Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Different Type Of Prayer

A picture of a man praying

Heavenly Father,

Help us remember, that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night, is a single mother, who worked nine hours that day and was rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember, that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day, is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember, that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Help us to remember that those in our country that do not speak 'our' language may be able to speak the language of love, if we would be patient, and understand that they feel alone, and out of place, and are looking for a new beginning from a place of poverty, persecution, and hopelessness to a place of security, freedom, and a promise for a future.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts, not just to those who are close to us, but to all humanity.

Let us be slow to judgment and quick to forgiveness and patience and empathy and love.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Carpenter

 Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I 'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer 

to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.

It was a bridge .. A bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched..

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother..
"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."
Oh, to build a bond of "love", "peace" & "sacrifice" like this type of  "LOVE".

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Roses - for you!


A picture of thornsSandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind.
Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a "minor" automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss. Troubles had multiplied. Her husband's company "threatened" to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. THEN! Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.
"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder.
"Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered. "For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child's?"
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk.
"I....I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.
"For Thanksgiving? Do you want the beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the 'Thanksgiving Special'? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."
Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."
Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer, "Hi, Barbara...let me get your order."
She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.
"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk.
Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers?
She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again." She said, as she gently tapped her chest.
Sandra stammered, "Ahh, that lady just left with, uh....she left with no flowers!"
"That's right, said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."
"Oh, come on! You can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!" exclaimed Sandra.
"Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do, today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very ittle to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery."
"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk. "For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel."
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I NEVER questioned Him why those GOOD things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, "WHY? WHY Me?!" It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we'r afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."
Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about the thought that her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is, I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."
Just then someone else walked in the shop. "Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man. "My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously.
"Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?"
"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem. The Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny, here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us.
As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too...fresh."
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious.
We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns."
Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment.
"I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."

It read:

My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."
Praise Him for the roses, thank Him for the thorns.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just for Today

Just for Today ...

.. smile at a stranger
.. listen to someone's heart
.. drop a coin where a child can find it
.. learn something new, then teach it to someone
.. tell someone you're thinking of them

.. hug a loved one
.. don't hold a grudge
.. don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry"
.. look a child in the eye and tell them how great they are
.. don't kill that spider in your house, he's just lost so show him 
   the way out

.. look beyond the face of a person into their heart
.. make a promise, and keep it
.. call someone, for no other reason than to just say "Hi"
.. show kindness to an animal
.. stand up for what you believe in

.. smell the rain, feel the breeze, listen to the wind
.. use all your senses to their fullest
.. cherish all your TODAYS

~ Author Unknown

Friday, October 26, 2012

Verses That Guide

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jeremiah 29:11’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Psalm 25:12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
John 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Psalm 25:9 He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 2:6-9 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


In an effort to clarify questions about the purported durability and unusual physical characteristics of Twinkies, I subjected the Hostess snack logs to the
following experiments:


A Twinkie was left on a window ledge for 4 days, during which time an inch and a half of rain fell. Many flies were observed crawling across the Twinkie's surface, but contrary to hypothesis, birds -- even pigeons -- avoided this potential source of substance.

Despite the rain and prolonged exposure to the sun, the Twinkie retained its
original color and form. When removed, the Twinkie was found to be substantially
dehydrated. Cracked open, it was observed to have taken on the consistency of
industrial foam insulation; the filling, however, retained its advertised


A Twinkie was placed in a conventional microwave oven, which was set for
precisely 4 minutes -- the approximate cooking time of bacon. After 20 seconds,
the oven began to emit the Twinkie's rich, characteristic aroma of artificial
butter. After one minute, this aroma began to resemble the acrid smell of
burning rubber. The experiment was aborted after 2 minutes, 10 seconds when
thick, foul smoke began billowing from the top of the oven. A second Twinkie was
subjected to the same experiment; this Twinkie leaked molten, white filling.
When cooled, this now epoxy-like filling bonded the Twinkie to its plate,
defying gravity it was removed only upon application of a butter knife.

Extreme Force

A Twinkie was dropped from a ninth-floor window, a fall of approximately 120
feet. It landed right side up, then bounced onto its back. The expected
"splatter" effect was not observed. Indeed, the only discernible damage to the
Twinkie was a narrow fissure on its underside; otherwise, the Twinkie remained
structurally intact.

Extreme Cold

A Twinkie was placed in a conventional freezer for 24 hours. Upon removal, the
Twinkie was not found to be frozen solid, but its physical properties had
noticeably "slowed." The filling was found to be the approximate consistency of
acrylic paint, while exhibiting the mercury-like property of not adhering to
practically any surface. It was noticed the Twinkie had generously absorbed the
freezer odors.

Extreme Heat

A Twinkie was exposed to a gas flame for 2 minutes. While the Twinkie smoked and
blackened and the filling in one of its "cream holes" boiled, the Twinkie did
not catch fire. It did, however, produce the same "burning rubber" aroma noticed
in the irradiation experiment.


A Twinkie was dropped into a large bucket filled with water, the Twinkie floated
momentarily, then began to list and sink. Viscous yellow tendrils ran off its
lower half, possibly consisting of a water-soluble artificial coloring. After 2
hours, the Twinkie bloated substantially. Its coloring was now a very pale tan
-- in contrast to the yellow, urine-like water that surrounded it. The Twinkie
bobbed when touched, and had a gelatinous texture. After 72 hours the Twinkie
had increased roughly 200 percent of its original size. The water had turned
opaque, and a small, fan-shaped spray of filling had leaked from one of the
"cream holes." Unfortunately, efforts to remove the Twinkie for further analysis
were abandoned when, under light pressure the Twinkie disintegrated into an
amorphous cloud of debris. A distinctly sour odor was noted.

Summary of Results

The Twinkie's survival of a 120-foot drop, along with some of the unusual
phenomena associated with the "creamy filling" and artificial coloring, should
give pause to those observers who would unequivocally categorize the Twinkie as
"food." Further clinical inquiry is required before any definite conclusions can
be drawn.

So be it said that I will not be eating "TWINKIES"!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hymns For The Aging

Precious Lord, Take my Hand (And Help Me Get Up)

It is Well with My Soul (but my back hurts)

Nobody Knows the Trouble I have Seeing

Amazing Grace (Considering My Age)

Just a Slower Walk With Thee

Count Your Many Birthdays, Name Them One by One

Go Tell It on the Mountain (And Speak Up)

Give Me that Old Timers Religion

Blessed Insurance

Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah (I've forgotten where I parked)

Friday, October 12, 2012


In our search for a suitable pastor, the following scratch sheet was developed
for your perusal. Of the candidates investigated by the committee, only one was found to have the necessary qualities. The list contains the names of the
candidates and comments on each, should you be interested in investigating them further for future pastoral placements.


He has 120 years of preaching experience, but no converts.

He stutters; and his former congregation says he loses his temper over trivial

He took off to Egypt during hard times. We heard that he got into trouble with
the authorities and then tried to lie his way out.

He is an unacceptable moral character. He might have been considered for
minister of music had he not fallen.

He has a reputation for wisdom but fails to practice what he preaches.

He proved to be inconsistent, and is known to fold under pressure.

His family life is in a shambles. Divorced, and remarried to a prostitute.

He is too emotional, alarmist; some say a real pain in the neck.

Comes from a farming background. Better off picking figs.

He says he is a Baptist but lacks tact and dresses like a hippie. Would not feel
comfortable around him at a church potluck supper.

Has a bad temper, and was heard to have even denied Christ publicly.

We found him to lack tact. He is too harsh. His appearance is contemptible, and
he preaches far too long.

He has potential, but is much too young for the position.

He seemed to be very practical, cooperative, good with money, cares for the
poor, and dresses well. We all agreed that he is just the man we are looking for
to fill thevacancy as our Senior Pastor.

Thank you for all you have done in assisting us with our pastoral search.

The Pastoral Search Committee

My Simple To-Do List.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” 

 My simple to-do list: 
  • Count my blessings.
    The blessings of my children, my wife and the beautiful life we share are more than enough.
  • Practice kindness.
    I will always give the best of me.
  • Let go of what I can’t control.
    It’s not me. I surrender. Take me as I am, wherever I am, and I will follow.
  • Share my heart.
    I will share my heart, and trust that others will respect it and cherish it as much as I do.
  • Be productive, yet calm.
    There is a reason, and a purpose, behind every setback and disappointment.
  • Just breathe.
    Every moment is precious. I want to cherish each one.
Sometimes the simple path to a simple to-do list begins with getting smacked with a dose of reality, and then rather than responding with anger, chose to make a new to-do list that is simpler and sounds more like you.

The smack was just what I needed. My new, simpler to-do list gives me the opportunity to check off the right items – the ones that sound like me:

Being Love – Check
Finding Hope – Check
Showing Kindness – Check
Remaining Faithful – Check
Letting Go – Check
Enjoying the Moment – Check

The list may be just words written on paper, but each word has the ability to end the drought and fill the well with happiness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

African Baby


This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa .

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates)..

'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried.

I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!'

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

‘Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24)
Isn't it funny how much and how often God calls on his people all over the world to send something important as a "hot water bottle" & "a doll"??  Even if from some people back home away far from Africa - 5 months in advance!   Our God is such an awesome God!!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lunch on the Bank

A pastor and two of his deacons are out on the river fishing in their rowboat. Twelve o'clock rolls around, and one of the deacons notices a nice spot on the bank to have lunch. He turns to the others and says, "That looks like a nice spot for lunch. What do you say we have lunch over there?"

The other deacon agrees, and so does the pastor. The deacon stands up in the boat, steps out onto the river and walks over to the bank. The pastor looks on with amazement, and thinks to himself, if his deacon is holy enough to walk on water, surely he can.

The other deacon stands up, picks up the picnic basket, steps out of the boat, and walks over to the bank and sits with the first deacon. Again, to his amazement, the pastor thinks again, if his second deacon is holy enough to walk on water, surely he can.

The pastor stands up, steps out of the boat, and sinks into the water. The first deacon turns to the second and says, "Think we should have told him where the rocks are?"


Do you ever wish you knew where all of the rocks are at????  There have been times that I wish I had known where they were at. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BRAVERY - by Lucas

"The difference between someone who is scared and someone who is brave is that the brave person is scared, but tries anyway. Bravery cannot exist without

On September 11, 2001 my wife and I were in the middle of training in Manchester, England. We, and another American in the program, were asked to step
outside the room. We were informed that two planes crashed into the World Trade
Center buildings in an apparent terrorist attack. They wanted us to know before
everyone else because it was our country and home. We stood there in shocked
silence for a moment as a few details were given.

While we listened to the news, the rest of the students, from all across
Britain, Europe, Africa and Canada, were told the same shocking news. A few,
presumably with ties to America through friends and family, came into the hall
to support us. I do not remember what words were spoken, but I do remember the

So many people, almost three-and-a-half thousand miles away from New York City,
were broken. I do not know what thoughts were flowing through their minds. Was
it sorrow, fear, anger, bitterness, rage, confusion, compassion? After a few
minutes of simply huddling together, our tears falling to the floor of the
hallway, just as debris and humans were falling from the towers, the news came.
Another plane had crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth plane seemed destined
for the White House.

Fervent prayer ensued. We, as a community of Christians, prayed together in
faith that the fourth plane would not make its destination. We prayed for divine
intervention on a human event. Our prayers were already answered in the form of
the brave passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93. All we found out at
the time was that the plane never made it to Washington D.C.

Many stories have been told of men and women helping others evacuate. Many tales
of people charging into certain death to do everything they could to ensure that
others would not. Still, stories will never be told of those who could not
escape, but faced death and stared it down. Those who stayed behind by choice so
as not to leave those too beaten, broken, burned, bruised to die alone. Those
who stayed behind to help others face fear. People who were brave for those who
could not be brave.

If I ever need to teach my son the definition of bravery, I need not only look
to my country's men and women who serve in public, military and voluntary roles,
but to those who were thrust into service. They are heroes too. Millions were
scared that day. Thousands were brave.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weathered friends.

Finally, facing famine, and fleeced by his fellows in folly, he found himself a
feed flinger in a filthy farmlot. He fain would have filled his frame with
foraged food from the fodder fragments.

"Fooey! My father's flunkies fare far fancier" the frazzled fugitive fumed
feverishly, frankly facing fact.

Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family.

Falling at his father's feet, he floundered forlornly. "Father, I have flunked
and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors."

But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his
flunkies to set forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.

The fugitive's fault-finding frater, faithfully farming his father's fields for
free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of formal falderal. His fury flashed,
but fussing was futile.

His foresighted father figured, "Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids
fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare
flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten
and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

6 Sure-fire Ways to Become a Volunteer Magnet!

 1. Watch your language
A healthy environment for volunteers is saturated with verbal honor--regular, specific praise for what they're doing. In his book The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, Hans Finzel says, "Organizational researchers have been telling us for years that affirmation motivates people much more than financial incentives, but we still don't get it."

2. Listen more intensely
Author Stephen Covey borrowed this from St. Francis of Assisi: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." Next to physical survival, says Covey, "the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival--to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated." He adds that when you listen carefully to another person, you give that person "psychological air." Once you've met that need, the door is open for you to influence and problem-solve.

3. Lead from the big picture
Your job isn't to serve your volunteers--it's to serve God! In the soon-to-be-classic book On Being a Servant of God, author Warren Wiersbe says, "Ministry isn't easy, but you make it more difficult for yourself if you serve people instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can't please everybody, so don't even try".  What great advice! And when you practice it, you'll draw your volunteers away from trivial concerns and into a much bigger mission.

4. Love by your actions
Communicate love to your volunteers by respecting their time. How often have we asked people to show up early only to have them sit around? Been wishing for 10 new hands-on volunteers?  20?  If you answered yes, what would these leaders do? Unless you can assign specific responsibilities with meaning and purpose, they'll quickly lose interest, be ineffective, and drop out.

5. Laugh a lot...with your team
Create a tradition of getting together with volunteers for fun nights. Put names of restaurants into a hat, then pick one for appetizers, one for dinner, and one for dessert--or just pick one course if you're on a budget.  These nights are sure to be highlights for your team, as long as you follow one rule: no shop talk!  It may be challenging at first, but keep each other accountable.  Focus on having fun and getting to know each other personally.  And don't forget to laugh.  It sends a strong, personal message like nothing else.

6. Let go of some of your real responsibilities
Nothing frustrates volunteers more than shoddy delegation or excessive supervision. When you delegate, give specific guidelines and expectations. But don't equate "specific" with claustrophobic oversight. Show confidence in their ability and character; step back, and let them do it.

Isn't this the truth!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's so hot in Iowa . . .

IT'S SO HOT in Iowa.....the birds have to use potholders to pull the worms out of the ground.

.....the trees are whistling for the dogs.
.....the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance water comes from both taps can make sun tea instantly. learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
.....the temperature drops below 90 F and you feel a little chilly. discover that in July it only takes two fingers to steer your car (one on each hand) discover that you can get sunburned through your car window. actually burn your hand opening the car door. break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 5:30 A.M.
.....your biggest motorcycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death"? realize that asphalt has a liquid stage.
.....the potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter.
.....the cows are giving evaporated milk. are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

IT'S SO DRY here in Iowa that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet-wipes, the Presbyterians are giving rain checks, and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

The Sunday school teacher asked a little boy: "How old are you?" The little chap
said, "Seven. And how old are you?" She replied,"I'm 70." Amazed the
little darling said, "Whoa, you're almost dead!" (from Eduardo Bracier, Spain)

My young daughter had received a pretend doctor's bag as a birthday gift.
Wearing her plastic stethoscope around her neck one day she said, "Daddy, let's
play doctor. I'll be the doctor; You be the one who waits." (from Don Kerns)

Little David noticed a dead fly on the window sill. Calling over his mommy he
asked her, "What's wrong with the fly? Is it broken?" She said, "No, dear, the
fly is dead." Without hesitation David replied, "Oh. It needs new batteries."
(from Heath Glandon)

As a tyke, my grandpa was carrying me through the doors of the church sanctuary
and my sweet "little" voice was heard by all telling them, "And now I have to
keep my big mouth shut!" (from Kathy Noren)

My two young daughters were playing one day when I heard the older one tell the
younger one, "When we get to heaven we get a new body." After a short pause,
"and a new head too." (from Norman)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Holy Alphabet . . . This is Beautiful

Whoever came up with this one must have had some Divine guidance!

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of 'Camp Complaining'
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To 'thank' is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

God Knows

“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 

 1 John 3:20

In hard times and good, God knows what you are going through. He weeps when you are weeping and laughs when you laugh, he shares all of our joys and sorrows. In fact every human experience we have ever known has been known by God. You are not alone, HE is with you!

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…
God knows how hard you have tried.
When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…
God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…

God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…

God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…

God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…
God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…
God has whispered to you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for…
God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…
God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…
God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing… GOD KNOWS!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friends - God

I sat, with two friends at a quaint
restaurant just off the corner of town-square. The food and the
company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn out the window.
There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his 
worldly goods on his back. He had a well-worn sign that read, 'I will work for food.' My heart sank.

I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of 
sadness and disbelief.

We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: 'Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square.'
Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.

I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor.

'Looking for the pastor?' I asked. 'Not really,' he replied, 'just resting.'

'Have you eaten today?' 'Oh, I ate something early this morning.'
 'Would you like to have lunch with me?'
'Do you have some work I could do for you?'
 'No work,' I replied 'I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.'
'Sure,' he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions.
'Where you headed?'  'St.. Louis'
 'Where you from?'
 'Oh, all over; mostly Florida ..'
 'How long you been walking?'
 'Fourteen years,' came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, 'Jesus is The Never Ending Story.'

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences.  Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.

He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.  'Nothing's been the same since,' he said, 'I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.'

'Ever think of stopping?' I asked.

'Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me but God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.'

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: 'What's it like?'


'To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?'

'Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me.'

My concept was changing, too.. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused He turned to me and said, 'Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.'

I felt as if we were on holy ground. 'Could you use another Bible?' I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. 'I've read through it 14 times,' he said.  'I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see' I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

'Where are you headed from here?' I asked.

'Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.' 
 'Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?'

No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next.'  He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

Would you sign my autograph book?' he asked. 'I like to keep messages from folks I meet.'
I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, 'I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.'

'Thanks, man,' he said. 'I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you.'

'I know,' I said, 'I love you, too.' 'The Lord is good!'

'Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?' I asked.

A long time,' he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, 'See you in the New Jerusalem.'

I'll be there!' was my reply. He began his journey again. He headed away 
with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, 'When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

You bet,' I shouted back, 'God bless.'

God bless.' And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them.... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.

Then I remembered his words: 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

Today his gloves are on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. They also remind me God has
given me a calling too; and I must fulfill it whether sunshine or rain, and no matter the appreciation or humiliation.

 'See you in the New Jerusalem,' he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will...

'I shall pass this way but once.. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.'

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Fatherhood Cycle

The Fatherhood Cycle

father-feet4 years: "My Daddy can do anything."
7 years: "My Dad knows a lot, a whole lot."
12 years: "Oh, well - naturally - Father doesn't know that either."
14 years: "Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned."
21 years: "Oh, that man is so out-of-date. What did you expect?"
25 years: "He knows a little bit about it - but not much."
30 years: "Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks."
35 years: "Let's ask Dad what he would do before we make a decision."
40 years: "I wonder what Dad would have thought about that? He was pretty smart."
50 years: "My Dad knew absolutely everything."
60 years: "I'd give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Choosing a Successor

A successful businessman knew it was time to choose a
successor to lead his business. Instead of appointing
one of his directors, or one of his children, he decided to 
call the company's young executives together. He said, 
"It is time for me to choose the next CEO. I have decided to select one of you." 

The young executives were shocked, but the CEO continued.
"I am going to give each of you a SEED today - a very special
SEED. Plant the seed, water it, and one year from today bring
what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will judge
the plants you bring, and choose our next CEO."

One of the leaders, Jim, excitedly told his wife about the plan.
She helped him get a pot, soil and compost, and he planted his
seed. Every day, he watered it and watched to see if it had 
grown. Soon some of the other executives began talking about
their seeds and the plants beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Weeks went
by, but still nothing. Everyone else was talking about their plants, 
but Jim had no growth and felt like a failure.  Six months passed, 
but still nothing in Jim's pot. He concluded he had killed his seed, 
but said nothing to his colleagues.

He continued watering and fertilizing the soil - he desperately
wanted his seed to grow. When the year ended, the young 
executives were instructed to bring their plants to the 
CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife he refused to take an
empty pot to his workplace, but she urged him to be honest 
about what had happened. It was going to be Jim's most
embarrassing moment, but he knew his wife was right. 

Jim took his empty pot to the boardroom. When he arrived,
the variety of plants the other executives had grown amazed 
him. They were beautiful - in many shapes and sizes. When 
Jim put his empty pot on the floor, many of his colleagues
laughed. When the CEO arrived, Jim attempted to conceal
himself in back. 

"My, what wonderful plants, trees and flowers you have grown,"
said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!" 
Then the CEO noticed Jim. He invited Jim to the front - with his 
empty pot.

Jim was terrified. "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will
have me fired!" When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked what
had happened to his seed. Jim explained despite his best efforts,
nothing had grown. The CEO turned to the group and asked 
everyone to sit down, except Jim. He then looked at Jim and 
announced, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His
name is Jim!"

Then the CEO explained: "One year ago today, I gave everyone
in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,
and bring it back in a year. But I gave you all boiled seeds; it was 
not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have
healthy plants and flowers. When you found the seed
would not grow, you substituted a different one. Jim was the
only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with
my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief
Executive Officer!"

It is said: If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant
goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will 
reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap 
contentment. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. 
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. 
If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest. So be careful what 
you plant now: it will determine what you will reap later.

"The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked
paths will be found out" (Proverbs 10:9).

"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are
destroyed by their duplicity" (Proverbs 11:3)


Have you ever wished you knew what to do when the pot didn't
produce anything from the seeds??? When no matter what you
planted - nothing came up?  One might think oh, how
embarrassing this plant is - but that is just the way it is! 

But when we stand back and look and listen we can see that this
is just the way it is. It is what it is!  It is all of those little things
that add to great things!  It all comes down to "integrity"! 
That is where it is at for all of us!