Thursday, March 30, 2006

Remembering Tulsa

I want to regress a little and talk about the Tulsa Workshop. I don't know how many times I've gone, but it's been a lot. Since twice in my life I only lived 90 miles away, it was a highlight of my year. Many times I went to represent a Christian college where I was working. But there are some intangibles that are there every year.
First, the preaching is always terrific. I can't think of a single year where I came away and said the preaching was awful. Marvin Phillips and Terry Rush have made sure that we had some of the best and brightest speak every year. Bob Russell, the senior minister from the Christian Church in Louisville, KY, mentioned that our preachers were the envy of the Christian Church. Isn't that amazing? Yet, so many of them take the arrows of my "brethren" for being too liberal, too entertaining, too (you fill in the blank). I have to admit, there is a side of me that covets being able to speak. But then when I come away from each workshop, I know that God has placed the right person in there to speak and I don't need to be that person.
Second, the singing is always heavenly. Last Friday night, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I closed my eyes and sang like there was no one else but God listening to me. One of the best arguments for a capella singing is just that, the beauty of thousands of voices togethter praising God's name. Some of the songs have changed, others haven't. If you were there, did Our God, He is Alive make chills run up and down your spine?
Third, it's fun to go into the Expo Hall and look at all the goodies. I came back with so many new books, three new Bibles, and several prints. I remember a time when we were still doing the Joy Bus thing that they used to drive buses right into that hall.
Fourth, I saw so many friends. It was so good to talk to Rubel, Jeff, Mike, Steve, Carroll, Connie, Larry, Buddy, Dub, Nancy, David (I didn't forget you, DU!!), Sue, Larry, Troy, Carolyn, Jim, Kay, another David, Sue, Bob, Mike, Gay, Mark, Anne, Amy, Trish, Jackie, Mackie, Marshall, Kristy, and a host of others I already knew. But I also was able to meet new friends like Franklin, Tracy, Fischer, Jim, Carson, Kristin, and others.
Can you imagine what heaven is like? It's going to take the first part of eternity just to meet everybody!! Tulsa just helps us get prepared for it. "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to compoletion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God." Amen, Paul. Amen!
This is a verse for all of you out there whom I know and love, not just those I saw at Tulsa. By the way, this year was really a double joy for me. Not only did my wonderful wife get to go with me (this has been two years in a row), but my son also went. I think he'll be back. Now my old married daughter is complaining she didn't get to go. That's a nice problem to have. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

One Year Blogging Anniversary--Random Thoughts

It's basically been a year since I first started blogging. What a year it's been, full of triumphs and tragedies, silly and sublime, fun and faults. But as I looked back over some of the blogs I have written, it helped to reminisce about what has happened. Of course, the death of my mother, the death of one of our teens at church, divorces, tragic world events. But there has been some fun, too. I've written about mowing grass, watching my kids grow up, and other silliness.
I was bemoaning the fact to someone the other day that I don't write in a diary like my dad used to do. I have his diaries all over the place. The person replied to me, "What do you call a blog?" He was right. This is an electronic diary. Not one that will likely be kept for a lifetime, but it is a daily recording of my thoughts.
Someone asked me the other day why I blogged. "What's the purpose?" they asked. It helps me see God. It forces me to look for Him in everyday life. Before I blogged, I just kind of trudged through life. Now I seek God in everything, every day. I look for things to write about and it has opened my eyes to another world. (Sounds like a soap opera!)
Blogs are different from diaries in that you invite the whole world to come and look into your life. That's all right. I don't have anything to hide. I just wonder why you read. There are times when I think nobody does read these words of mine. But just about the time I get discouraged and think I'll not write anymore, someone comes up to me and says how much they appreciated what I said. I don't write it for accolades. If it helps, then so be it. I write it to clear my head, to talk to God, to record my thoughts, and to keep me looking for God everywhere. Here's to the next year, God willing. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Uncle Jerry

My Uncle Jerry is the last of my mother's siblings. If you've read my blog before, you know that my mother, the eldest of the four Garloch kids, died last year. My Uncle Russell died the year before. And my Uncle Leslie (whom I'm named after--James L.(eslie)) died in 1994. Not only is my uncle the last of the family left, he holds a distinction in our family.
According to my parents, and I remember this very well, Uncle Jerry left the church. Now mind you, Jerry is a preacher. But he's a preacher for the Christian church. Recently I discovered a tape he had made answering some of my father's questions. I sensed some angst and some tension in the tape. I see my Uncle Jerry only at supremely special events, i.e. funerals.
After going to Dallas a year ago last fall and listening to brethren discuss our differences in the Church of Christ and the Christian Church. And after going to Tulsa this year and hearing messages from both sides of the keyboard, I decided to call my uncle.
I think he was somewhat surprised to hear my voice and he wasn't sure what I had called about. "I just want you to know that I don't feel about you as my mom and dad did." In the course of the conversation, I learned that he preached for two Christian churches--one an independent Christian Church, the other a Disciples of Christ. He loves Jesus deeply. He loves the word deeply. He is a good, spiritual man who makes mistakes...and I make mistakes, too. He told me several times how much he appreciated my call. The conversation closed with an acknowledgement of how much we both missed my mom and dad.
I may not be able to reconcile the entire Church of Christ and the Christian Church. I may not be able to convince my own brethren of the importance of doing just that. But I can reconcile a precious uncle of mine who may have thought I looked down on him. The bond is now stronger and I'm sure we'll both be better for it.
How about you? Can you make a difference in just one? If so, that will go a long ways. Have a great day. JW

Monday, March 27, 2006

Tulsa Memories

I looked around the arena. This arena hosts hockey games and monster truck events. Rodeos and roundups. If the walls could talk, they would probably tell of some of the colorful language used as the bull bucked off the cowboy or the hockey player was checked into the wall.
But what I heard was praise. Songs of praise. Words of praise. Hearts of praise. Nearly an hour before Max Lucado and Bob Russell spoke, the arena was nearly full. The excitement, the anticipation. The Tulsa Workshop was everything I expected and more.
I sang. I sang so loud you couldn't hear me. By that I mean, the singing was loud enough that I could sing as loud as I wanted to and not be embarrassed. Holy, Holy, Holy. We Shall Assemble on the Mountain. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name.
God was pleased. I know He was. While I saw those whose arms were crossed, who carried their frowns on their faces and their feelings on their sleeves. As I've read the reports saying, "We cannot fellowship with the Christian church brethren until they repent of their sin." I think of Romans 5:8--"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Why is it we hold a higher standard for others than we do ourselves? And who says they are the sinners?
We sang "When We All Get to Heaven." I'm sure there were some who refrained because they didn't believe it. But for some reason, it took on new meaning. Bob Russell, preacher for the largest Christian church in the U.S. requested we sing 728B, Our God, He is Alive. I think the place shook.
I think it was a pivotal moment. It was one of those moments, similar to Cane Ridge, that we will point to in the future and say it was a key moment in our movement. There will be many who will be able to tell their grandchildren, I was there. I look forward to it.
More to say later. Karen is fussing at me because I'm not blogging fast enough. Too much on my desk and too much to do. Have a great day!! JW

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


My screen saver is a conglomeration of pictures. Pictures of my family, pictures of our trip to France, old pictures of relatives. Today as I sat at my desk reading, the screen saver kicked on. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my grandfather and grandmother as newlyweds. No smiles, but eyes looking right at me. The next picture was a picture of my father looking as he did later in life, hat on his head, suit and tie, looking right at me. Mom. The other set of grandparents. All looking at me as I read. It was if they had all gathered to see what I was doing and looking at me as if to give their approval.
My eyes welled up in tears as I thought of the legacy they have left me. My Grandmother and Grandfather Garloch. He an elder in the St. Joe Church of Christ. She stricken with multiple sclerosis at a such a young age that I don't ever remember her without her bent legs struggling to get around holding on to furniture as she made her way around. They were victims of the Great Depression who struggled with the lack of jobs. My grandfather worked at a brick yard where he handled bricks so much that he had a grip that never left him. He eventually became a coal miner, broke his back in the mines, and died of lung cancer and black lung disease. They raised my mother, a coal miner's daughter, to love God. She was able to travel the world and see things she never imagined.
My Grandmother and Grandmother White weren't affected so much by the Depression because they owned a farm. But they ate what they grew, drank milk from cattle they raised and ate pork from the pigs they were able to purchase. They ate by the sweat of their brows. My grandfather was a deacon at the Bearwallow Ridge Church of Christ. My grandmother, one of the original liberated women. She eventually ran an old country store and pumped gas on Highway 681 near the big cities of Ohio. Cities with names like Floral, Alfred, Darwin, Hemlock Grove, Tuppers Plains. They were a little ways from my favorite, Coolville. I learned of my grandfather's struggle with the loss of his infant daughter, blaming God. Yet he raised a son who was the one and only to go to college, who preached for many years, who became an English professor in Christian schools, whom I proudly called my father for 39 years of my life.
Legacy. It's so important. As I sat there reading today, I couldn't help but feel the legacy they left for me. A legacy that says to love God, serve others, and teach those around you to do the same. What a wonderful legacy I have! You don't have that kind of legacy? Yes, you do. If your family didn't care about spiritual things, Jesus did, your spiritual family does. And you can begin your own Have a great day. If you're going to Tulsa, I'll see you there. I'll be writing next week. JW

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


It's quiet in the house. I got up to check the weather and to see if school would be cancelled. It's not supposed to be snowing now. It's spring. The forsythia are supposed to be blooming. Jonquils are to be pushing their way up through the ground.
But a lot of things happen in life that aren't supposed to. Little babies aren't supposed to die. Car wrecks shouldn't happen. And mothers with children aren't supposed to have to have chemo treatments.
What I do know is that God is in control. Twila Paris' song "God is in control. We believe that His children will not be forsaken." With all the uncertainties in life, all the pain, all the struggles, there is one constant. God is there and He is in control. He knows the big picture and He has a place prepared. Ah....there's peace. Have a great day. JW

Monday, March 20, 2006

Snow, Snow, Snow

Back from a few days in Branson. Nate's show choir (The Amazing Technicolor Show Choir or ATSC) won the Grand Championship at the FAME Competion at the Tri-Lakes Convention Center in Branson. They also won:
1. Best Band
2. Best Male Vocalist
3. Best Male Presence
4. Best Diction
5. Best Chorals
6. Most Original Song
7. Best Looking Kid named Nate

(I threw that last one in there because it was my award!!). We were proud!

Came home to Nebraska to a coating of snow. Looks like about 4 or 5 inches right now, expecting another 8-14 today. It reminded me of this passage from Job 37 taken from The Message.

Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they're carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don't for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?

No, these don't just happen. And God takes this wonderful moisture and makes springtime. I can't wait. Have a great day. JW

P.S. Going to Tulsa Wednesday. Will I see you there?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Think About These Things

I'm one of these kind of people who thinks of a song when someone says a certain phrase or I pass a certain place. This morning, the old mind was flowing. I was driving down the road thinking about God's leading me. I thought of "The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want." I passed the Krispy Kreme place and saw the Hot Donuts Now sign. My mind went to "Yield Not to Temptation." In Starbucks, one of the baristas asked me where I was from. My mind thought, "This World is Not My Home."
Now you may think I'm crazy and I'm making this all up. I promise you, that's how my mind works and those are songs I thought of this morning during my regular stuff.
But think what happens when we fill our minds with garbage. What comes out when situations come up? When I was a kid there was a song by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap called "Young Girl." Here are some of the lyrics:

Young girl get out of my mind.
My love for you is way out of line,
Better run girl, you're much too young, girl.

Now I ask you, what was on the guy's mind? I have to admit, I didn't know when I was a kid singing those words at the top of my voice. I can only imagine what my parents were thinking. They were probably in the other room clutching their chests. But to this day I still remember those words. Scary isn't it?
I had an elder tell me one time that A Capella (the singing group) was one of the worst things that had ever happened to the church. I told him I would rather sing "Angels watching over me," rather than "I want to sleep with you baby all night long, yeah, yeah, yeah.!" He smiled and agreed. He never knew that I had slammed him.
In my roundabout way, I'm trying to say, "Let's be careful with what we listen to." Our mind is amazing and it absorbs amazing amounts of information. Information that tends to come out at weird times. Let's be filling our minds with good, wholesome, thoughts of grace and mercy. What is it Paul said, "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admireable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Have a great day. JW


I'll be out of the blogging world for a few days. Going to Branson with my wife and son. My son will be performing at a show choir competition at the Tri-Lakes Center in Branson. We'll be home for a few days and then off to Tulsa for the Soul-Winning Workshop! Can't wait. See you then.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I know, I know, I'm a little late blogging today. You know how it is...the tyranny of the urgent. It wasn't until after lunch today when I could sit down and have my quiet time with God. Sick son. Lunch appointment with someone who I'm working with on a project. Tired from getting home late from an elder's meeting.
But refreshment is coming. A few days of R and R begin Thursday. Then next week is Tulsa. I can't wait.
I read this verse on a teenager's xanga today. What a great quote!
"You who made me stare trouble in the face,
Turn me around;
Now let me look life in the face.
I've been to the bottom;" from Psalm 70--The Message

Have you been to the bottom? Have you turned your face away because life is too ugly? God says, "Come here! Look life in the face. It's nothing to be afraid of." God never said problems wouldn't come. What He did say was that He had overcome the world.

When I read that verse I think of that wonderful song, "Faith is the victory. Faith is the victory. Oh glorious victory that overcomes the world!" Amen. Thank you, Lord, for Your victory. Have a great day! JW

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Relational Context

In his book Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller said this, "Biblically, you are hard-pressed to find theological ideas divorced from their relational context. There are, essentially, three dominant metaphors describing our relationship with God: sheep to a shepherd, child to a father, and bride to a bridegroom. The idea of Christ's disciples being His mother and father and brothers and sisters is also presented. In fact, few places in Scripture speak to the Christian conversion experience through any method other than relational metaphor."
I like what he says. Everything in the Christian life must be placed into a relational context. Here's the problem:
Sheep to Shepherd--How many of us can relate to this? Have you ever owned sheep? Have you ever been around sheep. What do you know about shepherding outside of the context of Scripture?
Child to a Father--Some understand this, but others have no clue. If your father was abusive, ungodly, or worldly, how will you understand the relationship of a loving father and son?
Bride to a Bridegroom--Depending on whom you listen to, nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce. Many are living together without the benefit of marriage. The marriage state is being attacked on a daily basis.
So if these are the metaphors used and these same institutions are non-existent or rare, how do we learn of the true relationship that God wants with us? We have to search for mentors who can show us the correct examples. We have to work at our own relationships. We must search for God in the most unlikely places. But oh what a journey it is. The relationship with God is one that we can treasure. One that we can bask in. One that we can enjoy.


Friday I was golfing in the 60s (degrees, not golf scores). Today we have snow on the ground. Everywhere I have ever lived, I have heard the phrase, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 30 minutes." It's kind of like life.


Go Hogs! Beat the Bucknell Bisons! Congratulations to the Track and Field Razorbacks. I believe it was their 42nd national championship. Woooo Pig Sooooiieeee! Razorbacks.

Have a great day! JW

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Relationship with God

I'm still contemplating the greatness of God. While thinking today, my mind went to other relationships I have. I thought of my best man, Pat. Bobby, the 6'7" giant who is not only a giant physically, but also spiritually. Then there is Rodney, my camp director friend who uses all of his talents beautifully. Of course, there's David, my old prayer group friend (whom I'll see at Pepperdine!! I just had to include you, David, because I know you read this blog.) All of those relationships, even though I may go some time without talking to them, start up where we left off. I can call Pat and even though we rarely see each other, we'll talk about something and laugh as we did in college.
But when it comes to our relationship with God, when we let it go, it's not the same. Yes, we can come back and yes, God will forgive us, and yes, He is always the same. But there's an emptiness there that must be repaired. I know when people say that they don't feel God is as close as He used to be, my common reply is, "Who moved?" The journey back is not always an easy one. It's not because God is standing there wagging his finger, arms folded with a "I told you so" attitude. It's because in order to return, I must submit myself to the reality of my own foolishness. It's guilt that destroys.
That's why it's so important to have that every day, every hour, every second relationship with God. To know that He's right here with me. That I reach out and talk all the time, at any given moment, often. And instead of the bond becoming weaker through my own sin, I feel His arms around me protecting and blessing and being my friend. Is that trivializing God? Oh, I don't think so. It only makes Him greater to know that the Creator of the Universe would even be willing to call me "friend?" No, I think that makes Him even greater. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

God's Will

Let me tell you what I'm struggling with today. My sermon for Sunday is about God's will. Henry Blackeby says that too many people ask what God's will is for them for their lives. Instead, they should be asking, "What is God's Will?" Then go do it. I can handle that intellectually. But there are too many passages that talk about God having a purpose for us. Isaiah was set apart at birth. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Jeremiah 29:11 where it says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
So there must be something, someway to know that God doeshave a will for us. I hope you have the answer because I don't. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Fly to Jesus

One year ago on a Monday night (just like last night) my Mom went to bed. When she awoke, she saw all of heaven's glory. I just imagine that Dad was there to wake her up, along with all the other people who knew her and loved her here on earth. Technically, the one year date March 9th since she wasn't discovered for at least a day. But still, it's been a year.
First of all, I can't believe it's been a year. Time has a way of slipping by so quickly. If we learn nothing else, we must learn to treasure our time with each other because it goes so quickly.
Second, this has been a difficult year because I do miss her so much. I want to hear her voice. I want to hear her laugh. I want to know the assurance she always gave me of how proud she was of her boys.
Third, I can't wait. The longer I live, the more people I know who have gone on. And I can't wait to see them again.
Last night, as Nate and I drove up into our driveway, I switched over to the Christian music channel and got in on the last verse of Chris Rice's Untitled Hymn. "Fly to Jesus," he sang. It was as if Mom was saying, "I'm all right. I'm doing fine. I have flown to Jesus."
I hope your day is a good one. JW

Monday, March 06, 2006


I was at a women's studies conference on Saturday (if you really want to know, I'll tell you) listening to some students reading papers. I was amazed at some of the things I heard, i.e. God shouldn't be referred to as He but He/She or It. There were other things I heard that absolutely frightens me about what's being taught in American universities today.
I kept hearing about equality. Men and women are equal and everything should be done to make that happen. The session I was in had a somewhat Christian turn to it. But as I left, I couldn't help but think, "They don't get it." It's not about me. It's not about equality. It's about Jesus. He is the firstborn from the dead. He is the image of the invisible God. All things were created by Him and for Him. He is the exact representation of God.
To the world, it's all about rights. My right to this and my right to do that. A few years ago a preacher friend of mine showed me a book with the title something like, "We Have No Rights." The premise was that as members of the(a) Kingdom, we are mere servants who can only submit ourselves to the Lord of all. Fortunately, we have a God who loves us and delights in us and who gives us good things. But I think I finally have it figured out. Now if I could just live it. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My God and I

I had to be at the office early this morning, then return home to take my son to school. As I drove home the sun was just coming up over the horizon. It made me think of how faithful God is. There it was, just like it always was and always will be until He comes back. The sun in all its glory. Then I started thinking about the song we used to sing in chorus, My God and I. The words are enough to make you think and appreciate our Father. But I remember we used to say a poem as we hummed the verse. It went like this:
The stars shine over the earth
The stars shine over the sea.
The stars look up to God.
The stars shine down on me.
The stars may shine for a million years,
A million years and a day.
But God and I will live and love,
When the stars have passed away.

Beautiful words we used to make fun of. But now I see them for the beautiful sentiment it is. God is faithful and He will always be here. Have a great day. JW