Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas. And for those of you whose Christmas may not be what it has been because of the loss of a loved one or the fact that you may not get to be with your loved ones this year, let me place for you a poem sent to us by my dear Mother who died in March of 2005. I don't know where she got it, but here it is:

I may not get there Christmas eve,
But I would have you folks believe
That my heart will be there with you
With all my love and I'd renew
The family ties that bind us fast
With memories of Christmas past.

I'll close my eyes and see your faces
And all those sweet remembered places
About our home that I shall miss.
And on that day, remember this:
I'm thankful God has given me
So wonderful a family.

With tears in my eyes filled with gratitude and sadness--a strange mix, I know--I wish you all a Merry Christmas! JW

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peg Keelan-White

I received the dreadful call about 8:30 last night. It was from my brother, Don. Five years ago, his wife Peg was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through all the treatments, the questions, the hair falling out. She struggled with the "Why's?". But she emerged from the fight victorious. Just this fall, she passed the five year, cancer free mark.
In the fall, she just didn't feel as if she had any energy. A simple blood test determined that she had acute leukemia...a result of the chemotherapy (more than likely) from her last battle with cancer. After a number of rounds of treatment, a visit to the Mayo Clinic, more treatments, many of the same results as the last time, i.e hair falling out, etc., she kept fighting. I admired her pluck, her will to live, her detmermination to press on and not let down.
But let me allow my brother's words to explain what happened. This was his last post concerning Peg:


That was the last message I received from Peg this morning after she read the "Winter Sonnets" I had written for her last night.

Tonight, it breaks my heart to have to tell you that we lost Peg today. I received a phone call this morning that she had fallen in the bathroom at the hospital. As it turns out, she had had a stroke and it was the stroke which caused her to fall.

Apparently, blood had hemorrhaged into her brain. With her blood pressure soaring and with her platelets not helping out, the combination of the two are apparently what caused the blood on her brain and the subsequent stroke.

All of us were there with her when she died, just before 5:00 tonight.

The only comfort I am able to draw on right now is knowing that all of you are heartbroken, too, and that you, who have so faithfully follwed us on this journey, share our anguish.

For now, all I can say is that she was...beautiful.

I asked Don what I could do for him. His response? "Oh, I don't know. Just keep on being Jim."

This morning, as I walked into Starbucks, I was greeted with my usual enthusiastic cheer. "Jim! How are you doing?" "Fine," was my response. But I thought, these people don't care about the fact that my sister-in-law died. My brother's heart is crushed and those who don't know will carry on the same surface level conversations. I hope I'll remember this. That just because people smile and express their "fineness" that I'll look beyond the eyes and see the hearts of pain and suffering that are inevitably going on in the world.
Peg was a one-of-a-kind. She cried at the Walton's. She had a wonderful laugh. She kept Don in line. She was a rennaisence woman in many ways with many interests, many talents. And the fact that she worked with special needs kids showed that she cared. She cared for those who needed someone to stand up for them.
When I came around, Peg always had a big hug and would say something like, "Please come over more often." The last time I saw Peg was in the hospital. Martha and I went in and spent about an hour and a half with her and we talked about everything...just as we always did. She was Peg. The same Peg that would sit in her home and shoot the breeze with us. The same Peg who I called Betty. My last conversation with her was on the phone just before Thanksgiving. I had called to check on Don and was surprised when she picked up the phone. Little did I know that would be our last conversation. She talked of the holidays and wanting to get all the Christmas decorations out before she had to go back to Lincoln, back to the hospital.
Once again, I'm reminded...reminded of just how short life is and how we have no guarantees. James says, "What is your life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears." Oh, yes, she was here. And she had quite an impact on the community of York. I don't know how to end this blog except to ask for prayers. Pray for my brother Don and his boys, Ben and Evan. Pray for our family. God is good. JW

Monday, November 30, 2009

In All Circumstances

My daughter fussed at me because I haven't written a new post recently. I suppose it's time since I haven't written since Veteran's Day. This comes from the girl (actually, she's a 26 year old married young woman) who yells at houses decorated with Christmas lights before Thanksgiving, "It's not Thanksgiving yet!" I love it. She understands. She gets it.
In our marketing world, we want to make sure we get the jump on the competiton. I'm surprised we haven't started the "lose weight" commercials yet capitalizing on the first of the year resolutions. Perhaps the next thing we'll see is a fireworks stand getting ready for the 4th of July. She wants things to slow down and remember to be thankful. I think it's a prerequisite to being one of God's children. "...give thanks in all circumstances..." the apostle Paul says. He's right. And my daughter is right. Let's not rush this. Besides, I think this whole season of the year is a period of Thanksgiving. Thank you for the bounty we enjoy. Thank you for our families. Thank you for Your Son. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! This season of thanksgiving goes from January 1 to December 31. Okay, now we don't have to yell at the houses as we go by, Meredith. Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

On my credenza in my office is a smooth, triangular rock that's about two inches across. I picked it up from the beach in 2004 when my family and I ventured to the beaches of Normandy. The 10 minute hike down the path from the upper promontory where the Germans had all of their guns and soldiers was well worth the trip. As I turned and looked up, I noticed we stood in a bowl surrounded on three sides by the hills of Northern France. The trees have grown up on the hillside, whereas in 1944 Rommel had burned all of the vegetation. I'm not military strategist, but it was obvious that our troops were sitting ducks. Down in a valley, surrounded on three sides, with all the wrath of the German military bearing down on them. The only way we were able to overcome was by sheer numbers. They couldn't kill our soldiers fast enough. Many of America's sons left their blood and their lives on that beach on June 6, 1944. Many never came home as attested by the cemetery at the top of the hill with all the crosses and stars of David standing at attention. Those brave men were not allowed to see their children, their wives, their families ever again in this life....and they did it so that I could live in a country where I can speak freely. Where I am not worried about stating my political views. Where I can preach every Sunday without the police storming our assembly and telling me to stop. I can go where I want. Do what I want to do. Say what I want to say.
Freedom. What a wonderful word. I enjoy freedom because there were men and women who sacrificed their lives on foreign soil so that I could be free. That is something to never forget. I think it's appropriate that Veteran's Day is in the same month we celebrate another American holiday, Thanksgiving. These two go hand in hand as we think back on the blessings of liberty and posterity. Thank you to our veterans and soldiers who have given us this precious gift of freedom. And thank you God, for giving us your Son so that we can enjoy Your gift of freedom.
This rock will sit on my desk today in plain sight reminding me of these wonderful people in our military. Thank you! JW

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Questions

I was asked a question the other day that I've never been asked before. It was almost a rhetorical question; one that really has no answer. Let me explain. We decided to have a "Sack Sunday" at our congregation where everyone would fill up sacks of canned goods and we would take this food to the Open Door Mission, a shelter for the homeless. All of you preachers probably know this, but when you say "canned goods," everyone brings canned goods, and all other kinds of foodstuffs. Our church collected 1,133 pounds of food. This included 622 cans, 50 pounds of sugar, oil, boxes of oatmeal, cake mixes, and many other items. We filled up a pickup truck full of food.
When we arrived the chaplain came out and asked "the" question. Now, let's see how you would answer this. He asked, "Do you have any idea how much of a blessing this is?" That question has haunted me now for a week. No, I don't know. Because God can do such awesome things. In the grand scheme of things, that's really not that much food, but God can make something of it. What I thrill it was for me to be able to say, "Take this food with no strings attached. Give it away or use it to cook meals. Just use it to God's glory."
I've received several thank yous and even a thank you note for this. But think about this, we gave from our abundance. I doubt many, if any, missed any meals because they gave it to the mission. I don't think anyone will be short any money because they spent it on food to give. Now, here's another question. If God can take and bless others when we give out of our abundance, what could He do if we gave sacrificially, truly sacrificially? Wow! Hard to imagine. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Pleasant Surprise

I'm not a big fan of weddings. Don't get me wrong, I believe in them, they are beautiful occasions. But if people put as much money into their marriages as they did their weddings, we'd be much better off. But, I digress.
Recently, I was at a wedding rehearsal and the usual controlled chaos was going on. Where do people stand? When do you bring in the parents? How many grandparents will be here? What order are we walking in? What time are pictures tomorrow? When is the most important part? The rehearsal dinnner? You get the picture.
We were rehearsing the processional and this precious, 5-year old, blue-eyed, blond headed flower girl came down the aisle. She'll be a killer bride herself one day. What caught my heart was what she was doing. She was giggling and smiling from ear to ear....all the way down the aisle. She was relishing the moment, so much so that I told her I wanted her to do that tomorrow as she came down the aisle in the real wedding. I've left out one important detail. This beautiful, precious little girl had to walk down the aisle with a walker. Her legs were bent, she couldn't walk really straight, but that smile, that giggle. "I've got a pretty dress," she giggled as I talked to her. "It's got flowers in it." She said nothing about her disability. She wasn't complaining about her condition. She laughed. How precious.
I thought of Paul and my favorite passage that I quote often in this blog. It's found in II Corinthians 4. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen. For what is seen is temporary. What is unseen is eternal." Caitlyn chose to see the bright side of things. And Paul points us in the same direction. Not on the troubles. Not on the disabilities. But on the joys of the moment. Like Caitlyn, let's not stop smiling. Let's overlook our hurdles and look beyond to what is waiting. Have a great day! JW

Monday, October 05, 2009

And Be Thankful

Martha and I got quite a surprise. Franklin, our youth minister, asked us if he and his wife could take us to dinner. Why sure! I'm never one to turn things down like that. But then we started thinking. Why are they doing this? Is there something they want to tell us? Are they struggling with something? When we got to the restaurant, they teens were there with a welcome "Surprise!" It's Pastor Appreciation Month and they were thanking Martha and me for being at Southwest. We were truly blessed by their "thanksgiving." I am thankful for them and for their love.
Paul tells the church in Collosse to "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, cince as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Those last three words ring in my ears all the time. "And be thankful." Thanksgiving is the gateway to praise. It is the gasoline on the fire of a good and faithful life. The good thing is, we may not all have the talents to preach a gospel sermon or to be a missionary to a foreign country or to lead a worship service, but we can all be thankful. And that I am. Thanks for remembering us! Have a great day! JW

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Sign is Wrong

The bank sign said it was 74 degrees this morning. Now to my friends below the Mason-Dixon line, that's great. Only problem is, it's 54 degrees. I noticed this sign the other day when the temperature was really starting to change. I believe one morning it said 78 when it was really 58. I hadn't gotten used to the cool mornings yet and I marvelled at how warm it really was....after all, the bank sign said 78. What really tipped me off on the bank sign was when it read 90 degrees the other day. Now I know what 90 degrees feels like. So I was on to that sign now.
You're probably thinking at this point, "What is Jim trying to get at? I mean, he's talking about a bank sign for crying out loud!" This same phenomenon happens in our churches. Someone starts saying something that is untrue, shady, or an opinion that one has that may or may not be accurate. And we just take it at face value. For instance. "The singing just wasn't really that good this morning, was it?" (The bank sign says 90) Or, "That preacher isn't really doing what he should be doing, is he?" (It's really 58 degrees, not 78 degrees) Or, one I read about recently, "Things just aren't going well at church, are they?" Pretty soon we start believing the lie. And the church falls apart. Satan is good at what he does.
Recently, I was talking to a young preacher and he was talking to a chaplain from a hospital. He mentioned he worked at a Church of Christ and the response was typical. "You're the guys that don't use any instruments." I told him he should have said, "Yeah, and you should come hear it. It's beautiful!" I believe this can work the other way. Let's take the positive tack on this and start talking about our churches in a positive light. Let's invite! Let's encourage! Let's say how good it is! I'm not saying we should close our eyes to any problems. But my experience is we have a whole lot more to be excited and blessed about than we do problems. Let's focus on the positive and not the negative and let's turn this thing around. Didn't Paul said, "Do everything without complaining."? Let's try it. Have a great day! JW

P.S. And come visit us this Sunday! Great things are happening!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Satan's been after me lately. I don't know why. Perhaps he's sensed a weakness, a "more opportune time." But as I get older, the question keeps coming back to me, "What have I done of any importance?" "What have I accomplished that will last?" When I see that, I wonder if I've had an impact at all. Now, this is not the place where you say, "Oh, Jim, don't think like that. I love you and you've meant so much to me. etc., etc. etc. That's not the purpose of this blog. I'm just telling you some heart feelings.
Then I realize, I've asked the wrong questions. It's not, "What have you done?" It's, "How have I let Jesus rule in my life?" Then my life takes on a whole 'nother meaning. It's leaves the "it's all about me.." to "it's all about Him.." He can handle it. He can take care of it. And He can accomplish things that I wiil never see. Perhaps a kind word here that meant little to me may turn up years later as encouragement to someone who remembers that moment and praises God. Or perhaps it will show up in my children. Perhaps they will touch lives, some of whom haven't even been born yet. But it doesn't matter. This isn't about what I want to accomplish. It's about how He will use me. So I'll have to remember that I'm God's poem, just waiting to be read. God's creation. God's man. And I pray that He will be glorified in my life.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Family Reunion

My wife and I just returned from a family reunion in Ohio. My first (he doesn't want me to say oldest) brother and his wife were also there so we made the visit to old churches, old homes, three cemeteries, and the like. We laughed and laughed with cousins and other relatives. We ate together at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan, OH. It may not have quite been like the family reunions of old, but it was fun. We reminisced, looked at old pictures, met new members of the family, marvelled at how old some looked, and how young others looked.
As I pondered, I thought how this weekend was representative of my entire life. We visited the old Bearwallow Church of Christ on Bearwallow Ridge. We found the Lancaster Street Church of Christ that my dad helped to literally build...I mean bricks and mortar and everything. We saw where they used to meet there in Athens, just a little square brick house. And we attended church on Sunday at the Blackburn Road Church of Christ there in Athens. I took my brother to the Old Bedford church; at least to where it used to stand. A split from the old Bedford Chruch formed the Bearwallow Church. How appropriate that our entire lives were built around church. With my dad being a preacher and then later a college professor, we spent our time at church, always. If there was a meeting somewhere, we were there. Many times, it was dad preaching the meetings. When the doors opened, we were there. Our lives then and now center around church.
We visited with aunts and uncles, cousins and other in-laws. We laughed and laughed. I'm not talking just a chuckle. I'm talking about the kind of laughter that always occurred at family reunions. Gentle ribbing, old stories, pranks played, and sometimes we just laughed because we were together. My aunt left the room and she claimed it got quiet. She claimed that when I walked back in the room it got loud again. Once again, that has been my life. Utter joy around family. Even when the times weren't so good, we could still find a reason for some laughter. A good joke or just the sheer fun of being together made our time so precious.
And three cemeteries. Burlingham where my great-great grandfather and his wife are buried. He's the one who started it all there in Ohio. He left Virginia after the Civil War to begin a new life. He was long gone before I came along, but his influence continues on to this day. Cherry Ridge where many more relatives are buried including my great grandfather and family, my grandfather and his family. Hallowed ground. As the gentle breeze blew across the field I could see our family gather in difficult times weeping and mourning the loss of another family member who had gone on to their reward. Yet, there was always hope. Hope that we would all, I mean all, would see each other again. That's what we were taught, that's what we believe. The Old Bedford cemetery didn't have any relatives that I know of. But the church that stood there was the place where my great-great grandfather worshiped God.
Church, Joy, Death. All vital parts of my life. Some may say that those three are a strange combination. I think they are what life is all about. We find God in our relationships with God's people. And God's people are our relatives if they are physically related to us or spiritually related. The joy we share is priceless. And when we die, we know that it's just the beginning. I forget who said this, but I remember someone describing death as putting out the candle because the sun was coming up. What a great description.
What a great trip we had. It was a reminder to let me know just how fortunate I am to have the loving family that I have. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Please Pray

I can recite the answers. And usually can believe them. But when it happens close to you, it's still easy to ask, "Why?" Let me explain.
The other evening I received an e-mail from one of my brothers. You must understand, he's an agnostic at best. Was once a believer. Something has happened, I can't explain what. But he is now bitter, angry, fierce, (I think you get it) when it comes to anything spiritual. He'd just as soon curse at you if you bring up the subject. I have two other brothers. One is a minister, the other a missionary. Difficult things have happened in their lives and their trust and faith in God remains strong. Anyway, back to the e-mail. He wanted to pass on a request for his wife that we pray for her. It was blatantly obvious that he wasn't asking for prayers, but that SHE was asking for prayers.
You see, over five years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through all the chemotherapy, the hair loss, the nausea, everything associated with cancer treatments. Recently, she had passed the famed "five-year" mark. Cancer-free. She hadn't been feeling well lately; in fact, a little sluggish. She visited her doctor and he told her it was probably just allergies. No blood test. Not long after that, she saw her brother who, by the way, is a physician. He noticed something wrong. To make a long story short. Blood tests, lab work, etc., she's been diagnosed with acute leukemia. Seems it's a side effect of the treatment she had for breast cancer.
Now do you see? We visited her last night. They are literally destroying her immune system in order to attempt to bring it back again. She'll be in the hospital for two, maybe three weeks, maybe laonger. She requests prayers. He remains interestingly silent. But I'm asking for prayers. You may not know them, but God does. Please let them see His face in the middle of all this. God is so good. JW

Monday, August 10, 2009


You know what? Planning isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think one should go into life helter skelter with nothing planned or anything like that. I've taken all the courses in graduate school. I remember one of my professors saying that twenty minutes of planning saves an hour of time (I think that's what he said. Maybe I didn't get that in my notes well enough, referenced, and catalogued correctly. I wasn't planning to use that illustration here!).
Although I'm not what many would call a big planner, there's a side of me that's kind of organized. Is that possible? Kind of organized? Anyway, I keep several calendars. I keep one at my desk. I keep one on my computer. I downlowad the one from the computer onto my iPod and my Blackberry. Sometimes I make up a third one.
But do you know what happens? Life. Life isn't on a schedule. Many times it isn't planned and it doesn't go exactly the way you had it mapped out. Let me give you an example.
Last week was my scheduled time for Green Valley Bible Camp. It's a week I look forward to all year long. It's on the calendar and unless the Lord comes again, it is set in concrete as deep as we can put it. This year was different. About an hour and a half on my journey down to camp I received a phone call telling me of the passing of one of dear members. It wasn't unexpected. In fact, I knew it would. Sometimes, and those of you who have dealt with those in hospice know, it isn't always imminent. Instead of spending the entire week at camp, I left Tuesday around noon to make the six and a half hour drive back home. The funeral was Wednesday and I returned after the graveside arriving back at camp at 10:30 Wednesday night.
Did I resent having to do that? No way! It was an honor to come back and preach his service. Did I begrudge having to drive an extra 13 hours? Absolutely not! I got to see my family which was an unexpected serendipity. Am I special for doing that? No, no, no way. Why would I be called special just for living life? That's just the way it is.
The same thing happened to Jesus. He was on His way to heal the ruler's daughter when a woman came up behind Him to touch the edge of His robe. When she was healed, Jesus stopped and said, "Who touched me?" The apostles were incredulous. "All of these people surrounding you and you ask, 'Who touched me?'" He commended the woman for her faith. He didn't deride her for keeping Him from His task. He took a moment and praised her. Now if Jesus can be flexible, why can't we?
Things don't always go the way we want. That's all right. Just continue to remember that it's His agenda and not yours. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Parking Close at the Gym

You probably know by now that I belong to a health club. Not that it's making a great difference in my girth, but at least I feel healthy. Anyway, I try to work out for about an hour about four times a week. As I drive into the parking lot, I'm always looking for a good parking place. You know, one close to the front door...where I don't have to walk too far... Usually, when I leave, someone waits for me to vacate my spot so they can park close, too. Now think about this for just a moment. I'm going to the health club to exercise. Exercise means walking fast and riding a bike hard. Getting the old heart beating and sweating like a crazy man. Heaven forbid that I have to walk any distance to get to the door. How crazy is that?
We do it at church all the time. Oh, it's not getting the best parking spot, but the principle is still the same. Our appearance at the church building is to make people think that we are holy. We show up, make an appearance, sing a few songs, pray a little, and we are holy. We seem to forget that it's not how we act inside the four walls of the church building, church is where we go every day. It's how we act. It's how we think. It's who we are. If, however, we can be there and look holy, amen the preacher once in a while (as long as he doesn't go too long), and beat the Baptists to the restaurants, then we're Christian. Oh, my goodness, no. Jesus said, "These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." Kind of like leaving it at the gym and not taking it with us. Let's not be that way. Let's remember who we are and whose we are. Let's not look for the easy way. I hope your day is a great one. JW

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stunned by Scripture

I am stunned by Scripture. I mean that. Things that I have read hundreds of times jut leap out at me and just stun and amaze. We heard of "shock and awe" during the war with Iraq. It doesn't even hold a candle to God's Word.
Now I have to admit, I have read it enough that sometimes I get lacksidasical and often skim over the reading because I have read it before. That's why I like reading different translations because they give me a new insight into what God is saying. It also slows me down when I read. I have been using "The Message" as my personal Bible study. I was reading in I Kings about Solomon and him asking God for wisdom instead of riches and long life. Listen to how Peterson words Solomon's request. God asks Solomon, "What can I give you?" Here is his response.

Here's what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil.

Wow! A God-listening heart. That's what I want. I want a God listening heart. I listen so much to what the television is saying, what the people say about my sermons, what everybody else is saying. What I need is a God listening heart.
Dear God, help me to turn out all of the voices who try to drown out your message and your word and your will and help me to hear only You. Help me to, as the Psalmist says, "Be still and know that you are God." Help me to hear only You. For I want a God listening heart. In our Savior's name. Amen. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sixteen Years

July 8, 2009. It doesn't seem possible, but 16 years ago today, my dad passed from this life to his eternal reward. I still miss him to this day. What an influence he's been not only to me, but to many others down through the years. Even today I have people come to me and say, "You know, your dad was such a good guy." There's a passage in Judges that talks about the influence that Joshua had. It says that the children of Israel followed the Lord as long as the memory of Joshua lasted. I feel that way about dad. Now who will carry on his legacy? If I could just be half the man he is, what an honor that would be. He wasn't perfect. But he followed unquestionably the One who was. I still have his Bible, one that I gave him back several years ago. He would underline passages that were important to him. Ocassionally, I still pick up his Bible and read what I call the gospel according to Ed. You know what I do now? I underline passages in my Bible. I've already given one to my daughter. There are more for Nate and perhaps for the grandkids. But truth is, Ed lives on. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Monday, June 29, 2009


I was working out on the treadmill the other day at the gym when a little lady came shuffling by. She was carrying her portable oxygen tank with the clear, plastic tube running from the tank, around her head, and under her nose bringing the oxygen that she so much needed just to breathe. She climbed up into the treadmill a couple of machines down and started exercising. Now, I'm going at such a pace that I'm sweating (I'm sorry, perspiring) profusely. I'm smug in my attitude thinking that this lady just cannot keep up with the athlete that I am. She began her exercising and they had to put up a post next to her just to see if she was really moving. I mean, I've seen calendars move faster than she was.
After a few minutes, she was huffing and puffing and she had to climb down out of the treadmill. I, on the other hand, continued my vigorous pace and easily outdistanced her not only in speed, but in time. After finishing a grueling work-out on the treadmill, I went over to the stationary bikes. And what to my surpise and excitement, Miss Oxygen Tank 2009 was on one of the bikes near me. She was reading while (barely) pedaling her bike. Now I have a theorem here. If you can read a book or work a crossword puzzle while exercising on your bike, you're not getting any exercise. I felt she was getting more exercise by carrying around her oxygen tank. Once again, I pedalled hard as I ate away those calories.
Now my natural instinct was to get off my bike and jump in front of this lady and say something like, "In your face woman! I am an athlete. I am awesome! I have worked out for 50 minutes and you are only at a snail's pace. Take that! If you had done what I'm doing when you were my age, perhaps you wouldn't have needed that oxygen tank now!"
That's what I wanted to say. Until I saw him. I don't know his name, but when I'm talking to my wife I say, "Did you see "him?" I think his name is Adonis. He has broad shoulders, a narrow waist, his thighs are as big as tree trunks. And when he works out on the eliptical, he goes on and on and on and on. He hardly breaks a sweat and he doesn't even breathe hard. It takes him 30 minutes just to stretch all those muscles. He deservedly could get into my face and say, "In your face. I am an athlete. I am awesome! I have worked out for 2 hours and you are only at a snail's pace. Take that!" In his presence, I feel like the woman with the oxygen tank.
There is a passage of Scripture that speaks to this. We tend to spend our lives comparing ourselves to others. "I'm not that bad. Why, just look at...." You can always find someone worse than you. And vice versa, you can always find someone better than you. Paul said, "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own burden." Really we can't get into the comparison game because whatever we do, we will all find ourselves comparing ourselves to Jesus. There is not one who can even hold a candle to Him. When we realize that He is the one who created our bodies from nothing. He spoke and the universe came into existence and I sit here saying, "I can walk on the treadmill longer that you!" Then it really becomes silly, doesn't it?
Let's not waste our time comparing ourselves with others. Instead, let's strive to become more like Him. Not, not Adonis. Him. Adonai. The Lord Jesus Christ. I hope your day is a good one.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Sunday!

I like being up early on Sunday mornings. It's at this time I contemplate what is about to happen. The sermon has been finished since Thursday although preparation has been going on for a long time. The anticipation builds because something good is about to happen.
There is someone today who needs this sermon. That's the beauty of it. I don't know who it is and may never know. And I really don't care who it is. When God is totally in control, the seed falls on the hearts and I don't have to worry about anything.
I'll preach and try to stay completely out of the way. That's hard to do for some preachers (and I have to admit, it's hard for me). See, we want the credit. I want someone to come along and give me some credit. Yeah, it's God's message and God's words. But I want someone to come up and say, "That was the best sermon..." "Preacher, how do you do it week in and week out?" "That was awesome!" Instead, I have to pray each week that God take my feeble words and make them into what He wants said. I have to ask to take me completely out of the picture. And I often pray that I get no response complimenting me...just make sure that God is honored and glorified and praised. At the end of each sermon, as I walk to the back, I apologize that my little effort hasn't matched up to the greatness of God's majesty. But he took a little stone and killed a giant, he can take little words and do great things for His glory.
Sound strange coming from a preacher? I imagine that goes through the mind of many, many preachers each week. It's time to go now. Great things are about to happen. God's people are getting ready to meet. God is in their midst. Have a great day! JW

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sam Thomsen--One Year Past

June 11, 2009, exactly one year ago I learned of the death of a young 13, almost 14 year old Boy Scout. Not just any Boy Scout. But a vibrant, active, funny, friend of mine who attended my church. He was killed at the Little Sioux Boy Scout Ranch when the tornado hit last year. These things only happen out there. They don't happen in Omaha, NE. Oh, yes, we have tornadoes, but they pass by, do a little damage, and if someone is hurt, it's no one I know. This one was different. Everyone wanted to know about him. Larry King, Good Morning American, The New York Times, NPR, and all the local news stations.
Sam Thomsen began life having to fight. He was premature. He was adopted by one of our families. He had to work at everything. And just about the time it seemed that he was overcoming everything and doing so well, a tornado killed him. That's not fair. It's not fair to him. It's not fair to his family who loved him and miss him dearly. It's not fair to his friends. And we still are struggling with his death. In the grand scheme of things, I still want to ask "Why?". I haven't answered that one. Nor do I think I ever will. Yes, I'll see good things, and have seen good things that have come from this. But will I understand it? Nope, probably not.
I will, however, worship Him in the storm. I wasn't there when He layed the foundations of the earth. I don't know where He keeps the storehouses of hail and snow. I do know that He is God and He will make all things right. This fallen world confuses, destroys, and batters. But I refuse to despair. "The steadfast of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is they faithfulness. The Lord is my portion says my soul. Therefore I will hope in him." So says Jeremiah in the ruins of Jerusalem. So say I. Please keep Larry, Sharon, Lindsey, and Sarah Thomsen in your prayers...at all times...especially today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of the state of Massachussetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln

Written during the Civil War.

In honor of all those who have served our country in the military and especially to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Billy Joel and Womanhood

My wife and I went to a Billy Joel/Elton John concert the other night. Or was it Elton John/Billy Joel? The music was truly a blast from the past (did I really say that?) and other than all the slobbering drunk people, it was an enjoyable time. BJ sings a song that I find intriguing and I have included the words below. You probably know the song:

She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes,
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies,
And she only reveals what she wants you to see.
She hides like a child but she's always a woman to me.
She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you,
She can ask for the truth but she'll never believe you,
And she'll take what you give her as long as it's free,
Yeah, she steals like a thief but she's always a woman to me.

The song goes on with lines like, "...she'll promise you more than the garden of Eden then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding."

Contrast these words with the ones below:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confindence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

I think you get the picture. Billy Joel's idea of a woman and God's idea of a woman are vastly different. I think I'll go with God's idea. Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Judgements and Pepperdine

So, I was sitting in church services with a killer sore throat and I could hardly speak two words without coughing uncontrollably. So I decided to just sit during the worship and not even try to sing. I decided to watch people as they participated. Most were singing along, but I spotted one person who wasn't. How dare they? How arrogant they were! Why, not even singing. This is the Lord's service and this person wasn't singing??? C'mon! Then I realized...neither was I. Maybe this person was looking at me and saying the same things I was about him/her. Then a verse popped into my head. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measure to you." Oh, let's be careful with our thoughts and judgements. Let's err on the side of grace instead on the side of judgement. We certainly don't want to Lord to be completely just with us, do we?

Pepperdine was as good as ever. The evening sessions were conducted by Monte Cox, Rich Little (no, not THAT Rich Little. Rich is the preacher at Naperville, IL), Curt Sparks, and Mike Cope. Not too shabby a line up. I also heard Rick Atchley and Rubel Shelley speak. Randy Harris, Jeff Walling, and many more were on the program. People ask me all the time if I learned anything when I go to lectures. Of course, I do. But this one seemed to affirm me more than anything. The things I have been talking about are the things they talked about. It made me think that perhaps I was listening to God's call in what He wanted me to be thinking. Holy Spirit, thank you for prompting me!
I also got to see Brian and Karen Koonce and three of their four kids. A good time was had by all. The singing, the fellowship, the feeding...and, oh yeah, Malibu...what a campus. It was so good to get home, though. Til next year. Have a great day.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Please pray for the Rines

Last Thursday night, my wife and I took our daughter out to eat to celebrate her 26th birthday. We had a nice meal and then the two of them duped me into going to one of the lovely malls we have here in Omaha. I thought that would be fine since they would only be gone a "few minutes." "We just want to check on one thing." I went to the sporting goods store and then the Apple Computer store and then to the Fossil watch store. That took about 5 minutes. I happened to catch them walking as I headed back to the car. "I"m just going to wait on you at the car," I said. My daughter gave me one of those smiles thinking that I was going back to the car to take a nap.
I sat there (and didn't sleep) and sat there and sat there and sat there. Finally, after quite a while (nearly an hour) they showed up. I let them know my displeasure and told them they should have at least let me know they were going to spend the time shopping while leaving me with nothing to do in the car.
At about the same time on that Thursday night, Micah Rine Pate was murdered. My friend Dennis and Terri Rine lost their child who was almost exactly the same age as my daughter. She was shot and her body dumped along the banks of the Loosahatchie River. She didn't deserve that. She was a sweet girl who loved God.
My daughter, Meredith, once bit Micah in first grade. You see, Micah took her chair and so she responded. Micah's birthday was at the end of April and Meredith's at the first of May. Each year we communicated to find out when there was a party so we didn't interfere with the other. Dennis was in my men's prayer group. My parents knew his parents. My parents knew his grandaparents. My parents knew Terri's parents.
It was my wife who pointed out to me that when I was complaining about my daughter shopping, the Rine's daughter was losing her life. And while I still have my daughter, they don't. O, Lord, please forgive me. Forgive my foolish ways. Help me to appreciate my family more even when they are doing things I don't enjoy. And help me to never....never take them for granted. Please comfort Dennis, Terri, and Casey. Help them to know that you hold them in the palm of your hand. Help them to know that this world is not our home. Father, bless them. Help them to know that you know and understand what it's like to lose a child. In Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Gideon's Get It

Here is a prayer that I received from the Gideons this week.

God most high, who controls all things--from the revolving planets to the unseen things that keep our world alive. We glorify Your omnipotent poewr in providing for our daily needs and, by Your grace, unveling a course to everlasting life with You. We pray for the High School Seniors that attend the Southwest Church of Christ who will taking the big step of graduating next month. Direct them in the course that You want them to follow for both their spirutal and professional lives. Be with those church members involved with the April 25th & 26th Prayer Vigil, that the planning, organizing, leading, and actual prayers will be guided by Your hand and that everything will go smoothly. We also ask that, during the church's emphasis on prayer, that more members will become more comfortable with praying and that they will expand their prayer time and prayer topics. May the special mailings on prayer that will be sent out trigger additional prayer requests and more ideas for ongoing meditation and devotionals. The church also requests that we continue to pray for those members that are being hurt by the present economic situation. Grant the affected families understanding, compassion, peace, hope, and Your over-riding compassion. We ask that You continue to bless them with Your promise that You will never leave or forsake them. Lastly, we pray for the health, stamina, teaching, and leading of Pastor Jim. Continue to guide him and the church into Your everlasting presence. We pray in the name of Your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Amen! The Gideon's get it. After this, they said in my letter, "...(we) considered it a great prvilege to pray for you this morning, and we will pray for you this coming week and thereafter." Thank you, those who belong to the Gideon's. Thank you more than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seeing What Is Right In Front of My Eyes

I appreciate my wife for many things. One of the things I love about her is she sees things that I don't. She sees good in people when I don't. She has an intuition about situations that is uncanny. At Christmas, she likes to turn off all the lights in the room except for the lights on the Christmas tree and then she looks at the celing. There the lights flicker on and off in a myriad of patterns and colors that you wouldn't have seen with the lights on.
This weekend I enjoyed one of the things she taught me. You can only see this phenomenon one time of the year and it has to be in the South. We were returning from Searcy, AR and were traveling through NW Arkansas. This is the time of the year when the dogwoods and redbuds are blooming. But it's still too early for the leaves to be on the trees. So as we drove up through the Ozark Mountains towards Fayetteville, AR and through the Ozark National Forest, there is something you can see. Look into the trees and you will see all of the dogwoods blooming. There are thousands of tree trunks, but if you look closely, you can see the beautiful white and pink blossoms on the dogwoods and redbuds. Truly a treat. I would have never seen that had it not been for my wife's perception.
We get so busy in our lives that we often overlook the profound. Someone described it as the tyranny of the urgent. But if we slow down and look beyond the trees, often we'll see something beautiful, something downright spiritual. Perhaps that's what Jesus had in mind when He said we must become like little children. My encouragement to you today is to look beyond what you can see. Maybe you'll see something you've never seen before. And it will change you attitude. Maybe. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Keep Going

Someone said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that football is a sport where 80,000 people in need of exercise are screaming for 22 people who need a break. I find that's usually true in the church. My tendency to listen to those who criticize is directly proportional to how involved they are in the Lord's work. I've noticed this recently while working out at the gym. There are those who are working so hard on their machines...elipticals or stair steps. And while they are working out so hard, invariably someone comes up and starts talking to them. They stand there and visit while the exercisee is panting, sweating, and getting the old heart rate up. I'll tell you right now, about the only response you would get from me would be a nod of the head or a shrug of the shoulders. I might flip some sweat on them. But frankly, I'm too busy working out to have time to worry about other things.
Isn't that true in the church? Have you noticed the ones complaining are usually the ones with a lot of time on their hands? They are really doing anything? They feel their gift is the gift of criticism? Can I give you (and me) some advice? Keep peddling. Keep walking. Keep doing what you are doing. Paul told the Galatians "We can't allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way." The NIV translated that, "Let us not become weary in doing good." I remember Dr. Paul Faulker once told the story of the Mississippi River. He said, you can go out into the Gulf of Mexico several hundred miles and there is still fresh water. Why? Because the river continues to press on in spite of the pollution that's dumped in it, in spite of everything that lies in her path, she continues on. So much so, that she makes an impact into something as vast as the Gulf of Mexico. So it should be with us. Don't worry about those who are standing there talking to you trying to distract you from your appointed task. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Kimball Matkins

President Wayne Baker and I traveled to Des Moines, IA in 2001 because we were needing a new admissions counselor at York College. We wanted someone a little more mature, a little older than those we had traditionally hired. Generally, we would hire someone right out of college, send them on the road and burn them out. We didn't have to pay them much and we could get a few good years out of them before they moved on. But this was different. There was a gentleman who lived in Des Moines, a two-year graduate of York College who had just tragically lost his wife to cancer. He had two children--one who had already gotten his degree from York and had married. Another, a daughter, was just beginning to start her freshman year at York. There was something special about Kimball. He had a wonderful attitude. Even though he had lost the most precious thing on earth to him, his lovely wife, he didn't blame God. He didn't consider himself a victim. He had a positive view on life. We offered him a job as an admissions counselor and he took it.
Kimball hit the road with a passion. He traveled extensively to Montana and all points in between. He would be gone for several weeks at a time, making an impact, encouraging kids to come to York. It was a good fit for him and us. We got the maturity we wanted. He was able to distract himself from his loss and totally immerse himself in his new job.
On one of his trips, he met a young lady who had three little boys. They began to communicate on line and soon he came to my office to tell me he was getting married again. I remember him having those little boys in his office and having to punish them. I smirked because he was starting all over again. He would come and ask me if he could apply for other jobs on campus because he wanted to stay home more often. I gave him my blessing, but I didn't want to lose him because he was so good at what he did.
I left York College in 2003 and Kimball finished his B.A. in Business. He took on another job as financial aid director. Life seemed good. Kimball would tell you that even if it wasn't. "God is good...all the time." he used to say often. My wife was at a Leadership Training for Christ meeting in Kansas City and she mentioned that she had seen Kimball. "What is wrong?" she asked. He was really hobbling. I visited with him briefly and he told me that he just felt weak. I told my wife I hope he didn't have multiple sclerosis. He didn't. He had Lou Gehrig's disease. The last time I talked to Kimball was at his father's funeral. He was in a wheel chair and he was having a difficult time speaking. I came home and told my wife that he would not be around next year at the same time.
Now I know I'm not a prophet, but I was right. Kimball left this life in the early hours on March 26th. I don't mourn for him. I mourn for his wife, his three step sons, his two kids from his first wife, and his grandchildren. I wish they could have known their grandfather. He was a good man. But he's no longer in pain. He no longer has to shuffle. He now has the strength that he had lost...and then some. As the following words were read yesterday, tears flowed from my eyes as I thought of Kimball.

He gives strength to weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. The screen said, "I'm soaring." Indeed you are, my friend. Indeed you are.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tulsa Workshop--2009

I returned from the Tulsa Workshop Saturday evening. We drove through torrential downpours, slushy sleet, hard sleet, snow...combine this with a horrible, stiff 30-40 mph wind and the driving was horrible. Once we got about a half an hour past St. Joseph, MO, the roads were dry, the temperature started to rise, and the sun came out. I felt like an employee of the postal service. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of the night shall keep these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Well, we didn't have heat, but everything else was there.
I always come back from Tulsa wanting to be more like Jesus. The messages I hear move me and I look forward to hearing them. But the biggest benefit I gain from the workshop is seeing so many friends from years past. My meals were taken up with just three examples. One a former youth minister I met many, many years ago when I was the director of admissions at Harding. He helped with Uplift and I quickly learned to like him and appreciate his many skills. He has sense received his doctorate and works with training youth ministers at one of our Christian universities. Another meal was take up with a family who lost their first child at the age of 4 months. She was a Downs syndrome baby and her heart was just not formed enough for her to survive. I preached their baby's funeral and it was an honor to do so. They are presently trying to raise funds to go on the mission field. Another was a lady who I've known since college. We've been together at camp as co-workers for many years. She and her husband have three sons of which the middle son was a close friend of my daughter's as they were going through the junior high angst years. She drove over to have lunch with Martha and me. I haven't even mentioned former co-worker preachers, former colleagues at Christian schools where I've worked, there was even a gentleman I went to camp with even more and more years ago than I care to think about. What good and precious times.
My one sadness is when I see the coliseum and observe the crowds. My mind goes back to the 70s and 80s when the place was full. You had to get there early to get a seat. There was an excitement and anticipation that God was moving. You still get that feeling when you see the crowd. But the coliseum isn't full anymore. Why is that? I don't know. Our culture seems to have gotten so busy. We have gotten so divisive. In some ways we have lost of desire to see the world hear His name. But we'll keep plugging. Maybe someday we'll get it even larger than before. I guess I would rather have fewer numbers of people who are truly excited and moved to serve God and a lot of numbers of people who are just there to be seen. God is alive and active. Good things are happening in His church! I thank God for Terry Rush, Shane Coffman, and others on the staff of Memorial Drive who take this thankless task on every year. They are good, godly men who want to see the workshop grow. And I intend to help them to that very thing. I hope your day is good. JW

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Does God Require of Us?

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately. Frankly, I have had nothing profound or glib to say. No experiences that have made me ponder, laugh, ruminate, or cogitate. Life has been pretty boring lately, and that's not necessarily bad. One mountain peak experience after another and you begin to become jaded to mountain tops. So when the mountain top does come...wow!
I was reading today in The Message (presently my daily Scripture reading Bible). I'm always struck with the simplicity of God's instructions. I'm also amused how we add to, yea multiply and expound and interpret what God meant in these instructions. Jesus told the young lawyer that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything you had. How simple is that? Simple to understand, difficult to carry out. But God knew there would be some dummy (me!) coming along reading and He had to keep it as simple as possible so he(me!)could understand it. Here's another one of those, "Let's just keep it simple" passages.
Moses is talking to the Israelites as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. He's giving them a history lesson, some instructions, some encouragement. He tells them what God expects of them. When I saw that, I perked up. Here's what he said.

So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I'm commanding you today--live a good life.

Pretty simple to understand. Pretty hard to carry out.
1. Live in God's presence knowing how holy He is.
2. Follow where He leads
3. Love Him
4. Serve Him with every fiber of your being
5. Obey Him
6. Live a good life

Wow! Let's try this...even if just for a day. Let me know how it works. I'm going to try it myself. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What A Difference Six Years Makes

I drove him up to the junior high school and let him out. It was a strange sensation. Really the last time I had done this he was a short, little adolescent whose voice hadn't really changed. His hair was kind of butch with a little bleach in it (that was the style, tipped kind of blond, remember?). He was carrying a back pack and his books for another day at school. No worries. No cares. Just school. That was six years ago.
Today when I dropped him off he was wearing a tie. He was observing a class for one of his classes at college. He wasn't the scrawny kid anymore. He was a man...a young man, but a man. What a difference six years makes. Instead of 13 years old, he's 19. Instead of worrying about lockers and bullies, he's interested in quarter notes and scales. Where has the last six years gone?
I begged out of a meeting last night because I know that I won't have many more of these opportunities. He's at the end of my job. Not really, but you know what I mean. He won't live under my roof much longer. Yes, I'll still have influence and some say so. But it diminishes every day. Have I done enough? Have I done my job? After all these 19 years, what do I want to say? I can sum it up in just a few words. "Follow God, my son. And follow His Son." I hope your day is a good one.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Spiritual Lint

Georg Steinhauser...get used to the name. He is an Austrian scientist who has made a wonderful discovery. It must have taken years for him to figure this out (acutally three). He has discovered that navel hair (which is more of a problem for men than women) comes from abdominal hair and fibers from cotton shirts. Can you believe this guy spent the time and effort to come up with something that we already knew? Unbelievable, isn't it?
Yet, don't we do the same thing. We get so bogged down on the minor things that we lose sight of the fact that there is a dying world out there that needs to hear Jesus. Don't we forget that while we argue spiritual minutiae, often opinion, the fact is we are not reaching out to help those who are in need.
In essence, we become spiritual lint-pickers. That doesn't sound very appealing or nice...and it shouldn't. But that is what we are so many times. I'm encouraging you to open your eyes and look out. See the people who are hurting. See those who need your message of hope. Frankly, they don't care about the fights we are having. They just want a place where they can lay their burdens down. We should be helping them find just that place. Join us, please. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two Women

These are two women who have earned the right to be bitter. One lost her daughter to a senseless murder. The killer has yet to be apprehended. The other lost a son in a tragic tornado at a scout ranch. I talked to one yesterday via e-mail, I saw the other as I left my office.
What was their demeanor? Well, one sent me an e-mail about a mutual friend whose daughter has been in the hospital but is recovering. She talked of God's work through prayer...how amazing He was in working His will throughout the world. At the end of the e-mail she said, "...But, there again, God had everything under control…we have so much to be grateful for." Does that sound bitter, angry, discouraged?
The other, as previously mentioned, I saw as I left my office yesterday. She was driving in as I was driving out. Again, how did she act? She waved. Not just a wave of recognition. But a spirited wave of the hand, back and forth, a smile on her face as if she was glad to see me. I'm sure she was. That's just the way she is.
I'm not saying these ladies' don't have sadness in their lives. They grieve, I'm sure, every day for their loved one. But they don't choose gloom. They choose to believe that God is in control and that He will make all things clear. They choose to believe there is more than just this life. They have decided to be hopeful. Frankly, I consider it an honor to know them. They are heroes to me. They have come through those difficult times and are still standing because they believe in El-Shaddai, the Almighty God, the All-Sufficient One.
There are others around just like them. You see them every day. Thank God for those who have put their trust in God. Praise His name for His promise to never leave us. Put in faith in Him because He is the only One who will never fail. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Going to Happen

Here is something deep and profound. I hope you're sitting down because this will knock your socks off. I have this life thing figured out. Are you ready? Here it is. Sit back. You're going to die...and so am I. I've noticed it because just recently the fathers of two of our members died, and the father of a former colleague, six or seven members of my congregation last year, and there are others. And it's not just old people. There are 80 year olds, 13 year olds, and most ages in between. Death is no respecter of persons.
So the message is this; what kind of lives should we live? Death is inevitable. Unless the Lord comes again before we die, it's going to happen to all of us. It's the great equalizer of humanity. It's just going to happen. Red, yellow, black, or white, you're going to die. Atheist or Agnostic or Believer, it's bound to happen to all of us.
Have you noticed, you're not as young as you used to be? You ache in places where you didn't realize you had muscle. You're not nearly as agile as you used to be. When you sit down on the floor, it takes five minutes for you to get up...and then when you finally get up, you have to rest for a minute to catch your breath. The Hebrew writer said, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment." Again, what kind of live should we live? I love the thoughts from a song we used to sing long ago:

One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me o'er and o'er:
Today I'm nearer to my home
Than e'er I've been before.

Feel as if now my feet
Were slipping o'er the brink;
For I may now be nearer home,
Much nearer than I think.

Each day we live we take one more step closer to home. Instead of dread, shouldn't that be a journey of joy? I know on long trips when I was a child, the anticipation of almost being there was almost too much for me to handle. So if we know our ultimate destination, shouldn't we be enjoying the trip? Something to think about. Don't get down about this...unless your relationship with the Lord is not what it should be. But think about this today. And if your relationship isn't what it should be, let me know. Let's talk. Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'd like to think that I didn't fall off the turnip truck, but I'm such a rube! I received an invitation to come to a meeting of the Journalist Broadcast group. Sure. Why not? When I got there I was assigned to an account executive and I had to listen to a presention. What was the presentation? The lady talked of market share, getting through to our customers, branding, and other marketing mish mash.
Now you have to understand, my background is marketing. I have spent 15 years in college/university enrollment, so I understand marketing. And I think there's a place for some kind of (for lack of a better term) promotion of the church. But I just can't reduce souls to market shares and customers. I struggle with calling church loyalty "branding." Lands knows we've messed that up enough the way it is.
So, what do you call it and how do you do it? This is profound, so listen up. Jesus said the way you accomplish this is to love God with everything you've got and to love people. In my opinion, we've done too much marketing. We've convinced everyone that we think we're the only ones going to heaven. We "proved" to people that if you use instruments, you're going to hell. We've branded the name "Church of Christ" so much that people will attend without even reading Scripture one to figure out if what we are doing coincides with what Jesus ever said.
So, let's show the love of Jesus. Let's be good citizens and serve people who are hurting. Let's praise God. And you know what, people will bust down your doors to get in. People will want to know "what's going on at that church?". You'll have growth like you've never seen it before.
Lord, please save us from ourselves. Have a great day. JW

Monday, February 16, 2009


I love the smell of baby wipes. That sounds crazy, I know, but it reminds me of my children when they were little. Lying on their backs as I changed their diapers (now THAT'S not that pleasant), I would take one of those wipes and clean them up. Chocolate on their cute little faces after eating ice cream cones were quickly cleaned up and the smell, well it just takes me back. Back to a time when I could solve their problems with a kiss and a hug. And they smelled all better.
Now their trials are a little more complicated and the way is not as clear and the solutions are not so easy. I can't just clean them up and hug them and kiss them and send them on their way. But I can give them the advice that is as old as Scripture. It is so simple, yet it isn't easy. It can be packaged in just one word...remember.
Remember that God loves you. Remember that He will never leave you. And as I told my kids, never means "not ever." Remember that He is the answer to everything. And when you think He's not there, remember.
We are creatures of habit who need reminding. That's why the Lord told the Israelites to gather stones from the Jordan and build an altar so when their children asked what the stones meant, they could tell them, "Remember when the Lord parted the Jordan." The Passover was instituted so they would remember how God had saved them from the Egyptians. The Lord's Supper was begun so we would remember Jesus. So now, I tell my children, remember. Remember that He brought you through before, and He will do it all again.

And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. II Peter 1:15 Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Please pardon my pessimism and negativity this day. There have just been too many things in the press lately that have kind of set me off. First, I'm so tired of hearing of bailing out, stimulus packaging, and every other kind of economic wrangling that is going on. But that's probably the least of what's bothering me.
Have you noticed, that our society questions Christians for having any kind of morals. "Why do you do such things?" they query. They laugh because we stand up for right and wrong. They question if there is such a thing as right or wrong. They scorn anyone who makes a stand. Yet, the first time someone is caught smoking marijuana with a bong, it's headlines! John Edwards cheats on his wife, and the outrage in press! Now I agree, but why the double standard?
Finally, the other thing that set me off today was on FOX News. There was a girl singing a song commemerating the crash of flight 1549. Now, forgive me for my cynicism, but could this be a ploy to cash in and make a little money on this accident on the Hudson? Okay, there you have it. It's a beautiful day outside. Supposed to be nearly 60. I'd better enjoy it. Thank you for letting me vent a little. I hope your day is a good one (better than mine has started! "I'm happy today, oh yes, I'm happy today...." JW

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

God Moves In A Mysterious Way

How many of us have experienced an unexpected appearance from God? I don't mean visually, but perhaps a dark moment in our lives when there seems to be no solution to our problem(s). When it is seemingly the darkest, God shows up. Out of the blue, His answer comes and it is so out of left field. We wonder where God is and then BANG! He shows up. It doesn't take us long to realize that He's been there all along, but for some reason He has been masked from our presence. It's at those times when this song comes to my mind:

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His gracious will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

These words were penned by William Cowper who himself had times of darkness in his soul. His depression led him to want to commit suicide. His intention was to call a cabbie (not a car, but horse-drawn buggy) and ride to the river Thames to jump in and end his life. The story goes that about that time a heavy fog rolled into London and it was so thick the cabbie couldn't find his way to the river. Being frustrated himself, he ordered Cowper out of the buggy. Cowper stumbled around a dark street until he found himself at his own door. After this incident he penned these words, "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform." Indeed He does.
Are you in a time when you wonder where God is? He's right there with you, always has been, always will be. Jesus promised, "I'll be with you always." Learn to expect God showing up. Learn to enjoy the surprises. Because you never know when He will show up. Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What Would You Say?

"What do you do when....?" I get these calls occasionally. This time it was from someone trying to comfort a grieving friend. A young person had died in an accident. Lands knows preachers have to go through these kinds of things all the time. You'd think they would teach you about this in school. All the text books written, all the explanations, all the advice given, you still are at a loss for what to do.
You can explain that we live in a lost and fallen world, but how much comfort does that give someone who has lost their dearest friend on earth? You know what I told her? I said, "Put your arms around her and tell her, "I am so sorry. I will be here for you." Mere presence does and says more than any words can ever say. We're told to "...weep with those who weep." Maybe that's the best advice. It's what Jesus did. I think that's being part of salt and light. Part of loving. Part of being what our Savior wants us to be. Count your blessings today. JW

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Closing Songs

With the advent of small groups, many churches are foregoing their Sunday evening services. I'm fine with that, but there are so many "evening" songs that have such beautiful meaning. It's kind of hard to sing "Day is Dying in the West" on Sunday mornings. Many of these songs are beautiful in their thought and in their music.
I remember as a kid, "Take the Name of Jesus With You" was kind of the standard closing song. My favorite, however, was "Now the Day is Over." Beautiful words like this:

Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh;
Shadows of the evening steal across the sky.

Jesus give the weary calm and sweet repose;
With Thy tend'rest blessing may our eyelids close.

Grant to little children visions bright of Thee;
Guard the sailors tossing on the deep blue sea.

Comfort every suf'rer watching late in pain;
Those who plan some evil from their sin restrain.

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

What a beautiful way to end the day. Another "evening closing" song we used to sing was this one:

All praise to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thine own almighty wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son
The ill that I this day have done,
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep at peace may be.

O may my soul on Thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close--
Sleep that may me more vig'rous make
To serve my God when I awake.

I love the thoughts contained in these songs! There is a humility, a contrite spirit that says, "I may have blown it today, Lord. Please forgive me. Put my mind at rest for tomorrow is another day to serve You. I think, though, that my favorite "evening closing" song has to be #513 in the old Great Songs of the Church songbook.

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.

The hope, the promise of a time when we won't have to go to bed anymore. Sin will not be our daily struggle anymore. But the promise of our Father's abiding presence and the hope of the time when there is no eventide. Wow! I love these songs. Have a great day! JW

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cover My Defenseless Head

Charles Wesley wrote a beautiful song that we used to sing all the time. Here are the words:

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, O leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me;
All my trust on Thee is stayed;
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within;
Thou of life the fountain art;
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

I remember Jim Woodroof telling a story about this song and the Civil War. I found it on a website about Charles Wesley. Let me just directly quote it here:

"In a company of old soldiers, from the Union and Confederate armies, a former Confederate was telling how he had been detailed one night to shoot a certain exposed sentry of the opposing army. He had crept near and was about to fire with deadly aim when the sentry bgegan to sing, 'Jesus, Lover of my soul' He came to the words,

'Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.'

The hidden Confederate lowered his gun and stole away. 'I can't kill that man,' said he, 'though he were ten times my enemy.'

In the company was an old Union soldier who asked quickly,

'Was that in the Atlanta campaign of '64?'


'Then I was the Union sentry!'

And he went on to tell how, on that night, knowing the danger of his post, he had been greatly depressed, and, to keep up his courage, had begun to hum that hymn. By the time he had finihsed, he was entirely calm and fearless. Through the song God had spoke to two souls."

Great story. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Father and Friend

My high school and college years were spent at the College Church of Christ in Searcy, Arkansas. Several years later, my family worshiped there while I worked at Harding University. I loved those years because the preachers of the time were so good to listen to. I especially grew to love Jim Woodroof and Mike Cope--Jim because of his tender stories of Jesus, and Mike because of his passionate, stirring lessons on discipleship.
But one of the things I miss dearly are the songs we used to sing there. At that time we used the "Great Songs of the Church" song book. There are many of the old time favorites in there. But there was a section of songs with short, poignant songs with such deep meaning and melodies that moved the heart. I believe that section was entitled "The Hymns." I'm not a big "poem" person, but for some reason these songs stirred me. Their words were full of meaning and conviction. Over the next several months, I'll be putting some of these songs in this blogs to let you see or renew your appreciation for the wonderful words penned by these great writers. Or perhaps we'll talk of some stories behind the songs. Anyway, we'll be looking at these beautiful songs. Here's the first one.

Father and Friend, Thy light, Thy love,
Beaming through all Thy works we see;
Thy glory gilds the heav'ns above,
And all the earth is full of Thee.

Thy voice we hear, Thy presence feel,
While Thou too pure for mortal sight,
Enrapt in clouds, invisible,
Reignest the Lord of life and light.

Thy children shall not faint nor fear,
Sustained by this delightful thought;
Since Thou, their God, art everywhere,
They cannot be where Thou art not.

What a beautiful hymn telling us of God's abiding presence. He will always be with us and never leave us. When the storm is raging, and the waters rushing in, He will be right by our sides. Thank you, Father for being our Rock, our ever-present help. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Obesity Explained!

I just read a new report that has me both relieved and enlightened. Scientists, and I'm not making this up, have now determined that obesity is caught just like a virus. They say you can get it just by shaking hands with someone. In fact, the virus is called AD-36. All this time, I thought I was too large because I ate too much. It's not that at all...it's because I'm sick!
Here's the quote fromt the article. The virus "infects the lungs then whisks around the body forcing fat cells to multiply and also causing sore throats." The article goes on to say, "When this virus goes to fat tissue it replicates, making more copies of itself and in the process increases the number of fat cells." Finally! A rational explanation of my weight gain. In fact, right now, I'm not feeling well. My throat hurts. And I think I'm hungry. Oh, no, I could be coming down with it again. Is that feed a cold, starve a fever? I never could get that right. Definitely, feed a cold. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mabrey Miller

I first met Mabrey Miller in 1961 when I was the ripe old age of 7. My mom and dad had just moved the family to York, Nebraska where we would spend the next five years of our lives. I remember going to the Miller's huge house (And it was huge. I've been by there many times in my adulthood and it is still a huge house) to play with his kids. He was just another one of those guys who worked with my dad at York College. Little did I realize until later that Mabrey was one of the first, if not the first, employee York College hired when it was taken over by the Church of Christ. And when everyone else had left--Roger Hawley, Gayle Napier, Dale Larsen, Bob Thomas, Joe Alley, Ed White, Charles Bawcom, and a host of others--Mabrey was still there.
When my family moved back to York to work at the college in 1999, Mabrey was still there. Obviously, a little slower, but his mind was still keen and he was still gainfully employed by the college. By now they called him "Doc." I heard President Wayne Baker say that he never made a major decision that would affect the college without first consulting Doc. He still taught a Bible class even when he was well into his 80s. He served in many capacities at the college. I remember him as the Academic Dean. But probably his best role was he was York College's biggest supporter.
I remember going out to the little golf course just outside of York at Henderson and there was Madge and Mabrey. Madge was really there to watch the ball. Mabrey couldn't see it once he hit it. Mabrey had always had a vision problem. I remember his thick glasses from when I was a kid. But I never heard him complain about it. He just took Madge with him.
My best memory of Mabrey now is when he prayed at the East Hill Church. When the song leader would sit down and the prayer was next, there seemed to be a long pause. It was Mabrey walking down the aisle at his leisurely pace. It wasn't because he couldn't walk faster, I think it was because he didn't want to hurry the fact that we were about to pray to God. And he would begin every prayer the same way. Silence....and then you heard Mabrey's distinctive voice and the words spoken slowly, "Holy.......Holy.......Holy are you O Lord."
A great loss for York College. Mabrey was truly one of a kind. York College's loss is certainly heaven's gain. For his fate is certain because he knew His God well. Mabrey, I am proud to say that I knew you. Give my regards to Mom and Dad. I know they were there to greet you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

-15 Degrees and Still Encouraged

It was -15 degrees this morning when I woke up. Not -15 degrees wind chill--but -15 degrees. Now I can take it. This old boy has had a tooth knocked out, partially cut off a finger on a large table paper cutter, and a variety of other injuries, but there is something about stepping into -15 that is just indescribable. An Anarctic researcher I could never be. Thank God there are those who enjoy that kind of work. Fortunately, I'm not one of them.
But as I put on my Nano this moring, a song came on. I've put the words of this song on this blog before. This has to be one of my all-time favorite songs.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousnes alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

This cabinet maker's song began my day. Before the sun came up and I could get my morning chai, I was encouraged by these words, in spite of -15 degree weather. Then I read of Jesus' resurrection and God's promise to Isaac. Wow! I couldn't have asked for any more. Now for a day of encouragement. Lord, please place the people in front of me that You need encouraged as You have encouraged me today. I pray in your blessed Son's name. I hope your day is a good one. JW

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mixed Signals

Someone had posted a picture on a blog I saw the other day. The picture was a glass door with this sign, "THIS IS NOT A DOOR!" On our recent trip to Florida, we were driving back through Mississippi when I saw this sign, "Dry Creek Water Recreation Area." My take on food that is good for you and food that is bad for you--if it tastes good, it's bad for you. If it tastes awful (or has very little taste), it's good for you.
The world sends funny signals doesn't it? God told Eve not to eat of a certain tree in the Garden because she would die. The serpent said if she ate of it, she wouldn't die. Isaiah says, "Woe unto them who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." Things that we think look so good end up being evil in the long run. And that's the way Satan likes it. He's even described as one who dresses up like an angel of light.
Jesus never wavers. He's always there, always dependable, always the same. He'll never leave you. Matthew 28:18-20 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8. He doesn't trick. He tells it like it is. He doesn't sugar-coat, He's always honest, He will never deceive you or leave you. I like those odds. So why is it so very hard to understand? That, my friend, I don't guess I'll ever figure out. Hey, let's go swimming at the Dry Creek Water Recreation Area. I'll meet you there!! Have a great day! JW

Monday, January 12, 2009

Have Thine Own Way

You probably think I'm a jerk when you read these blogs and I reveal my feelings about certain topics. Well, this is another one of those times. I was asked to speak at an assisted living home last Thursday evening. Now I've told you about them before and it's not because I don't want to go. I enjoy my time there and the people are kind and love me and treat me well. I do have to work to come up with something intelligible to say and regardless of what some may think, that's not particularly easy for me to do. But the other thing that I was bothered by was the national title game was on last Thursday night featuring two high-powered offenses and two Heisman trophy winners. The Floria Gators from the SEC were taking on the Big Twelve champions the Oklahoma Sooners for the BCS Championship. You can tell I've watched too much hype.
Once again I was humbled. As we sang with those who gathered that night:

Have thine own way, Lord,
Have think own way.
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.

Kind of like the Mary/Martha affair with Jesus. "Martha, Martha...Mary has chosen what is better." It was a slap in the face for me to realize what was really more important. What had more eternal influence? Time spent with those who don't have much more time here on this earth? Or who will win the national football title (of which we'll struggle to remember who won come this time next year)?
I was able to get home in plenty of time to see most of the game. The first quarter was over when I got home and the score was 0-0. I didn't miss anything. And then...I must confess...I fell asleep toward the end of the game.
There you go. Call me what you want. I deserve it. But you know what? I had a great evening with those older people. They make me laugh. I hope you have a good laugh today, too. JW

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

From A Worldly Point of View

I came across something the other day in my reading. And if you keep up with my blog, you'll know that I've determined this will be a year of reconciliation because we have been called to be God's ambassadors for reconciliation. Since God reconciled us to Him, he has called up to be ministers of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:16-21, If you haven't read that passage, go read it right now.)
There was a statement in this passage that I've seen before, but now it strikes me differently and it's imperative that we heed this call before we can, indeed, be ministers of reconciliation. Here's the phrase from v. 16--"So from now on we regard no one from a worldy point of view." See, if we go on the way we are, we'll fuss and gripe and judge and imply and justify (ourselves) and insinuate when really we ought to be seeing others through God's eyes. Eyes of forgiveness and grace and mercy and love. The former is regarding others from a worldy point of view, the latter from a godly or spiritual point of view.
That means your colleague who causes you grief, the grocery store clerk who is incompetent, the person who just pulled out in front of you in their car, the telemarketer who just interrupted your supper, the person who despises you for your spiritual stands, you got it, not from a worldy point of view. Instead, you see them as a creation of God, as God sees them. Nobody said this would be easy. But we have God alongside helping us with this. Just try it for today. I will. Let's see how we do. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Searching Eyes

I was in my office late the other night. In this place of sanctuary is a credenza where I have all kinds of memorabila from trips to various parts of the country and beyond. There's a bust of Abraham Lincoln from a trip to Springfield, IL; a rock from the beaches of Normandy, a piece of the Berlin wall, a small model of the Eiffel Tower, carved wooden gadgets my grandfather carved with his own hands, a bronze rose from my mother's casket, rock awards given to me from Girls 1 at Green Valley Bible Camp, and a host of other things that pull up certain memories from my past.
But that's not what caught my eye. What drew my attention and made me move over to the chair to face them were pictures. There's a picture of my Uncle Seldon in his doughboy uniform from World War I and he's wrapped in an American flag. A picture of my mom in her wedding dress. A picture of Woodrow Wilson comprised of thousands of soldiers from Camp Sherman during World War I. My grandfather Garloch is in the picture. This picture was included in Life magazine's 50 greatest photos of the century. There's a picture of my dad when he was young, robust, filled with dreams of changing the world. There's a picture of my daughter Meredith smiling broadly during her senior year of high school. Martha and Nate had their pictures made together and it's such a good picture. There's another picture of a debonair Nate with one of his "got the world on a string" smiles.
I sat there and looked at those pictures and all of their eyes seemed to be fixed on me. All of them looking to me as if to ask, "What are you making of your life?" In the case of my parents, grandparents, and great uncle, "Are you passing on what we gave to you?" As for the rest of my family, "Will you be there for us?" and "Will you lead us?" I was moved to tears as I looked at those who were and are dear to me. It was a God challenge to say to me, "Reflect on your life." My thoughts are the same as Paul's when he said, "But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..." That's what I want. That's what I want to pass on, to know Christ. And not just to know Him, but to know the surpassing greatness of knowing Him.
What a challenge. I hope I'm up to it. I'll try not to let them down. And neither should you. Have a great day. JW

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's A Great New Day!

Well, it was the first day back at the office in the new year. I was determined that it would start out well and a positive attitude would be the trademark of the day. Nothing, nothing would keep it from being a bad day.
I stopped off at my local Starbucks and they told me that they price of my drink had gone up. Okay, I can handle that because I'm a gold card owner and I get 10% off my drinks anyway. So even if it did go up, it hasn't gotten back up to what I was originally paying before I got my discount? Make sense? Okay, so I'm drinking my drink and I notice something on the lid. It's lipstick! Now by this time, I'm incensed. How dare they give me a used lid for my chai. Then I looked at the color of the lipstick and it looked faintly familiar. Yes, it was my wife's color of lipstick. I had given her a peck right before she exited the car to go to work and that smudge of lipstick on my drink came from, yes, from my lips. But what a sweet reminder of how the day really began.
Then it was my Bible reading and a visit to Cody Elementary to deliver the latest batch of warm gloves for the kids. Great start! Great day! Great life! Nice try Satan. But this is a great start to a new day and a new year. Hope yours is the same. JW

P.S. Starbucks still raised the price of my drink. Stop it! Stop it! Get behind me Satan!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Here it is 2009. Somebody, I think it was my daughter, told me I needed to write something on my blog since I hadn't in a while. I've noticed that my blogging has decreased every year since I started this. Perhaps you've heard everything I've had to say. I have to admit that sometimes I don't have anything profound to say. In fact, I doubt I've said anything that's terribly profound. But it is me. It's my thoughts and my ramblings. So there you have it, just a part of me.
This will be a year of reconciliation. II Corinthians 5 tells us that God reconciled us to Him so that we could become His ambassadors for what?...for reconciliation. In our church world of divisive talk, disunity, and division, it's time for reconciliation. That's my theme for this year. Reconciliation.
This year I will do all I can do to heal, not rub salt in the wound. I will do all I can to build up, not tear down. I'll become God's ambassador for reconciliation. Join me in this pursuit. And it is a pursuit, because my initial response is to lash out, destroy, and bad mouth. Not this year. And with God's help, it will be a wonderful year. I hope your year is a good one. JW