Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and Other Holidays

I want to repeat something that I said last year on my Halloween blog. There are many who get uptight, upset, and other "ups" when it comes to Halloween. My parents, who by the way were a very conservative couple, never blinked twice about letting us dress up, go into the neighborhood, and trick or treat. I was taught the purpose of Halloween was to get as much candy in as short a period of time as possible.
Now I understand the beginnings of the "holiday." I'm not big into the ghosts and goblins and all of that stuff. But what's wrong with dressing like a potato...or a crayon...or Belle or any other Disney character? "Well, you teaching them to worship Satan!" Am I really? This is a parental choice in my humble opinion. If you don't want your kids to do this, don't let them do this.
But you'd better be consistent. You better not accept roses or any other kind of card or gift on St. Valentine's Day. You'd better not dye Easter eggs on Easter. It's a fertility rite, you know. And land's sakes, don't even think about winding a May Pole. Happy Halloween! Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 30, 2006

Just Pray

What a humbling thought it is to know that God answered your prayer in the positive. The Creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, heard and answered. Prayer is becoming more and important to me the older I get. I read in Phillip Yancey's book on prayer that we often ask the question, "If God knows what I need before I pray, then why pray?" His answer was, isn't it awesome to know that we come along side of God to look at the purpose of our prayer and act in partnership. Obviously, in our small part, we must realize that it is God who wills and acts according to His purpose. But I liked that analogy.
I remember hearing my Dad say, "If you're too busy to pray, you're too busy." Good words. Find the time. In your car, on a walk, before you sleep. Find the time to pray. I hope your day is good. JW

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Today is October 25. What's so special about that date? It's only two months until Christmas....one month 'til Thanksgiving. Two of my favorite holidays. I listened to a Christmas song this morning as I walked. Mannheim Steamroller is always good to listen to, no matter what time of year.
For some reason I've been thinking of Jesus' appearance here on earth. What if He came again? What if He was born in a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C.? Would anybody notice? Or would we be just as clueless as they were when He came to this earth?
What about me? Do I search for Him everyday? Do I see Jesus in those I have contact with? He did say that if you served anyone, the least of these His brethren, you did it to Him.
Keep your eyes open. Keep looking. Keeping searching. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I'm reading Philip Yancy's new book on prayer. It's appropriately entitled Prayer. So far it's been a wonderful resource, full of great quotes and wonderful insights. Here is a quote from today's reading:

Prayer is a subversive act performed in a world that constantly calls faith into question.

That one just hit me. Recently, I made a comment that we can't prayer in public schools anymore and someone corrected me. He told me that prayers continue in our public schools all the time. He's right! No one can stop me from praying. It can be banned, prohibited, ridiculed, and allegedly stopped, but you cannot keep me from praying to the God who hears all. Ponder that one and let me know what you think. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bad Traveler

I'm not a very good traveler. It must have started when I was young and my parents would pack my brothers and me into a car and we would take two day drives back to Ohio to see our grandparents. There were only two reasons to stop on these trips. One was to fill up with gasoline. The other was in the case of an emergency, i.e. flat tire, engine overheated, etc. Of course, we would stop at night (in the cheapest hotel dad could find). We would have to go to the bathroom during the refueling stops. We carried a cooler and mom made sandwiches while we went down the road. Efficient. In the case of having to go to the bathroom between refueling, we would be completely humiliated by having to go along the side of the road.
Flash forward to 2006. I'm kind of like my father in that I want to get to where I'm going with as few stops as possible. Eat at the gas station since many of them sell junk food and keep going. I will stop at a rest area if I have to, but the key (the mission) is to get where we're going in the shortest amount of time.
I'm even worse traveling by air. First of all, there is now no room on planes to sit. If I sit by the window, my legs are around my chin and then the person in front of me invariably leans his/her sit back so that the tray table fits directly into my stomach. If I sit by the aisle, I'm bumped by everyone who walks by. For some reason they stop at my seat and put something in the overhead, so I get a view of either their front side or (ugh) backside. If I sit in the middle, the two sumo wrestlers from Japan sit on either side of me. Then you have to arrive early, stay late to pick up your luggage. So really you could almost drive to your destination in approximately the same amount of time. Maybe I ought to just stay home. But then, how much fun would that be. I hope you have a great day. JW

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Short Note, A Big Boost

I received a note today. There wasn't anything special about it, but it did come quite unexpectedly. And I wasn't the only person who received the note. It says very simply, "Just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about each one of you and about the great blessing that each of you are in my life! I've learned from you, been blessed by your words and actions, been comforted by you, strengthened by you, been forgiven by you, and loved by you. God is awesome--He blessed our family with knowing you!"

Wow! It made my day. Just a short note. Just a "thank you." It didn't take long. It meant more than you can imagine. Perhaps you're thinking today of someone who has blessed your life, or perhaps someones. Write them a note and tell them how much you appreciate them. This one note has brought tears to my eyes and gratitude to my own heart. If nothing else, stop and thank the Father for the difference He has made in your life. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Saving Private Ryan

I was pleased to see one of my favorite movies on television last night....Saving Private Ryan. There are several great scenes in the movie and I never tire of them. Of course, at the end when Captain Miller is about to die and he says to Private Ryan, "Earn this. Earn it!" As the scene changes from a young Private Ryan to an old Mr. Ryan, and as he stands there on top of the cliff at the American National Cemetery at Normandy (By the way, a moving place to be. I was fortunate to have stood there in the summer of 2005), he says to his wife, "Tell me I've lived a good life. That I've done enough." My mind went to the theology that I was raised on. As we get to the end of our lives, we ask the same question. And the answer is, "No, we haven't done enough." None of us can. But Jesus did. I like Ryan's motivation. Shouldn't ours be similar? Because He did that for me, I should give everything I have for Him. I love it. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 16, 2006


Well, here is a nothing blog, but I have to say it. It was really, really fun to watch the Arkansas Razorback football team beat the Southeast Missouri College for the Blind, er Southeast Missouri State. The final score was 63-7. Several long runs, a few good drives, some good defense, a beautiful day. I got in only 9 holes of golf due to the cold weather on Friday. Saw some good friends at church. All in all, a good weekend. Hope yours was, too. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Heard It

I live about two blocks off of argueably the busiest East-West street in Omaha. Yet in my neighborhood is a turkey that roams around carefree. In the mornings when I walk, I walk toward that street and then cut down the street right before it. It's during that time today that I noticed something interesting. If I don't have my head phones in, I can hear the busy traffic. If I do, I can drown out everything even though I'm close to rush hour traffic.
Isn't that like our world. Focus our thoughts and minds on God and the busy world just flies past us and, in many cases, we don't give it a thought. Transversely, Satan has a way to turn our thoughts away from God and once again we find ourselves caught in the rush hour of life.
I'd been praying for most of my walk today, and as I walked down the above street I placed my earphones in. Call me crazy. Call me a lunatic. But the song that came on was Rich Mullins singing, "O God you are my God and I will ever praise You." Don't let this song get lost in the translation. I'm walking at a pretty good clip and he sings, "...and step by step You'll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days."
I can hear you now. "Oh, Jim, that was just a coincidence. You're reading too much into this." Am I? All right. The next song was Michael W. Smith singing, "I Can Hear Your Voice." I think God was trying to emphasize a point with me. He said, "Keep listening, Jim. Keep walking." I think I will. Even though you might not believe me. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Love

Charles Carl Roberts IV. Does that name ring a bell? Probably not. I had to look it up myself. He was the man who killed five innocent little Amish girls. How quickly we forget. We continue to remember the ugly murders he committed, but we so quickly forgot his name.
I was listening to a radio talk show last night and the commentator told of his funeral. Of course you would expect the standard people to show up even at a murderer's memorial. He was buried in his wife's family plot at the Methodist (I think) Church there in town. Attending the funeral were members of the Amish community. The talk show host expressed his complete and total disbelief at the show of grace and forgiveness. He said, "I will never understand this kind of deed. The world needs more Amish." He's was partially right. That kind of love is truly uncommon, yet available to all...including Mr. Charles Carl Roberts IV. What the world needs is not more Amish, but more who follow and bask in the love that God has shown us from the very beginning. That's what we need.
I hope your day is good. JW

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ain't Man Great!!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I like contrasts. Well, I saw another one last Friday. I was on the golf course (I need to do that more often!) and a big jet flew overhead. It was more than likely on its way to the Omaha International Airport. I thought of the many people on the plan anticipating their arrival in the big city. Just as I marvelled at man's great invention of the jet airplane and all its glory, about 15 or 20 Canadian geese sailed in over the lake (the same lake which tried to take my golf ball!). Their grace was unmistakeable as they glided to rest on the smooth surface of the water. There they were in stark contrast...the big manmade airplane and the graceful geese.
It then struck me that the God who made the geese also made humans who devised the jet airplane. And when I began to think of the foolishness of my first thought, i.e. how great man is, I realized the greatness and wonder of God. The same God who made everything from nothing, the One who threw the stars into the universe, the one who made intellect, geese, the lake, everything I saw is the same Wonderful God who loves you and me. The same One who knows everything about you...and still loves you. What a wonderful thought. And silly me for thinking that a jet could outdo a creation of God. Have a great day. JW

By the way, how 'bout them Hogs???!!!!! Arkansas 27, Auburn 10. It was almost too good to watch. You probably heard Nate and me screaming.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Leaves of the Field

While I was walking today, I came across thousands upon thousands of little leaves on the pavement. They were a beautiful yellow color, but they had fallen in the fall transition. I was trampling on them, cars had driven over them, some had been blown away by the wind others by blowers, other leaves had been picked up and put into bags for disposal.
Then a thought came over me. God knows about everyone of those leaves. He knew when they turned colors, He remembers when they first sprouted, He even remembered them falling. Don't believe me? Read Matthew 6. "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." You might say, "Oh, but that's about flowers, not leaves." What's the difference? Then read the next line. "If that is how God clothes the grass (leaves) of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Yes, we need God. I need God. And I need Him constantly. I am realizing that more and more everyday. I hope you are, too. But I want you to realize that He cares so much for you. So much. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Closing Songs, Part II

A continuation of yesterday's post. A couple of more "closing" songs that I really liked:

Savior, breathe an evening blessing
Ere repose our spirits seal;
Sin and want we come confessing:
Thou canst save and Thou canst heal

Should swift death this night o'ertake us,
And our couch become our tomb,
May the morn in heav'n awake us,
Clas in bright and deathless bloom.

Or how about:

Now the day is over,
Night is drawing nigh;
Shadows of the evening
Steal across the sky.

When the morning wakens,
Then may I arise
Pure, and fresh, and sinless
In Thy holy eyes.

Ah, great memories. Great songs. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Sun Declines

I don't know why but I've been having some evening songs come to my mind. You know, the "Take the Name of Jesus With You" songs that we used to end Sunday evening worship with. Now that many churches are leaving the Sunday evening worship services for small groups, we have missed a lot of those songs. It would be a little out of place to sing, "The Sun Declines" in a Sunday morning worship.
There were a number of songs that had beautiful words and music set to it that we used to sing at high church when we lived in Searcy. My good friend, David, knows these songs well. For instance:
Savior, again to Thy dear name we raise,
With one accord, our parting hymn of praise;
We stand to bless Thee ere our worship cease,
Then lowly bowing, wait Thy word of peace.

Grant us Thy peace throughout our earthly life;
Our balm in sorrow, and our stay in strife;
Then, when Thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,
Call us, O Lord, to Thine eternal peace.

Beautiful song, isn't it? Or how about this one:
The sun declines: o'er land and sea
Creeps on the night;
The twinkling stars come one by one
To shed their light;
With Thee there is no darkness, Lord;
With us abide;
And 'neath Thy wings we rest secure This eventide.

And when with morning light we rise,
Kept by Thy care,
We'll lift to Thee with grateful hearts
Our morning prayer;
Be Thou thro life our Strength and Stay,
Our Guard and Guide
To that dear home where there will be no eventide.

I don't have time to talk about "Now the Day is Over" or "Day is Dying in the West." But I will continue to remember the beautiful sentiments in all of these songs even though we don't sing them anymore. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 02, 2006

I Want to Worship Even If It Kills Me

He came into services yesterday just as the pre-worship buzz had stopped. We were getting ready to sing the first song of praise. His head was bald, he was gaunt, but the thing that drew my attention was the medical mask on his face. He's one of our members who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant for lymphoma.
I've kept up with his progress by reading his wife's faithful updates on the internet. His white blood cell count had made it to zero meaning he had absolutely no resistance to infection in his body. What hit me, though, and I don't think I'm overdoing it here, is that he came to worship in spite of the fact that he might get an infection that could make him really sick or possibly kill him. You couldn't keep him away from worshipping his God. You couldn't keep him away from being with people who love him. You couldn't keep him away from being in the fellowship with all of those around the world who were at the very same time or the very same day calling on the same God. What an inspiration!
And I thought, if it were me in the same situation, would I be at worship? Ask yourself the same question. I'm grateful to men like Mark who said, "I want to come into the house of the Lord." Have a great day. JW