Sunday, March 25, 2007


This photograph was probably take sometime in the early 1880s. The man seated in the center is Jonathan Moorhead, my great-great-grandfather. He was born in Senecaville, OH in 1828. He died in the same town in 1903. He is pictured with his five sons. (There were also three daughters.) Seated left is George, 1851-1932. Seated right is William Franklin (Frank), 1853-1908. Standing behind Frank is Langdon, 1860-1948. Standing center is my great-grandfather, John Swazy, 1862-1948. Standing left is Jacob, the youngest son, 1864-1914. It was Jonathan's father, Alexander, who moved the family to Senecaville in the early 1820s.

Jonathan was a lumber merchant and brick manufacturer. He was also a Civil War veteran. (It is obvious by the years in which his sons were born that Jonathan got home a couple of times during the war!) John Swazy was a railroad agent, school teacher, and mayor of Senecaville.

There is a story is told of John Swazy during the days that he was the school teacher. He was apparently a short and slight man. (None of the Moorheads in our branch of the family exceeded 5'10". John was much shorter!) The older farm boys in the one-room school could be a little difficult to control. So great grandpa John, who drove a horse-drawn carriage to school, took his rifle with him. At the lunch break he took the boys out back for some shooting practice. He was such a crack shot that the boys gained a new respect for him and he never had a discipline problem in school again.

My grandfather, William Bright Moorhead, was born in Senecaville in 1898. He married and moved up to Flint, MI where both my dad and I were born.
The most significant part of the Moorhead story for me is that every one of the men in my genealogy has been a leader in the church. Jonathan and John Swazy were Bible teachers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. My grandfather and my dad have also been elders and teachers. I am grateful for the godly heritage the Lord has given me.
(If you don't see our buddy Jonathan from the Head of the Moor comment here, somebody call him or something. I wanted him to see this for sure! I mean, we may be distant relations but the guys in this picture are more closely related to his family than he and I are!)
Thanks for your patience!


Ephesians 5:17

"So then, do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is."

Finally, the wise person knows what the will of the Lord is (5:17). The fool does not know God’s will for him. He does not believe in the truth of the Bible. He may not believe in God at all. He does not think that God is going to communicate with him. He does nothing to try to discover the will of God because he probably does not believe there is any such thing.

But Paul has been telling us what God’s will is for us all along! He has said, “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (4:1). He said, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (4:3). Paul has told us that we are to “no longer live as the Gentiles do” (4:17). We are told to “put off the old man and put on the new man” (4:22-24). We are supposed to “be imitators of God…and live lives of love just as Christ loved us” (5:1, 2). And we are to “live as children of light, exposing the deeds of darkness” (5:8, 11). The wise person takes these things to heart and not only agrees with them and gives mental assent to them but he does them! How do we come to know what God’s will is? We read and study God’s word and he makes it clear to us. We spend time with God in prayer and meditation, listening to what he has to say to us. If we do these things we will be wise children of God.

Christians are called for the very purpose of walking wisely and righteously in the world. If we are Christians we cannot continue to live as the world lives. This is what Paul has been saying all along in these chapters. We have been bought with a great price and we belong to God for the purpose of serving him. It is part of our calling to understand what God’s will is and do it!

If you have not begun to follow Christ you must decide how you are going to live your life from this day forward. Will you continue to live without Christ or will you begin to live the life of wisdom? The only cure for foolishness and confusion is the salvation which can only be found in Jesus. Will you recognize God and recognize what he has done for you? Will you confess your sin and repent of your sin? Will you submit yourself to his authority in your life and give him control of your life? Then you will begin living a life of obedience and wisdom.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Ephesians 5:16

"...redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

The wise person understands the culture and society in which he lives. He recognizes that the days are evil (5:16). A Christian needs to realize that the world and the culture are evil. This shouldn’t be too hard to see. Our world is fallen and corrupt and the enemies of God are working to destroy God’s creation. This world is under the control of powers and forces that are hostile to God. So the Christian is not fooled when he hears people say the world is advancing and evolving into higher and better levels of existence. He realizes he is at war with the principalities and powers of the darkness of the age. He knows that this day is drawing to a close and that God’s judgment will surely come.

So the Christian does all he can in the time he has. He “makes the most of every opportunity” (5:16). A literal translation of this phrase is “redeeming the opportunities.” “Redeem” means to buy back something. Peter wrote, “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry” (1 Peter 4:3). We have already lost so many opportunities because of the time we spent in sin.

The wise man realizes this and invests himself in buying back opportunities that were squandered. He knows he does not have a lot of time in this world so he must make every opportunity count for the sake of the kingdom of God. How does he do this? Just as Paul has said, he shines as God’s light in the world. He exposes the deeds of sin and darkness with the light of God. He is used by God to awaken those who are asleep in the darkness and to bring them to Christ. If we are to live wisely then we must buy back every opportunity to rescue the lost from the kingdom of darkness and show them the way into the light of Christ.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Ephesians 5:15

As opposed to the fool, the wise man recognizes the existence of God and he lives accordingly. If God exists then he must be held in proper esteem. If God is almighty and sovereign then it is only wise to treat him with the proper awe and wonder. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7a). The wise man realizes that if God exists then it only makes sense to do what God wants him to do! He knows that if God is God then he has all authority over his life. He is therefore willing to submit himself to God’s authority and God’s laws. So instead of creating his own standards for living, the wise man recognizes God’s standards as absolute. He wants God to control his life. He submits his own will to God’s revealed will and he does what God wants him to do. The wise man asks God to direct him in every aspect of his life.

So how does a person move from being a fool to being wise? What is it that changes him from the person he was according to his natural birth to being a person who is wise? We already know the answer to that. It is the new birth! Through new birth God removes us from the category of the foolish and makes us wise. He gives us his wisdom. Therefore, all who have been born again have God’s wisdom. Christ is the wisdom of God and we have Christ so we have God’s wisdom. That is why God tells us we should no longer live as fools but as wise. How does this happen?

At one time we were all fools. We did not understand the truth, we could not understand the truth, and we rejected it (see Jonathan Moorhead’s note!). But God opened our eyes to the truth and gave us understanding. By his grace alone he showed us the foolishness of our worldly pursuits. We came to see that in Christ are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” We realized that the answers to all of our human problems are to be found in Christ.

The fool is the person who follows the way of his own instincts and impulses. The Christian is given a new life, a new nature. This new life comes to us in the Holy Spirit who takes up residence within us when we are born again. It is the nature of the Holy Spirit that gives us the strength and desire to overcome temptation. He moves us in a new direction. He shows us the way God wants us to go and enables us to fend off the instincts and drives of foolishness. The Holy Spirit is characterized by discipline and self control and he leads us to choose the path of holiness rather than foolishness. Every person who has been born again has the Holy Spirit so every Christian has the ability to renounce the ways of foolishness and pursue wisdom.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Ephesians 5:15

Here is the first thing we need to understand about fools and foolishness. The biblical definition of a fool is a person who lives life separated from God, a person who does not live life in relation to God. Sin is the thing that separates us from God. We have been separated from God since the sin of Adam and every human since that day has been born with a sin nature. Since we are all born in sin we are also all born separated from God so, by definition, we are all born fools! We do not have to work to become fools. There is nothing we have to learn or accomplish to qualify for the rank of fool. We’re just born that way!

A fool lives in such a way that his life demonstrates that he does not believe in God. King David wrote in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” So foolishness is living life as if there is no God. Follow the logic. If there is no God then you have the right to be the authority over your own life. You get to make the rules for your life and no one can tell you otherwise. If there is no God then there are no absolutes. You get to decide for yourself what is right or wrong. But one thing is sure, since there are no absolutes there can be no sin. Therefore, you get to do whatever you want to do. You aren’t wrong and you don’t sin. Everything you decide to do is justified by the rules you have made up for living. The bottom line is that the fool is governed by his feelings, his senses, his instincts. He is ruled by the passions and desires that are in his heart. In other words, he is governed by his sin nature! It makes perfect sense to the fool. “I will do what pleases me, what makes me happy, and there is no one who can say I am doing anything wrong!” But if you try to explain God’s wisdom to such a person he cannot understand it. He is a fool and cannot grasp the wisdom of God.

What does the Bible say is the ultimate destination for the fool? The fool’s own foolishness in rejecting God will be his destruction. Wisdom speaks in Proverbs 1:28-33, “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” The consequences of foolishness are death, “Fools die for lack of judgment” (Proverbs 10:21b).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Ephesians 5:15

"Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise..."

Wisdom. Who wants to be wise? Is wisdom something that is really valued in our culture? Do we look up to people who are wise? Do we even know what “wise” means or what wisdom is? Do people work hard to become wise? Are people drawn to wisdom? Are they attracted to people who are wise? Do our kids search for wise people to be their idols and heroes?

The Bible talks a lot about wisdom. Wisdom is something to be treasured. It comes from having a proper view of God and from living close to God. At the same time, it is the wise person who pursues God and tries to do what God desires. Gaining wisdom is held in very high regard. The lack of wisdom leads to destruction. Wisdom leads to success. Failure to be wise leads to poverty and grief.

What astounds me about American society in the early 21st century is what seems to be a complete lack of interest in wisdom. There certainly is no interest in wisdom out there in the non-Christian world. Wisdom would just take away everybody’s fun! We know what the world values. Our television commercials provide the equivalent of a PhD dissertation on the values of our society. “What do you want? Go out and get it! You deserve it! You work hard and have a right to your fun and relaxation! Don’t deprive yourself of anything that might feel good! Don’t worry! You can consolidate your debt with a loan from Ditech! Just don’t say ‘no’ to anything your heart desires! Go with your feelings!”

Worse, the Christian church doesn’t seem to have a great deal of interest in wisdom either. It’s as if we have bought into the idea that wisdom just keeps you from doing things that are fun. Have any recent, popular Christian writers written anything on how to live a life driven by wisdom? Have you seen a video series designed to show Christians how they can gain more wisdom? Have any evangelists come up with a plan for outreach based on offering wisdom to seekers? The things we offer people who are seeking spiritual truth are personal fulfillment, happiness, complete satisfaction, meaning in life, hope and purpose. It seems that wisdom ought to be one of the most attractive things about Christianity. People are lost and confused. They cannot make sense out of life and its difficulties. Yet they are being offered everything except wisdom. Wisdom is not flashy and attractive. Offering people wisdom just doesn’t help build a megachurch.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Have you received the irate emails from Christian people who are all ticked off that the United States mint took the words “In God We Trust” off the new Presidential One Dollar Coins? I was swamped with these emails. I can’t begin to guess how many I received. “How dare they take ‘In God We Trust’ off the coins!! Don’t use the new dollar coins! Just another example of the direction our government is going! We have to fight this! Let your congressman hear about it! We can’t just sit here and do nothing while our country goes to hell!”

A few days later it came out that the coins which were sent out without the “In God We Trust” were actually sent out on accident. They never intended to delete “In God We Trust” from the coins. The words are imprinted on the edge of the new dollars. Of course I got another email complaining that by putting “In God We Trust” on the edge of the coin it is just another sign that America is pushing God to the edge of our lives.

I want to start another protest. I hope you will all join me in this one. I want all Christians to stop using American currency until the US Mint takes “In God We Trust” off of it! I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life! How can the US government sleep at night? How can the guys at the mint keep a straight face? “In God We Trust?” And it’s printed on MONEY? You have to be kidding! “In God We Trust” has to be one of the biggest lies I’ve ever heard! It’s about time they took it off the money! The phrase on our money ought to be “In This We Trust.” Or we could print it on the weapons we give to our military and on all our bombs, “In This We Trust.”

What’s this talk about “pushing God to the edge of our society?” Our society kicked God out years and years ago! There is no pushing going on. I find it astonishing that God hasn’t simply stomped us out of existence! What grace and mercy is this that he has been so patient with us? I think God would be pleased if we took the lie off our currency! Maybe our currency should read, “Thank God for Mercy.” Or, “God, Please Forgive Us.”

Please, please don’t come after me with the “unpatriotic” thing. This really has nothing to do with patriotism or whether or not I love America. I am begging for realism and honesty. Our country doesn’t trust in God and it hasn’t for a couple of hundred years. Why should we be upset if they did take “In God We Trust” off the coins. It might be a sign that they are starting to listen to their consciences after all!

Christian friends, instead of getting all lathered up about our American currency, let’s do this: Let us faithfully and fervently pray for the people around us and seek out ways to invest in their lives and share the gospel of the love of God with them. We can’t change our country, but God really can! One person at a time!


Ephesians 5:11-14

Paul has said we should not be deceived or partner with the world in their behavior. Rather, we should live as children of light and produce the fruit of light which is all goodness, righteousness, and truth (5:9). The deeds of darkness produce no fruit. They are fruitless (5:11). Instead of partnering in the deeds of darkness we are supposed to expose those deeds. What does that mean? Are we supposed to go to bars and taverns and dens of iniquity and rail against the people who are there? That’s what some Christians used to do and I know there are still Christians who think we should! Are we supposed to start hunting people down in their sin and point our fingers and shout like a modern day witch hunt? Does this mean that we Christians should not have any non-Christian friends? What does Paul mean? How are we supposed to expose them?

I used to have a job painting apartments. Whenever someone moved out of an apartment my partner and I went in and painted it. Now this wasn’t the fanciest apartment complex in Chicagoland. Some of the units we had to go into weren’t very well-kept. We developed a game. We tried to go into each unit as quietly as we could and sneak into the kitchen. Then we would suddenly flip on the lights and see how many cockroaches we could spot before they ran behind the counter or the refrigerator. It was interesting to see how the light affected the roaches. We never had to shout or anything else! Just turn on the lights and they ran away! They always ran like crazy! They loved the darkness but hated the light.

When Paul says we are to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness he does not say we are to judge or condemn the people. We are simply to turn on the lights in the kitchens of their lives! And in order to do this we have to get inside their lives. And in order to do that, we must be friends with them! We cannot shine the light of God into the lives of people unless we are right beside them and we cannot get that close to them without developing a relationship with them. We don’t have to shout or condemn or preach. Simply letting the fruit of the light of God shine into their lives will expose the truth!

Remember the words of Jesus, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men so they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Are you trying to let your light shine in your world? Don’t cover it up! Don’t hide it! Don’t shrink away from the non-Christian people around you! They need you! Who will shine the light of God into their lives if you don’t? Who else will reach them? Live as children of light. Pour your prayers and your energy into your friends and neighbors and watch what happens. Paul says God will use you! “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (5:14). What a privilege it is to be used of God to bring another person into his glorious light!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


And now, ladies and gentlemen, the list you have all been waiting for has been published! We welcome the 2007 version of the Princeton Review’s College Rankings. Yes, my alma mater, The Harvard of Evangelical Christendom, The Oxford of Midwestern Conservatism, The Yale of Christian Academia, has scored very high on eleven, count ‘em, eleven (11) of the PR’s lists. Oh, where to begin?

Why put off the good stuff? This is what you really want to know anyway. How did Wheaton, dear old Wheaton score on the partying lists?

In answer to the question, “How widely used is beer?” we came in second only to Brigham Young University as the least “hopped up” college.

“How about hard liquor?” you ask. We won that one, coming in first as the least (not yeast) users over, yes, you guessed it, BYU!

What about the wicked weed? I can’t seem to explain this one except that the United States academies must have very stringent rules about hemp. Of course, BYU is first, followed by the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy. The Orange and the Blue gets smoked and comes in #6 behind them. (I wonder about Army?)

How do you get an overall ranking for party schools? You combine questions having to do with the use of drugs and alcohol, number of hours spent studying, and the popularity of Greek frats and sororities. Wheaton parties on at #2, again trailing BYU.

Let’s move to some of the less “interesting” categories. Speaking of parties, among schools that long for the “good old Reagan days,” we are #7. Of colleges that are least accepting of alternative lifestyles we rank #4. In the category of “Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution” we climb all the way to #3. (Makes me so darn proud!)

“So what could be left?” asks the curious alumnus. Ah, food! Wheaton’s food is ranked #3 among all the colleges. (Remember getting a beat up piece of beef and calling it “steak night” every other weekend? I guess that is routine now except the meat is USDA prime!) Then there is the “Town and Gown” category. How well do college students get along with the townies? We are #8! And in overall quality of life, alma mater checks in at #16!

Why, you may wonder, does Wheaton score so well in all these areas? How could it be such a generally outstanding place to spend one’s college years? I could talk about all the good looking girls and guys on campus but that would be too shallow. Here is your answer. In the category of percentage of students on campus who pray, Wheaton is #2, behind, yep, you guessed it, BYU!

“Wheaton, dear old Wheaton, live forever!”

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I have been watching Fox News in the mornings for several years now. CNN finally wore me out with the way the make the news and although the morning hosts on Fox can be silly sometimes I prefer their honest approach to watching the news. When the tea or coffee is ready and the porridge is made I sit down and catch the headlines and see what’s going on in the world.

I quit watching the news last week. “Why?” you ask. Good question. I’m angry and I’m not going to take it any more. I am so sick and tired of seeing hour after hour of coverage of Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears that if I see one more story about them I might do damage to my TV set and then how could I watch USC beat some SEC team in the BCS Bowl Championship game next January?

Now, let me get serious. This national infatuation we have with Anna Nicole Smith and the men who claim to have gotten her pregnant out of wedlock disgusts me. This morning, before I could change the channel, I saw a crowd of people across from the morgue waiting to see the hearse carrying her body drive away. There were families waiting. People with cameras. What’s going on? Will those children someday tell their grandchildren they saw Anna Nicole’s hearse drive away? Is some proud photographer going to flash his prints at the local pub and point and say, “There! That’s the hearse with her body!” Anna Nicole Smith got famous because she took her clothes off for Playboy. In our society that makes someone a celebrity! What is wrong with us?

Britney Spears is a spoiled little brat who thinks the world revolves around her and there doesn’t seem to be one person around her to tell her how wrong she is. She makes a joke out of marriage and parenthood. She drinks and drugs herself unconscious. She shaves her head and then in a blind rage attacks a car with an umbrella. And America waits breathlessly to see if she is going to stay in rehab. What is wrong with us?

What is wrong with us? We have young men and women dying every day in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have wounded and broken bodies being sent home every day to parents, wives, sons and daughters and we have the gall to be entertained by information about a dead addict and a living addict who seems to be trying to kill herself? Please don’t ask me where my Christian compassion is. I’m venting here. It’s not Anna and Britney that upset me. It’s our society! It’s us!

We should be ashamed! We should be disgusted! Someone should say something! Maybe I should say something! Certainly I should say something! We better be careful what we are watching on TV and what we are talking about in our coffee shops. It’s not honoring to God to even mention the things they do in secret. America will be called to answer for her entertainments and idolatries and if I (we) do not warn her I (we) will be culpable. Perhaps we will not be able to change a society that is already so damaged but maybe a few people will hear us. Maybe there are people out there who are ready to hear some real Good News for a change. God help us.
Thanks for listening!