Thursday, December 28, 2006

Seatbelt Christianity

Coming up Interstate 29 the other day just north of Kansas City, the road splits and a decision has to be made which direction one will go. The problem? The left option was blocked off by the state police. Once we got passed, we could see a serious wreck on the other side of the freeway.
I happen to be in the left lane, the one I need to be in, the one I'm in to go to the right which is the way I'm supposed to go. However, the lady in the van next to me one lane over realized that she had to get over because she had no options. So she decided to get over....Now!....Right where I was....I guess she thought I should let her in. As she crept closer and closer to me (realize that she is slightly behind me) I look over and I'm looking at her passenger mirror. I mean, it's right beside me. I glance at her and she's putting her seatbelt on! If I hit this guy in his Honda, that doesn't matter, but I sure as shootin' don't want to get a ticket for not having my seatbelt on!
Isn't that just like us? Things are going badly for me. The world is caving in. Oh, I think I'll go to church services. Let me put on my spiritual seatbelt and surely I'll be fine. Never mind the fact that our lives are caroming wildly out of control. The key is to take care of those things before we our lives get out of control.
Fortunately, everything was fine. She realized what was happening and slowed down. But what about the next time? Or the next? I remember hearing Dr. Paul Faulkner asking the pertinent question, "Where do you want to be in five years? ten years? twenty years? Then throw yourself in that direction today. The journey starts today and not years later. Good advice. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A New Resolve

Driving to the office this morning, I realized the end of the year is near. I was trying to get "the" right song on my iPod, but I couldn't find it. Finally, Point of Grace came on singing, "Everybody's worshiping something, I choose You!" Perfect!
With new resolve I face this new year. I have already written down goals most of which I won't share with you. I do want to exercise more. There are some other personal goals for my life. But today I had the resolve to make 2007 a great with for the Lord. I want to love more, care more, be more sympathetic, to worship more freely, to sing His praises more loudly, to celebrate His life by living a life worthy of my calling. I want my heart to become more like Jesus'. I want to see things as He does, to respond the way He would. I want to recommit myself to being His servant, to allow Him to work in me, to be His instrument to play and use however He chooses. To quote Paul, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
I hope you resolve, too. To be more like Him. It's all right if you miss the mark, because you will anyway. The effort will make you better and you'll become more and more like Him. Have a great day. JW

P.S. Please keep my friend, Al Fowler, in your prayers. He lost his lovely wife way too early in her life right before Christmas. She's celebrating with the angels right now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mom's Poem

Last year I placed a poem in my blog that found in my mother's papers after her death. I don't know if she wrote it or not, but my hunch is she did. I wanted to place that here again. This is for all of you who will not be able to spend the holidays with all of your loved ones for whatever reason.

I may not be there Christmas eve,
But I would have you folks believe
That my heart will be there with you
With all my love and I'd renew
The family ties that bind us fast
With memories of Christmas past.

I'll close my eyes and see your faces,
And all those sweet remembered places,
About our home that I shall miss,
And on that day remember this:
I'm thankful God has given me
So wonderful a family.

Have a wonderful Christmas. JW

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jesus and Silver Dollar City

One of my favorite places in the world used to be Silver Dollar City. My family used to live close and we would get the season passes every year. The rides and the entertainment were good for the two little children I was given the privilege to raise. But at Christmas time, my wife and I used to make a trek up there just to see the 100 miles of lights. Silver Dollar City has the typical train ride where you go through the woods and you are "robbed" by a group of bandits armed mostly with bad lines, i.e. while holding a twig in the air, one would shout, "This is a stick up." Get it? Stick up?
But at Christmas, the ride was different. You stopped at the same place where you were "robbed" in the summer. A man came out in his overalls and told the story of Jesus. It was the first time I had ever heard Mannheim Steamroller's rendition of Silent Night. I was stunned by its simplicity. That's the story of Immanuel. In all the complexities of life, God sent His Son to become like us. It's the mystery that's talked about in the Scripture. In amazing simplicity, God gave us the one thing that could and does change our lives. It was announced with heavenly pomp and circumstance only to those who knew nothing regal celebrations. It was revealed to wise men who searched for several years before finding Him. And in some people's lives, it takes a lifetime to find Him while others grow up knowing His excellent greatness. But the message is still the same. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have eternal life." Have a great day! JW

Monday, December 18, 2006

Prepare the Way

John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin. He was considered the one who would prepare the way for Jesus. He was born first (at least on this earth) and he did what he was intended to do. He called Jesus the Lamb of God. At times he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to say, "Are you the One, or should we look for another?" He also said, "He must become greater, I must become less."
As I think of the story of Jesus' birth, I flash down 2000 years later. John is no longer around. Who will prepare the way for Jesus now? I think that's where we come in. It's now ourresponsibility to prepare the way. It's our job to tell of His greatness It now becomes our task to tell of His coming to this world.
And so the Christmas story continues. Only now, we tell it. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mary and Joseph

One of the questions I've had about the story of the birth of Jesus, why did God pick Mary and Joseph? Everything that I read about them I see total compliance to what God says to them. When the angel comes, they obey, no questions asked. Now I know that you might say, "Well, if I had an angel come to me, I wouldn't have a hard time believing either." Is that so? Then answer me this. Why did the children of Israel who saw the 10 plagues on Egypt, (including the Passover Angel), the Red Sea divide, the cloud by day and the fiery pillar at night, the manna and the quail, the water from the rock and everything else they saw, why didn't they do everything God told them to do?
With Mary and Joseph, you had two people who had soft hearts and were attuned to God's call and they did everything He asked them to do. No wonder God entrusted his One and Only Son to them. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Great Announcement

One of my fond memories is a 4th of July at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. On the 4th, there is a HUGE fireworks display that is phenomenal. After the baseball game, they allow people to go down on the field and watch the fireworks. They even give you 3-D glasses if you want, but you don't need them. The "bombs" burst right over you even so much that some of the debris falls on you. I was covered with little black flecks of firework residue. It looked as if they were exploding right down on me.
When the birth of Jesus was announced to the shepherds, the Bible says an angel appeared and then it says the glory of the Lord shown around them. Can you imagine that. It would make the Rosenblatt display seem like a little firecracker. I what it looked like, but it says they were terrified. Then there was a great heavenly host praising God. What were they doing? How were they praising God? I've heard great choruses sing beautiful music where I had goose bumps. Can you imagine a heavenly host praising God?
But why to shepherds? Seems as if they would have wanted to alert the Jerusalem Press or KJEW television. Why wasn't there a story by the Bethlehem Times? But shepherds? If you read the passage, the shepherds told everyone they saw. So it is with us. Perhaps we don't have the connections. Maybe we can't have the impact that a person of position or power could have. But we can tell everyone we see about the Savior who came to this world so that we might have life to the full.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

Have a great day. JW

Monday, December 11, 2006

His Star

If you watch the movie The Nativity, they do what most everybody else does concerning the star that comes to rest right over where Jesus was. They can understand the miracle of a virgin birth, they can understand the miracle of nearly everything else. But for some reason the miracle of a star just doesn't cut it. It has to do with the convergence of several planets and those planets light up the night sky, etc., etc., etc.
Why can't it just be accepted that the star was another miracle? It was there to show not only where Christ was, but that this was one of those extremely important events. When you read about it in the Scriptures, the Magi say, "We have seen his star. (emphasis mine). It was His star. I know, I know, they are all His stars. But there was something special about this one. It wasn't the planets coming together. It was the announcement of an the most significant event up to that point in history. Immanel. God with us. God moved into our neighborhood, according to Peterson in The Message. And the world has never been the same since...and neither should our lives. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Three gifts. That's how some have determined that there were three wise men. It's the impetus for giving gifts at Christmas. I've been wondering, what did Mary and Joseph do with those gifts? How much did they get for them? Did it help support them for the next several years? Did they give them away?
How often are we the recepients of gifts? Gifts of great value. Perhaps they are not material, but spiritual. Maybe they are tangible. I think the fact we really don't know any more about the gifts is because they really didn't matter in the whole scheme of things. Maybe there were more symbolic than anything. But here were men who were known for their wisdom and they wanted to give of their means to the Messiah, the baby whose star they had seen.
So it is with us. What do we have to give. I love the old hymn that says, "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling." Even if that's all we bring, it will be accepted by our Lord. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


What was it that worried King Herod so much about a child being born in Bethlehem? It was a king. A new king would be a threat to his reign in Judea. For so long the Jews had looked for a king, a new King David who would free them from the bondage of the Romans. These Romans who taxed them and abused them and generally tried to ruin their way of life.
Now the thought of a Messiah had reached a fever pitch. They were looking for armies, for another man who stood head and shoulders above the rest, another who would make them favored in God's eyes again.
He came. Now with flash, pomp, and circumstance. He came with humility and poverty. They never could quite understand His kingship nor His kingdom. They tried to make Him king by force, but He slipped away. And when we try to make a secular Jesus, He will also slip away. His kingdom was and is not of this world. It is holy. It is spiritual.
Although Jesus may have disappointed many of His time, I pray that He doesn't disappoint us. I hope we are not looking for the wrong kind of Messiah, but One who will be our King, our Lord, our Ruler. I hope we don't try to make Him King by force. Instead, it's my prayer that we invite Him into our hearts. Quietly, calmly, once again without flash. Have a great day. JW

Monday, December 04, 2006


After watching the latest movie on Christ's birth, "The Nativity Story," I realized what a scandal it was for Mary to be pregnant with no father seemingly around. She went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. She is engaged to marry Joseph. When she returns, she's pregnant. What happened while she was gone? With whom did she sleep? You can imagine the reaction of her parents, the townspeople, Joseph. Here's this seemingly innocent girl who comes home pregnant. She's not innocent, she's promiscuous. She's not holy, she's sinful. She claims nothing happened. She says the Holy Spirit came upon her. She says that an angel told her she would be pregnant. This is just plain bawdy, scandalous, and wrong.
I remember a few years ago teaching about one of the theories of Mary's pregnancy...that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier. A woman came into my office in tears, saying, I can't believe you said my Lord was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier." "I didn't say that," I responded. She was horrified the words would even come out of my mouth. "Our children don't need to hear that." "Yes, they do," I replied. "I would rather them hear it from us so we can explain what really happened. I want them to hear it from us."
It was pure scandal when our Savior was born. Raised by a poor family. It's a wonder Joseph hung around. But in the end, he believed Mary--and the angel who appeared to him. But it would be hard even in the best of circumstances to believe their stories. And that's the atmosphere our Savior was born in. Scandal. Have a good day. JW

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Earth Shattering

I love my neighborhood Starbucks. They know exactly what I want when I go in; they don't even ask, they just make my venti, no water chai. Yesterday, I was talking to the manager and I mentioned that my son and daughter had told me that I should try their peppermint hot chocolate. I said to the manager, but I have to be careful because if I didn't order my "usual," the world would slow down or speed up or something else catastrophic. We both got a good laugh out of that.
I started thinking. Over two thousand years ago something did happen that shook the earth. God moved into the neighborhood. The only people that knew it was happening did everything they could to stop it. It was revealed to some nomadic shepherds and it occurred in one of the poorest places in the world. Immanuel. God with us. It happened and the world accused Him. It ridiculed Him. It eventually killed Him. But He lives...and the world is a different place because of it. During this time of the year, I hope that you will remember how earth shattering this event was and I pray you'll take time to thank God for sending His Son to earth. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Get Rid of the Baggage

I've noticed the older I get, the longer it takes me to get ready to travel. And I won't even bring my wife's packing habits into this! When we say we'll leave at 8:00, it usually means 9:00. Why is that? Because we haven't gotten everything ready to take on our journey.
When I was young, I didn't have a care in the world. Life was to be lived. Laughter came easy. Spontaneous was the catchword. No planning, just do it. Now you might be asking, "What do these two things have in common?"
That's life isn't it. Topsy, turvey, and upside-down. Really when we're young, we should be careful to spend the time "packing" for the journey, but we really haven't a care in the world. When we're older, rather than being wiser, we take more baggage than we really need.
My thought today was that as I get closer to my heavenly home, I should be having less baggage and less "stuff" that keeps me down. I should be more as I was when I was young--laughing more and living life to its fullest. Really it should be the opposite of what we normally do. The Hebrews writer said that we should lay aside everything that weighs us down. Fix our eyes (stare) at Jesus. Paul said that we should forget what's behind and strain toward the future.
As we get older, let's get rid of the baggage. Let's enjoy life more. Let's realize that the sun is only rising and it can only get better. Have a great day. JW

Monday, November 27, 2006

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

It was a great time of rest and relaxation. Nothing to do but eat. Our Thanksgiving Day was full of activity, but still relatively slow. We didn't get to do quite everything we had planned. Meredith wasn't with us since she was with her in-laws. She'll be with us for Christmas in Searcy. But it was good.
It was hard to get back into the swing of things. I woke up this morning with some stomach "issues." After a little rest, I think I'm fine. Something I ate rather than a virus. I don't usually have anything like that, so when it does hit me it wears me out.
Now we race to the end of the year. Although there have been evidences of Christmas, there is nothing hidden now. Radio stations are playing Christmas carols. The decorations are up in the stores. It's getting cold in Nebraska. School will be out in a couple of weeks. People finally do, even for a brief, short minute, treat each other better and reflect on the Prince of Peace.
I hope we continue the journey of thanksgiving. My prayer is that these next few weeks, though hectic, will be filled with quiet moments of reflection...and of course, family. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's On Your Ear?

I walked into my local Starbucks today to get my customary venti no water chai and, as usual, there were a number of people sitting at the table chatting. One table of four men caught my attention. They were visiting with one another and laughing. What was odd (at least to me) was two of the men had their phones on their ears. You know what I'm talking about, those kind that hang on your ear. The thought that went through my mind was, "How sad." Here are other gentlemen who like your company, who are enjoying the few minutes from work, who would like to have a human, relationship, and you have a phone on your ear just in case someone calls. In other words, the call that comes in is more important that you.
What's hanging on your ear? What stops you from having these wonderful conversations with your spouse, your kids, your family? What's more important than those relationships? Can't you just for one moment stop listening to the world and listen to those who really count? Do you hold the newspaper up instead of listening? Is the television blasting? What's hanging on your ear? During this time of Thanksgiving, take it off...please, and listen to those who want to visit with you.

BTW--Went and saw The Nativity last night. The first thing I tried to do was scrutinize everything to see if they were biblically accurate. But if you go, don't do that because you'll miss the really important message of the story. Immanuel. God came and lived in our neighborhood. Go see it. It's a good movie.

Have a great Thanksgiving! See you Monday! JW

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

...And Be Thankful

A friend of mine told me of being on an airplane when they used to serve meals. He said the gentleman next to him stopped and prayed before consuming the food placed before him. My friend commented that he appreciated seeing this gentleman praying before eating. To which his fellow passenger replied, "I may not be much, but I'm thankful."
I've remembered that story for years. I may not be the world's greatest speaker, or the best father, or the best husband or the name it. But I can be thankful. At this time of year, it's amazing to me that we, for the most part, do slow down for just a day and most of us count our blessings. Oh, how I wish we would get into the habit of doing the same every day. For that is the basis of our service to God. Not out of fear or dread that He may force us to do something we don't want to do. But out of gratitude for what He has done and continues to do every day.
So this Thanksgiving Day, I pray that we will begin our New Year's resolutions early but vowing to be more thankful...beginning today. Have a great day, and have a great Thanksgiving. JW

Monday, November 20, 2006

Where's the Scripture?

Those who preach or speak know what a gut-wrenching experience it is. I've heard it said of Rick Atchley, preacher at the Richland Hills Church in Fort Worth, TX, that "if I have such a gift of preaching, why does it take 40 hours to unwrap it?" Others will say, "Do you ever get nervous before you speak?" My answer to that is, "If I don't, then it will be a pretty boring sermon." Anyway, after speaking, I'm emotionally and physically exhausted.
Yesterday, I delivered a lesson on the new organizational structure of the congregation where I preach. We're instituting a new structure with new deacons. It's something we've been working on for a long time. I've been here for about 3 1/2 years and it seems we've worked on it in some form ever since I got here.
So the elders asked me to make a presentation on this new way of doing things. Afterwards, someone came up to me and said, "Where were the Scriptures?" Now I know of at least three I quoted, Matthew 7:24, Acts 6, and I Corinthians 3:11. We talked of deacons. We talked of Acts 2 and our church family and having everything in common. And someone has the audacity to say, "Where were the Scriptures?" What I want to say is, "They are in my life. They are in my preparation. They are in the years of study that I've done. They are inherent in everything I say. They are in the middle of all I do. They are there between every line. And just because I don't quote book, chapter, and verse, it doesn't mean they're not in there." That's what I wanted to say. Instead, I just said, "Well, this was an unusual week."
Now you might be concerned that the person who said that might be reading this blog. No they won't. People like that tend to strike and then disappear. So I'll just keep preaching. I'll just keep speaking my mind. And most of all, I'll just keep trying to please the only One who I need to please. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Letters from Dad, II

I just returned from Dallas for training with "Letters from Dad." What a great program! I recommend this program for anyone. Should you need information, let me know. I don't get any money for this although I'm certified to teach the class. It's a wonderful to get a blessing to your family.
For those of you who are familiar with the program, I saw the tacklebox. For those who aren't, I would encourage you to visit their website at I'll tell you more about it, I'm sure, in the coming days. For now, I'm just trying to catch up. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Contrasts III (I think)

I love contrasts. I have a number of posts on my blog concerning such contrasts of life. I think Jesus was a man of contrasts. He talked of light and darkness. Isaiah talked about "Woe unto them who call good and good evil, who place darkness for light and light for darkness. Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

As I was doing my morning walk/prayer, I was listening to my iPod. Mark Schultz (see yesterday's blog) has a great new song on his new album called "Wallking Her Home." It's the story of a man who basically describes the life with his girlfriend who eventually becomes his wife as a walk. Every stage of their lives together, he is walking her home. And when it comes to die, he's right there with her, walking her home. It's a real tear-jerker and a song that means so much. Right after that song came a song by the Doobie Brothers. (My musical tastes are extremely eclectic!) The song? "What a Fool Believes. It talks of a guy who sees a girl he used to like and he describes what their relationship used to be, but she can't see it. She smiles at his "nostalgic tale" never coming close to what really happend. Hence....what a fool believes.

I couldn't help but think of godly, God honoring relationships. They are pure, they are honest, they are truthful, they are pure, they are sweet, and they are fulfilling, and they are life long, no, eternal. The second song describes an empty, hollow, and non-existent relationship. One that only existed in the mind of one. Now, which one would you prefer?

God's ways and His paths are always right, fulfilling, and wonderful. I chose God. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mark Schultz

I went and saw Mark Schultz in concert last night. What a phenomenal show! Of the things that impressed me, we sang an acappella version of "It is Well with My Soul." He also told a story about "Letters from War." He said the Army had asked to use that song in a video that was sent to our troops. Then he said the Pentagon called and asked him to come for a concert. He told them he wasn't sure they knew what they were getting; that he was a Christian artist. He said the music wafted down the halls and a general came down and said, "I've been praying for 25 years for something like this to come to the Pentagon." Praise God!
By the way, the election is over. The people have spoken. Pray for our country. Just remember, another election is coming in two years. In the meantime, show people Jesus. Have a great day. And listen to Mark Schutz music! JW

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Kind of Campaign Would Jesus Run?

I started writing a post yesterday, but it just didn't flow. Those of you who write know exactly what I'm talking about. So I just erased it and saved it for another day. Today is a slightly different story. Thanks to some timing and events, I'm ready to write.
I voted this morning. Finally, all of the politicians can quit running their commercials on television, they can take their signs down, and they can stop demagoging. (Is that a word? And if it is, did I even come close to spelling it right?) Here's a question. What kind of campaign would Jesus have run? Now I already hear the harummphs about how Jesus wouldn't have been involved in such tomfoolery and you're probably right. But I think I know. He would have kept His mouth shut. When asked who He was before Herod, He never spoke. If you look at Jesus, He rarely told anyone who He was. And when He did, He either told them not to tell anyone or they were not in a position to put it in the Jerusalem Post. He told the woman at the well in John 4. The group of fighting, jealous, egotistical, self-serving apostles, He told. But when He had the opportunity to make it big (some tried to force Him to be King), He hid.
As I listen to the politicians of our day tell us what they are going to do, more often than not, how bad their opponent is, I sense they are looking for power. Power to bring change. Personal power. Power over people. But as the Michael W. Smith song says, (and this is one of those "coincidences." I heard this song right after I voted.) "Above all powers, above all kings, above all nature and all created things." That's my Jesus. It doesn't matter who gets the power here on earth, the real power is represented in our Lord. Have a great day! JW

Thursday, November 02, 2006

God's Pursuit of Me

Yesterday, I finished reading through my Bible for the year. I read through The Message because I wanted a fresh take on Scripture because I tend to get to parts I'm familiar with and just skip across them. There were times when I thought, "Does it really say that?!!?" I'd go to another version and sure enough, it did say that. There were other times when it didn't. But it was a new read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. People often ask me which is the best translation of the Bible to read. I really want to say, "The original language." But that would be smart-aleck and glib. So what I say is, "The one that you'll read." Which is almost as smart-aleck and glib, but it's true.
I've also been teaching a class this year called, "How to Read and Study the Bible." It has brought new insights into my life also. There is a tremendous freedom that I have found this year in reading the Scriptures. I hope it continues to resonate in my life as I continue to read about God's pursuit of us. That's the theme of the entire Bible...God's constant pursuit to have a relationship with us. Someone might say, "It's taken you the entire year of reading through the Bible to come up with that?" The answer to that is "No!" It's taken a lifetime of hardships and beatings (not literal, but spiritual) and mistakes, and I still haven't gotten there yet. But I'm learning. I hope you are, too. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Small Reminder

Last night we hosted what we called "Trunk or Treat" in our parking lot. Twenty cars were parked with trunks open and we gave out candy and other treats to the kids of our community. It was fun to see the smiling faces, the shy kids who under normal circumstances would be yelling and otherwise making noise at home, and the costumes they were wearing. But, alas, all good things come to an end. I went to the hospital immediately following to visit a little girl who didn't get to go out trick or treating last night. (I took her a bag of candy. Of course, her parents have to oversee the disbursement. Ha!)
This morning, after all the candy was given out, the parking lot cleaned up, I walked up to the building and reached into my pocket only to find a small can of Play-Doh that we were giving out last night. I smiled as I was reminded of those precious faces, smiling as they received their little treats. I heard their "thank-you's" once again as I held the can in my hand.
I was reminded of the words of Jesus. "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." What we did last night, in my opinion, would have been exactly what Jesus would have done had He been here. In fact, He was here. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and Other Holidays

I want to repeat something that I said last year on my Halloween blog. There are many who get uptight, upset, and other "ups" when it comes to Halloween. My parents, who by the way were a very conservative couple, never blinked twice about letting us dress up, go into the neighborhood, and trick or treat. I was taught the purpose of Halloween was to get as much candy in as short a period of time as possible.
Now I understand the beginnings of the "holiday." I'm not big into the ghosts and goblins and all of that stuff. But what's wrong with dressing like a potato...or a crayon...or Belle or any other Disney character? "Well, you teaching them to worship Satan!" Am I really? This is a parental choice in my humble opinion. If you don't want your kids to do this, don't let them do this.
But you'd better be consistent. You better not accept roses or any other kind of card or gift on St. Valentine's Day. You'd better not dye Easter eggs on Easter. It's a fertility rite, you know. And land's sakes, don't even think about winding a May Pole. Happy Halloween! Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 30, 2006

Just Pray

What a humbling thought it is to know that God answered your prayer in the positive. The Creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, heard and answered. Prayer is becoming more and important to me the older I get. I read in Phillip Yancey's book on prayer that we often ask the question, "If God knows what I need before I pray, then why pray?" His answer was, isn't it awesome to know that we come along side of God to look at the purpose of our prayer and act in partnership. Obviously, in our small part, we must realize that it is God who wills and acts according to His purpose. But I liked that analogy.
I remember hearing my Dad say, "If you're too busy to pray, you're too busy." Good words. Find the time. In your car, on a walk, before you sleep. Find the time to pray. I hope your day is good. JW

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Today is October 25. What's so special about that date? It's only two months until month 'til Thanksgiving. Two of my favorite holidays. I listened to a Christmas song this morning as I walked. Mannheim Steamroller is always good to listen to, no matter what time of year.
For some reason I've been thinking of Jesus' appearance here on earth. What if He came again? What if He was born in a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C.? Would anybody notice? Or would we be just as clueless as they were when He came to this earth?
What about me? Do I search for Him everyday? Do I see Jesus in those I have contact with? He did say that if you served anyone, the least of these His brethren, you did it to Him.
Keep your eyes open. Keep looking. Keeping searching. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I'm reading Philip Yancy's new book on prayer. It's appropriately entitled Prayer. So far it's been a wonderful resource, full of great quotes and wonderful insights. Here is a quote from today's reading:

Prayer is a subversive act performed in a world that constantly calls faith into question.

That one just hit me. Recently, I made a comment that we can't prayer in public schools anymore and someone corrected me. He told me that prayers continue in our public schools all the time. He's right! No one can stop me from praying. It can be banned, prohibited, ridiculed, and allegedly stopped, but you cannot keep me from praying to the God who hears all. Ponder that one and let me know what you think. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bad Traveler

I'm not a very good traveler. It must have started when I was young and my parents would pack my brothers and me into a car and we would take two day drives back to Ohio to see our grandparents. There were only two reasons to stop on these trips. One was to fill up with gasoline. The other was in the case of an emergency, i.e. flat tire, engine overheated, etc. Of course, we would stop at night (in the cheapest hotel dad could find). We would have to go to the bathroom during the refueling stops. We carried a cooler and mom made sandwiches while we went down the road. Efficient. In the case of having to go to the bathroom between refueling, we would be completely humiliated by having to go along the side of the road.
Flash forward to 2006. I'm kind of like my father in that I want to get to where I'm going with as few stops as possible. Eat at the gas station since many of them sell junk food and keep going. I will stop at a rest area if I have to, but the key (the mission) is to get where we're going in the shortest amount of time.
I'm even worse traveling by air. First of all, there is now no room on planes to sit. If I sit by the window, my legs are around my chin and then the person in front of me invariably leans his/her sit back so that the tray table fits directly into my stomach. If I sit by the aisle, I'm bumped by everyone who walks by. For some reason they stop at my seat and put something in the overhead, so I get a view of either their front side or (ugh) backside. If I sit in the middle, the two sumo wrestlers from Japan sit on either side of me. Then you have to arrive early, stay late to pick up your luggage. So really you could almost drive to your destination in approximately the same amount of time. Maybe I ought to just stay home. But then, how much fun would that be. I hope you have a great day. JW

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Short Note, A Big Boost

I received a note today. There wasn't anything special about it, but it did come quite unexpectedly. And I wasn't the only person who received the note. It says very simply, "Just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about each one of you and about the great blessing that each of you are in my life! I've learned from you, been blessed by your words and actions, been comforted by you, strengthened by you, been forgiven by you, and loved by you. God is awesome--He blessed our family with knowing you!"

Wow! It made my day. Just a short note. Just a "thank you." It didn't take long. It meant more than you can imagine. Perhaps you're thinking today of someone who has blessed your life, or perhaps someones. Write them a note and tell them how much you appreciate them. This one note has brought tears to my eyes and gratitude to my own heart. If nothing else, stop and thank the Father for the difference He has made in your life. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Saving Private Ryan

I was pleased to see one of my favorite movies on television last night....Saving Private Ryan. There are several great scenes in the movie and I never tire of them. Of course, at the end when Captain Miller is about to die and he says to Private Ryan, "Earn this. Earn it!" As the scene changes from a young Private Ryan to an old Mr. Ryan, and as he stands there on top of the cliff at the American National Cemetery at Normandy (By the way, a moving place to be. I was fortunate to have stood there in the summer of 2005), he says to his wife, "Tell me I've lived a good life. That I've done enough." My mind went to the theology that I was raised on. As we get to the end of our lives, we ask the same question. And the answer is, "No, we haven't done enough." None of us can. But Jesus did. I like Ryan's motivation. Shouldn't ours be similar? Because He did that for me, I should give everything I have for Him. I love it. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 16, 2006


Well, here is a nothing blog, but I have to say it. It was really, really fun to watch the Arkansas Razorback football team beat the Southeast Missouri College for the Blind, er Southeast Missouri State. The final score was 63-7. Several long runs, a few good drives, some good defense, a beautiful day. I got in only 9 holes of golf due to the cold weather on Friday. Saw some good friends at church. All in all, a good weekend. Hope yours was, too. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Heard It

I live about two blocks off of argueably the busiest East-West street in Omaha. Yet in my neighborhood is a turkey that roams around carefree. In the mornings when I walk, I walk toward that street and then cut down the street right before it. It's during that time today that I noticed something interesting. If I don't have my head phones in, I can hear the busy traffic. If I do, I can drown out everything even though I'm close to rush hour traffic.
Isn't that like our world. Focus our thoughts and minds on God and the busy world just flies past us and, in many cases, we don't give it a thought. Transversely, Satan has a way to turn our thoughts away from God and once again we find ourselves caught in the rush hour of life.
I'd been praying for most of my walk today, and as I walked down the above street I placed my earphones in. Call me crazy. Call me a lunatic. But the song that came on was Rich Mullins singing, "O God you are my God and I will ever praise You." Don't let this song get lost in the translation. I'm walking at a pretty good clip and he sings, "...and step by step You'll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days."
I can hear you now. "Oh, Jim, that was just a coincidence. You're reading too much into this." Am I? All right. The next song was Michael W. Smith singing, "I Can Hear Your Voice." I think God was trying to emphasize a point with me. He said, "Keep listening, Jim. Keep walking." I think I will. Even though you might not believe me. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Love

Charles Carl Roberts IV. Does that name ring a bell? Probably not. I had to look it up myself. He was the man who killed five innocent little Amish girls. How quickly we forget. We continue to remember the ugly murders he committed, but we so quickly forgot his name.
I was listening to a radio talk show last night and the commentator told of his funeral. Of course you would expect the standard people to show up even at a murderer's memorial. He was buried in his wife's family plot at the Methodist (I think) Church there in town. Attending the funeral were members of the Amish community. The talk show host expressed his complete and total disbelief at the show of grace and forgiveness. He said, "I will never understand this kind of deed. The world needs more Amish." He's was partially right. That kind of love is truly uncommon, yet available to all...including Mr. Charles Carl Roberts IV. What the world needs is not more Amish, but more who follow and bask in the love that God has shown us from the very beginning. That's what we need.
I hope your day is good. JW

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ain't Man Great!!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I like contrasts. Well, I saw another one last Friday. I was on the golf course (I need to do that more often!) and a big jet flew overhead. It was more than likely on its way to the Omaha International Airport. I thought of the many people on the plan anticipating their arrival in the big city. Just as I marvelled at man's great invention of the jet airplane and all its glory, about 15 or 20 Canadian geese sailed in over the lake (the same lake which tried to take my golf ball!). Their grace was unmistakeable as they glided to rest on the smooth surface of the water. There they were in stark contrast...the big manmade airplane and the graceful geese.
It then struck me that the God who made the geese also made humans who devised the jet airplane. And when I began to think of the foolishness of my first thought, i.e. how great man is, I realized the greatness and wonder of God. The same God who made everything from nothing, the One who threw the stars into the universe, the one who made intellect, geese, the lake, everything I saw is the same Wonderful God who loves you and me. The same One who knows everything about you...and still loves you. What a wonderful thought. And silly me for thinking that a jet could outdo a creation of God. Have a great day. JW

By the way, how 'bout them Hogs???!!!!! Arkansas 27, Auburn 10. It was almost too good to watch. You probably heard Nate and me screaming.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Leaves of the Field

While I was walking today, I came across thousands upon thousands of little leaves on the pavement. They were a beautiful yellow color, but they had fallen in the fall transition. I was trampling on them, cars had driven over them, some had been blown away by the wind others by blowers, other leaves had been picked up and put into bags for disposal.
Then a thought came over me. God knows about everyone of those leaves. He knew when they turned colors, He remembers when they first sprouted, He even remembered them falling. Don't believe me? Read Matthew 6. "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." You might say, "Oh, but that's about flowers, not leaves." What's the difference? Then read the next line. "If that is how God clothes the grass (leaves) of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Yes, we need God. I need God. And I need Him constantly. I am realizing that more and more everyday. I hope you are, too. But I want you to realize that He cares so much for you. So much. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Closing Songs, Part II

A continuation of yesterday's post. A couple of more "closing" songs that I really liked:

Savior, breathe an evening blessing
Ere repose our spirits seal;
Sin and want we come confessing:
Thou canst save and Thou canst heal

Should swift death this night o'ertake us,
And our couch become our tomb,
May the morn in heav'n awake us,
Clas in bright and deathless bloom.

Or how about:

Now the day is over,
Night is drawing nigh;
Shadows of the evening
Steal across the sky.

When the morning wakens,
Then may I arise
Pure, and fresh, and sinless
In Thy holy eyes.

Ah, great memories. Great songs. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Sun Declines

I don't know why but I've been having some evening songs come to my mind. You know, the "Take the Name of Jesus With You" songs that we used to end Sunday evening worship with. Now that many churches are leaving the Sunday evening worship services for small groups, we have missed a lot of those songs. It would be a little out of place to sing, "The Sun Declines" in a Sunday morning worship.
There were a number of songs that had beautiful words and music set to it that we used to sing at high church when we lived in Searcy. My good friend, David, knows these songs well. For instance:
Savior, again to Thy dear name we raise,
With one accord, our parting hymn of praise;
We stand to bless Thee ere our worship cease,
Then lowly bowing, wait Thy word of peace.

Grant us Thy peace throughout our earthly life;
Our balm in sorrow, and our stay in strife;
Then, when Thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,
Call us, O Lord, to Thine eternal peace.

Beautiful song, isn't it? Or how about this one:
The sun declines: o'er land and sea
Creeps on the night;
The twinkling stars come one by one
To shed their light;
With Thee there is no darkness, Lord;
With us abide;
And 'neath Thy wings we rest secure This eventide.

And when with morning light we rise,
Kept by Thy care,
We'll lift to Thee with grateful hearts
Our morning prayer;
Be Thou thro life our Strength and Stay,
Our Guard and Guide
To that dear home where there will be no eventide.

I don't have time to talk about "Now the Day is Over" or "Day is Dying in the West." But I will continue to remember the beautiful sentiments in all of these songs even though we don't sing them anymore. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 02, 2006

I Want to Worship Even If It Kills Me

He came into services yesterday just as the pre-worship buzz had stopped. We were getting ready to sing the first song of praise. His head was bald, he was gaunt, but the thing that drew my attention was the medical mask on his face. He's one of our members who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant for lymphoma.
I've kept up with his progress by reading his wife's faithful updates on the internet. His white blood cell count had made it to zero meaning he had absolutely no resistance to infection in his body. What hit me, though, and I don't think I'm overdoing it here, is that he came to worship in spite of the fact that he might get an infection that could make him really sick or possibly kill him. You couldn't keep him away from worshipping his God. You couldn't keep him away from being with people who love him. You couldn't keep him away from being in the fellowship with all of those around the world who were at the very same time or the very same day calling on the same God. What an inspiration!
And I thought, if it were me in the same situation, would I be at worship? Ask yourself the same question. I'm grateful to men like Mark who said, "I want to come into the house of the Lord." Have a great day. JW

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I have been finishing up my sermon for Sunday this morning. It's about the greatest commandment. Jesus said to love God with everything in you and the second greatest was to love your neighbor as yourself. Luke tells us that the guy asked Jesus, "...and just who is my neighbor?" Hence, the story of the Good Samaritan. Now I'm a busy guy with things to do, people to see, places to go.
The church secretary comes in and says that someone wants to see me. It's the typical benevolence case. The man brings his little boy in. Just moved here. No money, no food, no gas for the car. My first reaction is to get rid of him. But then the words hit me, "and just who is my neighbor?" Okay, Lord, you don't have to hit me in the face with this one anymore. I gave him the money in my pocket. I gave him food. I gave him my card. I don't know if it was enough, but my prayer with him and his son was that God multiply what I gave him just like he did the loaves and the fishes.
Maybe if I just wasn't so dense. If I just would take the hints from God and follow him, my life would be so much simpler. Perhaps I'd be more caring and loving. And maybe, just maybe, I would be more like Jesus. What would Jesus do? Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's Been A Good Day

I didn't write yesterday and I thought I did. But it was good that I didn't. It hadn't been a good day and I was feeling somewhat down. I had prayed to God about the specific situation I found myself in. The tasks came as they usually do. I worked on lessons, visited the hospital, etc.
Then I received a phone call and a letter. Both of them positive. Both of them exciting. Both of them areas for me to serve God. Both of them messages from the Lord. God is indeed good. My day brightened. My countenance lifted. Now, I still have to deal with the initial situation that brought me down. But I know that God is faithful. He is right by my side. He is faithful even if I hadn't received the letter and the phone call. It did, however, help me to see how much God cares.
There would be some who would say, "Those are random things that happened and have nothing to do with God." I'm sorry, I don't believe you. I believe that my God is active in my life. "He (God) is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people." A. W. Tozer. I agree, A.W., I agree. Have a great day. JW

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Marathon of Life

My son-in-law ran in the Omaha Marathon yesterday. I went down to see the beginning of the race and it was an interesting reminder of life. It was really a metaphor for life itself. For instance?
There were all ages running in the race. I saw people who looked really, really old (about my age!! or older). There were some really, really young ones. Some, you could tell, were in good shape. Others, well, you know what I mean. There were some who were well prepared, i.e. they had their power bars and their water. While others were wearing (no kidding) black plastic bags. I even saw one guy who had some kind of drinks attached to his waist, yet was barefooted. I wonder what he wanted about 3 miles into the race, a drink or some shoes. There were some who were very non-chalant about the race. They just kind of sauntered up to the beginning when the even was about to start. Others were "warming up" as I was walking up. It's always interesting to me the people who run about a half marathon just warming up. Their faces are set and serious and there is no fun in the race. Others were laughing and enjoying the event.
Welll, you can make all the comparisons you want. I continued to think of Paul's comment in II Timothy when he said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Paul said he finished the race. My son-in-law didn't win the race yesterday. Quite the contrary. But ask him if the blisters, the soreness, the weariness wasn't worth it. You bet the race is worth it. Just keep running. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Taking Care of the Flowers

Why is it sometimes your mind has absolutely nothing to say, and then other times I could give you three or four blogs. Today is the latter.
We have a gentleman who is a member of our congregation, a former Jew, who had surgery yesterday. He is one of those guys is isn't flashy. He just serves. He maintains the flowers around our building.
He wasn't feeling well today after surgery and I visited him the first thing this morning. He is still in and out of consciousness, but he knew (at least for now) that I was there. I told him it was raining outside. He said, "The Lord always takes care of my flowers when I'm in the hospital." I loved it. Even in the middle of pain, even when the night was not good, even when he didn't feel like it, he understood the Lord's faithfulness. Oh, to have the same faith.
I hope you have a good day today. I am. JW

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More Salt

I've been thinking (which in and of itself is dangerous). Why do we as a nation even care about earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters in other countries around the world? Why do we send in money, food, and relief help at the drop of a hat? Why do we even have organizations such as the Red Cross? What makes our country's ethic one that helps others? Can I give you what I think is the answer? It's Jesus. It is the way we were formed as a country. Our founding fathers based this country on the principles of the Bible and those principles have permeated down through the years so that we help people.
What happens when we cease following God? We will become a nation that focuses inward. We will not care what is happening around the world. We will count ourselves lucky that it didn't happen to us.
I remember a converstation I had with my dad several years before he died. We were talking about good people all over who, without wanting any credit, did good things. He looked at me and said, "There's still a lot of salt." I hope that's always true. Salt and light. It's what we are. It's what the world needs. Now more than ever. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I'm changing my theology as everyday goes by. I was raised by a wonderful father and mother who loved God and loved His church. My parents loved the Scriptures and read them daily. My father was a product of his day and saw anything that was not Church of Christ as dangerous and wrong.
I don't say that as a criticism of my heritage (or maybe I do). Here is my new theology which is not new to anybody else but me. Unless I'm motivated by "What would Jesus do?" and loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving my neighbor, then I shouldn't do it. My motivation should come from a deep love of God and humankind. Anything else is secondary. God loved, Jesus served, and I should emulate both. Why do I say this? When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, what did He say? "Love God and love your neighbor." Right after Jesus washed the feet of his apostles, what did He tell them? Love one another the way I (Jesus) have loved you. What does John talk about in his books. Love God. Love your brother. You can't love God if you hate your brother. I'm sorry. It's in there so much that I just can't ignore it anymore. Love.
Oh, but that's too simple. Is it? Try to love the unloveable. It's easy to love the child at church who is sweet and smells nice and who's hair is braided. Love the one with the dirty diaper. Hug the one who kicks your shin. The lesson can be taught in 10 seconds but it takes a lifetime to understand. Join me, won't you, in this wonderful pursuit. It's what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. I love the words from the old song, "O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go:

O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
I hope you have a great day. JW

Monday, September 18, 2006

Football, Razorbacks, and Huskers

All right. Good football weekend for me. The Razorbacks won 21-19 over Vanderbilt. They play Alabama this week in Fayetteville. Sorry to the Husker fans who lost to Southern Cal. I know the temptation is to compare scores from USC vs. Arkansas and USC vs. Nebraska. Not a good indication. First game of the year for some, different conditions, etc. If you do that then you would have to say Arkansas' offense is better than Nebraska's because UA scored more points. But that's not necessarily true.
Now before you say I'm against anything Husker, that's just not true. I'm a Husker volleyball fan. I hope they win the national title. See, not everything is as it seems.
Not a real exciting blog today, but I'm whippped after the weekend. Maybe tomorrow something profound will come. Have a great day. JW

Friday, September 15, 2006

Passionate Mission

He sat across from the table from me at lunch. It was the first time I had ever met him, but I had heard his name on several occasions. As we talked about his ministry, this gentlemen with tears in his eyes said, "I want to start a ministry in the poor section of town. I just want to wrap a towel around my waist and get to work."
In a deserted hospital room at 5:00 in the morning, I visited with another gentleman who, once again with tears in his eyes, talked to me about speaking the very words of God in his ministry. If you listen to me preach on Sundays, your going to get a little of my sermon in this blog today. I don't like the word evangelism. It's not found in the Bible. There's nothing wrong with the word and I admit that it's my own bias. But for me, the word conjures up everything that we've done wrong about spreading the gospel. It's coat and tie and slicked back hair and door knocking and duty. It has nothing about a desire to save lost souls, but it has everything to do with another notch on our belt of salvation. "Yes siree, we baptized another one." Then we go and leave them to fend for themselves in a world that doesn't care about them. In the meantime we're going to find another one to baptize. It has everything to do with "have to" and nothing to do with "want to."
Maybe we ought to change our language. Jesus told us to go make disciples. We've completely ignored that step. We go directly to the slam dunking. I want us to have the same heart as the two I mentioned above. Perhaps we should call it our passionate mission.
It is what we are. It is who we are. We can't stand the thought of another lost soul dying without knowing Jesus. When we have this passionate mission, the person becomes real. It's a soul who God loves and not just another convert. Passionate ministers draw people to them by their care and concern not by their slick sales techniques and closing tactics. Passionate mission. I like it. Have a great day.

By the way, I know I'm not usually here on Fridays. But I did what I advocated. I went to Starbucks and got my chai and sat and enjoyed the morning. Then I came here to catch up on a few things. I have my Green Valley Bible Camp T-shirt on, my jeans, and my tennis shoes. My wife is at work, my son is in school, my daughter is with her husband, and I'm by myself. I'm enjoying the day. Have a good one yourself. JW

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Third Awakening and Views of God

Buried on page 4 in last night's edition of my local newspaper was a short article that for some reason caught my eye. It was a report on some comments that President Bush recently made to a group of conservative journalists. He said he thinks we're in our Third Awakening. By this he means he sees the country waking up to our spiritual foundations once again. It happened in the 1600s when we were just starting to form a new nation. It happened once again in the early 1800s (Restoration Movement???) And now, the President thinks it's happening again. Oh, I hope he's right. The reason? Maybe a view of what's happening in the world today. The clash between good and evil ideologies.
Another interesting article I read yesterday reported a survey from Gallup that asked questions about our country's views on God. The results were interesting. 31.4% of Americans see God as an Authoritarian God. He is angry at our sins and He's engaged in our lives. Another 23% see God as a Benevolent God who has absolute standards but loves us. Those who see God as the Critical God make up 16% of our population and 24.4% of American see God as the Distant God who created the universe but has stepped aside and let it go.
Do you want to guess which parts of the country fell where? The largest percentage of people who believed that God was authoritarian come from the South. More of the Midwesterners believe in a benevolent God while the East Coast sees God as critical. The West Coast see God as distant. Interesting, isn't it?
I hope your day is blessed. I also pray that you see God as He really is. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life Construction

Driving to work this morning I encountered construction work on Interstate 680. It's been going on for several weeks now, but I've been able to avoid it thus far. But today...The workmen are tearing up the side of the road and it looks as if they are adding another lane. Perhaps there is too much traffic in the area and this new lane will help ease the congestion in the morning's rush hour traffic. It's going to get worse before it gets better. Ugh!
Oh, oh. I feel a spiritual application coming on. How many times do our lives seem as if they are torn up, under construction, perhaps? Life grinds to a halt and everything seems to stop. God's discipline seems cruel, often harsh. But in the long run, it does get better. it often doesn't occur on our schedule or time frame. God is faithful. He is consistent. He is the only One who knows what is best and even though it may be painful, it is better in the long run. I don't like the hardships now, but I'll see the wisdom of God in the future. I've lived long enough now to have enough faith to trust in God and His wisdom.
If you're struggling right now, cheer up. This is not permanent. And often you will fine everything better than you could ever imagine. Remember, He is faithful. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time That Is Left

Mark Schultz's music is touching my heart lately. Here is one I was listening to today:

What will you do with the time that's left?
Will you live it all with no regret?
Will they say you loved 'til your final breath?
What will you do with the time that's left?

Oh Hallelujah! Oh Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

What will you do with the time that's past?
Oh and all the pain that seems to last?
Can you give it to Jesus and not look back?
What will you do with the time that's past?

Oh Hallelujah! Oh Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

What will He say when your time has come?
When He takes you into His arms of love?
With tears in His eyes will He say well done?
What will He say when your time has come?

Oh Hallelujah! Oh Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

What will you do with the time that's left?
Will you live it all with no regret?
Will they say that you loved 'til your final breath?
What will you do with the time?

Thanks, Mark. I couldn't have even come close to saying it better. I get to hear him in concert in November. I can't wait. Have a great day. JW

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

I was a fourth grader at Willard Elementary School. When I reached the top of the steps of my school, one of my classmates told me of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. All of us who were alive at the time can tell you where you were when it happened. Fast forward to September 11, 2001. This time I was Vice President of Enrollment Managment at York College and my office was in my old elementary school. Now it's called Sack Hall. I had been to a breakfast meeting with our consultant and when I returned, standing at the bottom of the same steps where I heard of the president's death, I heard of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Our house was across the street from Sack Hall, so I went home and watched the whole tragedy in horror. My mother said she just fell to her knees. Five years later, we stand as a nation praying that this won't happen again. I know there have been discussions and politics and threats and warnings. The solutions to this threat are complicated. And yet, there is a very simple answer. The lowest common denominator can be found and the solution is there. Whether it can be implemented is another story. But the answer is simple. It's Jesus. I know He said that He came to bring the sword to families. But He is still the answer. He's the Prince of Peace. And He is the answer, the only answer. Say a prayer in remembrance today. And pray that hearts will change and turn to Him. JW

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Turning Points

Life has a number of turning points. When one is in the midst of such turning points, he doesn't realize the gravity of the situation. It isn't until years down the road when looking back does one realize the difference a decision, a marriage, or a conversation made in his life. I have talked before of decisions; how one decision can change the direction of one's life.
I think baptism is one of those turning points. I Peter 3:21 says that it isn't the water that saves you in baptism. Of course, we know it's Jesus that saves. But baptism is the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It is a pledge, a decision, a turning point where the believer says, "From this day forward, I'm serving the Lord."
I see a number of turning points in my life. How about you? Have you seen any? Can you identify? That's why the writer says to "teach us to number our days aright." That's why it's important to understand that our lives are just a vapor. Can we go back and change those points? In most cases, we cannot. The event has happened, the change has occurred. But we can pray. We can bless. We can ask God's intervention and His direction. Once we do this, we realize anew that He is in control. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Credit Card is Cancelled

If you know me, you know that my mother died a year ago in March. As the keeper of the checkbook, I had been paying whatever bills there were while my eldest brother executed the estate. He did a wonderful job in making sure everything was taken care of. As the keeper of the checkbook, I also had Mom's mail forwarded to me.
Yesterday, and I'm not lying about this, Mom received a letter in the mail from one of her credit card companies. In a little text box at the top it has these words: Important information is noted below regarding your credit card account." Here, in part, is what the letter says:

Dear Evelyn J White: As your credit card company, it is important to us to provide you with timely information regarding your credit card account. After careful consideration, we have elected not to renew your account. The principal reasons for our decision are as follows: Consumer Was Reported As "deceased" At the Credit Bureau.

Now they list that reason three times in the letter. Whew! I'm glad they're are on top of this! Mom will certainly be relieved to have this taken care of. And by the way, who in the world were they sending the letter to? If she was dead, how would she know her credit card has been cancelled? Oh, my. Do you think she's continuing to use it? Thank heavens for this rocket scientists at this credit card company. And we wonder what is wrong in our financial world. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Letters from Dad

The weather is cooling off now. In the mornings, the temperature is in the 50s in the morning instead of the 80s. Fall is not far away...and neither is winter.

I'm not much into recommending books because what I like may not appeal to someone else. But if you are a father, I would recommend you read Letters from Dad by Greg Vaughn. It has some great suggestions on how to leave a legacy for your children.

In it, he makes a comment about marriages that I thought was interesting. He said about marriage, "God's plan says, THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE. Satan's plan says, THE ONE SHALL BECOME TWO. Why does Satan hate Christian marriages so much? Because they are a mirror of Christ's relationship with believers." Great comment. I'd really never thought of it that way before. I hope you had a great break (Labor Day). JW

Thursday, August 31, 2006


When my kids were younger, I thought it was my responsibility to take them on vacation and to see everything we could in a short period of time. So we would see Mickey, Goofy, Minnie, Donald, Snow White, and at least six of the dwarves in 2 days or less. We would "plan" the day as if we were preparing a major operation to get needed supplies to a third world country. We would come home exhausted and ready to get back to work in order to get some rest.
A few years ago, I bought a time share. Couldn't really afford it, but did it anyway. The first time we took advantage of the condo, we walked in, dropped our luggage, sat down and felt guilty for not having an agenda. We woke up early the first morning thinking we had an appointment to go to. After that, I remember sleeping in longer than I had since I was a teenager. Why was that? Because I was physically and mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had allowed myself to get caught up in the success syndrome the world threw at me.
Since that time I have worked at resting. Sometimes people see that as laziness. But I have found that one reason time flies by so quickly is that we have it so scheduled down to the minute that it can't help but do so.
Growing up I thought the Sabbath was Saturday. Jewish people worshiped on that day as did the 7th Day Adventists. But Saturday was a day to play.
I'm learning, however, to slow down a little bit. I'm not very good at it, yet. But God didn't intend for us to be in such a hurry. When you get a cup of chai or tea or (ugh) coffee and just sit, it's amazing what you'll see or smell. You feel the breeze on your cheek. You'll notice how blue the sky really is. You'll hear the birds chirping. And time will slow down.
Why am I writing on this now? I just got back from Mackinac Island where they have no cars. Yep. You either walk, ride a bike, or ride a horse-drawn carriage. Mike Cope wrote a blog about rest. I put on my iPod this morning and heard Amy Grant sing "Lay Down Your Burden." Then after that, Twila Paris sang, "God is in Control." The cool 60 degree weather and the blue sky reminded me anew that God is, indeed, in control and He wants me to slow down and realize it. And so should you. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Go Hogs!!

Please indulge my silly blog today. I have cleared my schedule for Saturday's game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the University of Southern California Trojans. I can hope against hope, can't I? I can dream. Although a friend of mine says we might win, I still remember last year's 70-17 thumping. I'm just hoping that it's not that bad. So today, I ask you to call the Hogs, sing the fight song, hum the alma mater, or anything else you want to do to egg on the Hogs. If you won't do it for them, would you do it for me? Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

If I Died Tonight

I had a weird dream last night. This wasn't like others that I have had in the past. (No, I didn't eat pickles and ice cream before going to bed. In fact, I had been at an elders meeting. Wait a minute....) In this dream, I knew I was to die. The exact time and place had been determined. A funeral was held for me and people came. (That was a refreshing thought!) In fact, I remember greeting people coming out of the funeral and thanked them for coming. I searched for and called out for Mom and Dad. I told them that I was going to be fine, not to mourn for me, and that I was going to meet Jesus. But I had a strange feeling of angst. What was it going to be like to die? There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation. It was a strange mix of emotions. Then I woke up.
What if you knew? What if you really knew the moment you would die, what would you do differently? Would your life dramatically change? I started to think seriously about that. What about you? What would you do? Perhaps I'll give you my feelings on another day. Have a good day. JW

Thursday, August 24, 2006


"See how great a love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are." What an incredible verse from I John 3. Lavish. Put your own definition to it. Whatever that definition is, it isn't enough to describe God's outrageous love for you...for me. Romans 5 says He pours it out. It overflows. Romans 8 says that nothing can separate us from it. And if God is for us, who can be against us? What a wonderful thought! I may have put this in here before, but listen to these words:
"God's love is His holy disposition toward all that He has created that compels Him to express unconditional affection and selective correction to provide the highest quality of existence, both now and forever, for the object of His love." By the way, the object of His love? You. Have a great day! JW See you next week.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I like to encourage people. Sometimes I'm not very good at it, but I like it. People seem to appreciate it and it brings a smile to their faces. Barnabas is one of those guys in the New Testament I'd like to know. In college, we were given nicknames because of certain characteristics or even our names. I was called Whitey (since my last name is White. It's fun to hear my son being called the same thing. I was also called Jim Dandy). We had another guy in our club we called Whitey because he had really blond hair. Others you call Shorty because they are vertically challenged. You get the picture. Barnabas was called Son of Encouragement. It's obvious that he was an encourager because you see it happen with Paul, John Mark, and others. I like Barnabas.
In our conversations with each other, I think we ought to encourage more. Instead we tend to gossip, tell the latest, you know the routine. We could even invoke what Paul said in Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true." That seems to be the criterion for telling something. Whether it's hateful or hurtful, we'll say, "But it's true!" Read on. "...whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Emphasis mine) Let's not stop at true, let's continue with noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. That'strue encouragement. Have a great day. JW

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dumb Rabbit

I saw a rabbit outside of our church building the other day. What was interesting was that he didn't move when I drove up. It wasn't until I got pretty close to him that he limped off. By limping off, I mean, he only had three legs. Something had already gotten one of his legs. I felt bad about calling him a stupid rabbit, but I went on my way.
Today, I saw the same rabbit, this time up closer to the building. I walked right up to him until I was about 5 feet away. He was eating some grass in the yard, so I left him alone. This time, I noticed something else. He was blind in his right eye. His right leg looked as if something had tried to chew it off also. I think his name is "Lucky." It wasn't until I made a loud noise with my keys that he turned his head enough to see me with his good eye.
Call me crazy, but I see a spiritual application to this. How many times do we see someone who is seemingly oblivous to what's going on around him and we just shake our heads and call them stupid? We don't know the circumstances nor the situation. Upon closer examination, we realize the disabilities they might have. Perhaps we should take more time and examine, be more compassionate, more caring, more considerate, more loving. That's what draws me to Jesus. He sees beyond the wounds, the scars, and the hurts...and He loves me for what I am. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Keep Silence

I'm amused when we sing certain songs. We don't know the context in which they were written nor the intent of the words. For instance, we sing a song (we don't sing it as often as we used to) called "The Lord is in His Holy Temple." Those of you who know it know it as a song to quiet us down. The auditorium is buzzing with talking and fellowship, there is an excitement to worship, but we want to hush everybody up. (It reminds me of a basketball game I was attending one time. The crowd was screaming because their team had made a tremendous come back. The other team was forced to call a time-out. The cheerleaders rushed onto the floor and quieted the crowd because they wanted to do a cheer.) So anyway, the best song we can think of is "The Lord is in His Holy Temple." In other words, we say that God is in the building. He wasn't before, but He is now. So in hushed tones we sing,

The Lord is in his holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before him.
Keep silence, keep silence,
Keep silence before him.

There! Now we can go ahead and start worship. I was reading Habakkuk the other day and found the text for this song. It's really a conversation between Habakkuk and God. Habakkuk is questioning why God would use a godless nation such as Babylon to punish the Israelites. God answers with a series of "Who do you think you are" questions. Basically, once God has had His fill, He says, "Listen up! Silence. I'm going to speak and you'd better listen."
That's very different isn't it? Don't believe me? Go and read Habakkuk 2. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a very beautiful song. But just remember the context of the words. Shouldn't we all be listening for God to speak? Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Who Am I?

As I read other blogs I so admire the ability of others to be so deep, so profound in their thoughts. I envy them (in a good way) in their ability to be so thoughtful in what they say. They piece together their words so as to provoke such an emotion in my heart. Today I thought I would do the same, but my words fall far short.
I wanted to say that I believe that God is the Creator of the universe. He is in control and I'm not. He knows all and I don't. He is all-wise and I certainly don't match up to that qualification. So why do I try to take control? It's time to let Him be God and for me to be the created.
I believe that Jesus is His son. That He came to earth, literally, He lived and made an impact on His community, and was killed by a mob who didn't know what they were doing. It wasn't an accident that He died. No, in fact He gave Himself up intentionally so that I might have a chance. So that you might have a chance also.
Why did God send His son, and why did Jesus die so willingly? Because He loves me. We sing that old song, "Why Did My Savior Come to Earth," and we sing the chorus, "He loved me so." I can't sing that. He loves me so. He still does. He'll never stop. Why does He love me? That I'll never understand. I can try to reason it out, I can rationalize just about anything, but I cannot understand why the Creator of the universe, the one in control, the all-wise, all-knowing God would love this little piece of protoplasm that sits at this computer every day and types out something that is so trivial....but He does. And He loves you, too. So rather than fight it, I can only just accept it. I don't know what else to do. Okay, yes I do know what to do. I can revel in it. I can praise God. I can live like it. I can live like a child of the King. And so today, I will worship Him. I will bow down before Him and realize that He is the Lord. He is God and I am His child. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Starting School

I used to drop him off at school and say a prayer. Today is his first day of school for this year and he'll drive himself. He just came by my office to tell me he loves me. At least that's what he said. "By the way, do you have any money?"
Oh, well, I'll take what I can get. At least he came to see me. Godspeed to all parents out there who are taking their kids to school this week. Pray God's blessings on all the students and teachers. It's all part of growing up. Tough as it may be, it's natural, it's supposed to happen. So I'll continue to say my prayers. And I pray this will be a good year. Have a great day. JW

Monday, August 14, 2006


We had a brief scare over the weekend. The high school where my son attends issues all of the students lap-top computers. Of course, we buy insurance for them, but two years ago when he was a freshman) he spilled Mountain Dew on his computer. So when school fired up a year ago, we had to pay a fine (substantial, I might add) for him to get his computer for his sophomore year.
You can imagine my chagrin this year when we received a call from his homeroom teacher saying he owed another fine. Once we checked into it, we found that it was exactly the same as last year's fine. The date was June, 2005. In other words, they didn't take off the fine from last year.
I visited with the personnel at the school and, of course, they would not admit to being wrong, but promised to call when they had the situation under control. "When did you pay the fine?" they queried.
"Last August."
"Where did you pay the fine?"
"Right here where I'm standing right now."
"How did you pay for it?"
My argument was they wouldn't have given him his computer had he not paid the fine. Their argument--it shows on the computer you owe the money.
I must say, I have received a call clearing us of all charges. That's the way I felt...that we were being unduly accused of disturbing the peace of the Apple iBook in my son's possession. I never really received a "I sorry we messed up." But nevertheless, I was pleased.
Which brings me to my point today. Why do they call such penalties "fines"? I would call them awfuls or terribles or tragics. But fines? Maybe it came about from such situations as I have described ending in the person finally deciding to pay the bill and saying, "Fine!" If you have any insight, you may let me know. Have a great day! And say a prayer for all of those who are going back to school. JW

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Even If He Does Not

There is a passage in Daniel that always amazes me when I read it. It talks of our faith in God. It steers us to what's important. It makes us realize that our ways are not always the ways God takes. The message is still the same--God is in control and He knows best.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are about to be thrown into the furnace for not worshiping the image of King Nebuchadnezzar. After some empty (best very real) threats from the king, he asks them, "...what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" Ooooooo. Bad question. It's been my experience not to get into any kind of questioning contest with God, i.e. see the book of Job. The response of the three men? "...we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king." Now that's a great statement! But what blows me away is the rest of the statement. They said, "But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Did you hear that? Even if he does not... When something good happens, our response is, "God is good." What we need to come to grips with is that God is good even if the good doesn't happen. "Even if," they said. They knew. Their faith was right where it should be.
So, how's your day? Going well? God is good. Not going so well? Guess what? God is good. Until we understand that, life may be difficult for us. But hang in there, because we know that He really is good, faithful, full of love, longsuffering (I like that word better than patient), kind, holy.......Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Answered Prayer

We call them "Heart Groups" at camp. It's just a group of people who talk about the week and their troubles and their hopes and their....We split the boys (wisely) from the girls and we get together in a circle and we just listen. I heard my own son talk of troubled times in his life. By the way, it coincided with difficult times in my life. Moves and friends and changing friends. "By some twist of faith," he said, one of his friends came into his life at just the right time. I stood up and told him it wasn't a twist of faith, it was an answered prayer. You see, everyday as I dropped him off at school, I would say this prayer. "Father, keep him safe today. Bring him close to friends who will bring him close to You. Bring him close to teachers who will do the same. Keep Satan away." These two, sometimes three young men help each other. It's exactly the way I prayed it. God was faithful! There were other testimonies that night. Love for Green Valley Bible Camp. Suicidal thoughts. Old men crying. All in all, we were moved and lifted by hearing these young men proclaim their love for each other and for God.
As we walked down the valley to meet the girls, a rock (not a pebble, but a good sized rock) came tumbling down the hill. It was if one of Satan's legions, not happy with what had just happened, held back by one of God's angels, could only muster this little rock down toward our group. Perhaps an overactive imagination on my part, but humor me. I'm sure Satan was not happy. And that's the way I like to keep him. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Voice of God

We end every night at camp at the steps. No matter what has gone on, no matter what time it is, it's the closure to the night. The steps (kind of a large amphitheater about halfway down the valley. Remember? Green Valley Bible Camp. And you thought people from Arkansas were dum.) :)
This particular evening I was through with my duties and I was walking back to my camper. The darkness of the evening just amplified the sounds in my ears. I could hear all of the chattering of the kids and staff as they were saying their goodnights. As I walked away, the sounds started to fade and it became quieter. The sounds of the talking were replaced by the sounds of the night...the chirping crickets, the locusts. All of a sudden, I felt very much in God's presence. Not that God can't be present among His people, but it was a very private, personal moment. I thought of these words, "Above the noise of selfish strife we heart Thy voice of Son of Man." I also thought of the verse that says, "Be still, and know that I am God." It was as if in all the hubbub of camp, the noise of the day still ringing in my ears, that God was saying to me, "Remember, I'm still here." It was one of those moments I treasure. It wasn't the resounding voice of God that you hear in the movies. It was a quiet moment where I heard His whisper. One of those personal moments where God and I communed. More realistically, He spoke and I listened. Oh, for more moments like that. I pray the same for you. Have a great day. JW

Monday, August 07, 2006

Follower of God

He told me he wanted to "get baptized." So I told him to meet me at TAWG (Time Alone With God) time the next day and we'd talk. I grabbed one of the elders from the church in NW Arkansas and we sat down with this boy the next day. I asked the 12 year old why he wanted to do this. Here's the answer I expected. "To let the blood of Jesus cleanse me from my sin." Not a bad answer, but kind of the pat answer I hear when talking to young people. Here's what he really said. "Because I want to be a follower of God." After talking to him, it was obvious he had been thinking about this for a long time. That evening, I had the privilege to baptize him in the swimming pool at camp.
My elder friend walked out of the canteen (that's where we studied) before I did. And as I came around the corner, I saw him. He had tears in his eyes, which wasn't unusual for him because he has such a tender heart. (By the way, one of the campers said his first reaction to camp was about a bunch of old men crying). "He's one of the campers I was afraid we would have some problems with this year," he said to me, barely audible. He grabbed me and hugged me and said, "God can do such amazing things."
I don't know what the future holds for my little friend. I do know he was reading his Bible often while at camp. Satan has a way of discouraging and tearing down. But God is greater. Please pray for Joseph. And do pray that he will truly be a follower of God. Have a great day. JW

P.S. As you can tell, I'm back from camp! I'll have a few of this tidbits this week. Also, you can now hear me live. I believe our website will have my sermons where you can hear them rather than have to read the summary. Check at and go to resources. There you'll find the weekly sermons. Thanks!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


This will be my last blog for awhile since I leave for camp tomorrow. I thought of writing another piece about anticipation since our level is so high. But then again, I thought everyone (the two of you who read this) might be gettting tired of reading about Green Valley Bible Camp. Sorry, you'll get to hear more about it later when we return.
I'm reading a new book by Dallas Willard called The Great Omission. I haven't read much, but there is a statement early on that intrigues me. He says we have done a pretty good job making Christians. We haven't done a very good job making disciples. This explains a lot. It gives a reason for our country club mentality. It explains why we have so many who come and are content with sitting on the pews and not getting involved. It's like joining the fan club of your favorite football team, but not trying out for the team. Jesus told His apostles to go and make disciples. We heard HIm say go and baptize the world. But before He said that, He said to make disciples. Don't believe me? Go read it in Matthew 28.
Making disicples means living Jesus' life yourself. Making disciples is mentoring. Making disciples is equipping people. Making disciples is trying to become what Jesus was while He was here on earth. That's much different that getting baptismal biceps. Perhaps our call should change to "go into all the world and make disciples."
Well, I'm done for now. See you when we get back. Please keep us in your prayers. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Since I'm preparing for camp this week, I have some things on my mind that aren't ususually there. The powers that be gave me a topic for the last session on Friday and something caught my attention. The theme for the work is "Be Strong and Courageous" taken from Joshua. Great topic for kids.
Being the Bible scholar I am (I heard all of the laughs from the world of blogdom out there. I have to admit, I'm chuckling myself.) I opened up Joshua to read. In Joshua 1:6 God says to Joshua, "Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers...." This is the Promised Land. This is what they had been looking forward to for so long. This is why they still fight today. So God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous.
Joshua 1:7 God says, "Be strong and very courageous." He adds "very" here. This time his simple words to Joshua are to listen up and obey. "Just do what I say," are God's Words to him. Sounds so simple, but so full of meaning. The reason it's taken so long to get where they are is because they haven't obeyed. The reason why Moses isn't there is because he didn't obey. It's so easy, but yet it's so hard. Just obey. Remember the old hymn, "Trust and Obey?" God told him if he did that, He would make him successful.
Joshua 1:9 God says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged...." Why does God tell him that? Because he says He'll be with him.
When my Mom wanted me to get something she would repeat it several times. My dense little brain had a tendency for selective hearing. When a teacher repeated something and said it was a good idea to listen up, it was a good indication that something was going to be on the test. Do you think it's any different with God? Three times he told Joshua to be strong and courageous. Evidently Joshua was a good listener and did what God said because listen what is said in 4:14 of Joshua. "That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses."
Want to be successful? Be strong and courageous. Why be strong and courageous? Because God says. What happens when we do what God says? He (and only He) makes us successful. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

If These Walls Could Talk

My wife loves the show on HGTV If Walls Could Talk. (I have to admit, it's one of the few shows on HGTV I like.) The premise is someone buys an old house and then begin to find clues in the house as to its former residents.
This week my family is going to Green Valley Bible Camp in Rogers, AR. I know, you're probably saying, "What in the world do these two things have in common?" I first went to GVBC around 1977. Off and on through the years, I've been there or mostly not. But starting in 1991 I began going back as a counselor and eventually as co-director. I think I've missed one, maybe two years since 1991. The camp has changed in many ways, but there are some things that are the same. The mess hall is the original one. The bath house by the pavilion--same one. I remember seeing a little boy go into the bathhouse one evening during the worship time. I followed him in to shoo him out and I found him crying. "What's wrong?" I asked. He told me of his grandfather dying and how much he missed him and how much he loved his grandfather. I told him his grandfather loved him, too. That little boy is married now. His brother will be one of our counselors this week. I'll probably see this "little boy" because he often comes out. But if those bathhouse walls could talk, the stories they could tell.
Or what about the mess hall. Most of the time, people are tired, hot, griping about the food. I try to make it a happy place. I'm usually loud or singing or both. People just look at me and shake their heads. They don't know if I'm crazy or if the heat is gotten to me. The answer again, both. Once again I remember a conversation with a young counselor who's life was in shambles. She divorced her husband. Her parents were struggling with her decision. She didn't know what to do. She's now married a wonderful man who loves her. They have had a child of their own. She's not going to be out at camp, but her husband is. Wow, if those walls could talk. I would love to hear the discussions that have gone on in the cafeteria.
What a God-filled place! My family's eyes light up when Green Valley is mentioned. I've got to admit, so do mine. So at the end of the week, be in prayer for us. I won't be blogging, but I'm sure I'll have blogging material. And remember, if your walls could talk....Have a great day. JW

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Child of Mine

I believe God speaks to us. Maybe not in the way most people think, but I heard Him this morning. I plugged in my ear plugs and headed down the road. I didn't want to hear anything but Christian music this morning, so I kept clicking until I reached the first Christian song on my iPod. (By the way, for those iPodless people in the world, you can shuffle your songs. It's a great feature.) It was God speaking through Mark Schultz that I heard. Basking in my own self-doubts of what I'm doing and how I'm doing, I heard Mark sing, "You are a child of Mine, born of My own desires, and you bear the heart of a lion." As I traveled down the road I glanced to my left to see the sun coming up with beautiful clouds. It was as if God was saying, "Did you really hear that? You are My child. Here's your sunrise today."
Strangely enough the next song that came on was a Beatles song, "From Me to You." Remember the opening words? "If there's anything that you want. If there's anything I can do, just call on me and I'll send it along with love from me to you." What a contrast! I heard God's beautiful promise that I am His child. Then I heard an empty promise--the same promise the world makes. "Just call on me and I'll get you whatever you want." My tears this morning were happy ones. I'll take God's promise, thank you. Have a great day today. JW

Thursday, July 20, 2006

iPods and God

Some of you know about my (relatively) new toy. I have an iPod that is the coolest thing. I have hundreds of songs on it and I can play them by artist, by genre, by albums, by playlists, by composers. I also have pictures on it. It has a calendar, stopwatch, and I'm not sure about this because I haven't checked it out--I think it also has a microwave oven. Well, maybe not the latter. All of this in a object 1 and 1/2 by 3 and 1/2 inches. I plug it up everyday and voila! as much power as I need. It even has my name engraved on the back. It's the most awesome little toy. I look at it with great admiration and marvel at the men and women who were able to create such a thing. How smart. How far we've come as the human race.
You know, my brain isn't very big either (no comments from those of you out there who know me!!! Hey! Hey! I heard you over there. That really wasn't very nice.). It contains so much more information than my little iPod which I thought was great. The brain is the command center for the whole body; receiving and sending messages from the nerves constantly. Continually interpreting impulses coming in. Yet it works all the time even when we're asleep. It's only at death the brain stops its work. God didn't stop His creation there. He made the stars, the sun, the moon, the animals, the universe. He keeps tabs on all of it. And the Scripture says "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name." (Psalm 147:4) Like my iPod, I hope His name is engraved on me. I know He knows me by name because the New Testament says that He knows the number of hairs on our heads. David says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:14).
So I bow my head in humble reverence realizing that my adoration was horribly misplaced. It's God who is amazing! It is He who created the universe. And, yes, He created those with the knowledge to create something as complex as an iPod.
Lord, forgive me when I lose sight of the One who created the universe. I am awed in Your presence. You are truly Holy, Holy, Holy. You are God Almighty. El-Shaddai. All-Powerful. Have a great day! JW

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What's Really Important?

The English language is so bizarre. For instance, my son might say about a girl, "She's hot." Now to me that means she is sweating, perhaps wearing so many clothes that she's heavily perspiring. To my son, that means she's really cute. Or you might say that an item at the store is hot because it's moving so quickly. "That's a hot item right now," we might say. Or we might just use the traditional use of the word, it's really going to be hot in Nebraska today. The temperature is supposed to be around 103-105 with a heat index of 110 over the next two days.
It's the same thing with love. "I love ice cream." "I love the way you look in that outfit." "I love God." Now how can such a profound concept such as loving God become so trivial by reducing it to our feelings about frozen milk and cream? Satan has a way of doing that to us in our lives. He takes the important, the sublime, the things worth living for and makes them into trivial humus. Don't believe me? I saw a son who was struggling with his own life ask his father to come hear him speak at Bible camp. You should have seen the son's disappointment when his father didn't come. People whose lives at one time exemplified Christ, now can barely drag themsevles out of bed for worship. They can make it to the lake early to fish if the fish are biting, but to arrive to worship God is nearly impossible. "It's been a hard week."
"Woe to them who call evil good and good evil. That put darkness for light and light for darkness. That put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." Max Lucado tells the story in one of his books of some theives who break into a store and don't steal a thing. They just switch the price tags. When the store opened the next morning it was business as usual. Some people got great bargains, others were fleeced. Satan has done that in our world. He's switched the price tags. Things that are important have to take a back seat to things that should never make it to the plate of importance.
Let's make a check today of what really matters. Paul said it was the cross. Don't believe me? Read I Corinthians 15:3 and see what he said there. Let's continue to bring our burdens, our joys, our friends, our families, our lives daily to the cross of Jesus. It is truly the answer to all the world's problems and it is what truly matters. Have a great day. JW