Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's Like Riding a Bicycle

"It's like riding a bicycle." That means it's supposed to be easy. Well, for my 53rd birthday this year, my daughter and son-in-law gave me money to help buy a bicycle for me to ride. This, of course, is for my health. And frankly, I do like it better than walking...somewhat.
I remembered when I was young I would get on the bike and with a few pumps of the pedals I was going so fast. The breeze was flowing through my hair. I got places really fast and I could ride forever. Now I have to wear a helmet so my hair doesn't flow in the breeze and besides it's a lot shorter. And I've noticed how many hills there are in Nebraska. My old bike had one gear. This new one has 25 or 30. And I don't remember sweating as much as a kid when I rode the bike. Now in 30 minutes, I can see all the houses in my general neighborhood. It just doesn't seem that I go near as far in the amount of time.
So don't let anyone use that saying anymore. Because it's not. It's much, much harder. I hope your day is great. JW

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pray for Your Leaders

We have a tradition of buying a little book for those who are moving out of our area. We place those books out in the foyer and people sign their best wishes to the family who is leaving.
Yesterday, I was signing one of the books and I happened to notice a message placed by someone. The book is a book on prayer. It has a drawing of President Bush with President Lincoln on one side, President Washington on the other. Both have their hands on the present president's shoulder and they are praying. The book is extremely appropriate for the couple who is leaving because 1. they have been people of great faith and prayer and 2. the husband is former military.
What was written was something like this. "The only thing President Bush deserves is life in prison. Shame on all you Republicans who voted for him."
First, it was extremely inappropriate for something like that to be put in a book honoring someone who is leaving. Second, what about the Democrats who voted for President Bush? Third, why didn't they sign their name? I don't think that whoever wrote that goes to church with us. I think it was probably someone else who ventures through our building at one time or another. Our building is used a lot by other people.
So what's our response? Cover it up and move on. Prayer is not about politics. It's not about partisanship. It's not about Republicans or Democrats. Frankly, I think God really couldn't care less about which party is in power. We are told to pray for our leaders. And, if you read your Bible, you will see that God uses nations that don't follow Him to accomplish the tasks He wants accomplished. So God is neither American or Democrat, Russian or Republican. God is God.
Well, I've spouted enough. I hate to see this couple go. And I've stood on my soapbox long enough. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Desert

There are times when it just doesn't happen. There's nothing pertinent or glib to say. The words just don't come, nor do the thoughts. To one who makes his living by talking, that used to be and sometimes is still frustrating. But I'm learning. I'm learning that sometimes it's better just to shut up. (We weren't allowed to say "shut up" in my home growing up, so it's hard to even write it!) Sometimes it's better to "be still and know that I am God."
So when the words don't come, I still know that God is faithful. When I just don't seem to be hitting on all cylinders, I know that God never slumbers. When I dont' have anything bright to say, I know that God has already said it. Period. No need for another paragraph. But as I read today in II Chronicles, and with these words I'll leave you today, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." Have a great day. And don't worry if you feel like you're in the desert. The rain is coming. In fact, they're showers of blessings. JW

Monday, May 21, 2007

If Lincoln Had Survived

I've been amused lately by the recent headlines about "What if Lincoln had survived?" Seems that many in the scientific community say that had President Lincoln been shot in our day and time, he would have survived. My feeling about that? Who cares? Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I think he was one of the most sage leaders of any of our presidents. He served at one of, if not the most difficult times in our nation's history. But the fact is, he didn't survive. We can't go back and speculate, we can't go back and change things.
It's the way many people live their lives. They live in the "if only I had..." The past is, well, past. It's over. There's not a thing we can do about it. Paul tells us to forget about the past and press on. There are a lot of things about the past that I am not proud of. There are a lot of things I've done in the past that I feel are pretty good. But if I dwell on those things, nothing will ever get done again. We have today. That's it. We can dream about tomorrow. But we might as well live in the present and serve the One who deserves all of our devotion and worship. Fretting about the past changes nothing. Pressing on today results in action. Press on. Strain toward what is ahead. And by the way, have a great day. JW

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Not in Charge

I heard a comment about a preacher this week that disturbed me. The person said, "He is in charge of that church." The comment was not meant to be incriminating or derogatory. In fact, it was made almost proudly.
Did you cringe, also, when you read it? My thought went immediately to Ephesians 5 where Paul says "He (Christ) is the head of the church." It's all about him. In Colossians, Paul spends a lot of time describing Jesus. Here is the list:

1. The image of the invisible God
2. The firstborn over all creation
3. By him all things were created
4. He is before all things
5. In him all things hold together
6. He is the head of the body, the church
7. He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead

The one description that always hits me in that list is "in him all things hold together." My assumption is that out of him all things fall apart. I know that sometimes we preachers think we are the reason why people hear our wonderful words of wisdom. But it's not. And if it is, shame on us. We're not pointing in the right direction. "Fix our eyes" Paul says. Stare at Jesus. Be amazed. Once we do that, we'll realize that we are far from being in charge. Besides, I don't want to be in charge. I'll mess it up.
I hope your day is good. JW

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Mother's Day II

I didn't write about Mother's Day. I did preach about Moms. As I was sitting here thinking of my own sweet mother, I thought about how much I miss her. There is sadness that I don't get to see her, hug her, and kiss her. I wish I could hear her voice again. But when it all comes down to it, I am so happy for her. She is where she wants to be, where she prepared all her life to be. So, this Mother's Day, I celebrate with my wife who is the mother of my children and long for the time of the reunion of all of those I love.
So, I'll put here the poem written by my brother Charles. There are four boys in our family. Charles is #2. He was born on Mother's Day, May 12, 1945. He wrote this poem on Mother's Day, May 12, 1989.

This day, those many years ago,
This day, I did not watch you go
Alone into the vale of death,
Alone, to breathe the dark wind's breath.

But I was there, and from the night
Your struggles brought me to light.
Your pain and tears afforded me
To taste the gift of life: to be.

You'd walked that lonely path before,
Your were to tread it two times more;
Four times into the night you went,
And reappeared, your spirit spent.

Four times a son you brought to day;
Each time you gave yourself away.
Each time you set your brick to ground,
To build the wall, to make it sound.

The "heaven-sent" that 12th of May
Was you, whose heart was filled with day;
And from your heart I've learned to live,
To sing, to pray, to laugh, to give.

The son who writes these words tonight
Remembers you with sweet delight,
And whispers in his mother's ear:

Happy Mother's Day (a little belated) Have a great day. JW

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pomp and Circumstance

I've been in a lot of "high pomp" situations. There have been university presidential inaugurations and opening of school convocations. Of course, graduation ceremonies are filled with such ceremony. I have the academic robes with the chevrons and the hood and the "pizza" hat with the gold tassel. Music is always a part of such events.
Well, Friday I was mowing my lawn in the hot Nebraska heat. I had an old T-shirt on, shorts, ratty, old tennis shoes and a hat to soak up the sweat. I wasn't glistening, I was sweating full force. I had my iPod on listening to music. As I trudged along the circumference of the yard the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" came on. I thought it was amusing to be wearing the garb that I was knowing that I've had really different clothes on while marching into an esteemed event to the sounds of that very same music.
Then Mark Schultz came on. (Why does his music speak to me so well?) "I believe that He loves you where you are...." I thought, it's not the status of my educational background, it's not my worth to Him, it's not the deeds I may accomplish that makes Him love me. It's because He created me and I am His child and for no other reason; nothing I have done that He cares so deeply for me. "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling."
The honor belongs to Him, not me. He is the One to be honored. He is the One to be adored. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, May 10, 2007

He Loves Me So

We don't sing it as much as we used to, but there is a song we used to sing a lot right before the Lord's Supper. You know it well. You've sung it hundreds, yeah, thousands of times. Here are the words:

Why did my Savior come to earth,
And to the humble go?
Why did He choose a lowly birth?
Because He loved me so!

He loved me so,
He loved me so;
He gave His precioius life for me, for me,
Because He loved me so.

I can't sing that least not the way it's written. You see, the song is in past tense, i.e. "He loved me so." As if He once loved me, but that was in the past. Lamentations says that God's love is new every morning. I read of God's great love, present tense. I see and feel His love every day. So I sing (and I do it loudly) He loves me so, He loves me so; He gave His precious life for me, for me, Because He loves me so." Try it. People will wonder what you are singing and it will give you the chance to witness to them about what His love (present tense) means to you today. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May 8

I know it's May 9, but two events happened on May 8 that I needed to write about them. Both of them were deaths. First of all, on May 8, 1967 my Grandfather Garloch died. He was a tough man, a coal miner by trade who was an elder in the church. He died of lung cancer and black lung disease. I remember his coke-bottle glasses and his hearty laugh. Something we didn't hear much at the White family farm.
The second death was my father-in-law, Allwyn Hart. He died three years ago. It doesn't seem that long ago, it seems like only yesterday. He really died in 1991 when he had his first stroke. After that time, he was only a shell of the man I once knew and his mind was never the same. He could fix anything, he loved his family, and he was one of the most generous men I've ever known.
I will see both of these men again. They knew their God and served Him all their lives. It's wonderful to be in the stream of legacy that these godly, Christian men lived. And I honor them everyday.
I hope you'll take a moment and thank God for those who have influenced your life. There are those whom, I know, God has placed in your path and those who have changed you for good. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart (where?), down in my heart (where?), down in my heart...." I remember singing this song at Vacation Bible School when I was a young lad. Later it was, "I'm happy today, oh, yes, I'm happy today...." Now, the way you sing both of those songs is with a frown on your face. At least that's what we did. Brow furrowed, look of seriousness on our faces, lips pursed as we sang these songs of "joy." It's no wonder we do the same as adults.
Sing songs such as "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be..." Picture the same look as described above.
Joy is God-given. People glow with joy and peace when He controls their lives. We can be joyful even in difficult times. Contentment is a sign of God's control. Paul said he could be content in any and every situation. And he suffered through a lot of situations. He called them "light and momentary." Can you believe that? Yet, he was full of joy. How can that be? Because God is faithful. God is the God of joy.
Are you joyful? Why not let your face know about it? I hope you have a great day. JW

Monday, May 07, 2007


I just returned from the Pepperdine lectures. Needless to say, the view was tremendous and the lectures were fabulous. I can't remember a lectureship I enjoyed so much. By the end of the day, I was overflowing. It was exhausting, exhilarating, exciting, and....(I can't think of any more "ex" words.)
One of the lectures I was privileged to hear was Rick Atchley's on Heaven. He reminded us of one of the most famous books in our brotherhood was one by Jimmy Allen called "What is Hell Like." I remember that book and I remember hearing Jimmy preach that sermon. He could make you feel as if you were standing at the gates feeling the heat.
But, for the point of my blog today, that seems to be our motivation for becoming a Christian. I've just watched the first installment of a video series on how to show your faith and their motivation was that you didn't want you friends to go to hell. I agree that fear is a good motivator. In fact, the Scripture says to "fear God and keep His commands." But I John also says that perfect love casts out all fear. Isn't love a better motivator? God so loved the world...; How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us...
I would think we would want to be evangelistic (ugh, I really don't like that word, maybe genuine, loving, anything) because of God's great love. I would hope our trust in God's promise of heaven would give us cause to tell our stories. I would hope we would want to tell others that God has pursued us so much and He wants us with Him forever. Now there's a story I can sink my teeth into. I hope you can, too. Have a great day. JW

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fifty-Three and Counting

I entered the world on this day in 1954. (For those of you who struggle with this kind of thing, I'm 53.) Other than the fact that it's the Lord's Day, it's really just another day. I'm one step closer to seeing my Lord. That's a good thing. It's certainly something I desire greatly. But there is still work to do as long as God wants me here. Like Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." Perhaps it's not more necessary for me to stay, but I'll leave that up to the Lord. I desire heaven so much. Especially after hearing Rick Atchley speak of it at Pepperdine.
Speaking of Pepperdine, what a trip! You need to go and hear what I heard this week. The view's not bad either. Wednesday night at President Benton's house looking out his balcony was a gorgeous full moon. Wow! It was breathtaking. But more breathtaking were the passionate lessons I heard and the great fellowship I enjoyed. Have a great day. JW