Thursday, March 29, 2007

I Really Did Hear Him

I received a smart remark from a friend concerning one of my recent blogs. I thought he was just making the statement out of ridiculing me for hearing God one day recently. So I just laughed it off and went on.
Then I checked my blog and saw that it contained only the title of the writings for that day...I Heard Him. It wasn't until then that I realized that my blog did not register for that day. In fact, there was a message saying there was an error, but it also said the blog had published.
So, to make a long story even longer, no wonder he made the snide remark. What I had said was that I heard God speak to me one morning on my walk. It wasn't a still, small voice. I heard Him in the chirping of the birds. I heard Him in the colors of the sunrise. I heard Him in all of the awakening of the earth. I quoted two verses, one from Psalms about the heavens declaring God's glory. The other from the New Testament about those being without excuse having seen His creation.
So THAT'S why I said, "I heard Him."
Now, I hope it all makes sense. By the by, I went ahead and deleted the title. I confuse people enough without stuff like that happening. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Girl in the Pink Dress

Because I am the father of a son who participates in high school music, I get the "opportunity" to hear many concerts. Now I'm not complaining too much for I have been able to hear wonderful chorales, moving spirituals, opera, foreign language pieces and a host of other beautiful music. I've also been able to hear these concerts in a number of fabulous venues. Last night, I was privileged to attend the area-wide concert of all the schools in the district. This was a chance for the 6th graders to hear the other groups in the middle school and high school and theoretically desire, yea long for the opportunity to sing with them once they reached the age of singability.
The 6th graders were given the opportunity to sing several songs last night. I noticed that the style du jour for the boys right now is horizontally striped polo shirts. It's still pretty eclectic for the girls. The noise level was deafening. I also observed that the kids sing will little or no emotion. They just stare at the conductor (if the conductor is lucky, otherwise their eyes are darting all over the auditorium) and sing their song. When they sang "The Wells Fargo Wagon" the noise level picked up with the pace of the song, but the emotion level basically stayed the same.
There was one little girl who caught my eye. She had a pretty, sparkled pink dress, she was sporting a blue headband, she wore glasses. She moved with the music, but she was always several beats behind. When they clapped, she just couldn't quite get in synch with the rest of the kids. She rarely sang the words at the right time. It looked as if she hit about one word out of every three. She craned her body awkwardly as she sang and looked around at her classmates often. But this she did, she sang with feeling. This little Down's Syndrome girl had something that nobody else did...emotion. Tears filled my eyes as I wondered about her. Did she get teased at school? What kind of home life did she have? Was it a happy one? Did she bring joy to the people in her life?
As I looked at all the good looking kids last night, I realized that they didn't have anything on this little girl. After the concert, someone was taking her picture. She posed just like a model. I guess she felt like the most beautiful girl in the place. And you know what? In my eyes, she was. Have a great day. JW

Monday, March 26, 2007


I love this time of the year. I noticed the daffodils are starting to bloom (I know, I know. The people in the south are far beyond this, but I live in Nebraska!). The trees are starting to bud. The grass, although cutting it is not my favorite task, is starting to green up. Spring has arrived and with that a newness that just can't ever be matched.
It was about this time two years ago that I launched into the world of blogdom. I wrote and sometimes people read. I admit, what I write is often (mostly, okay, never) deep or profound. But it's fun to write what's on my mind knowing that some enjoy reading my pitiful thoughts.
It's also the time of year that a young boy who wanted to follow Christ was baptized into his death and resurrection and began his journey into discipleship. So three new beginnings here at the end of March. That makes it a great day. I hope your day is good. JW

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Little Decisions, Big Results

I'm debating as to what to write about today. Several things are swirling through my mind. That could be dangerous. Oh, well, I guess I just need to pick one.
I read the book of Ruth yesterday. This book is short, yet so full of great stuff. First you have Ruth telling her mother-in-law that she'll go wherever she goes. You know the's the one we use in weddings all the time. Really, it's about unconditional love that a daughter-in-law has for her mother-in-law. But the real story is about what happens after that.
It looks as if Ruth won't get to marry Boaz because there is another kinsman-redeemer in line. But once he finds out there's another wife involved, he backs off the land deal real quickly. Eventually, he takes his sandal off and gives it to Boaz and Ruth becomes his.
But that's not the story. Boaz and Ruth marry and have children. They live happily ever after. They have kids and Naomi becomes a grandmother. Now we're getting close, but it's still not quite the story. The story is that because of Ruth's love and dedication to Naomi, we have a savior. The promised seed that was first promised to Abraham stays intact and we have the Messiah. You see, sitting on the lap of Naomi is her grandson, Obed. Sound familiar? Obed was the father of Jesse who was the father of David. Don't ever underestimate those "little" decisions that you make. And certainly, don't ever underestimate what God will do with those who offer their lives in His service. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Peter Pan Lives

Have I mentioned recently that I was in Disneyworld last week? I know, this blog will be similar to yesterday, but I was able to do one of my favorite things there...people watch. I was sitting in front of the U.S. exhibit in EPCOT one day last week watching all the parents trying to deal with their children. There was one family of three, pushing a stroller; the kids were probably 5, 3, and a toddler. What set them apart was all three kids were dressed in green Peter Pan outfits. I mean, complete with hats and a red feather. They were so cute.
Then my mind started to wander and think. Can you imagine if one of the parents had been wearing a Peter Pan outfit also? What would have been the reaction? You can imagine the chortling and guffaws coming from those watching. "What's a grown man doing in a Peter Pan outfit?" we might chuckle.
It happens all the time. Really. We put on our outfits, we hide behind masks, we pretend to be something we're not. If you don't believe me, go to church on Sunday morning and see all the people all dressed up looking very spiritual, yet living lives that are full of sin and hate and despair. What's the difference? Just as we think a grown man wearing a Peter Pan outfit is ridiculous, so is wearing fake smiles and fake personalities and fake lives. When God knows everything, every thought every motive about you, why do you (we) try to fake everyone else out? Fear. We're afraid everyone won't like us. When our goal should be to please the One, the only One, who matters, we spend our time trying to fool everyone else. Instead, we should be working to please God and not worry about all the others. Once again we have it completely switched. So, listen to these words from David.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. I couldn't have said it any better myself. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This (Disney)world's Hat

I am amazed at what happens at Disneyworld. One doesn't have to walk far before one sees Micky Mouse ears, Cat in the Hat hats, Goofy ears, and all sorts of Disney regalia. And that's what the adults are wearing. Thousands, yea hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on this ridiculous looking garb. I understand that children what some type of souveneir of their trip. But adults? And here's the thing, how many times will they wear that when they get home? I would venture to say that it goes on the shelf rarely if ever to be worn again; it's destined to become garage sale material.
Why should we laugh at such things? It happens all the time right in front of us. The world holds out a bill of goods and yells, "Buy me! Buy me!" And we obediently submit to the urge. We buy something that is absolutely worthless, yet we spend good money to buy it. "Clothe yourself with the vest of selfishness. Wear the hat of greed. Here, buy the glowing trinket of sin that glows in the dark." Satan has his tricks and we succumb to such silliness. Yet, when it comes time to go home, the items we have bought hook, line, and sinker have absolutely no use anymore.
Let's be careful what we "buy" in this life. The Scripture continually warns us of not being "of the world." Jesus told us that our hearts will be where our treasures lie. Don't allow Satan to sell you the useless refuse of what this life has to offer. I hope your day is good. JW

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happiest Place on Earth

I've returned from a trip to Disneyworld for a show choir competition my son was involved with. But more about that later. Disney bills itself as the "happiest place on earth." I told someone that I was going to the happiest place on earth and they said, "Heaven?"
Anyway, one of our number made this observation: If Disneyworld is the happiest place on earth, why are all the kids crying, the brothers and sisters fussing at each other, and the moms and dads yelling at each other? Good point. I did a lot of people watching on this trip and I have some good blog material. But that will be for another day.
Our show choir placed second in this competition which is higher than they have ever placed before. But the real news is my son completed in the solo competition and won! It was truly exciting and my wife are I are extremely proud. Not for what he has accomplished (although we are proud of that), but for just being our child. Along with winning came a nice trophy and a $500 scholarship. Maybe it is the happiest place on earth (Nah!). It was exciting. It's good to be home. Take care. I hope you have a great day. Thanks for letting me brag. JW

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Some of you remember the old song book "Great Songs of the Church." We used to sing from that at the College Church in Searcy, AR. There are some great songs in that book. I'll admit, some of them are kind of high church stuff, but there are some beautiful words with wonderful thoughts.
We used to sing a song Arise, My Soul, Arise. Listening on my iPod Nano today, Glad sang the same song with the words changed somewhat. A good improvement I might add. Here's what struck me.
Before the throne He stands, before the throne He stands, my name is written on His hands.

Before the throne of grace, before the throne of grace, He glady takes my place.

Then, one line particularly moves me. They sing ...this ransomed sinner must not die. I like that. Must not die. Urgency. Our message is so urgent. Jesus does gladly take our place. My name is written on His hand. That's so good. I hope your day goes well. JW

P.S. Be praying for my son who just left for a trip to Florida. His mother and I will be following tomorrow so my blogging will be finished until Monday. See you then.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And Israel did Evil in the Eyes of the Lord

Those of you who read this blog know that I write in my Bible. I take notes, I underline, I make comments. When I see something often, I will circle the word because if it's being emphasized in Scripture, then I probably ought to take note.
Recently, I've been reading through the book of Judges. I know the same phrase is being repeated in Kings, Chronicles, and Samuel; or at least something like it. But I see the phrase, "...the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord." Several times it's preceded by the word, "Again." It's my tendency to shake my head and tsk, tsk, tsk at those poor Israelites. They didn't listen did they.
Fast forward to March, 2007. Last night I sat in an elder's meeting and listened to the plight of a number of people. Marriages that are struggling, lives that are in turmoil, flat out sin. And I wonder....if the prophet were writing today, would he be saying, "Again Southwest did evil in the eyes of the Lord." Realistically, I don't think so, because our leaders are meeting to talk and pray and to help intercede in such issues. But if it comes the time when all of us, leaders included, begin to being involved or condone such things, then we would be just as guilty.
Praise God for His grace! May we never get to the point that evil would not be associated with us. Have a great day.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

If you're like me, you're still reeling from the hour of sleep you lost from the beginning of daylight savings time. I like the extra daylight. I don't like the loss of sleep. Somewhere we have to find the happy medium.
My grandparents (the White side of the family) were farmers...and they never changed their clocks. I still can hear my grandfather say in his class Ohio drawl, "The cows don't know the difference." They did continue to live by the standard that was set by the U.S. government, though. Grandma would say, "Okay, it's 5:00 our time and 6:00 your time."
One of my brothers went through the house on one of our trips and secretly changed all the clocks. He didn't reveal his secret until we were well down the road. My grandmother wrote a scathing letter to my dad complaining that "one of your boys changed our clocks."
They had a point, you know. The cows don't know the difference. It reminds me of a joke my dad used to laugh at from the old Hee Haw program. One farmer said he used to hold his pigs up to the apple tree to let them eat apples. The other farmer said, "Doesn't that take a lot of time." The first farmer replied, "What's time to a pig?"
Really, we get so caught up in everything that we forget what's really important. Our kids grow up, the seasons change, people move in and out of our lives, and the next thing you know you face retirement saying, "What happened to my life?" I know I talk about this a lot, but it's important. In the grand scheme of things, what really matters? I don't know of anyone who, while on their death bed, says, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." Family and God. Relationships. All blessings that time take time. The kind of time that is really important.
Look at it this way. Not too long ago we had a 24 hour prayer vigil at our congregation. It was right before we were selecting new shepherds. I scheduled this event to be held on the weekend the time changed. You guessed it, we had a 25 hour prayer vigil. Maybe God thought we needed the extra hour. Enjoy the extra hour. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin' Into the Future

I have been reading a book called Margin as well as leading a Sunday evening class by the same name. Dr. Richard Swenson (I believe that's his name) writes very concisely about what we do to our lives. We live life on the edge. (In fact, the new Ford commercial gleefully sings, "I like to live on the edge!") Our lives get going faster and faster as we emulate the hamster in the wheel.
So notice something with me. Jesus says, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel..." Notice he didn't say, "Go, go, go into all the world..." The old song is so pertinent, "Slow down, you're going to fast. You've got to make the moments last..." I've got a trip coming up next week that I'm looking forward to and I'm dreading. My family is going to the happiest place on earth. At least that's the way they describe it. But it's based on hurry here, go there, stand in line over here. I want to enjoy the time. Slow life down. Lands knows it goes too fast.
I'm working on this. I'm not very good at it, yet. Getting better. Paul said in Ephesians, "Be very careful, then, how you live (walk, KJV)--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." He's not saying the days are bad. Maybe Paul know what it was for the days to fly past. Notice, though, "make the most of every opportunity." For just one day, let's try that. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

60 Seconds or Less

I was listening to the radio this morning to a commercial about child behavior problems. Some kind of "transformation." The guy guaranteed that he could make a child change without yelling, without...well, you name it. They even said if you ordered today, they would throw in a book called "Transformation in 60 Seconds or Less." Or something like that.
That seems to be our take on Christianity. Become a Christian. Get dunked and "voila!" you're transformed. Sixty second or less and the old attitudes are gone, the old behaviors are out of there, and the the new you is there." I believe the Greek word for that is "hogwash." There is a reason our life is called a walk. It's a journey. And sometimes it takes a lifetime (and sometimes, not even then) to overcome and to transform. Praise God for grace! Paul struggled until the end of his life. I know some say that his thorn in the flesh was some kind of eye condition. But what if it wasn't? He said, "God's grace is sufficient." Suppose Paul's thorn was a sin he struggled with and he desperately needed God's grace for it.
The next time someone tries to make you feel guilty for a sin you are fighting with, don't let them. I believe Jesus said to make sure the plank is out of yours before removing the splinter in another's. And it isn't easy. It isn't automatic. And until we get to the end of our lives and can say we have finished the race, then I wouldn't fuss too much at anybody for falling short. That's what the rest of us are for. This journey is to be walked together. We help those who stumble. We rest when we're tired. We rejoice together at the end. Have a great day. JW

Monday, March 05, 2007

John 3:17

I'm sorry I haven't blogged in a while but the blizzard of 2007 hit us last Thursday and it's been hard to get out. No kidding, a foot of snow and the wind blowing sometimes over 50 miles an hour.
Remember the verse, John 3:16? Of course, everyone knows that verse. It is the most quoted verse of all Scripture. But have you ever read the verse right after it? "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." Yeah, so what?
What do we do most of the time? We condemn everyone. I don't mean we condemn people to hell (although I know a lot who do). I'm talking about griping about the way people drive, the way they talk, they way they do certain things. We complain about their lifestyle, their hair, and everything else. Jesus himself didn't come into the world to condemn. He came to save. Shouldn't that be our mission also?
Which brings in grace. My words should be full of grace. My actions should be full of grace. My attitude should be full of grace. Why? Because that's what Jesus did. You might say, "What about the passage in Matthew 7:6? Don't cast your pearls before swine." I get the impression Jesus is talking about religious people there (mind you, I make a distinction between religious people and spiritual people).
I'm working on this. I wrote several blogs back that I the older I get, the more I get into grace. Fewer rules and regulations. More freedom in the Lord. And above all else, less condemnation. Have a great day. JW