Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Think about it...

"The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."
Lamentations 3:25

The spiritual life is not about rules...what we can or cannot do...true spirituality is about relationship. It is not how well we pray or how many Bible verses we can quote. It's about living in relationship with God, depending upon Him daily. Think of Him as the friend that you cannot live without, who makes life worth living...and treat Him as such. We all know how to do that with other people, why is it so hard to do with God?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No Words...

I saw this today and was reminded of the many times in my life that Jesus was with me while I suffered. Not only did He stand beside me, He suffered too. A few pen and ink lines are able to speak the truth in volumes.

No Words...


No one falls in love by choice,
it is by chance.

No one stays in love by chance,
it is by work.

And no one falls out of love by chance,
it is by choice.

Love is not a whim or a fancy. It is the strongest emotion you will know and what becomes of it rests in your hands. You are responsible...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I Stand before You

I stand before you all today
But not one eye can see my way

My time arrived, to leave this earth
A fact so planned, to every birth

It happened when I had to go
My torch for life was so aglow

I transferred while in uniform
Protecting freedom, through a storm.

Should I resent I died for you?
Not on my life, red white and blue

Please help my family through each day
Tell all my friends, try not to stray

And of the country I did love?
Do think of me, through God above

Your memories brought forth this day
Send love to us, who could not stay.
SP5 Roger J. Robicheau, US Army

Friday, May 23, 2008

Repentance and Forgiveness

When we repent we are taking personal responsibility and owning the sin (it's mine, I did it). We cannot blame someone else (even the devil). We committed the act and we must accept it. We are flawed beings, and God knows this. We are blessed that once we take responsibility there is something we can do. Just as sin is an action, so is repentance.

Once we "own up" to the sin, we are called to confess it (be it thought, word or things done or left undone)...confession is also an action, speak it. By doing so, not only do you think it and speak it you also hear that point there is no hiding from it. Once we confess, we ask for forgiveness and receive it (God promised He would). Is there something you can do to fix the damage caused? An apology, giving away something that is possessed through greed, etc?

What then? Move on with life, with the full confidence that with Christ's love and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can change. It may seem like a lot of work, but if you measure it against the sin, it's worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Wing and a Prayer

Tue May 20, 10:22 PM ET

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Two New Zealand pilots whose plane ran out of fuel landed on a wing and a prayer, literally, local media reported on Wednesday.

Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson from Blenheim, at the top of the South Island about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Wellington, were in a microlight plane when the engine cut out.

"When you're in a microlight if you crash, you usually die. I turned to O B (Wilson) and he said we had no fuel," Stubbs told the Marlborough Express newspaper.

"I asked what we should do. He said: 'You just pray Grant.'"

Stubbs said he prayed to God to get them over a ridge and they finally landed in a small grassy area, and beside a six metre (20 foot) high sign saying "Jesus is Lord -- The Bible".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Congratulations Ashlee Guth and James Guth...Class of 2008! You are extraordinary people and we will miss you. I'd like to leave you with three quotes:

Your Salutatorian used a great one in her speech last night:
I hope your dreams take the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities and to the most special places your heart has ever known.
Author: Unknown

From Sparta First:
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Matthew 28:20

And from me:
If I made you laugh, you're welcome. If I made you cry, I'm sorry. If I changed your life, chances are you've done the same. Author: Anonymous

Sunday, May 18, 2008


James 5:16...Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Confession, as it is used here is command. James is writing a letter to Christians who are encountering a variety of trials in their lives. They are finding that their faith in God does not keep them from having to deal with difficult and often very painful circumstances. James does not write to tell them how to avoid all trials and live a pain-free life. He assumes that trials are going to come. He is trying to help his readers know how to go through the trials that are inevitable in a broken in hurting world.

Even though life is not always a bed of roses, God has given us friends and fellow believers to help us through. He calls us to confess our sins to others and in communion with them pray for help, wisdom and deliverance. God never leaves us helpless or alone. All who have faced difficult situations realize that these are the times we learn to put our full confidence in God. A wise man is not one who has lived a life without difficulties, he is one who has learned how to live life victoriously.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Using Links

Those who know me realize this is my first adventure into the world of blogging. My original thought was to speak primarily to the youth of our congregation but I now realize there are several others (adults even!!!) who read it also. As I know some within our church have not read blogs in the past, I wanted to explain my use of links to other sites.

I have had the great good fortune and blessing to meet many other youth people through Beth Morris, the Youth Ministry Institute and the Conference office. They have proved to be a loving group of people who are more than willing to share what they have and what they know. I visit their blogs regularly and learn something each and every time.

There is a wealth of information available to us and I would be doing those who read this blog a great disservice if I didn't link to other sources so that you may see what they have to say. I would be doing the other bloggers a disservice by taking all the credit and not posting how to access them. As much as I would love to have the knowledge and the skill to write all the articles posted, I don't. If I share something from another source, you will see a link or credit within the posting, I'm sure they'd love to have you visit their sites on your own.

Lest we forget where we come from...

The Slave Who Became King

(This story is told by Iraqi Jews)

Once, long ago, in a kingdom far away, there was a most unusual custom. In most kingdoms, when a king dies, his son or daughter succeeds to the throne after him. Not so in this kingdom. When a king died, a special bird, called the "bird of good fortune" was released. This bird flew around and the person upon whose head it finally landed became the next king. A curious custom indeed.

In this same kingdom, there was a slave who lived and worked in the king's palace. This slave was a musician, who entertained the king, his family, and guests by dressing in funny clothing -- including a cap made of chicken feathers and a belt made from the hooves of sheep -- and playing music on a drum.

It came to pass that the king died one day, and the "bird of fortune" was released. It circled in the sky some time, while the people of the kingdom watched in wonderment. Finally, it came to rest on the head of the slave, nesting itself in his hat of chicken feathers. Immediately, and to his surprise and consternation, he was declared king of the entire kingdom, and in an instant, the slave was transformed into a powerful sovereign.

The slave moved into the quarters of the king, donned his royal attired, and sat upon his throne. As his first royal decree, he had a sukkah (a small building) built next to the palace and there he kept his chicken-feather hat, belt, and drum -- the vestiges of his life as a slave. The only furnishing in the entire shack was a large mirror. Every day, the new king visited the little hut, disappearing behind the door for a short time. Then he would emerge, and lock the door behind him. His ministers and advisors thought this very peculiar behavior, but after all, he was the king now and who would question the king?

As the years went on, the new king passed many laws aimed at reducing slavery and suffering. The changes were made gradually -- so gradually that no one noticed them. The king was known to all for his kindness and compassion, as well as his peculiar habit of visiting the odd little hut once a day.

One day, his closest advisor asked, "Your majesty, what is it that you keep in that hut of yours?"

"My most treasured possessions!" the king replied, and he led the advisor into the hut and showed him the chicken-feather hat, the belt, and the drum.

"But these are things of a slave!" the advisor replied in disgust. "These are not the possessions of a king, Your Majesty!"

"Ah, but they are," replied the king. "You see, once I was a slave and now I am free. When you made me your king, I promised myself and God that I would never forget that I was once a slave lest I grow arrogant and haughty, and treat people as I was once treated. Every morning, I come here and dress as I was once forced to dress as a slave. I stare at myself in the mirror until tears come to my eyes, and only then am I prepared to leave this hut and rule as a good king should. It is this memory which makes me the king that I am. These are the most treasured possessions I have."

This story and many others can be found on Rabbi Scheinerman's web page.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A letter to the schools...

I've attached a link below to an "Open Letter to the Omaha School System". Please read it all but in essence it is respectfully taking the school district to task for taking all the young people's time. While I used to be able to always count on Wednesday nights (which makes it a great night for Bible Study), not so anymore. I have (2) students in particular who attend faithfully but during basketball, football, softball, baseball seasons, you can forget it. Now it seems the summers are to be taken over by camps and practice. Although it is supposedly against the Secondary School Association rules, some sports practice year round. Oh, and forget missing, you may loose your spot. Did I mention this doesn't apply just to the high school? Middle school is becoming just as bad.

I understand that school and homework is important but what about other activities? What kind of importance are we attaching to church when it has to play second fiddle ALL the time. Read the link and see if you agree...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wrapped in Love

"Christ will help you see the way He loves you in richer, deeper tones, colors and sounds." I read this quote earlier today and as I savored the feeling of it, the Prayer Shawl Ministry came to mind.

There are several ladies in our congregation who lovingly sew, knit, crochet prayer shawls. As their hands are busy with their needlework, their hearts are busy with prayer. Even though they may not know who will receive the shawl, each contains the power and spirit of God through the touch of their hands.

I had occasion to ask for one for a friend recently and as I opened the closet where they are kept, I was awed by the colors, textures and patterns. I was tempted to shut the doors behind me and spend time admiring each one. Whether they know it or not, these ladies share Christs' love through "
richer, deeper tones, colors and sounds."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

St. Patrick and the Trinity

There has never been an end to our search for images by which to express the mystery of the Trinity. St Patrick (b. 387) used the shamrock. To him, the shamrock spoke of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was a primitive way of teaching, but it is open to question whether we have succeeded in improving upon it. In search for the Trinity and an expression of the totality of God, what can be better than to stoop down to the green earth and lift from it an image of God's truth placed there by God's own hand?
Herbert O'Driscoll

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thoughts on theTrinity

St. Augustine (Nov. 13, 354-August 28, 430), one of the greatest minds in the Western World, put his head to thinking about the Trinity. He was a master of words and it took him more than 10 years and over 15 books to talk about the Trinity. His books "On the Trinity" continue to be helpful in thinking through that which is difficult to think about, and talking about that which is difficult to describe, namely the nature of God who comes to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Early on in his massive treatise, Augustine had seven statements about God: The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. The Son is not the Father. The Father is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Son. And then, after these six statements, Augustine adds one more. There is only one God.

Friday, May 9, 2008


I have struggled with unbelief most of my adult life. Does that mean I don't believe in Jesus? Absolutely not...but do I trust Him with my whole heart? I read the following poem recently and it drove home what I am doing to God each and every time I refuse to let go and let God:
Live for yourself and yourself alone,
for yourself and none beside.
Just as if Jesus had never lived,
and as if He had never died.

How many times have I disappointed Him because I worried, spoke hastily, acted out of turn and any number of other ways I have shown my lack of faith? Not sure if you've done the same? Read: Mark 9:24, Romans 4:20, 11:20, 11:23 and Hebrews 3:19...these may open your eyes. I remind myself that I am if I am faithful He will be with me, to comfort, to guide, to teach, to protect, to love, to forgive. The last one, to forgive, is my saving grace. He does so, time and again...Father, forgive my unbelief.

Hebrew Names

I've posted some of the Hebrew names and titles of God, you may recognize some of them from Amy Grant's song "El Shaddai". Did you know that Hebrew is read from right to left instead of left to right? It is a most interesting language to listen to...if you go to you can hear the pronunciations. The symbol shown is "Chai" and means life
or living.

El Shaddai: God Almighty
El-elyon na Adonai: God Most High, O Lord
Erkamka na Adonai: I love you , O Lord
Adonai: Lord / God
Kadosh Israel: Holy One of Israel
Avinu Malkenu: Our Father, Our King
Hashem: the Name

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jubilee Saturday...6/28/08

Re: Jubilee Saturday Afternoon/Evening

As I have discussed with many of the folks in the Cookeville District, we are in the process of planning for the district-wide Jubilee Saturday Afternoon/Evening Outdoor Services on June 28, 2008. The theme of the Jubilee is a reaffirmation of our devotion to God patterned after Joshua gathering the Hebrew people shortly before his death and having them reaffirm their allegiance to God after finally inhabiting the Promised Land. This account is found in Joshua 24 when Joshua gathered the tribes of Israel at Shechem and asked them to reaffirm, "We will serve the Lord". I think that it is particularly significant at this time for the people of the Cookeville District to gather and affirm anew that "We will serve the Lord", and, I think that is equally important that the Laity of our district play major role in this event.

We have reserved the Cookeville Fairgrounds to host our Jubilee Saturday since it is the most central facility to the many churches in our District. Further, it has an outdoor facility large enough to seat us and "cover" us if we encounter inclement weather. Last, it has the speaker/PA systems we will need. The basic plan for Jubilee Saturday is outlined in the schedule of events shown below.

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

- Youth Service with Special Music/Praise Music Opening and Closing

- Special Youth Speakers and Personal Witnesses

- Selected Keynote Speaker

- Close with Combination Communion/Altar Call

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

- Picnic on the Grounds

o Hamburgers/Hotdogs/fixings and desserts provided by the Churches

o $1.00 Free Will donation to defray expenses for the dinner/Jubilee

o Entertainment during the picnic

o Fellowship for the Adults and Youth

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

- Adult Service with Special Music/Praise Music Opening and Closing

- Special Speakers with Short Motivational Witnessing Emphasized

- Selected Keynote Speaker

- Close with Combination Communion/Altar Call

- Impromptu Choir Leading the Closing

Spiritual renewal is the theme of the Jubilee. Bishop William W. Morris has accepted Dr. Martin's request to be the Keynote Speaker for the Adult (Second) service and Rev. Beth Luton has agreed to be the keynote speaker of the Youth service.
Don Kenne, Cookeville District Lay Leader (; 931-484-9040

The Sword of God

Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us:"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Can you see the image of the sword? Instead of a blade that is sharp only on one side and as such is limited in use, this sword is a formidable weapon no matter what direction you swing it. God's word is just such a weapon except it is not a weapon for dealing death but LIFE.

Sin whispers through the desires of the flesh and rationalizations of the won't have a chance in the future if you don't cheat on this test. You won't be noticed if you don't dress a certain way. You won't have job security if you speak up about dishonest practices at work. Your life will be wasted in this relationship, you should just get a divorce. Only a fool would go around looking weak instead of getting revenge.

All of these statements are lies. It is the deceitfulness of sin. Those lies sometimes lodge themselves very deep in the heart as thought and intentions that seem unshakably true because of the hardness of the heart that encloses them like a dark, sealed casket. In that condition, unbelief has the upper hand. We are not believing the promises of God, we are trusting in the promises of sin. The Word of God is living, active and sharp and it will penetrate deeper than the deception of sin has ever gone and reveal what is truly worth trusting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Have you ever wondered how the Church strays from it's we get off track?

"The Parable Of The Lifesaving Station"
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little lifesaving station grew.

Some of the new members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club. Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work. The mission of lifesaving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the lifesaving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, some had skin of a different color, some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal pattern of the club. But some members insisted that lifesaving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that
if they wanted to save the life of all various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another lifesaving station was founded. If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but now most of the people drown! Dr. Peter Storey

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Interview with God

"Come in", God said. "So you would like to interview Me?" "If you have the time," I said. God smiled and said: "My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?" "What surprises you most about mankind?" God answered: "That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived..."

God's hands took mine and we were silent for a while and then I asked..."As a parent, what are some of life's lessons that you want your children to learn?" God replied with a smile: "To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is let themselves be loved. To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis! To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that money can buy everything but happiness. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different. To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them...and likes them anyway. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves."

I sat for a while enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for His time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, "Anytime, I'm here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I'll answer." People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Author Unknown