin has wreaked havoc in the lives of so many people.   All of these things have left me saying like John the Revelator, “Come Lord Jesus!  In fact, the sooner the better, please come.


I’m so ready for Jesus to make all things new.  With John I look forward to the vision that he saw and described in Revelation 21: 


I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  (Revelation 21:2-4)


Doesn’t that sound good?  Please, please come!  Even as I write these words there is a big part of me that is glad that Jesus hasn’t answered John’s or my prayer to come just yetWhile I long to be in the place with no “mourning, crying or pain,” I have loved ones that don’t know Jesus.  I have friends that if Jesus were to come right now would not be ready for His return.  So I’m torn, but not so torn.  I want Him to return for my sake.  I want Him to delay for their sake.  So if it means that our loved ones will find Jesus as he delays His return, then my prayer is “take your time Lord Jesus, take your time.”


It seems that Jesus takes serious what He inspired Peter to write: “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  So I should take it serious too. As we wait His return, I have determined to do everything I can to see “everyone come to repentance.”  As long as I have breath in spite of headaches and riots and earthquakes and living in a post-Christian America, I want to work, prayinvite and share a cool cup of water with all who are thirsty.  I want to make a difference for Jesus until He comes!  So like John I say, “Come Lord Jesus whenever the time is right.”  

My Not-so-proud Baptism Moments

This Sunday is another baptism Sunday at Central Church! Hooray! I love baptisms; although, I must confess to a few less-than-stellar baptism moments in my ministerial career.

In one church, we didn’t have a baptistery, so we borrowed a nearby church for an afternoon baptism service. The baptistery-blessed congregation graciously allowed the use of their facility and didn’t charge us a penny. I only wish the fine folks had informed us that their baptistery heater didn’t work. What’s the old saying about getting what you pay for? I discovered that day that it is very difficult to say: “I baptize thee” when your teeth won’t stop chattering.

In my last church, before I arrived they had the opposite happen. The heater for the baptistery also broke, but it went into overdrive. The water was so hot they almost had preacher soup (also known as “David Busic Bisque”)!

As you know, I am not the brawniest pastor in the ecclesiastical world. That fact, coupled with a slippery fiberglass baptismal tank bottom, resulted in both the baptizee (a rather large man) and the baptizer (me) go underwater. Moreover, during our attempt to stand up, we both nearly went down for a “second blessing.” There is no truth to the rumor that the organist started a heavenly rendition of “Splish Splash I was taking a bath” as we exited the baptistery.

On another occasion, I was baptizing a rather tall gentleman and did not correctly calculate the distance between the tall man’s head and the back of the baptismal tank. Geometry was not my specialty. As you might have guessed, when baptizing the lengthy fellow, I clunked his head on the tank. After the service, when I embarrassingly told his girlfriend about the mishap, she replied: “Good! I hope he has amnesia. I’ll tell him we’re engaged!” Memory loss had nothing to do with the fact that they are now happily married. At least, I don’t think it did. Hmm?!

Once immediately before dunking a lady, she turned to me with terror in her eyes and whispered that she was deathly afraid of water and that “she just couldn’t do it.” (This was years before the near drowning and “head thumping” episodes, so tales of my baptizing skills did not factor into her apprehension). At that moment, I was glad our church doesn’t measure the amount of water needed to qualify for a baptism (We’ll dunk, pour water, or toss a few sprinkles in the general direction of the baptized). I poured a handful of water over her head, and everybody was happy and blessed.

Remembering these stories brought a smile to my face. Remembering my baptism brought a deep sense of joy. Baptism is something in which all believers should participate. Baptism is a really big deal in the life of the Christian. It is making a huge statement: I am a believer! It symbolizes our new life in Christ and declares that our sins have been washed away! Of course the most compelling argument to be baptized is that Jesus commanded us to do it. Which pretty much settles the question of whether a believer should be baptized or not.

So believer, be baptized. And one other bit of advice: If you have yet to “climb into the water,” before you do inquire if the pastor has correctly calculated the distance between your head and the back of the baptismal tank. You can thank me later.