Saturday, April 30, 2005

Remember Saturdays?

Remember when Saturday mornings were for sleep? There was not a care in the world, there was no job to go to, and there was nothing pressing except for your head on that pillow. But forget Saturdays. There doesn't even seem to be weekends anymore. It's go, go, go from the moment you get up. And that's another frustrating thing. We've all gotten older so to sleep in is virtually impossible. Either you have to get up and go to the bathroom. Or your old time clock wakes you up at your normal working day hour...i.e. 6:00 am.
Then, because I'm a preacher, Sundays are work days. So it's up to preach which is physically demanding believe it or not. Then there is whatever activity is going on in the afternoon. Usually a meeting, potluck or some other kind of gathering.
But then, that's what makes life fun. It's a mission. It's purpose. It's fun. Now go out there and do some work. It's Saturday!! JW

By the way, I'll not be blogging until Thursday. Talk to you then.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

When It's All Bad

What do you say to someone when their life is going from bad to worse? "Aw, it'll be all right. You just have to have some faith. You'll be all right." That doesn't work. I know. I've tried it.
What I have found that works is that I don't have all the answers. That I'm so sorry life is unfair, especially right now. Let's make sure we lay the blame where it needs to be--on Satan and not on God. Then, there has to be true and sincere empathy. The Bible says that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.
Life isn't fair. I tell that to my kids all the time. Maybe they are about to get it because they haven't said that in a long time. Perhaps they haven't been through the fire lately.
But you might be. I'm so sorry that Satan does that to you. But I want you to know something, and of this I'm very sure. God will never leave you. Never. I can promise you that. When all else in inconsistent, He is the only consistent in the mix. And he cares. Paul tells the Corinthians that God is the God of all comfort. When you're weeping in the midst of pain, it's God who holds you closely and says to you, "There, there, my child. I'm here." JW

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Catch Phrases

I think it's interesting to see certain by-words or phrases that come along. When I was in graduate school, the new word was "paradigm." Everyone who was anyone dropped the word into papers, talks, or just general conversations. It allowed everyone to know that you were educated and up-to-date in the world of intellectual thought.
This also spills over into the church. I remember the phrase used to be "body life." The word "paradigm" also slipped in for awhile. If you listen closely, it still does. Now the words are "purposeful" or any form of the word "purpose." "Core values" is another one. There are any number of others that you can come up with. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these words or phrases. In fact, it's imperative in our churches that we are purposeful and that we do know what our core values are.
But let me give you a good word. Jesus. He's the exact represenation of God (Hebrews 1:3). He's the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the first-born of all creation (Colossians 1:14). In Him "all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17) My assumption is that outside of Him all things fall apart.
My encouragement today is that we don't get too caught up in the catch words or phrases of the day. Let's continue to remember that Jesus is who makes it all possible. In Him is life and it's a full life. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I hate Satan. He is the father lies. He's a roaring lion. He destroys. He cheats. He confuses. He deceives.
When I was a youth minister, our church had a youth rally and the speaker gave an illustration I will never forget. He had the boys get on one side and the girls on the other. He got all of the boys together and said, "You are the church. I'm going to have the girls break you apart. So lock arms gather around each other and hold on tight!" Of course, the boys roared in approval because those weak, feminine girls couldn't break them apart. After all, they were! Yeah, men! Next the youth minister got the girls together and he privately said to them, "All right, girls, no rules. You can kick, bite, scratch, whatever. Do whatever you can to get them apart." The boys were armed with their pride and arrogance The girls were armed with their mission, and the war started. Those boys were such pansies. It didn't take ten seconds to break them apart.
That's what Satan does. He doesn't play fair. He'll bite, kick, scratch, and whatever. But it's not near that trivial.
Marriages are totally devastated. Relationships are completely destroyed. Fathers don't talk to their sons. Husbands cheat on their wives. Cares are supposedly wiped away by alcohol or drug abuse. And all because we don't believe it when God tells us to watch out for Satan. Take him seriously. But when you resist him, he'll run. That's what the Bible says. Jesus stood up to him and he went away for a more opportune time. He'll do the same with you. But you must realize, he doesn't care one whit about you. And remember that he'll get his in the end. God will take care of him. He doesn't have a chance. But you do. Have a great day! JW

Monday, April 25, 2005


I heard a preacher friend of mine one time say that the best way to drive home a point was to make someone laugh and then bring home the serious lesson. What he was talking about was contrast. Contrast is an interesting literary and oratorical technique. Dr. Bill Banowsky was speaking in Tulsa and quoted the words from an old country tune. "Take the ribbon from your hair....Help me make it through the night." Then he quoted, "What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear." It was a wonderful, powerful contrast.
Yesterday, in worship, we sang the song "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." In it are the words, "Did e'er such love and sorrow meet?" What a contrast! One would never put love and sorrow together.
We even use a departure as "bittersweet." I guess that was the feeling when my parents died. I was sad, and still am because I don't hear from them anymore. No one calls me from Searcy, Arkansas to see how me and my family are doing--at least from my side of the family. Yet, I am so happy for both of them! They are together singing God's praises forever! What a contrast in emotions!
Paul makes a statement in Philippians that he is torn between two things. He wants to go on to his reward which is far better. But he realizes he must stay.
Our lives are full of contrasts. There is the constant struggle with our physical bodies as we try to live spiritual lives. Suffering (which I do not like) brings about perserverance (which is good). Rain and sunshine. Wind and calm. Winter and summer. Contrasts help us to understand what's really important. If serving God or serving Satan were a 50-50 propostion, then what would it really matter? But the contrast between good and evil is there so we can get the point. Do you? Do I? Do we get the point? So often times Satan tries to blur the line to get us to think there is no contrast between him and God. There really is no difference. But there is. And serving God is a far better contrast. Trust me on this one. Have a great day! JW

Thursday, April 21, 2005


We talked last night in class about prejudice. After class, I talked with an African-American friend of mine. He talked of growing up in Chicago and being arrested by police just for walking down the street. Verbal abuse was used and if there was any reaction, the night stick was brought out. The "n" word was used often and without regard to the feelings of the other. I've never experienced anything like that. He told me that it wasn't that bad in Omaha. He said it happened only once. The matter-of-fact way he said it almost made me shiver. Once is too many times.
I admit I have my own prejudices that I'm working on. But remember a song we used to sing years ago? Did we just not believe it? "Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
Are we to assume that Jesus loves the little children, but when they grow up He allows us to hate them? Of course not! Charles Swindoll, in his book Getting Through the Tough Stuff, states that prejudice is a learned trait. That's so true. Children aren't naturally prejudice. I'll lay this out for you. What do your children learn from you? Be cognizant of your words, your deeds, your manner for a few days. What do your kids learn about people from you? I hope it's good. Paul said, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all..." (Romans 10:12) Have a great day! JW

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Musings from Mowing the Grass

In the grand scheme of blogdom, I think it is good to venture into other fields of discussion. I have been relatively serious in my blathering. But today, I want to enter into the field of philosophy. If I were to entitle this one, I guess I would call it "Musings from Mowing the Grass." Let me give you some thoughts to ruminate on (I thought since I was entering into the field of philosophy, I should also expand my vocabulary!)
With apologies to Alexander the Great when he said, "Veni. Vidi. Vici." I went to the yard to do the chore many do regularly. "I came, I mowed, I sweated." In the whole plan of the universe, what good does it do to mow the grass? Really. It just grows back. It's like having to make your bed. You're just going to get into it tonight and mess it up again. Besides, I read a study recently that said that it was better for your health not to make your bed everyday. Something about messing up the dust mites. And why do we have to wash dishes? Either use paper plates or wash the dish when you need it. Think about how much space that would save in your kitchen. But I digress. Why don't we return to having sheep or cows stay in the yard? They'll keep the grass short and you can probably get some return on your investment if you use dairy cows. They keep the grass cut and you get milk out of the deal. The only problem with this is my neighbor across the street, Mr. Miracle Grow Man of the Year. He probaly wouldn't like the stench of the cattle and he would be jealous of how good my lawn looks.
When it comes to mowing, I'm not a purist. For instance, why clean all of the sticks out of your lawn before mowing? I have the Super Briggs and Stratton Mulch and Stick Crushing Mower. Besides, aren't crushed sticks good for the grass? Something about helping it grow.
There are some good things about mowing the grass. The birds are elated when I do this. Two came down to my deck and had coffee last evening while I mowed. Then once I was finished, they had dessert in my front lawn with insect tall cake and nightcrawler cheesecake. The squirrels also enjoyed having the birds in for dessert because so many times the birds stay in the trees.
Mowing the grass proves scientific fact. Did you know that Einstein's Eighth Law of Increasing Mass is provable in the lawn? Seems that if you mow your lawn by going around the outside cutting one strip all the way around, the lawn actually grows in size. I know. My lawn got visibly larger as I cut last night. And I may be onto something else, too. The incline of the hill in your yard gets notably steeper as the lawn mowing event happens.
Grass mowing reminds me of my Dad. He was a hard-working man. If there was nothing to do around the house, he would mow the grass. Unless, of course, you had a son who was in the house and perfectly happy doing whatever it was young sons do, i.e. sleep, watch tv, etc. He had no qualms about making me mow grass. . .even if it was my day off from work. The jobs I had in high school and college were so demanding, so stressful, so above mowing grass. (I worked in a grocery store and I worked in an ice cream factory on an assembly line.) How could he expect me to lower my self to such a menial task? I did it mumbling and grumbling all the way. Even today, though, when I have a young son of my own, my wife fusses at me for not getting him behind the mower. Things just aren't right in the universe if somebody else is mowing. If I didn't mow, I have this image that Dad would be right there mowing it himself. It just feels right when I'm behind that one-cycle power engine. I miss him.
So there you have it. The pros and cons of mowing. Mowing to me just doesn't seem natural. Kind of like shaving. But then again, my wife won't come near me if I haven't shaved. So, never-mind on that one. Since it rained last night I'll probably have to mow again today. And the cycle continues. I can't wait for winter. Although, Mr. Lawn of the Year mowed his grass in the middle of a snowstorm. Good-bye for now. I have to watch my neighbor tuck his lawn into bed. Have a great day! And go mow your grass! JW By the way, Happy Birthday, Dad. You would have been 85 years old today. Now you never grow old. Tell Mom "hi" for me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

How about a canoe trip?

A few years ago (A looongg few years ago. Before children, grey hair, and mid-belly flab) my wife and I went with a group down the Illinois River in Arkansas. I know, I know, that doesn't make sense, but it's true. The Illinois River really is in Arkansas. We canoed with a number of young couples down this little river. In Arkansas, things I usually call "creeks" are called rivers. Anyway, it had been a cool and damp spring trip. It had been cloudy all day, but Martha and I were able to keep our boat from tipping. Everyone else on the trip didn't, but we did. I think it was Solomon who said "pride goes before destruction."
As we were nearing the end of the trip we came up on a submerged log. It was just under the surface, the water was fairly muddy and we couldn't see the log. You guessed it, we tipped over. It was cold, but tipping over in the water is what you're supposed to do when you go canoeing. But my favorite jacket came out of the boat and went downstream. About thirty yards downstream it caught on an overhanging limb. The "river" was not very wide so I decided to walk across over to the jacket. When I reach the other side the silent current whipped me around just as I grabbed the jacket. With my other hand I grabbed a bush that secured me against the bank. It happened to be a thorn bush, but that's beside the point.
My friends stood on the other side encouraging me to go ahead and cross back to where they were. I informed them that the current was too swift and there was a log jam of brush, tree trunks, and other debris just down from where I would be taken by the current. Finally, some of the guys pushed a canoe out into the middle of the stream and held out a paddle for me. Obviously I survived the ordeal because I'm writing this blog.
But here's my point. There are many who are caught up in sin. It doesn't how much we yell from across the river to them, they are stuck. . .caught in the current, holding on to only a thorn bush, and there seems to be no hope. WE MUST GO GET THEM! No amount of coaxing from my friends, nor correction from them concerning how I piloted my canoe was able to get me out of the mess I was in. Only those who cared that I didn't stay there and who gave me a helping hand (or this case, canoe paddle) could get me out. True story. Great God we serve. A God who sent Someone to give us a hand out of the mire.
Have a great day! JW

Monday, April 18, 2005

God's timing is always perfect. Even when we think He's not out there, missing in action, or just doesn't care, He shows up in the perfect moment. In John 11, Jesus shows up at Lazarus' grave at just the right time. Although Mary and Martha don't think so, He arrives and it becomes an uplifting experience.
But I have found it so in my life also. Recently, in preaching a couple of difficult lessons on addictions, there have been some who have been adamantly opposed to talking about such issues. I don't know why we are so afraid to talk of such things. Nevertheless, the criticism has been there. When I was feeling particularly down, I received a card from a man who passed on his condolences for my mother's death. Then out the clear blue, he said, "Don't let them get to you." It really had nothing to do with my mother's death, but it was God saying, "You're doing the right thing." The same thing happened this morning. A note of encouragement came at just the right time. Thank you, God, for showing up just when I needed it. And thank you, God, for using these men as your instruments of encouragement. Look at your life. It's happened so many times and you haven't even noticed it. Keep your eyes open and you'll see God everywhere. And remember, His time is flawless! Have a great day. JW

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rick Warren has made a good living with his Purpose Driven books. Another word for purpose is mission. In my other life, I worked in university admissions--particularly Christian college admissions. When I interviewed someone for a position, if the question came up about how much time it would take, it was at that point the person went to the bottom of my list. Why? Because to do such a chore could not be considered a job. It had to be a mission. Why are people so dissatisfied with their jobs? Because it isn't something they are passionate about. They are just going through the motions, just doing a job. When your job becomes your passion, your mission in life, that's when it's fun to wake up in the morning. If your job is being a stay-at-home mom, a corporate executive, or a preacher, getting up is exciting when your job (vocation, ministry, mission) is your passion. Find your mission. Pursue it mightily. Have fun while you're at it. Have a great day. It's Saturday! JW

Friday, April 15, 2005

The internet

The internet is wonderful. The internet is awful. With apologies to Charles Dickens, that's the way I feel about the internet. In seconds, you can find out what you want about events in Chicago, directions to a friends house, buy plane tickets, and any other number of tasks. In seconds, you can be on the worst trash you've ever seen. Even when you're not trying to pick up pornography, it's thrown in your face. And our kids can see it when looking for Elmo or Bert and Ernie. It's easy to see how our society can grow addicted to it in such a short time. But just as a tool in the hands of the wrong person can be disastrous, so can the internet in the hands of one with the wrong motives. God tells us to use our bodies as living sacrifices, as instruments for Him. Our use of the internet falls in the same category. Let's be prudent. . .please? Have a good day! JW

Happy tax day!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Breath of fresh air

The world's a messed-up place. Isaiah understood this when he said, "Woe to them who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." That's obviously a paraphrase, but it gets the gist of it. The disciples of Jesus' day "turned the world up-side down." To me the indication is there was something amiss in the first place. I used to think it was hard to be noticed as a Christian. But now, I think if you just serve Christ, you will stick out like a sore thumb. You know, I don't like that analogy. You'll stick out like a breath of fresh air. Have a great day. And while you're at it, make a difference. JW

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

God is good!

The sun is out. It's warming up. The trees are getting their leaves. The only negative is the grass is growing. (Negative because I have to mow it. Seems like a waste of time. You just have to mow it again next week. It doesn't help that I have a neighbor who has a name for every blade of grass in his yard. By the way, he's already mowed once and had the lawn guys out another time.)
God is good! But you know what? God is good in the rain. God is good when the snow comes and the wind blows. God is good when I am sick. God is good when I'm golfing. God is good when my wife is mad at me. God is good when the kids aren't doing what they're supposed to. God is good when I'm on vacation. God is good all the time! But you knew that. I knew that. I just have to remind myself sometimes. The Israelites thought that God was good only when they had food. Then when He gave it to them, it wasn't good enough. "Manna? Again??!!" But I do the same. And if you're honest, so do you.
Just a few Scriptures. "This is how much God loved the world. He have his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help to put the world right again." The Message, John 3:16, 17 "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us." Romans 5:5 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 8:35-39 Ruminate on that!! Have a great day! God loves you! JW

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Why are we surpised?

There's a great story found in Acts 12 about Peter being in prison and then being released by angel. Amy Grant sang about this event several years ago in her song Angels Watching Over Me. Peter's been locked in prison and the church is praying fervently for him (Acts 12:5). God answers their prayers affirmatively, he's released and he goes to the house where they are praying. Upon reaching the place, he knocks on the door and a servant girl, Rhoda, answers. This is one of areas of the Bible where I find humor because Peter is standing outside knocking, she recognizes his voice, and rather than let him in, she runs to tell the others that Peter's outside. The reaction of the people is also amusing. "You're out of your mind. It must be his angel." (Acts 12:15). Translated, "He can't be out there, we're praying for his release, and we all know his release is not possible, but we're praying about it anyway."
I do the same thing. There have been a number of things I've prayed about recently that happened just as I had prayed. . .and I find myself surprised. God forgive me. Why should I be surprised? He said if you ask, it will given. If you seek, you'll find. If you knock, it will be opened. Not that He'll answer my every whim. But why am I surprised when He says, "yes"?Keep praying. Quit being surprised at His kindness. And keep remembering that He loves us dearly!! Have a great (rainy) day. JW

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dr. Yates

The Sunday after Mom died I received a call from her doctor. He was shocked to hear of her death since he had seen her the previous week. Mom had insisted that I take her to the doctor that day and I willingly obliged. Her blood work was good (good cholesterol was good, bad cholesterol was good, etc.), her heart sounded fine, her lungs were clear. The doctor and I had a nice visit and then the conversation was over.
You may be surprised that a doctor would even call, for in these days of medicine, one hardly knows the name of the doctor let alone hear from him/her outside the clinic. But when Mom had her initial "spell" in January, one of the people Martha called was the doctor. . .at his home. Now that's just unheard of, isn't it? We've known Dr. Yates for a long time even though he's younger than we are.
Dr. Yates was one of the kids in our youth group when I was a youth minister in Northwest Arkansas. He and one of his friends (by the way, the other friend is now Dr. Huffman, M.D.)were two of the stalwarts of that group. Always there, always participating. In fact, I remember one time teaching class and we had the passage that says, "whatever you do, do in the name of the Lord." I made a youth ministerly remark like, "If you're washing dishes, do it in the name of the Lord." One of our teens raised his hand and said, "How can I wash dishes in the name of the Lord?" In my great, mighty wisdom that just exuded from the fact that I was the high priestly youth minister, I said, "I don't know." A hand shot up and the youth man said, "You could thank God that you had food to get the plate dirty." You know who that was? The future Dr. Yates.
I don't claim to have made Dr. Yates who he is today, but I did love him. I tried in my own feeble way to let him know that God cared for him. He at least heard about the Good Physician in some of our Bible classes although I think I learned more from him than he from me.
Later on, he became Mom's doctor. He loved her. He took care of her. He showed her compassion. He exhibited Jesus to her. And I guess if I have a message in all of this, it's this. Pass it on. You never know when it's going to come back to you. I hope you have a good day. Remember to pass it on. JW

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Everyone Deserves a Chance

There is a show playing on Broadway called Wicked. It's the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West became the Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. In other words, it's the prequel to the Wizard of Oz. The music is fun and I enjoy it. My family and I are planning to go and see the show in Chicago in June.
Early this morning, I was listening to the main song from the show. It's called Defying Gravity. One line in it goes "Everyone deserves the chance to fly." It hit me in a strange way. I know this is strange the way my mind goes. But my thought was, "That's exactly what Jesus offered." He said it a little different. He said, "I came that they might have life and have it to the full."
Some many people are brought down by sin, by the stupid stuff in their lives that Satan continues to throw in their way. Life quit being fun. I'm not saying our lives will always be fun and games. But Jesus did offer life. To me that's fullfilment. That's joy. That's peace. That's life. But too many people I know aren't there. It's the easiest concept in the world. It's the hardest concept in the world. Life is found in and only in Jesus. Everyone deserves the chance to hear that. That's why we must keep telling what He means to us. Don't stop. Everyone deserves the chance to hear it and know that He cares. Have a great Lord's Day! JW

Friday, April 08, 2005


Isn't spring a beautiful time of year? Everything is starting to bloom. The tulip trees are gorgeous. The forsythia is radiantly yellow. The trees are finally starting to bud. The only thing that really kind of turns me off is the sound of the lawn mowers. I love the initial smell of the grass when its being cut, but the lawnmowers make me realize its time to begin that weekly task of cutting the grass. I miss Arkansas at this time of year. The dogwoods are just unbelieveable.
I could go on and on. The radiance that God provides in our lives to renew is second to none. The splendor of the spring renewal doesn't even come close to the renewal we enjoy in Christ. A few years I went to Vladivostok, Russia where I studied with a man by the name of Vladimir. (Every man's name in Russia is either Vladimir or Boris or Yvgeny--every woman is Olga or Natasha) I had the wonderful privilege of baptizing Vlad. He wrote me a note to describe his feelings after the event. In describing his new life, he used the word renovated--like a house. What a concept! He nailed it! He understood. Why can't we get that concept? We are new, redone, renovated and He does it every day. The Psalmist says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God." Create. Make a new one. Only Jesus is able to do that. Revel in your newness. Thank God for you new heart. Sing a song. Whistle. Be happy. Enjoy life. That's what it's all about. By the way, I think I'll hit some golf balls into those beautiful trees. Have a great day! JW

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Church and State

Doesn't it just rouse your dander when in the middle of something as innocuous as lower the American flag to half staff to honor the pope, someone shouts that it violates their rights and the concept of church and state? I mean, really, what harm does that do? My day isn't completely ruined, nor do I stop and stomp my foot in protest just because our flag is lowered in respect.
Just a word to some of these people. God is really going to take these folks and make them separate from His church and state their future demise. Oh, well. Enough tripe from me today. It just rubbed me the wrong way. In spite of my ramblings, have a great day! JW

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Living by Faith

I've found out how to make a fortune in the Christian writing business. You take something from the Bible, reword it, and voila, everything thinks you are a great writer! I was reading John Eldredge's book Waking the Dead for the second time when I came across this quote. "If you're not pursuing a dangerous quest in your life, well, then you don't need a Guide." At first glance, I thought, "What a great comment!" But then I realized that Paul said the same thing in I Corinthians 5:7. He said, "We live by faith, not by sight." Isn't that basically the same thing?!!

That's what I love about Paul. That's one of the lessons I'm still trying to learn. We want to figure everything out and know why something happens. Walking by faith is dangerous. The risks are phenomenal, but the payouts are huge. Then Paul comes in and says, "We live by faith...." Thanks, Paul. Thanks for being succinct. Thanks for laying it on the line, not only in your words but in your life.

"Guide me, O, Thou great Jehovah. Pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but Thou art mighty. Hold me with Thy powerful hand. Bread of heaven, feed me 'til I want no more. Bread of heaven, feed me 'til I want no more." God bless you!!! JW

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I grew up on the stories of the Apostle Paul being persecuted (beaten by rods, forty lashes minus one, stoned, etc.). "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (II Timothy 3:12) And of course, Jesus suffered the ultimate persecution by dying on the cross.
What I wasn't ready for was the persecution in my life. I knew it would come. I knew it wouldn't be pleasant. I expected it sooner or later. What I didn't expect was the bulk of the persecution I have had to take has been from my own brethren. Words such as "It's obvious you haven't read your Bible." And "I don't think you ought to preach that because you might offend somebody. What about the visitors that come to worship?" The latter statement not being made in the most kind way. I thought it would come from the world. I thought they would laugh at me because I trusted Jesus. What I have received from the world is complacency and ignoring. The downright hostility has come from those who claim to be my brothers. Although they don't claim me as their brother for some reason.
I should have expected that. Jesus' greatest critics were the religious people of His day. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not claiming to be anywhere close to Jesus as far as my life is concerned. But I find it interesting it's those who claim to know Christ are the ones who are farthest from the attitude of Christ. I'll march on. I have no nail marks in my hands or feet. There are no marks on my back. Have a good day. Press on.
"I'm pressing on the upward way. New heights I'm gaining every day. Still praying as I onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. Lord, lift me up and let me stand by faith on heaven's table land. A higher plane than I have found. Lord, plant my feet on higher ground." JW

Monday, April 04, 2005


I had two thoughts on my mind this morning as I drove into work. The advantage of having your own blog is being able to say whatever you want whenever and without worrying about what others think. So which one do I want to talk about? Homer and Jethro (an old country comedy duo) used to say, "We only have two songs and we always sing one of them first. Which one do you want to do Homer?" Homer would say, "Let's do the other 'un." I think I'll do the other 'un.
Depression. What an interesting word. It can mean any number of things. It's a dent in your new car that wasn't there yesterday. It's a dip in the atmosphere that causes all kinds of problems (as in tropical depression). One of the definitions in the dictionary was "pressing down." Over the years I have counseled some who have human depression. But I had never really experienced it myself. . .until recently.
I'm not belaboring a point, but if you know me, you know that my mom died just about a month ago. Since dad died over ten years ago, for the first time in my life I am experiencing orphanhood. Since that time I have experienced a depression as I've never felt before. It's a dip in my personality. A pressing down on my soul. At times, I was not very understanding of those who came to me and talked about their own depression. But now I've seen what it does.
I have wanted to go to bed and sleep. There has been a sense of dread, of sadness in my soul in my quiet moments. My emotions are constantly on the edge. It doesn't take much to cry (yes, even for a man!). A song, a thought to call mom and let her know what I'm doing or to ask what she's doing. Or to look at an old picture with her smiling face.
I'll get over it. It's already improving. But for those of you out there who occasionlly suffer from depression, I think I'm beginning to understand. Come on out. I'll understand. And we'll walk together. Have a great day! JW

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Final Four Pick

I'll enter the big basketball sweepstakes here. This wouldn't truly be a blog if I didn't write something from a secular point of view. I picked Wake Forest, Duke, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina for my final four. 25%. Not the greatest in the world, but I'll take it. Since North Carolina is my only final four pick to make it, I have to go with them to win the national championship. It'll be a great game. Have a good day. JW

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Truly, the Lord's Supper

Coverage on all the cable channels has been about the pope's grave condition. Masses are being said all over the world--even in front of the pope. People are gathering in St. Peter's Square waiting and anticipating his death.

I can't help but think about the Savior of the world. Every Lord's day as we gather together, is there the same anticipation? A friend told me of a book by John Mark Hicks that says we tend to view Jesus' crucifixion and consequently the Lord's Supper as His sacrifice. We talk of His death and how we should be calm and quiet and serene as we observe His death. But when you observe those in the first century, it's a celebration. He's alive! It's good news. The dearth and discouragement gives way to hope and healing! Hicks says the Lord's Supper is the table (as in a meal of fellowship and rejoicing) compared to an altar (death and sacrifice). Not to say that Jesus didn't sacrifice, but we tend to forget the most important thing. . . His resurrection.

Tomorrow's observance of the Lord's Supper will be a good one for me. How about you? JW

Friday, April 01, 2005

She's Gone

Just three weeks ago I lost my mother. Dad had died over ten years ago and they were the epitome of a couple. Where you'd see one, you'd see the other. So when Dad died of prostate cancer my brothers and I thought the end was near for Mom because she just couldn't function without Dad.
But much to our surprise, she kind of got a "I am woman, hear me roar" mentality and made it nearly eleven more years. Three of the four boys were there to see her at the first of March to make sure she had her house in order and to see that she was recovering from her brief January hospital stay. We found her vibrant, smiling, compassionate, and a little dingy (old age had done something to her, i.e. she'd tell the same story several times, etc.) We had fun. We laughed. We teased. She even drove her car. There's something about not using the brakes when you go around the corner that still scares me, but we survived. We took care of some financial things for her. Then we all went home on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday, she drove herself to church. Monday night she did what she always did on the first Monday of the month, she ate pizza with my mother-in-law. Then she went home, put on her pajamas, closed her eyes in one reality, and opened them in another.
I wonder what she saw. I wonder who she saw. But I'm glad for her. Now she's back together with Dad. I know the Bible says that we are neither married nor given in marriage. But humor me on this one. I talked to someone the other day about this very thing and they told me about their parents talking about this very thing. They said, "If we can't be married in heaven, can we just hang out?" I like that. Mom and Dad are just hanging out. I can live with that. Have a great day. By the way, I've put my order in to die like Mom. . .in my sleep. But you know what, she died so well because she lived so well. JW