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.

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)