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!