Thursday, September 28, 2006


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

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's Been A Good Day

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

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Marathon of Life

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

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Taking Care of the Flowers

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More Salt

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


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

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

Monday, September 18, 2006

Football, Razorbacks, and Huskers

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

Friday, September 15, 2006

Passionate Mission

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

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

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Third Awakening and Views of God

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life Construction

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time That Is Left

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

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

Oh Hallelujah! Oh Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

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

Oh Hallelujah! Oh Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

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

Oh Hallelujah! Oh Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

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

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Turning Points

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

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Credit Card is Cancelled

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Letters from Dad

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

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

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