Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I know you've seen those commercials from e-Harm** know the ones where the couples stand around smiling and holding hands and talking about how they "knew" the moment they met...yes, those commercials. Did they also mention the 273 (OK, I forget the number) questions they had to answer, pay someone to review and then maybe "accept" them into e-Harm**y and then you pay again to see who is looking for you but if you follow their steps, Voila, you will have life long happiness and love? Companies such as these are trying to make us believe that if we only find the "right" person our relationship will be effortlessly WONDERFUL for always and forever. In truth, they're setting people up for a fall.

No matter how right a person is for you, there are no guarantees that the relationship will last. Each partner must make a conscious effort to make the relationship work. YOU have to choose to be the "right" person.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Giving Offense...

We spend far too much time in this life compromising ourselves out of fear of offending someone. Now I don't mean we should trample on someone else's feelings just because we can but there comes a time when you must stand up, speak your mind and your heart. Just do it with gentleness and respect.

After all, Jesus never offended anyone, did He? If He hadn't, He probably wouldn't have been crucified. Jesus still offends today...there are many around us who don't want to accept that He is the only path to a relationship with God.

Most people do not like to offend others. It's just not in our nature. As Christians, sometimes it is unavoidable. To be a Christian means you not only claim the Name, but you proclaim the Name. Don't be shy, remember 1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope you have."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hope Blooms

For the last several weeks the Youth have been selling "Hope Blooms" to add to our tree. We've raised $400 for Relay for Life. The beautiful blooms were made by Becky Kincer and Janet Rappuhn and have been purchased by members of our congregation.The tree will be on display this Friday during Relay for Life. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ministering to Youth

Ministering to youth and children calls for a number of gifts but one of the most important is your memory. We must remember what it was like to be differently we saw the world when we were children ourselves. Much of the world was black and white, good or bad. Most judgements were easy...would we get in trouble, with parents, teachers, neighbors? Would it hurt someone else's feelings? Did it feel wrong?

Think about how much change occurred in the first 18 years of your life and recall how adults saw as insignificant something you thought was of earth shattering importance. The key to youth ministry is to embrace the awkwardness of 13, the "I-know-everything" of 18 and the idealism of 21 while maintaining who you are now. It still in there, just pull it out and dust it've been there too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

George Muller

Amazing story:
George Muller lived in the 1800's and set up an orphanage is Bristol, England. During his time, he cared for over 10,000 orphans...he fed, clothed and educated them without ever asking anyone for a penny! He prayed that God would provide housing, food, clothes and money. Now consider this:

One morning the plates, cups and bowls were empty. There was no food in the cabinet and no money to buy food. The children were standing waiting for their breakfast when Muller began speaking, "Children, you know we must be in time for school". Lifting his hand he prayed: "Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat". Then there was a knock at the door.

The local baker stood there and said, "Mr. Muller, I couldn't sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn't have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2 am and baked some fresh bread, here it is".

Muller accepted the bread and thanked the man. Almost immediately there was a second knock on the door. It was the milkman who explained his milk cart had broken down right in front of the orphanage and he wanted to give the children his cans of fresh milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it. There were many eyewitnesses who corroborated this extraordinary sequence of events. Bread and milk may not seem like a great breakfast to some of us but what if you faced that or nothing?

During his lifetime, Muller received over $2,000,000 for his orphans! Often from very poor people who gave him their hard earned cash. It's all been documented and there are extensive records. What is seldom appreciated about him was that he was hated by many factory owners and mill owners of the time who thought that the children should be working for them (child labor was legal then). Many a young person spent 10 - 12 hours a day doing back breaking labor in a factory or mill instead of going to school or playing. Mr. Muller provided "his children" with splendid educations even though many around him thought that poor children did not need to learn. It was their opinion that they were doomed to be laborers anyway and an education would make them feel above their station in life and therefore unhappy. George Muller's faith gave him a tremendous sense that God hated injustice, oppression and cruelty.

Does God still answer prayers like that? You'd be amazed at the stories of people today doing much the same thing...Check out David Serunjogi and Ugandan Christian who looks after 2,000 orphans. The answer is yes, He does!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Facing troubles...

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

While those statements can make you wonder if it's all worth it, look at it from God's point of view. Do we grow by having things handed to us? An easy life with no pressure is not going to teach us anything except how to hold out our hand for more. The experience of living life makes us who we are, and God is much more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. When trouble finds us, where do we turn? For Christians the usual response is to turn to God. In doing so, we admit we are unable to make the right choices without Him. If we give our lives over to Him, He can change us into who He wants us to be, what He needs us to be. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.
Rick Warren

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tree of Life

The "Tree of Life" is a 400 year old Mesquite tree located in Bahrain. It is surrounded by desert and no one knows how it gets water as there isn't any! A local legend states that the tree actually marks the Garden of Eden.

True or not, it is an amazing feat for a tree to grow so large and for so long with no visible access to water. As you can see from the picture, many of the branches are low hanging and local children swing from them regularly.

This tree may be like your life with Christ. Those around you may marvel at the love, joy, compassion and peace in your life...but do they know the source? Like the water for the tree, Christ will fill us with all these good things if we but follow Him. Unlike the tree, we can speak of our Source and tell all who ask about our faith. Don't be bashful when someone asks, tell them the story of the tree and let them know that the One who created the tree created us...and like the tree he will fill and sustain us.

Monday, April 21, 2008

dogs ...

Dogs have no self-esteem, no self-respect, no sense of self. They'll do ANYTHING for a little attention. They are SO needy. How pathetic! How could anyone prefer a dog?


Day number 180


To say I'm not fond of cats is an understatement! Dogs are so loving and loyal, cats are...well, arrogant! Today someone sent me an e-mail with proof!

Excerpts from a Cat's Diary:
Day 983 of my captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Arrrggghhh!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies". I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage!

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow but at the top of the stairs!

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously brainwashed!

I knew it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Talking and Listening

Ecclesiastes tells us...There is a time to speak and a time to be silent...Most of us have no trouble with the speaking it's the silence that causes us problems. Some of us feel compelled to talk when we are nervous or scared...maybe we're spending time with someone we don't know very well and we may feel if we don't keep the conversation flowing continuously, they will become bored or think we are. How many times have you been a conversation and you start formulating your response before the other person finishes their sentence...have you ever found that because you didn't listen, your words are inappropriate or off the subject? Perhaps if you had just listened you would have known that no response was required.

When we read the Scriptures, it is clear that Jesus listened with ALL His senses. The Gospels often remark "He knew what was in their hearts"--regardless of who He was with...scribes trying to trap Him or disciples who were puzzled or uncomfortable with what they were hearing. He watched peoples faces, listened to their words and sensed what they were feeling deep inside.

Remember the story of the adulterous woman? He didn't let loose and chew them out but responded with just one sentence "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone (John 8:7)." Do you recall what He did after that? He bent over and doodled in the sand. He felt the fury and the shame of the crowd as the went away but He kept silent. The effect of His silence not only saved the life of the woman but caused the crowd to look into their own hearts, at their own sin.

When we spend time with Jesus in prayer, there's no need to explain...He reads our hearts too. One of the wonders of prayer is that it opens our hearts to us. We can see our own jealousies and resentments and dig down to our deepest feelings. Next time you meet Him in prayer stop making so many words, be still and listen.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring time!

I used to think I had some sort of super power...I could always tell when it was spring without ever looking outside! There were always the tell tale signs, coats, jeans and tennis shoes are replaced by tank tops, shorts and sandals. Everyone suddenly wears sunglasses. When youth arrive for a meeting, they push the envelope and come in at the last possible minute, when they come.

Don't know how it is with other groups but mine usually gets a severe case of spring fever and somehow youth meetings don't figure into the disease. I realize school is almost over for the year, spring sports are in full swing, we're planning all those life changing events like graduation and of course one must be just the exact shade of tan to match the prom dress. All these things take time and energy!

I used to try to plan outdoor games to keep them interested but after the second "water balloon war" I figured out that the youth outnumbered the leaders and therefore we became the "enemy"! By the end of the meeting, you know who was soaked to the skin!

Experience is a great teacher and I've come to realize this is a natural and normal rite...we've been cooped up all winter, it's time to be outside with the warm sunshine, flowers in bloom, etc. (especially if you or one of your friends has a convertible!)...but like all things, this too shall pass and they'll come back...and I'll be here. Now where did I put those sandals?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I felt led to enter a post about gossip but then I saw this...I believe it says it all!

Courtesy of:

Monday, April 14, 2008


I'm sure most of you are not familiar with this word. It means to "repent of sins". The root of the word means "the desire to be forgiven". Many of us in today's world feel that a little (very little) time in prayer, maybe without even stopping what we're doing, confessing our sin and asking for forgivnenss is enough. In it's simplest form,that might be called repentance but not penance.

Penance is an active word, you have to do something to show God and perhaps the world that you regret what you have said or done. In earlier times one way a monk might do penance is a "crosfigel". This calls for them to stand or kneel with their arms outstretched in the form of a cross while they prayed a certain number of the Psalms. Not just verses, whole chapters and lots of them. If you don't think your legs, knees and especially arms would get tired, just try it for 5 minutes. Once you spend some time in this position you would come to appreciate that they felt forgivness was not to be taken lightly.

While I don't think we need to take it to that extreme, I do often wonder if we really understand how much it means to receive God's forgiveness for sin. We know the price Christ paid for our sin but we don't make it personal. He died all those years ago for things that I am doing right now, or will do in the future. With all the people who have lived and died over these years, that burden is unimaginable. Given the fact that Christ willingly paid the price, shouldn't we be willing to spend more time in the act of repenting? I don't want you to wallow in guilt, I want you to take the time to understand the consequences of your actions and then ask God to wipe it away. He will, gladly...oh, and don't forget to say Thank you!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gingerbread Christians

courtesy of:


How many mothers have you known who have been the heroines of some extraordinary event? Few, very few. Yet you and I know many mothers who are indeed heroic. They may never have figured into any one spectacular event. They may never be in the headlines of the paper. But that is not their desire. They lead lives of constant self-denial, happy to curtail their own likes and preferences, their time, their opportunities for self-expression or success, so that they can surround you, their children, with happiness.

What an example they set for us. Whenever we need an illustration of self sacrifice, we have only to look to our mothers. If we dig to see what is truly extraordinary about their sacrifice we find it is the joy they display in everyday, ordinary events. How many times have you been praised for cleaning your room, receiving a good grade on a test or paper, a hug?

Have you ever asked yourself what is their reward? Or is this just something they are supposed to do? Are they any less human than anyone they have dreams, ambitions, desires that go unfulfilled year after year? And yet, they do not hold this against us. Their true reward is you and the adult you have or are becoming. To be able to look to a child and watch them display character, love, honesty and compassion is all they ask. Is there any better example of God's love on earth than the love of a mother for a child?

The next time you feel lost or alone, look to your mother (or her memory) and praise God that He has given you this wonderful gift. It is a gift just for you...

Friday, April 11, 2008


Peace on earth, peace in our life time, peace and love, peace that passes understanding...phrases you may hear perhaps not every day but certainly very often. Peace...can we achieve it?

As you all learn and grow into adults, you will make your own decisions as where you stand on the issue of war to be avoided at all costs? Is war justified sometimes? Prayerful consideration and time spent in communion with God will show you your path. We cannot control the world at large, we cannot even control our own community...we can control our heart. Spend time in prayer and study and then listen, Christ will lead the way...

If there is to be peace in the world,

There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart. amen
lao tse

Thursday, April 10, 2008


John 6:44 begins with Jesus saying "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..."

I guess I've always been a nerdy type...I love the way words play upon each other and rarely read an entire book without looking up a couple of words in the dictionary or a thesaurus. When I read this verse, the word "draws" jumped out (definition: to cause to move after or toward by applying continuous force). Applying continuous force means that it's not just a one time invitation, not just a gentle pressure but unrelenting, never stopping. It is uninterrupted ...a line with no gaps or breaks in it, get the picture?

When God sets about drawing people to Himself, he doesn't take half measures, doesn't quit and won't take No for an answer. Which of us is worthy of this kind of effort or pursuit by our Creator? Have you ever marvelled at the fact that even though we may desire this gift with all our heart, God desires for us to have it even more than we do? He made us, loves us and will never give up on us or let us go. and me...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


The next time you eat a piece of hard candy, sit back, close your eyes and enjoy the moment...the taste, the texture, the sensation. Be patient, it will take a few minutes (No Chewing!).

As you eat the candy, pray and picture it as an issue in your life. Imagine God working on this dilemma while you work on the candy. If you'd rather, say a short prayer and use this time to listen for God's guidance and encouragement. Whatever your need...when the candy is gone, the prayer is finished. "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10a

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Take up your Cross

When you hear the charge to "take up your Cross" what image comes to your mind? Is it of the Cross at sunrise like shown here? Is it the image of Christ upon the Cross? Is it the suffering, struggling Christ carrying the Cross through Jerusalem? This charge is of great consequence and should not be taken lightly, but does it mean endless and perhaps senseless suffering on your part? My image is Christ with the Cross upon His shoulders and it scares could I, weak and flawed as I am, ever live up to that standard with dignity, compassion and most of all love? I cannot find the courage to be that person. But maybe I have it all wrong...

Perhaps this is a call to be transformed by the symbol of our faith. Could it be that we are called to embrace the suffering that comes with living in a fallen world? Perchance it is calling us to allow the death of our own lives, our self-centeredness and live the life abundant that God offers us. He will never ask more than we can give, nor give us a task without equipping us...I realize that "taking up my Cross" is another call for me to trust my Creator and Redeemer and open myself to be what and who He needs in a lost and fallen world. With His help, I can do that...

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Rock

“YOU ARE PETER, AND ON THIS ROCK I will build my church,” said Jesus to Simon Peter (Matt. 16:18). I had always envisioned this as the rock-strengthened church standing firm against all the onslaughts and batterings of hell’s forces. “Not so,” a scientist who was also a lay minister once told me, “I see that rock of the church not standing still, waiting to be attacked, but thrown by God, flying through the air, crashing into the gates of evil to release those trapped there.” What an insight! - Flora Slosson Wuellner Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey

What imagery...the church not as the passive resistor but as the active aggressor against evil...ponder this and what it means...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I read a great poem this morning:

God fills
our cup full
and running over,
not so
we can boast
or measure,
but so
we can spill over
into the lives of
others. S. Dyer (devozine)

The imagery struck me. Have your ever filled a bucket full of water? Full to overflowing? The water rushes over the sides not in precise measured amounts and you cannot control where it goes. It splashes wherever it wants. If we allow God to fill our cup to overflowing, think of the lives we will touch, lives beyond our control. How many others can we reach and refresh with God's life giving love?