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

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

July 8

July 8th is a special day for me. Since it fell on a Saturday this year, I forgot to mention it in my blog. You see, on that day in 1993, my father passed from this life. He was a good man who had his faults. He loved God dearly and defended His church to his dying day. On July 8, 1994, my daughter came to me and asked to be baptized. Even though at the time we lived in Springdale, AR we were in Searcy that day. In fact, we were at the church building where my dad had served as an elder and where we had his funeral service.
I couldnt' help but see the connection. Two different events, happening exactly one year apart, yet almost identical in scope. My father died to his physical body. Meredith died from her body of sin. Dad was raised into a new realm, a new reality. Meredith was raised as a new creation. Dad has lived ever since in the loving arms of God. So has Meredith. Although the two events were such a contrast, there are so much alike. So I celebrate July 8 every year.
Since that day my Mom has joined Dad. So have two uncles. So have numerous friends. And they are preparing a family reunion that will be wonderful. Have a great day. JW

Monday, July 17, 2006

I Really Miss You Guys

I love these moments because they are few and far between. But they are as precious as they come. My son is counseling at camp this week. Instead of receiving, he is having to give. He gives his time, his sweat (it's been hot in western Nebraska this week), and his counsel. He called to tell us about one particular kid who has given him trouble. He's handled it well. Sunday we were approached by someone who told us what a good job Nate was doing at camp. We haven't been in touch with him at all--only a few pictures on the internet. He called in a break he had Saturday. The moment I loved was when he said, "I really miss you guys." Sixteen-year-olds don't tell their parents they miss them. It just doesn't happen. So I'll take it, knowing that it may not come again for a while. In fact, he'll come back home and start eating my food and spending my money and driving my car. You know what? He won't be here around me much longer. So for now, I'll take, "I really miss you guys." Have a great day. JW

Thursday, July 13, 2006

When Bobby Says Pray

You've probably heard me talk about Bobby. He's a true friend, all 6'8" of him. We show up at each other's special events. He and his wife drove four hours to spend about two hours with Martha and me when my Mom died. Martha and I flew down to Pensacola, FL to attend their son's wedding. (I think we got the better end of that deal!) I think you get the picture. He's a great friend.
Bobby periodically e-mails several people, of whom I am fortunate to be one, to pray for people. He calls us his prayer warriors. I have my alarm on my pocket PC to go off at 9:00 every morning to pray for a friend of his. I don't know the person I'm praying for, I just know Bobby wants me to pray for him...and pray I will. I got an e-mail from Bobby a couple of days ago asking us to pray for a lady who had a mass on her liver. She had been treated for cancer; the doctors thought it had spread. So Bobby asked us to pray. I just received word this morning that the doctors said there is no cancer in the liver. The spot is gone. They think it was just a shadow. I think it was God.
God is good, isn't He? He may not always answer the prayers the way I want, but He's sovereign and He knows what is best. I love the passage in Daniel where Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego tell King Nebuchadnezzar to go jump in a lake when he threatens them with the hot seat in the furnace. They say, "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. 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." I don't know which one of you guys said that, but "Amen!" God is good! Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Cup of Cold Water

For the first time in a long time, I didn't watch any of the All-Star game last night. In fact, I didn't even know who won or how they won until this morning around 8:00 am. Instead, I went to a girl's softball game. Let me explain.
Those three of you who read my blog know about Sarah, a young girl in our youth group who was murdered a little over a year ago. She played on a softball team here in town. That group was extremely devastated by Sarah's death. Sarah was the heart and soul of that team. She was the star player, cheerleader, comedian, you name it she did it. Our youth minister had a great idea. We had some left over bottled water from a previous event. He decided it would be a good idea to provide water and Gatorade for the final games of Sarah's former team. There must have been ten or fifteen of us from church there watching and cheering on the girls. That doesn't seem too significant. But you know what, one day it might. Besides, remember what Jesus said about giving a cup of cold water in His name?
I'm not looking at last night or even in the near future. Some of our people have talked to these young ladies. Sarah's murder forced them to think about things they had never thought of before. But I'm looking way down the line. One day these young ladies will have children of their own. When that child starts asking questions about God or why they exist know what kind of questions children ask. Maybe, just maybe these young ladies will remember of group of people who provided a drink for them years ago at a silly softball game. And in looking for answers for their children may seek out this same group for answers for themselves. We'll never know what influenced them. Makes you think about everything you do or say, doesn't it? So for now, the score of the All-Star game really doesn't matter. What does matter is a little cup of water. I hope your day goes well. JW

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


If you haven't seen the series from Focus on the Family called "So That the World May Know," I would highly recommend you get it and watch it. Ray VanderLaan (I think that's how you spell his name??) narrates and leads a series through the Holy Land. He takes people to the places out of the way and makes wonderful lessons out of them.
One we watched Sunday, he talked about a place in Canaan called Tel Gezer. It's on the main north/south road out of Egypt called the Via Maris and the main west/east road to Jericho that links the region to Mesopotamia. It was literally the crossroads of the world at the time. Whoever controlled that crossroads could control the world. God gave the Israelites that area, but they chose to live in the mountains and let the Canaanites to live there at Gezer. God wanted His people to influence the world, but they chose not to. Instead, they ceded that responsiblity to the Canaanites.
Here we live in a land of plenty. We could yield a lot of influence with our communities, with our governments, with our country, but we have chosen to sit back and allow others to have their say. Consequently, God is being written out. Now more than ever, we must work to influence our culture by being salt and light. We cannot cede that responsiblity to anyone. Let's not move into the mountains, but instead be in the marketplace with the good news of Jesus. Have a great day! JW

Monday, July 10, 2006

Is Soccer Worth Watching?

Please don't misunderstand me. I've tried. I tried to watch it yesterday and I fell asleep. (That's not so unusual!) But after playing a game for 90 minutes and to have the score at 1-0 or 1-1 or 0-0. Then you play another 15 minutes (or is it 16 minutes because you really don't play 15, you have some leftover time. I never could quite understand that!) Then you have penalty kicks. Now I like that. Let's start the game with that. Or better yet, let's play a whole game of penalty kicks.
And the flops! Oh, my goodness. One guy sneezes on another and the other falls down and clutches his legs. Now I used to flop some when I was playing basketball, but these guys deserve an academy award. They flop, hold themselves for a minute or two, then hop up as if nothing ever happened.
These guys are incredible athletes. They are in unbelievable shape. To run as they do for as long as they do is just phenomenal. Their ball handling skills are also wonderful. I admire them for that. But I'm sorry, it the game of soccer just doesn't work for me. Give me a good high school or college football game. Let me watch the Razorbacks play basketball.
There will be some who question my sanity because I don't appreciate soccer. But then again, those people don't enjoy watching golf. I say, to each his own, but don't make me watch soccer again. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where Has Time Gone?

It's going too fast. This is July already and school starts next month. Nate's last baseball game was yesterday. He leaves for camp (to counsel!!??!!) on Friday. When he gets back in a couple of weeks, the entire family and two others will go to camp at Green Valley Bible Camp in Arkansas. As soon as we return from that it will be time for school to start. Once school starts, the weather starts to cool down. Once it cools down, it gets cold. Once it gets cold it snows.
Meredith's already been married for a year. Nate will be a junior in high school. I'm not ready for this. Oh, this is what I've been working for all of my life is to work myself out of a job. But time marches on with a vengeance. I've been warned about this. I just wasn't listening.

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

"Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath..." Job 7:7

"My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey." Job 9:25, 26

Once you hear these verses, you could become depressed. I chose to see the bright side of passing time. Each day I'm one day closer to forever be with those I love. Besides, this is the day the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24). Can He create anything that isn't good? And Paul tells us that we are being renewed day by day (II Corinthians 4:16). I translate that we are being renewed daily. Each day is a new day, a new challenge, filled with new opportunities. There is a song I love that we used to sing. It's one of those songs that has gone by the wayside. But listen to these beautiful words:

One sweetly solemn thought comes to me o'er and o'er:
Today I'm nearer to my home than e'er I've been before.

Nearer my Father's house where many mansions be;
And nearer to the great white throne, nearer the crystal sea.

Nearer the bound of life where falls my burden down;
Nearer where I leave my cross and where I gain my crown.

Savior confirm my trust, complete my faith in Thee;
And let me feel as if I stood close to eternity.

Feel as if now my feet were slipping o'er the brink;
For I may now be nearer home, much nearer than I think.

Come, Lord Jesus! Have a great day! JW

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay is Gone

I have been going through my somewhat normal routine today. Even though it's Wednesday and I didn't work Monday or Tuesday. So I'm doing Monday things on Wednesday. Anyway, I cranked up the internet to find that Ken Lay, founder of Enron, died of a heart attack. After all the stuff that went on, all the corporate raiding, the depletion of other's retirements for the filling of the pockets of another, he died. He was a wealthy least from the world's perspective. But I couldn't help but think of the passage, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul?" I don't know what Ken Lay's ultimate destiny is. God knows and I trust His judgment. But it did help to think about what is really important in my life. Shall we pursue worldy wealth and treasures or take Jesus at His word? "Don't lay up treasures for yourself here on earth where moths destroy and rust corrodes, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." (MOV--My Own Version) Wherever he is, I imagine that none of this world matters to Ken Lay now. Maybe it would be a good lesson for us to learn. Have a great day. JW