Friday, April 30, 2010

High School Football Fundraiser


My son, Shane, is raising money to support his high school football team. He is planning on playing for the Ramona Bulldogs for four years before enlisting in the military to defend his country.

Please watch his video below and support his team in it's most important fundraiser of the year. All donations will pay for equipment and gas expenses for away games that are not included in the school budget.

If you would like to donate to these fine young men who represent a bright hope for our country's future, please click on the link- "Shane Mulligan's Lift-a-thon Supporters Page" in the upper left section of this blog.

Thank you for supporting Shane and his TEAM. video

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tell-a-Mulligan

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you -Isaiah 46:4

My peers love to poke fun at me for not being able to keep secrets. I tell people that the three fastest forms of communication known to man are telephone, telefax and tell-a-Mulligan. As I break in my new study Bible, I see this naked caveman (Luke 8:26-40) has more in common with me than I realized when I first saw my alter ego "in the mirror".

This new study Bible goes deeper. It has maps of all the places Jesus visited and in-depth background information that help make the stories come alive for the reader. One of the interesting lessons I learned last night about the naked caveman is he lived in a place that was probably not Jewish. Until Jesus met this man, all the people He healed were told to keep quiet, they were all Jewish. We know the caveman was a Gentile because the people nearby were raising pigs (Jews were not allowed to eat pork). Jesus knew that if He allowed this man to tell all the good that He had done for him, the caveman would be sharing his story with non-Jews and there would be no danger of interference with Jesus' ministry.

This caveman was the first non-Jew to ask Jesus if he could follow Him.  He is also the first person Jesus said no to (what He really said was "not yet"). Perhaps Jesus didn't want Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting to look goofy with the naked caveman as the 13th apostle? Or maybe Jesus saw how many Gentile souls could be brought to Him if he left the caveman in the fringes? By the way, I also reside in a place where pigs are raised.

Now I know this caveman in Luke's story is related to me because he spread the word faster than any modern day tell-a-Mulligan. We can thank this first Gentile who Jesus healed for sharing his story with everyone he encountered.

Remember, you, the reader of this blog, are the most important part of this naked caveman's story. Please take a moment and open your Bible to Luke. Read chapter 8, verse 40. Yes, this verse is just for you...you are in the crowd to welcome Jesus when He returns. Please share this story with a friend. Tell them the naked caveman asked you to spread the word...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Afflictions

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5

Saul was on a personal mission to kill all Christians until God confronted him and blinded him. He became helpless and had to rely on others. His encounter with God changed his life forever. At first, other Christians were afraid to be around him because they weren't sure a man could change so drastically.

Saul's name was changed to Paul. Everywhere he went, he spoke and wrote. He saw people hurting and he addressed it. It seems odd that a person would boast of his afflictions, however, Paul pointed out that suffering is part of the process that gets us closer to God.

How often do we communicate with God when everything is going well in our lives? What about the times when we see people around us struggling? Do we reach out or do we pretend not to notice?

I recall my father's final days on earth. The pain was so intense that the doctor prescribed morphine. After refusing this drug, my brother crossed out the label and offered it as an analgesic- this little trick worked. I will never forget my father's words, "what else do I have to give to God if I do not have my pain?" The morphine was probably more for our benefit because we could not bear to see him suffering.

Jesus suffered greatly in His final hours. He gave His life for us. He had to suffer so that we could live forever. There will be times on our journey when we will face afflictions. Let's remember that these afflictions will produce perseverance which brings character...character turns to hope and hope leads us to the Creator. If we understand how our afflictions can draw us closer to Jesus, maybe we can imitate Paul and boast of them. When our journey is complete, all of our afflictions will disappear and we will spend eternity with God, that is the greatest hope of all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Protection from Evil


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39



Tom Hanks never gave up hope in the movie, "Cast Away". He had a volleyball named Wilson and a package with angel wings on it that he intended to deliver once he found a way off of the island he was trapped on for 1,500 days.

As I watched the movie with my wife for the fourth time, I shared with her that I would never give up. I have this feeling inside of me that this journey I am on is going to get a little bumpy in the days ahead.

I was warned by a spiritual mentor that the Evil One would eventually take notice of the plans God has for me and He would wreak some havoc. Recently, I learned that another anonymous source had a dream about me. I was in Hell and the Evil One was torturing me for all the souls I helped bring to Heaven.

Here is a special message for the Evil One and I want every man, woman and child who visits this blog to hear it:


"You may have fooled many people in this world into believing you do not exist or that God does not exist. You got a few people close to me to give up while I remained silent. You even got me to believe that my whole family had been "cast away". You tormented my father for 67 years but you did not get his soul. I will spend the rest of my life fighting you. I call on St. Michael, the left-handed Archangel, and all the angels in Heaven to protect me. If I am the last man on earth, I promise to be a thorn in your side until our Savior returns to claim victory over you and all of your empty promises."

The temperature is rising on this planet. The Evil One is tormenting some of my loved ones. I ask all of you for prayers. All of us need to join together to share the Good News. We need to stay strong in our Lord and remember that no matter how bad it may look in the battle against evil...GOD WINS!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Silly Goose


It is such a Blessing to come from a large family. My youngest sister came out for a visit with her four children and we had a great time. It is amazing to watch how all the cousins interact, especially the youngest who just turned three. This is the age that their unique gifts and personalities begin to be revealed. Silly Goose, as her Uncle calls her, is the last of the next generation in our family line. As this generation grows up, another one will soon follow.

While watching Silly Goose's brother play with my son's military toys, I remembered the day the Minardo family gave them to me and my brothers. The brothers were older than us and they no longer played with GI Joe. The entire neighborhood hung out with us for hours at a time. Any time we would get money for our birthdays, we raced off to the Ben Franklin store to add tanks and guns to our collection.

This collection was turned over to our younger cousins and then returned after they grew up. One of these younger cousins joined the Marines. It appears that my youngest son will follow him. It felt good to see Silly Goose and her siblings playing with my children's toys. I chuckled as Silly Goose shooed me away from her Polly Pockets. "Go away" she whispered as she entered her private play world.

Today, Silly Goose and her family will be going away. Some day I will watch her walk down the aisle in a wedding dress and I will remember the joy she and her family brought us. How good it is to be out of the cave spending time with family and extended family. I pray that you make time in your busy life to be with family and friends. May you be Blessed with people like Silly Goose and her precious family that can make you smile no matter what challenges you are facing in the outside world...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

F.W.A.R.

Acronyms help us to remember things. F.W.A.R. stands for "false world appearing real". In my cave days when evil had its grip on me, the real world appeared as a fantasy and the false world was my reality.

My false sense of reality was based on my limited understanding of God and my own self. I thought that when you prayed, there were only two answers...yes and no. The third answer, not yet, was beyond my level of awareness. The evil forces in the world did not want me to think God would respond to my pleas for help. God was always there, even when I thought He was just saying no to my prayers.

God does not interfere in the free will of others. There are serious consequences for rejecting God, but we have the free will to just walk away. When God says "not yet", He is doing this for our own good. We need to learn from our trials in order to discover who we really are and who God is.

The world we reside in is not our final destination. It is filled with hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness and false hope. People are judged by the size of their bank accounts. Hollywood wants us to believe that it is normal to come from a broken family or that marriage should only last as long as it feels good. Our heroes are caught cheating and many of us start believing that it is OK since everyone else does it.

Common sense dictates that you can judge a tree by the fruit that it produces. A tree that is well-fertilized, watered and cared for will produce good fruit. If a tree produces fruit that is unhealthy, it should be up-rooted. Hollywood has been selling our world bad fruit. We need to take a close look at what we are eating and make some changes in our diet.

If God is not answering your prayers, just remember that if you keep eating the good fruit and you avoid the bad fruit, eventually you will find what you are truly seeking, even if it is not in the false world that is being heavily influenced by evil. Here is a video clip from a songwriter who is producing some good fruit for all of us to eat...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Zoom's Special Forces

Yesterday, the seven partners and their families that own ZoomAutos.com came together to celebrate. The enemy that had declared war on this team had told our customers that we would all be dead within ninety days of start-up. Five years later, the other side has withdrawn from the battlefield of print, declaring that it is dead. Seven families never stopped believing. At the five year celebration party, this group was photographed together for the first time. We are the only team still standing after fighting a war with an enemy that appeared to have unlimited supplies and manpower. Our side...seven slingshots, a few pebbles and a dream.

In one way or another, each sacrificed so that the group could survive. If this group were in the military, they would all volunteer for the toughest of assignments. They know how to operate in total secrecy, how to study the enemy and find weaknesses, how to win when the odds are nearly impossible.

I charged my friend Rae, a local artist in my hometown, with the task of designing something special that could be given to each of my partners to commemorate our five year anniversary. These custom mugs will be lifted up to make toasts as we reach higher milestones in the next five years.

To my partners, Carmen, Jeff, David, Zelanne, Steve and Kip, I salute you. You are the elite team that has won battle after battle in a war like no other. To our families that never gave up on the dream, I thank you for encouraging all of us to stick together and never, ever give up, even when the world said that what we were attempting was impossible. Happy Anniversary, you represent what our country is all about, standing up for what is right and defending our freedom at all costs...

Five years ago, we watched the video below over and over as we fought the enemy. George Wallace's words became our mantra. I will raise my Zoom mug any time to toast to his speech that inspired all of us to fight rather than run.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Balance Sheet of Life

My college years were spent finding a direction for my life. I started out as a business major and changed to accounting when I discovered that this subject came easily for me. Maybe it was because my accounting instructor rewarded anyone who got a 100% on their exam with a day off from class. I would head straight for the tennis courts for some bonus time after every exam causing many of my classmates to wonder if maybe I was cheating. My sociology instructor was also an avid player and he went out of his way to give me extra time on my papers so I could spend more time on the courts.

By the time I entered my senior year, I was very conflicted about my future. I even took a one semester break that turned into a year to teach tennis at a resort in Canada. I was having the time of life teaching tennis, however, my mother tried to convince me that this was not a "real" job. Because of the one year break, I discovered that my graduation requirements had been changed and that the diploma would only be awarded if I followed the new classes that were added due to my absence.

I felt lonely during my senior year because my close friends had all graduated on time. I did not have much of a social life because I was commuting from home and giving tennis lessons to pay for college. Becoming a certified teaching pro with the USPTA opened some doors. Excitement filled up inside of me when I discovered that a big club was looking for a new tennis director. Outside of balancing the check book, my years studying accounting never turned into the dream that my parents had visualized for me.

Accounting is black and white. It is not like philosophy where the answers are as numerous as the questions. It is not like writing where creativity is only bounded by your own imagination and the time you spend developing the subject matter.

As a business owner, I am thankful that my college education helped me to become more well rounded. I would like to offer my blog followers a synopsis of what I learned about accounting...

The "Balance Sheet of Life" can be summarized like this, add up all of your assets, subtract your liabilities, and what is left over is your equity. My current balance sheet is listed as an example:

Assets

2 worn Bibles (when things are worn out, you call this depreciated)
1 wife (value...priceless)
3 children (at times I wondered if they should be re categorized as liabilities once they hit the teenage years, however, that would be an accounting error)
1 house
1 pantry with food (a few loaves of bread that God multiplies faster than the teenagers subtract)
1 mac laptop (everyone in the family fights for this, that is why my posts are done at odd times)
1 brand new NIV Study Bible (Thanks Uncle Harry and Aunt Helen...like the one you gave my father, I will treasure this and share it with the world)
1 biological family (a loving father- now deceased, a loving mother more full of life than ever, and five siblings who would die for one another)
1 spiritual family (this grows daily as the message of Hope is shared on this blog)

Liabilities


Enemies (Zero... they have all been forgiven and are no longer on the books)
card card bills (someday, they will be repaid)
mortgage (like the loaves of bread in the pantry, God Blesses us with enough pennies each month for this expense)

Equity

Eternal Life...

When Jesus died for my sins and erased them from my balance sheet, everything changed. I really don't deserve any equity but Jesus gave this to me for free, just like the new Study Bible from my Uncle Harry and Aunt Helen.

Why not take a few moments and look at your balance sheet? If you don't like how everything is adding up, try putting Jesus in your "equity" column. It sure will look good when the Father reviews it at the end of your life...just make sure your Bibles are fully depreciated before you go...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Odd Pet Behavior

The first thing our adopted pet named Lucky did when he entered our back yard was chase bees. This Australian shepherd/border collie mix amused us by jumping all over the place to snatch bees for hours at a time. I was happy to see him do this because it distracted him from eating the furniture.

Self-taught dog expert, Cesar Millan, is often called in to "fix" pets that are misbehaving. If you have one of these goofy pets living in your home, click on Cesar's site for some free tips.

Lucky is much calmer now that he is adjusted to his family. His years spent living outside all alone and tied up made him a little bit crazy. Some may have thought he was possessed by demons. Cesar Millan would tell you that he is only reflecting the behavior of his "pack". When a dog is left alone by his master, he can worry if everything is OK, especially if the dog thinks he is in charge.

It took countless hours of training to correct Lucky's odd behavior. By rewarding him with treats, he has even overcome his fear of going outside our home when it is raining. When I look at Lucky, I see a reflection of myself in him. I see why his behavior was so peculiar. For a long time, I was afraid to leave my "cave" and go out into the world sharing all the good that my Master has done for me. I never chased bees in my back yard but I did have a fear of sharing about my experiences from the past when I felt abandoned and chained up.

It comforts me to see Lucky at peace. He is surrounded by a family that loves him, just as I am surrounded by a loving family and community. Yes, it is strange to see so many dogs that look and act like their masters. My hope is that as each day passes, I behave more like the Master I follow and that I answer Him when He calls.

For those of you looking for a new pet, try your local animal shelter. These places are full of abandoned dogs that are in need of a loving home. If you should adopt one that behaves strangely, don't forget to look up the dog whisperer for help...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Collision Course With God


"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" -Matthew 5:3

Today my wife's aunt will be returning from her vacation in Ireland. She checked in by phone after Easter Sunday to see what was happening. I told her not much except for the biggest earthquake to hit our area in decades and the rattlesnake that I almost stepped on while hiking. Each time she has been in Ireland something big has happened. She was away when both wildfires forced us to evacuate and this time she missed the 7.2 earthquake.

We are not sure if her plane will be able to depart from Ireland today because something big happened that she could not avoid while on vacation. This volcano that erupted in Iceland has disrupted air travel all over Europe. Everyone in Ireland is talking about the possibility of an even greater eruption from the twin volcano that seems to explode in tandem.

My wife's aunt has been fortunate to miss so many disasters in our community. It doesn't seem to matter where we live, Mother Nature is very active these days. These events cause some to think about the predictions in the Bible regarding the end times. Others wonder if God is trying to get our attention.

My belief is that God is always trying to get our attention. Sometimes, it is blatantly obvious, like the time God blinded Saul and stopped him in his tracks. God spoke directly to Saul and asked him, "why do you kill my people?"

Other times, it may be a tsunami, an earthquake, a volcano, or hurricane that gets our attention. These big events force us to seek refuge. Car accidents can be life-changing. So can news of cancer or a tumor. Maybe these events are God's way of seeking us, even when we are not seeking Him.

All of us are on a collision course with God. Some of us will see Him one at a time. The rest of us will see Him when He makes his final appearance. His sheep will hear His voice and they will follow Him...Today is a good day to have a "collision" with Him. You can wait for a disaster before seeking Him or you can find Him with a simple prayer. Give prayer a try...

(photo credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Right Place at the Right Time


Have you ever been at a moment in your life where you know deep down that you are exactly where you are supposed to be? Not only are you at the right place, but also at the right time. I experienced one of these aha moments yesterday while driving to my first appointment. There were some things on my mind that I wanted to talk to God about and I felt the urge to just pull over and give Him my undivided attention.

I found a great spot to pull over and had about thirty minutes to spare before my appointment. I pulled out a legal pad and headed for a large boulder at the top of the North Clevenger hiking trail, one of many along Highway 78 near the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The sun was popping out from the large mountain directly behind me. It cast a strange shadow on the plants that were damaged from the last wildfire.

After getting comfortable on my rock, I looked down at this amazing canyon below me. Then the "aha moment" hit me. It was a set of rocks that seemed to resemble the entrance to a cave. I pulled my Droid out of my pocket and snapped a couple of shots of this cave pictured in this post. I knew in my heart that this was the exact place God wanted me to be and the right time. Any other time of day and the sunlight would not be able to reach into the cave. Any other location and the cave would not be visible. Yes, God placed me in a special place where I could recognize His presence.

As I was praying, I realized that my reason for pulling over was because I had some pressing issues that required full attention. Most of my prayers are while I am doing other things, like driving or exercising. The only time God really gets to speak to me is when I am sleeping. I will have to work on giving God more time that is dedicated to Him, free from multi-tasking.

The lesson I learned yesterday while praying on the side of the road is that anywhere you are and any time of day is the right place and the right time when you are giving that time and space to God. That hour a week in church is nice but not really enough. If you feel inadequate in your prayer life, try setting aside time to be with the Creator. Everything else will fall into place when you make time to be in His presence...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't Stop Believing

When the lead singer from “Journey” left the band, a giant void was created that needed to be filled in time for their big tour. Band members scoured YouTube for a new lead singer. They found Arnel Pineda, a diamond in the rough that would become the new heart and soul of this timeless band. His first concert appearance as Journey's new lead singer is below. In the second video, Arnel and his band members share how they came together.

Before being discovered, He ate scraps of food off of the streets for two years while battling a drug and alcohol problem. He was mourning the loss of his mother, the one who taught him how to sing.

The band invited Arnel to audition in the United States. His invitation letter and his voice were needed to show the customs agent that he was for real. The agent was convinced that Arnel was legitimate after hearing him sing a “Journey” song right in front of him.

Arnel was not sure that he could overcome his shyness. His new role with “Journey” has given his family hope for a better life. No longer will he have to search for scraps off the streets. Arnel never stopped believing. His mother was his first fan. She saw something special in her son and nurtured his gift.

On Saturday, another special man from the Phillippines lost his father. Just like Arnel, this man had a gift that was uncovered by his parents. It was the gift of sharing a message of hope for the world. In order to share, he would need to learn to speak English and overcome his shyness. With his parents support, he conquered many obstacles and now serves as pastor of my church.

Journey fans felt a sense of loss when the first lead singer left the band. Arnel experienced this same emotion when his mother passed away. My pastor is dealing with this emotion as he plans his father’s funeral this week. My cousins and my aunt are in the same situation. The first followers of Jesus understood what it feels like to lose their leader. The one thing that unites these people and the entire world is that there is hope we will see these loved ones again, a message that is worth believing in. If you are experiencing a void in your life, don’t stop believing…



Sunday, April 18, 2010

Somewhat Competitive

My daughter's tennis coached asked me which division I wanted to play in with my daughter yesterday in the mixed doubles social. The ultra-competitive side of me was attracted to the group that included the top varsity tennis players. My left-handed nephew and my niece had already chosen this group. Nikki has been so busy with her school work and her horse that her tennis racket has not been used more than a couple of times these last two months, so I decided that we better join the "somewhat competitive" group and allow her a chance to ease back into her game.

My niece was asked by the number one varsity boy to team up with him and she did a great job in her group. My nephew was able to win some big games against talented players. Meanwhile, my daughter and I enjoyed our time playing in a round robin with six other teams, a group filled with talented players.

My daughter's competitive side really came out. When the points were close, our opponents hit most of the balls to Nikki and she fought valiantly. In the end, we got some really cool 1st place trophies, our first as a father-daughter team. My niece took 2nd place honors in the "super competitive" division.

Nikki caught the tennis bug. She did not want to leave even though we were on the courts for over three hours. When it was over, the number one player told me he would see me in Church on Sunday. I told him that is a good place to be because that is where our true strength comes from. Then he told me that he reads the Bible every day. As I looked at my left-handed nephew, I proclaimed that God is left-handed. He looked surprised. I told him that I tell all my right-handed opponents the same thing (tennis is such a mind game). Had he not read the passage that says "He created man in His own image"? Take a look at the picture of St. Michael, the archangel in the post, "Protection from Evil" and pay attention to which hand he uses to wield his sword...very interesting.

As I drove away, I was thankful that my daughter got inspired to play more often and that we have a couple of trophies to remember this great day. I was also thankful that my hair has been growing so fast since I will reading in our church today. The bald spot is blending in now and maybe only the blog readers will notice it if they look closely.

Like the actor who played Jesus in the Passion, I don't want to get in the way of God's message and I hope that the focus for the congregation will be on seeing Jesus and not the bald spot. Whether you are super competitive or somewhat competitive, choose to join your team-mates and spend some time with your left-handed Creator in church today. He still loves you even you if you are playing tennis with the wrong hand...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Playing the Part of Jesus

Six months before being asked to play to role of Jesus in the Passion, a stranger walked up to the unknown actor and told him, "you are going to play Jesus". The actor shrugged it off. Mel Gibson had kept his idea a secret and only a few people knew about the movie idea that would be a life-changing experience for all who would see it.

James Caviezel already knew what was happening when we was auditioning for something else and Mel Gibson showed up. James looked into Mel's eyes and said, "you want me to play Jesus, don't you?" Gibson was shocked. Then the actor added that his initials are J.C. and he is 33 years old, the same age Jesus was when He was crucified.

Caviezel really gets into his roles. He ponders what the people must have been thinking. In order to play Jesus, he opened up his heart and got in touch with what he was feeling. Mel Gibson knew that if this actor agreed to play Jesus, it would require much sacrifice. The actor stated that he knew this was the cross that he was supposed to carry, no matter what sacrifice he would be asked to make.

During the filming of the "Passion", Caviezel injured his shoulder, got hypothermia, and was struck by lightning. He also experienced the same negative emotions that Jesus must have felt as he was publicly ridiculed and rejected. Because Caviezel accepted his role, countless people came to know Jesus.

I am thankful to know so many people that have carried their crosses for the benefit of others. As I write this, I am thinking about my cousins who are mourning the loss of their dad or who are missing their mom. I am thinking about my very special Aunt Peggy, the last one that my dad talked to before he lost the ability to speak. My father's words are being repeated at this moment from Heaven as he stands next to his parents and in the company of his brother-in-law, William. Also next to him are Dickie, Jim, Paul and Mary. He repeats his last words he said on earth, "Peggy, I love you."

These special relatives are in Heaven now. They cheer for us as we willingly carry our crosses. Just like James Caveziel, we are being asked to play the part of Jesus. It may not be easy, but it is the only way for the world to know Jesus up close and personal.

Check out the interview with Caveziel below as he shares his experience playing Jesus. His uncanny appearance and nature remind me of my relatives, not to mention the character he portrayed...

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Tip of the Iceberg


This blog is the tip of the iceberg. Unless we call Alaska our home or we have had the opportunity to take an Alaskan cruise, most of us in the United States have probably never seen an iceberg. The crew of the Titanic wished they could have avoided the one that sank their ship.

As our planet warms, more and more icebergs are breaking away from the glaciers. Our technological advances allow us to track these glaciers and keep sea travelers safe.

The book I'm writing is about what happens when people in a boat hit an iceberg. It's about the struggle to keep the ship from sinking when the captain has gone MIA. The iceberg doesn't look anything like the picture to the right. No, it's all around us yet almost impossible to see. It has a life of it's own and a purpose, to destroy families and crush hope.

If you've been reading these blog posts, you already know the ending, GOD WINS. You may be asking, if I've given away the ending. why should you read the book? The short answer is so that you can be ready when your boat hits an iceberg.

The best selling book of all times started out as a collection of stories. In the first half of the book, the writer used a technique called foreshadowing. The second part is about a bunch of misfits who followed the main character around until they got ditched. The book had a target audience that had been predetermined by the author, however, the chosen audience rejected the lead character. Word-of-mouth propelled this book to record levels when outsiders embraced the book's central message of hope.

Mel Gibson saw potential with this book even though it was overlooked by Hollywood. He used his own money to turn the book into a movie. The final chapter of the book was not covered in the movie but it will make a good sequel, even though most who follow the main character already know the outcome.

The book grows in popularity even though it has been around a long time. Pick up a copy at your neighborhood bookstore or at Amazon (they even have it on Kindle). You may find one on your neighbors bookshelf.  It's title?...The Bible.

If you identify with all the misfits in the second half of the book and you like the classic good vs. evil theme, then make sure to pick up a copy of my book. Just bookmark this site and come back again for more details. My book is the tip of the iceberg, the Bible is the complete package, a must read...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Open for Business


Yesterday, my partners put up this sign at our new business location. It stands out among a bunch of other signs in our complex that display the word, "available". The person we chose to make our sign has been doing business with us since Zoom opened five years ago. He told us that it is not a great time to be in the sign business these days.

Before this sign went up, many other sign people approached us asking for our business. We politely told them we were being taken care of. It is hard to say no to all the sales reps who knock on our door because we know first-hand just how tough it is out there to find new customers.

As my partners were posting this sign, we talked about the importance of keeping your attitude up in a down economy. Experts say that it is a numbers game, the more doors you knock on, the better your odds for success. It is more than just knocking on doors. The people who are still in business today have adapted. They figured out how to stand out and survive. They learned how to offer a message that is irresistible.

We have seen a number of salespeople who are depressed. They may be knocking on our doors but their body language tells us that they have already given up. They don't realize that they are their own worst enemy.

Before you face the world today, make sure you look in the mirror and ask yourself what your sign says. Most people can see this sign even before you speak. Your body language tells the world that you are open for business...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Out of the Comfort Zone

"Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst"
-Matthew 18:20


Have you ever experienced a time in your life where you wanted to crawl into a cave and hide from the world? Maybe it is the very moment that the alarm clock goes off in the morning? You start thinking about what is ahead and perhaps it is just a little bit scary. Those blankets you are under feel so safe and the world seems so daunting.

Until the day I asked God to show me who I am in His eyes, I was in some sort of a comfort zone...a safe place that was disconnected from friends and relatives. The Evil One convinced me that I did not belong in the outside world. It was safe to hide.

It has only been seven months since I got the courage to leave the cold prison I chose to reside in, outside there are new challenges every day. There are lots of people that I have let down. For privacy purposes, I am not naming any names. Use your imagination, the list is a long one.

As I recall my life in the cave, there is one man in this world that comes to my mind. His name is John McCain, the ex-POW who ran for president. When he was captured by the enemy in Vietnam his world became bleak. He was tortured for 5 and 1/2 years. Every day he prayed. His world was so dark and cold. God did not abandon him. When he came out of the cave, he gained a new respect for the world around him.

Life outside the cave is not easy. The comfort zone is gone now. God has nudged me to share my experiences in order to encourage those who feel trapped. He is calling two other people to join with me. One has answered yes and the other is not sure. His main concern is that he does not favor "organized religion". I told him that Jesus felt the same way when He was around. This other person, code-named "three" to protect his identity, told me that he can go where no other can go. This is because of his time in the cave, a cave so dark that only someone like John McCain could relate. His story borders on the unbelievable. The choice to share is three's to make. If he says yes, it will require much sacrifice. He will become part of the "two or three that are gathered in His name." The forces of evil will not be able to stop what God has planned.

The roller coaster ride is starting to look a little scary. The alarm clock next to your bed is going off. Are you ready to go out into the world today?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bad Hair Day


Remember when the kid in "Home Alone" looked in the mirror and screamed? That is what I wanted to do when I discovered that my hair clippers were on the wrong setting as I was finishing my hair cut over the weekend. I had an instant flashback to the time my mother walked out of the room while cutting my younger brother's hair. I asked him if he wanted help and he nodded yes. Yikes!

My daughter and my wife were both ROFL (that is Facebook-speak for rolling on floor laughing). My customers also got a few laughs yesterday as I told them what happened. It is not easy to walk out of a building backwards but that is exactly what my wife suggested to do so that I could hide the bald strip on the back of my head. She also said, "don't worry, in a couple of weeks it won't look so bad."

Just when I had forgotten about the bad hair day, I got an email this morning from one of my uncles who had seen the naked cave man video for the first time. He jokingly pointed out that I should get a tan before doing another video. OK, uncle Harry, now you know why my wife only filmed me from the waist up! Also, this is a G rated (God rated) website and I don't need any lightning strikes to add to the bad hair.

If you find yourself having a bad hair day, cheer up, it's not the end of the world. There are more important things to focus on, like being thankful for all the good in your life. I am thankful that God has placed so many awesome people around me and that they still love me, even if I don't have any hair...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tribute to William H. Crean


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith- 2Timothy 4:7

Today's blog is dedicated to my uncle Bill, a man who made a difference in this world. The first time I lost an uncle was early in my childhood. I remember my dad going to California for my uncle Paul's funeral. Uncle Paul left behind a loving wife and two adorable little girls. Years later, uncle Bill fell in love with my aunt and her two precious girls. The two little girls who lost their first father at such an early age were given a gift straight from Heaven, William H. Crean. God Blessed this family with one more addition, a son, who has grown up to be a fine young man with a family of his own.

Uncle Bill is the ultimate role model for all of us. He reminds us that our sons and daughters do not belong to us forever as we only have temporary custodial duties. It is the job of the parents to point their children to the Creator and be a reflection of Him on earth.

I remember visiting uncle Bill while he was in the hospital recovering from knee surgery. He could not wait to get out and get back into the world. Later, a brain tumor was discovered that he battled for four years.

My brother and my mother got the opportunity to be one of his last visitors just this last week. It was an opportunity for my brother to thank uncle Bill for his guidance during the tumultuous teenage years. When my brother needed a place to stay for a couple of days, it was uncle Bill and aunt Peggy who opened up their home and their hearts. Uncle Bill joined my brother on the roof top for a conversation that would give my brother hope.

Many may ask why would God allow someone to suffer for so long. I believe the answer is so that these people can get an opportunity to see how they changed the world by sharing their gifts with others, especially those who are lost and feel like black sheep.

Thank you, uncle Bill, for the love you gave to so many including the black sheep squadron. You will be missed in this world. May your family be comforted and may your spirit live on in all the lives you touched while you were on this planet...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gadgets and Gizmos



One of the favorite gadgets my father had was a Trans Oceanic radio made by Zenith. He brought it with him on our weekend camping trips and loved finding radio stations from far off places. Excitement filled his face as he discovered broadcasts from obscure locations.

If he were still alive today, I know he would be astounded at the new inventions that have been designed to make our life simpler. On the other end of the spectrum is my mother who is now retired. Her idea of simple is no computer or email. That's right, if you want to find her, forget about Facebook or even the now vintage cell phone. Get in your car and take a drive to her home of 44+ years. Her cabinets are new and the gadgets and gizmos in the kitchen have been upgraded but you won't find a computer anywhere in her home. She likes face-to-face contact and sharing meals together, just like the characters from "Happy Days".

My cousins all remember the ever-present pot of pinto beans that was the standard staple in our home. When you mixed the pinto beans with my grandmother's home-made tortillas, you had something very special. You just can't get that same closeness when you are using all the high-tech stuff.

I am thankful for all the gadgets and gizmos that are around today. Without them, this blog and the books that are to follow would be difficult to produce. I am also thankful that my mother is around to remind me that personal visits are priceless. I hope she never lets go of that special touch even when she sets up her first home computer to make her life simple.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Free Will

A drug, scopolamine, is being used to commit unspeakable crimes; it targets a specific area of the brain related to free will. According to reports coming out of Colombia, if a stranger were to blow the dust from this drug into your face, after a few moments, you would no longer have control of your mind or body. To the world, you would appear wide awake and normal. To the stranger who drugged you, you have just become a slave. Your credit cards, your possessions and your body now belong to someone you don't even know. When you finally wake up (if you wake up) there is no memory of anything. An empty bank account may be the only evidence that is left behind.

There is a certain emptiness that all of us have inside of us. Our free will allows us to pursue anything that will fill that void. This space is within our very souls and it is infinite. No matter what we do, this space cannot be filled up.

There are temporary solutions, like drugs, alcohol and sex. Some seek fulfillment in acquiring things. They always want more because no matter how big the bank account is or how many "toys" are in the garage, it is never enough.

Our Creator loves us perfectly. That means following Him is not mandatory. He did place something inside our souls that would make us curious. It is natural for all of us to want to figure out where we came from and why we were created. When we find the answers to these questions, suddenly that void inside of us is filled. Only a God who is Infinite can fill our souls up fully.

This happened to the group of followers that were locked up in a room after Jesus departed. They were struck with a powerful force that transformed them. Fear disappeared and new life emerged from inside their very souls. So powerful was this force that all who witnessed what was happening wanted to sign up. The Good News spread faster than a California wildfire.

This Holy Spirit who came in like a hurricane wind over 2,000 years ago is still here today, at this very moment. He will fill you up completely if you ask Him to be with you. He will lead you to the only solution that can satisfy the hunger that is inside of you...the choice is yours, all you have to do is exercise your free will and say yes. He is the One you have been looking for all of your life. Are you ready to be "filled up"?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mission Statement

"Begin the Journey Knowing About Him and End Knowing Him" - Mike Mulligan

The cat is out of the bag. The right side of my brain is working overtime to deliver on the promise I made yesterday...to publish all the good that Jesus has done for me. The days of living in the cave are over, now it is time to roll up my sleeves and share my experiences so that you too can know Him.

If you are old enough to remember the E-ticket you purchased to gain access to the best rides at Disneyland, this is it, the best of Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland all rolled into one. It is a sneak peek at the happiest place OFF earth. It is the raindrops you feel touching your skin while the sun is shining. It is the melody you hear that won't stop even as you sleep.

This book is for those of you who heard the same story at church over and over again but left feeling empty inside or bored. You are not alone.

This roller coaster is about to launch. Climb aboard and buckle your seat belt, there is still plenty of room but the seats are filling up fast. I promise that when this ride is over, none of us will ever be the same again and we will see all things with a new set of eyes, His eyes...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Special Announcement

It has now been just over seven months since God inspired me to create this blog and post daily. I am thankful for each and every one of you that follow these posts. As I promised in the beginning, this blog will be updated daily until I am no longer on this planet. Just as we are entering a new season of Spring, this blog is going through a metamorphosis. Soon you will be reading messages from guest bloggers. I am so grateful that these people are willing to share their gifts here on this site.

God's vision for my life is becoming more clear with each passing day. I am excited to share how He plans to use me in the months ahead. He has already placed many of the people in my life that will be needed to do His work. There are still some gaps but I trust that the missing pieces of the puzzle will be filled in at the right time.

I am announcing here for the first time that I will self-publish a book in 2011 and also begin speaking at events across the country. There is still much work that needs to be done as my partners and I continue to expand our company, ZoomAutos.com. I am trusting that God will give me the energy, wisdom and strength to handle everything that He is putting on my plate.

The most important lesson that I have learned is that when you are doing what you have been created to do, doors open and miracles happen all around you. I thank God for all the talented people He has put in my life.

Here is the first draft of the credits as they will appear in the naked cave man's first book:

"I would like to thank my wife, Helen, for staying in the boat with me for 21 years. We raised our sails all the way and allowed the winds of the Holy Spirit to blow. We have faced numerous storms together and there have been many times when there was no wind; there were occasions when jumping out of the boat looked tempting but you held my hand and trusted that God would lead us to calm waters.

To my children, Ryan, Nicole, and Shane, I thank God for allowing me to be your temporary custodian. Your unique gifts will make our world better; you have given your mother and me so much joy.

To my partners and employees at ZoomAutos.com, we stuck together when the mighty Goliath tried to destroy us. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made to allow our company to survive.

To those of you who supported me at my blog, Socalmulligan808.blogspot.com, your encouragement has made a huge impact on my life. You are the pieces of God's puzzle that I will be forever connected to. Together, we will witness how God is using each of us to bring the missing pieces back to Him.

Finally, I wish to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who jumped out of the Bible and into my heart. He Called me out of the cave and showed me who I really am in His eyes. This book is His fruit, may all who read it come to know Him and follow Him."

If you would like to be one of the first to receive a copy of this book, please bookmark this site and come back for more details as they unfold. The next eight months will be very crazy but Jesus has prepared me and I am ready to say yes to whatever He asks.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sharing Your Gifts

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends - John 10:11

The other day I watched "the Hurt Locker" with my family about the war in Iraq. The main character in the movie has a special gift for diffusing bombs. In case you have not seen the movie, I will not give anything away except to say that what happens in the end shows that this is what this man was born to do.

Jesus gave up His own life so that we could be free from sin. He is the ultimate example for all of us. There are times when following Him is not easy. I must admit to you that this morning as I was waking up, I received my inspiration for today's message and did not feel comfortable writing about it. I asked the Holy Spirit for another message. The winds picked up and the same vision was repeated.

The reason for wanting to avoid today's message has to do with "laying down your life". As a teenager, I wanted to lay down my life but it was not for the benefit of others, it was to end my pain. Now that I am older and can see more of God's puzzle, I see that my job is help others determine how they fit in and to encourage them to share their gifts with others.

What does "laying down your life" have to do with sharing your gifts? The answer is "everything". All you have to do is look closely at God's puzzle and you will discover missing pieces. Soldiers died before their time because the expert bomb diffuser was talked out of enlisting by his parents. A cure for cancer was not discovered because a mother put herself first when choosing to end her unborn child's life.

The truth is that your unique gift that you possess is really not for your own benefit, it is for the people around you. If sharing your gift means that you will help the lost pieces of God's puzzle find their place, then you are the only person who can get this job done. It may require sacrifice. It probably won't be easy.

When Jesus discovered what His Father had planned for Him, I bet He thought of one or two ideas of His own. He chose to be obedient. He died for you so that you can have new life. What will happen to the missing pieces of the puzzle if you do not share your gifts? I admit that it took a long time for me to say yes to God and start publishing. He had to knock me in the head with a 2x4 (that is what is felt like when I was reading the Bible) but I have come to my senses and I see the light.

God does not care how many times you said no to Him in the past. He does not care about the times you put your own needs ahead of others. He sent His only Son to die for you so that all of your sins could be forgiven. What God cares about today is that you turn to Him. He wants you to be part of the puzzle.

The missing pieces of the puzzle are all around you. Maybe they are the children who need to be born (or adopted) or the homeless man on the street corner that has not eaten? Maybe it is that relative that hurt you many years ago that needs to hear you say, "I forgive you"? Deep down, you already know what your gifts are. Are you ready to share?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

After the Resurrection

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink - 1 Corinthians 12:13




Jesus knew that His followers were not ready to take His place. He spent 40 days after His Resurrection helping them to get ready for life without Him. They were all afraid that they would end up dead and kept themselves locked up in a room. The first time Jesus appeared to the group, Thomas was missing. After the visit, Thomas returned and told his friends that he doubted Jesus was there. When Jesus returned a second time, He invited Thomas to place his fingers in the wounds.

How were these followers going to be able to convince the world that Jesus returned from the dead? For three years, this group just watched as Jesus did all the work. It took 40 days just to get this group to calm down. Peter had just denied that he even knew Jesus and now he was in charge. Judas did not think God could forgive him for betraying Jesus and hung himself. James and John were concerned about their father's fishing business and felt lost.

The moment that the Holy Spirit entered the picture, everything changed. Jesus promised His followers that they would receive a special gift. This day is know as Pentecost. It happened just ten days after Jesus Ascended into Heaven and fifty days after His Resurrection.

The Holy Spirit came to the followers like fire and wind. These followers became fearless. They immediately went outside and began to spread the Good News. Amazingly, they could be understood in every language known to man.

The Holy Spirit is still with us today. The gifts that each of us have are unique. Some have the gift of healing, others the gift of understanding God's Word. Some have the gift of hospitality, others have visions. When we put our gifts together, we begin to see how God's puzzle is revealed.

Now more than ever, the world needs to hear the Good News. Let's accept the gift of the Holy Spirit and join with others to spread the Word...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Destiny


Yesterday, while millions of people all over the world were celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus, the largest earthquake to hit California in decades (7.2 magnitude) rocked our world. I may have been one of the only people in the region to miss it as I was using an air compressor at the exact moment the quake struck and I did not feel anything. Meanwhile, inside our home, my family was hiding under the furniture as our home shook for about thirty seconds.

As we were hiking near our home (see picture), we talked about the quake. There was also a quake on this same day over 2,000 years ago that caused the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb to fall down as though dead while the stone leading to the tomb rolled away.

The hiking trail split into two paths. The one to the west was named the rattlesnake trail and the one to the east was called the view trail. Ironically, the view trail we selected was filled with the one surprise we were wishing to avoid. As we were walking, my wife yelled out "snake"! I was leading the group with my sister's dog that we were watching and stopped suddenly. As I turned around to look for the snake, I could not find it. My wife had a look of fear as she pointed to me. The baby rattler was below me. I carefully took a few back-steps while guiding Daisy away from the snake and we watched it slowly move off of the trail.

My wife and son were not very excited about moving forward but decided to continue as long as I promised to pay more attention to the trail. I was so busy looking at the beauty all around me that I never noticed the snake. As we hiked, my son talked about my chances for survival had I been bitten. The baby rattlers are the most dangerous.

The thought that went into my head was not about dying but the Resurrection of Jesus. I thought about all the promises that God made. He made me a promise that He would come back again and that all of us would be waiting for Him. This is my destiny and your destiny.

Just like the choices we made yesterday to pick a trail, we have choices every day to follow Jesus or pick a different path. Earthquakes and snakes may get in our way but Jesus is on the trail with us and He will lead us to our ultimate destination which is to meet His Father in Heaven. Do not be afraid of your destiny. Choose the path that leads you to Jesus...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen


1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."- Matthew 28:1-7



This is the day that everything changed, the day that the gates of Heaven were opened. Death is no longer final but instead a doorway that we will pass through to meet our Creator. Not only is Jesus resurrected, but every soul that was locked out of Heaven before this great moment is now reunited with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

As we celebrate this glorious day, lets not forget that our job is to spread the Good News of the Resurrection to those who are lost or fallen. As we approach the day when Jesus will return as He promised, the evil forces in our world will intensify. Our work will not be done until Jesus returns.

Death has lost its power. He is Risen. Spread the Word...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

All Things New

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful -Revelation 21:5

There was a time in my life where I endured almost constant pain in my lower back. It was nearly impossible to sit still in a chair or sleep through the night. It was extremely difficult to play tennis during this three year period yet I refused to stop playing. My singles buddy could see the pain on my face and often asked if I was done for the day.

I prayed every day for God to heal me and I knew He would answer this prayer. I never visited a chiropractor because I was not seeking temporary relief; I wanted a new back that was free from pain.

One morning I woke up and the pain was gone. I remember walking onto the tennis court and being able to hit with full strength. My tennis buddy was astonished. It has been about seven years since the healing and I continue to play tennis at full speed without pain. In order to prevent another back problem, I do one hundred stomach crunches every morning and make sure my back is straight any time I do any lifting. I also make sure to pray that my body stays healthy.

As I think of Jesus carrying the Cross to the place where they crucified Him, I remember how Mel Gibson portrayed Him so realistically. At one point, He saw his mother in the crowd and he saw the pain on her face. He said to her, "behold, I make all things new." He knew that His death on the Cross would conquer all sin and restore our broken relationship with God.

Today's video below comes from Stephen Curtis Chapman, a songwriter who almost quit after the death of his five-year-old daughter in a tragic accident. He understood that his daughter would have wanted him to keep singing and his hope in Heaven helps him to press on.

As we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection, let's keep hope alive that Jesus will make all things new. Whether we are suffering from an injury or the loss of a loved one, let's pray that Jesus can heal us. If our hearts are broken, let's pray for a new heart. Yes, Jesus can make all things new, all you have to do is ask...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades - Revelation 1:17-18


You may be asking yourself, "if this is the day that Jesus died for us, why is this day Good Friday?" In ancient times, good meant Holy. This is one of the Holiest days of the year, a continuation of Holy Thursday that does not end until we celebrate the Resurrection at Easter.

There are many prophecies and connections between the Old and New Testament regarding Jesus as the Perfect Sacrifice. Let's look at how these pieces of God's puzzle fit together.

The apostle John was given a great vision of the future and he wrote everything he saw in the Book of Revelation, the last part of the Bible. He is the one follower who calls Jesus the "Lamb of God" in his writings.

The Old Testament is all about the Creator's love for His chosen ones. Despite constant rebellion and complaining, God is always there for His people. Each time the Jews were enslaved, God stepped in. The most well-known intervention was the time that God asked Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.

Moses was given very specific instructions and failure to comply meant death. First, each family needed to use a special plant known as a hyssop to dip into the blood of the lamb and place it on the doorway. The lamb used in the sacrifice could not be damaged. If any bone was broken or the lamb was blemished in any way, the Jews needed to replace it. Anyone who did not eat the lamb would perish. This blood on the doorposts protected God's people.

God ordered His people to celebrate the "angel of death" passing over them until the end of time. Jesus was celebrating Passover at the Last Supper, which the Jews still celebrate once a year. This commemoration of their Exodus from slavery is known as the Seder. It involves drinking four cups of wine during the meal.

When Jesus was celebrating Passover at the Last Supper, he stopped after just three cups of wine. This is highly unusual since Jewish tradition is very strict. What Jesus was showing His followers was that He was inserting Himself into the Seder, that is, He was becoming the Lamb of God.

He told his followers that He would not drink again until He was in the Kingdom. It was not until the moment before His death on the cross that He asked for something to drink. The plant that was used to raise the wine to Jesus was the hyssop, the same plant that Moses was ordered to use in the first sacrificial meal. This was the fourth cup. The Last Supper was now complete.

When the Romans climbed up on the cross to break His legs, they found that Jesus was already dead. The prophecy stated that not one bone would be broken and this completed the Scripture. It is also important to note that the garment Jesus was wearing was special. This "chiton" was without seam, the same garment a High Priest would wear. It symbolizes that Jesus is both the High Priest and the Sacrificial Lamb.

After completing the Last Supper with the final drink of wine, Jesus bows His head and says, "teleioo", which means, "it is finished". He has done the will of His Father. He has conquered sin once and for all.

As Jesus was suffering on the Cross, He was thinking of you. Even though it would be two thousand years before you were born, He could see you. He loves you and wants to be in your life. This is the day we celebrate Good Friday. It is the day Jesus is looking for a new home, right in the center of your heart. Unlock the door and let Him in.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Black Sheep

My father is from a family of 10 children and the son of a doctor. As he was raising us, he often referred to himself as the black sheep of the family. His brothers were very focused and accomplished a great deal. His sisters all stayed married and, just like his brothers, raised some incredible children.

When it was time to prepare for my father's funeral, my brother wanted to place a black sheep with my father's remains. My brother called all of us children the black sheep squadron because of the difficulties we were facing. For privacy reasons and to protect my siblings, our past will not be discussed unless permission is given. It is safe to say that our entire family behaved like lost sheep and at least one or two of us definitely felt like black sheep.

In ancient times, if you were blind or had any ailments, religious leaders blamed your parents or ancestors for your problems. Although the consequences of original sin affect every one of us, it is not the sins of our parents that cause blindness. Sometimes, we have problems in our lives so that God can reveal Himself to us and to the world when we turn to Him.

It comforts me greatly to know how much Jesus loves the black sheep. He was criticized for choosing so many "low lifes" to associate with. Zebedee, the father of James and John, must have been having a melt-down as he watched his two boys abandon the fishing business, turn away from the family and follow Jesus. Zebedee was a powerful leader amongst the Jews and it made him look bad when he lost control of his sons.

When Jesus knelt down to wash the feet of His followers, the group included a bunch of misfits. When He was dying on the Cross, he had a black sheep on each side of Him. Both men knew they were black sheep but one was sorry for all he had done wrong and asked Jesus to forgive him. Jesus promised the man that he would be in Heaven with Him by the end of the day.

The Kingdom of Heaven is full of black sheep, people who turned to Jesus and asked forgiveness. Jesus washed away all the blackness and they are with Him now for all of eternity.

If you are feeling like a black sheep, know that there is a Shepherd who is calling your name right now. He has already died for you so that you can become bright. My father in Heaven is no longer a black sheep. He asked his family to forgive him for any past hurts and he taught all of us that Jesus loves his sheep no matter how lost we are.

Let Jesus wash your feet today. He is ready to clean you up; all you have to do is listen to His voice and follow Him.