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