Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Driving to work today, there was a guy in a Lexus behind me at the light coming out of my subdivision. As soon as the light changed, he roared past me. I guess he was in a hurry. Funny, because at the very next light, at the slow speed I was going, I caught up to him. He sped on as soon as the light changed and swerved in and out of traffic and...yep, you guessed it, at the next light I sauntered right in behind him again. We got on the interstate for really less than one mile where we both got off. I have to admit it, he made it through the yellow (really red) light on the street where I was turning. I noticed he got stuck in the traffic at the next light. I didn't catch him this time and I'm sure he made it to his destination, perhaps 10 seconds before I got to mine. But what was his state of mind when he got there? "The traffic was horrible! I couldn't believe how much traffic there was! Everything was moving so slowly!"
After this gentleman had sped on, I came up behind another car. This time it was a real nice convertible. I can't tell you what kind it was, but there was an older lady with bleach blond hair. When she turned her head I could see she had the leopard patterned sun glasses. The top on the car was down, she was in the left lane, and she was driving very slowly. I chuckled to myself as I thought about the other guy in the Lexus. Now here was the way to drive--convertible top down, enjoying the 71 degree weather, and who cares if the wind is blowing your hair!!
The Greeks had a god named Chronos. You can see where we get some of our words from this Greek root. Words such as chronicle, chronic, chronometer. This god was a cannibal. He ate his children. He devoured the things that were most precious to him. Let me ask you a question. Do you devour time or does time devour you?
There's another word for time in the Greek. As best as I can spell it, it's kairos. It's the enjoyment of the time we have. A time and a place for everything. Kind of like the time mentioned in Ecclesiastes.
Enjoy your time. Don't hear the ticking of the seconds going off the clock. Hear the laughter of the moment, the birds in the trees. Be still and know God. Have a great day.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Widespread Panic

I don't usually blog this quickly in the mornings. It's usually read my Bible, catch up on the mail, see what's on the internet, then get to blogging if I'm not too busy. But I just can't pass up today's thoughts.
Recently I purchased (birthday gift) a new iPod nano. I'm sorry, these are the coolest things around. Anyway, I digress. I was listening to my iPod this morning. Glad (Glad: The A Cappella Project) was singing On Christ the Solid Rock. I love the song, I love the tune. The chorus: "On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand." While I'm listening to that marvelous chorus, a car pulls up next to me and on the bumper it says, "Widespread Panic." Now I'm naive and old. So I don't know if that's some rock band or what. But I couldn't help but see the contrast. Christ, the solid Rock. Widespread Panic. Yeah, it is widespread panic without Jesus. I love the passage in Colossians that talks about the supremacy of Jesus, and then Paul says, "He is before all things and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17) See where I'm going? Outside of Him, all things fall apart...widespread panic. The peace promised by God is only found in Jesus Christ. When everything is going wild all around you, there is a place, a solid Rock, a peace that passes understanding...only in Jesus. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Omaha has been hit with a number of disappearances. Recently, a little girl by the name of Amber Harris was discovered after six months of being missing. She was found in a shallow grave in a park not too far from her house. Another woman was found in the Missouri River. She had not been gone too long, but nonetheless, she had disappeared. There was an article in Sunday's Omaha World Herald about all the missing people from this area. There were literally hundreds. People were stunned. One would think that everything would be done in our power to find these people. Our hope is that they never disappear from our conscience.
However, there are many who have disappeared from our church families. They have slowly, not suddenly in most cases, but slowly vanished. They quit coming. They may receive a phone call. "Oh, I was sick," or "I was working," or "I was out of town." Our minds soothed by the fact that we checked on them. But then they completely disappear. Slowly, they die a spiritual death...and we do nothing to find them. Shame on me! Jesus said it was more important to leave the 99 to find the 1. Contrary to the case of Amber Harris, even if these are found dead, they can be made alive again. Paul said, "As for you, you were dead in your transgression and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is not at work in those who are disobedient...But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were were dead in transgressions--" (Eph. 1:1,4)
Let's make it a practice to search those who have left. Let's go and find. Let's have the courage and the love for those who have left, those who need to be found. JW

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mixed Up World

I read today where Barbaro, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and broke a leg in the Preakness had surgery to repair the break. In order to ease the pain from the surgery, the horse was lowered into a swimming pool so that there would be no pressure on the back foot. There are news reports about it. I even read where the horse was flirting with other mares.
We protect turtles, owls, and other endangered species, we'll even make sure the horse is not hurt when awakening from surgery, but we won't do what we can do to save a baby from abortion. I've even read where PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) will throw fake blood on those who wear real fur because they protest the killing of these innocent animals. Yet the same people, I'm sure advocate the killing of innocent fetuses. What a crazy world we live in.
Isaiah said, "Woe until them who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." Truly it is a crazy world we live in. Excuse me, now while I get off of my soapbox. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I just read where Paul McCartney and his wife are splitting after four years. Nobody is expressing sadness over the divorce. Instead, what I keep reading is how much money Paul will lose in the settlement. Up to $380 million some predict. As I drove to work today, I saw a small, Honda convertible sports car with a license tag that said "PRENUP" on it. I laughed audibly, but then realized the sadness of the situation.
It seems that marriage is not based on mutual love and relationship anymore, only in mistrust due to how and when the marriage will end. The words "til death do us part" means nothing anymore. Jerry and Lynn Jones were here at our church in the fall and Jerry begins with a session on unselfishness. Other than Jesus, which there is no other foundation that Him, the next principle of marriage must be unselfishness. When we quit with the "what's in it for me" attitude, our marriages will work. And strangely enough, when we do that, our marriage becomes extremely satisfying and there is something for "me."
Sorry. I had to vent. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

God is so Good!

Everything today has been yelling out, "God is great!" As I got ready for work this morning, the radio was playing, "How Great is Our God." It brought back recent memories of Pepperdine's lectures. We sang it several times there. Then my son and I walked out into the crisp morning air. Brilliant blue sky, sweet smell in the air, wonderful temperature. My prayer with God today was especially meaningful to me as I asked Him to show me what His plan was today.
I'm getting ready to preach another sermon about prayer. Jesus begins with, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." It's all about Him. It's about His kingdom. It's about His will. Once we get our selfish little selves out of the way about everything, we'll live much more peaceful lives. Our worship will be more meaningful. Our lives will be more evident of His grace. The stress of everyday life will disappear. In His kingdom, everything always...always turns out right. He's in control.
Then, with all of these thoughts roaming through my mind, I turned to my Bible reading. Here's what was in my reading today. "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, alll his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created...Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children." If they can't help but praise His name, neither can I! Praise God!! Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Amytrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. If you're a sports fan, you'll know who Lou Gehrig is. Tom Watson's caddie, Bruce Edwards, also had ALS. This is a disease that's supposed to happen to someone you read about in the news. But yesterday I received a phone call that changed all that.
The first time I remember meeting Kimball Matkins was when I was Vice President for Enrollment Management at York College. President Wayne Baker and I drove over to Des Moines, Iowa to meet him. His young wife had just died of cancer leaving him with two children; one had just graduated from York College, the other just entering. We wanted to hire him because he was older than most college admissions recruiters and also because we felt that we could help him in a difficult time for him.
He came and was a wonderful recruiter. He traveled a lot. He talked to a lot of students. Eventually, he met another lady who had three little boys. They decided to marry. Several times he came into my office asking if he could apply for another job on campus because he didn't want to travel as much now that he had another family to look after. I told him I understood, but selfishly I didn't want him to get another job because he was such a good recruiter. He never did get another job. He spent his tenure working for me. (Recently, they made him the director of financial aid.)
We didn't always agree on everything--theologically or from an admissions perspective. But Kimball was always full of grace, never rude or hard to get along with, or dogmatic. He would smile that Kimball smile and everything seemed fine.
I had heard that he had some nerve damage, but it wasn't fully explained. I saw him in Kansas City and he explained that he felt that his legs, his arms, even his chest, were not as strong. My wife saw him walking and it broke her up. He told me about his upcoming visit to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, our conversation was about a lady who works at the Church of Christ house in Rochester who has known me since I was a baby, probably before. He was going to see her on his pending visit.
Yesterday I received a phone call saying that Kimball has been diagnosed with ALS. He has been given two to five years to live. That's not fair. Had he not remarried, I could have understood it. But now there are three boys and a wife who look to him for guidance. I can't get him off my mind right now. So when you pray today, tonight, whenever you prayer, please keep Kimball in your prayers. Pray for God's will to be done. And thank God for the blessings that you receive everyday. Thank you.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee

I haven't seen the movie yet, but there is a lot of rave reviews for the Akeelah and the Bee. Starbucks have evidently helped to produce this movie because you can't miss their advertising any time you go into one of their stores. What caught my eye recently was a sign.
Now you have to realize that Starbucks want you to buy their products. So they have a little advertisement featuring their "drink of the day." Or sometimes there is a recommendation from one of the baristas. What caught my eye was the advertisement for Akeelah and the Bee and a recommedation from a barista. The recommendation was for a Tripple Soy Latte. Now, I spelled it just like they spelled it. I thought it was funny that they were advertising a movie about a spelling bee and couldn't spell "triple" correctly.
I had a coach several years ago who was trying to teach me how to shoot a basketball. I would try and try to shoot it as he wanted me to. Finally, in frustration he took the ball away from me and said, "Here, like this." And he shot the ball. The ball bounced off the rim. I said, "Just like that, huh Coach?" Dumb, dumb, dumb! You never say things like that if you want to play. His response was telling. He said, "Do as I say, not as I do."
Isn't that the way we often live our lives? We'll tell people what they should do, but we aren't willing to heed our own advice. We advertise tripple lattes and expect perfect spelling. We'll tell people how to shot the ball, but won't make the basket ourselves. We'll inform people how they ought to worship or live their lives, but won't follow Jesus. Let's face it and let's call it what it is. We are hypocrites. But praise God, he loves us anyway!
I think the good advice would be the advice that Paul gave. He said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." He didn't say, "Follow me." He did put the caveat, " I follow Christ." Good advice. Good words. Have a great day. JW

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

My brother wrote this poem in honor of our mother back several years ago. And although our mother died a little over a year ago, I think this tribute poem expresses our love for all the mothers out there.


This day, those many years ago,
This day, I did not watch you go
Alone into the vale of death,
Alone, to breath the dark wind's breath.

But I was there, and from the night
Your struggles brought me to the light.
Your pain and tears afforded me
To taste the gift of life: to be.

You'd walked that lonely path before,
You were to tread it two times more;
Four times into the night you went,
And reappeared, your spirit spent.

Four times a son you brought to day;
Each time you gave yourself away.
Each time you set your brick to ground,
To build the wall, to make it sound.

The "heaven-sent" that 12th of May
Was you whose heart was filled with day;
And from your heart I've learned to live,
To sing, to pray, to laugh, to give.

The son who writes these words tonight
Remembers you with sweet delight,
And whispers in his other's ear:

--Charles White

It says it all. Happy Mother's Day! JW

Thursday, May 11, 2006

God Does Weird Things

We were sitting on home last night, ready to retire, when my son said to me, "God sure does weird things sometimes." What was going through his mind? What brought that on? Being the astute father I am, I said, "What do you mean?" "I don't know," he said. "He just does weird things sometimes," repeating what he had just said.
I told him that God sees the whole picture and not just the little bit we see everyday...and then the conversation was over.
You know, he's right. God does weird things. He does a lot of things that just don't make sense. If I were God for a day, I'd sure do things differently. You know, if the apostle Paul had been sitting in my living room last night, he might have said the same thing as Nate did. Instead, Paul said, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Translated, "God sure does weird things sometimes."
I'm glad Nate noticed that at the ripe old age of 16. I hope my answer was sufficient to make him think. With 16-year-olds, you take what you can get. I think he heard it. Now if I could just understand it. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Seeds and Helicopters

I walked out my front door this morning to a see of those little helicopter seedlings that fall from trees (I'm sorry, I have a bachelor's degree in zoology, not botany. I don't know what kind of tree it is.) Instead of being the usual green, it is almost a yellowish-white because of all the seedlings that have fallen. When I was a kid, I used to pretend they were helicopters and would drop them from height just to see them spin to the ground. Ahh, the good old days.
Now I don't have just one of these trees in the yard, but three. Not just my yard, but the entire neighborhood is infested with these little chances of growing more trees. Now what are the chances of any of these seedlings becoming a tree? Probably not very large. Most will be swept away, mowed away, raked away into oblivion. Knowing that, do the trees stop producing these seedlings? Next year when I come out about this time will the tree be free from these little helicopters? No.
All right, here's the application. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel. He didn't say to go and baptize the world, but to preach the gospel. We measure success in ministry and in missions by the number of baptisms there are. If our mission is successful, then we've had baptismal biceps. But before can come the results, must come the seed sowing. I think we've forgotten about the latter and push the former. Jesus said the field was "white for harvest." Before the harvest, however, there had to be sowing. Maybe it's time we get the seed bag back out and start sowing seed again. And you know what, let's allow God to determine how successful the harvest is. Have a great day. JW

Monday, May 08, 2006


Where do I start? Everyone asks, "How were the Pepperdine lectures?" I can't point to any one thing and say, "That was the defining moment or lecture or comment for me." But what I got was spiritual renewal, a time for great visits with great friends, and a time to get away from the madness of the ordinary life.
The singing was beautiful. I do have one complaint. Karen and Brian are laughing as I speak. Here's my gripe. We spent all day walking up and down the hills (mountains?) of the Pepperdine campus attending classes, lectures, receptions, lunch, and praise team concerts. Then we would get into the auditorium for the evening lectures and what did they want us to do?.....Stand up! Stand up for this song. Stand up for this verse. Be seated. Stand up! Sit down! Invitation? You can't sit down for that? By the end of the day the old thighs were hurting along with other strategic parts of my body. Hence, the Scripture was true, "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
I saw people I hadn't seen for 30 years. I met people that I didn't know, but who knew my brother in France. I met people whom I knew by reputation. And I saw people I don't get to see enough.
The trip home (on my birthday) was uneventful. But I did get into town at 6:34 and had to be at my son's high school for a 7:00 performance. I think I only missed one number. By the time we really got home, it was after midnight. But to be home with family was very good. All in all it was a good trip. If you haven't been, you need to go. I'm still trying to catch up. Maybe by the end of the week. Have a great day. JW

Monday, May 01, 2006


Two or three things for today. First, this is my daughter's 23rd birthday. Seems like yesterday she was born. But now she's an old married woman and I still get to take her out to dinner tonight.
Second, this is my last blog for a few days. If you've read David Underwood's blog, you'll know why. It's a tough assignment, but I'll be back in several days to report.
Third, I laugh at the bizarre in life. The other day I saw a guy riding a bicycle down the street. He had a helmet on and was smoking a cigarette. A little irony there.
Have a great week. I'll be back on Monday. JW