Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It wasn't much. Especially after what had just happened. Jesus had healed ten lepers. They were so excited and rightly so. I can just imagine their feelings as they checked out their new skin. Joyfully, they went on their merry way to show themselves to the priests. But one came back just to say "thank you." The Bible says he praised God in a loud voice. And Jesus commended him. It was something simple that anyone could do. The miracle was on Jesus' part. A simple "thank you" came from the healed man.
We've become involved in an elementary school not too far from our church building. So far we've provided school supplies and, of all things, laudry detergent. Yesterday we had some ladies bring some cookies and brownies to give to the teachers for the hard work. I wrote a simple letter thanking them for their hours of hard work, their ability to see the heart and not just look on the outward appearance of the children they see everyday. I thanked them for making a difference in the community and in the world.
What happened next surprised me. First of all, the paraprofessiol, my contact at the school said, "People just don't say 'thank you' anymore." Then she hugged me. I get way too much credit for things like this. All I did was ask people to make cookies and then I delivered them. It's not fair that I get to see what happens when something nice is done to people with no expectations of return, with no hidden agendas, and with no strings attached. I'm praying for opportunties. I'm sure they will come because God works in mysterious ways. But why do I feel so blessed? A simple "thank you" and I received a "thank you" back. Wow! What a concept. I keep learning more and more every day. Maybe, just maybe if we were gentle as the Scripture tells us to be instead of sharp and condemning, people might just listen more. You think? Lord, keep teaching me. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Slow Miracles

Over thirty-two years ago, one of the first gifts my new wife and I received was a wonderful little contraption. We didn't have a microwave oven at the time. Either they weren't invented or they were just too expensive for us to have. So someone gave us this appliance called a Crock-Pot. It was neat because you put any conglomeration of stuff in it, and you plugged it in. All day long it would simmer and warm up every so slowly. If you came in at lunch, you couldn't eat it because it wasn't finished. It would take all day...up to 8 or 9 hours. Just slowly warming until all of the ingredients melded in such a way so that we could have a succulent meal that evening. The place would smell marvelous when we walked in the door. It was a true treat.
I've been thinking about what I call "slow miracles." Now that sounds like an oxymoron. If it's a miracle, it's instantaneous, right? I think we forget that time is not an object with God. "A day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day," the Bible says. But let me explain what I mean by a slow miracle.
Think about your life for just a moment. Think of yourself many, many years ago and the acquaintances you had then. Journey down through the years and remember those who have entered and departed from your life. Some may have left this eartly walk, but think of their influence. Think of the way you sense their presence even though they are gone. Think of the phone call that comes out of the blue. Remember the time you received a letter or an e-mail just when you needed it. This tapestry of your life has been wonderfully crafted by the Master into an intricate design called "Your Life." Friends have been there when the situation was dire or when the time merited a celebration. But your life has taken, well, a lifetime to unfold. Yet the fact that where you are in life is indeed a miracle of sorts, albeit a slow one. Ahh, that's what I'm saying. Slow miracles. You know it happens. Just admit it. And relish in it. And praise God for it. And realize in this Crock-Pot of life, God's still cooking, still working, still molding, still shaping. Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Re-Writing Scripture

We've been studying about the reliability of the Scriptures in our Sunday morning Bible class. Lee Strobel's book "The Case for the Real Jesus" has been a wonderful resource. I would recommend any of his books. In class we have studied about those who transcribed Scripture. Down through the years it has been monks in monasteries who wrote copies of copies of copies of copies. In the New Testament, they are called "scribes" or "teachers of the law." Jesus railed on them for being arrogant and narrow-minded in their thinking.
Recently, however, I got to thinking how serious a task this was. To write Scripture. Many of the so-called "variations" that are criticized in our canon come from minor errors such as misspellings or other similar things. The Scripture is remarkable in its accuracy and reliability! So I decided to do something. And I'm going to encourage you to do the same. I'm writing the Scripture. I've taken my pen and sat down and started to transcribe Scripture. Philippians is the first book and I'm finished with the first chapter. It's amazing the depth of insight that I've gotten and I've seen things I've never seen before. Plus, at one point it struck me that I was writing the words of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It's an awesome experience!
We'll see how far this goes. Who knows, I may get to the entire Bible. My goal right now is to finish Philippians and then on to the rest of the New Testament. I started to think, wouldn't it be really neat if my kids could have a copy of the Bible written by their Dad! There are all kinds of serendipities. Try it. I think you'll enjoy it.
By the way, I hope your day is a good one. JW

Monday, October 06, 2008

I Hate Politics

I'm so tired of politics. It would be my wish to limit the campaign season to six weeks and get it on and get it over with. Unfortunately, the process is nearly a two year ordeal. One accuses the other. The other complains that one is questioning his character and acts as if he is utterly amazed and offended....while he questions the character of his opponent.
I agree with Terry Rush; it's no wonder the church is like it is. Rather than the culture taking it's lessons from the church, the church takes it's lessons from the culture. And we begin questioning motives, making unfounded statements, winning the argument, then losing a friend and brother, permanently severing ties that should bind. We end up with a fractured, limping church. No one is qualified to lead as a shepherd because we have the scoop on everyone. Nothing has been forgiven, only hidden under the rug.
The church is the body of Christ. It's time that we act like it. I have quoted this passage before, but I think Paul nails it on the head. A primer for us to live by. Words to think about everytime we think we might say something that may be harmful or cutting. Paul said: "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think aobut such things." Amen. Thanks, Paul. Have a great day.