Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 'Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland'.” - Isaiah 43:16, 18-19.
I think this is a great verse to end the year on. It says a great deal about the past and a fantastic vision for the future.

Today, I am giving thanks for 2008 AND I am excited for 2009.

Happy New Year! You know you are loved - Don

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Day After Christmas - Friday Funny

We had a great Christmas! I trust yours was fantastic. It is Friday and the Day AFTER Christmas, so I thought this funny story would be a great fit.

Day After Christmas

The pastor was looking over the crèche the day after Christmas when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing. He went outside and saw a little boy pulling a new red wagon. In the wagon was Jesus.

We walked up to the boy and said, "Hi, there. Where did you get the baby Jesus?"

The boy answered honestly, "In the church."

"Why did you take him?" the pastor asked.

"Well," said the boy, "I prayed to the Lord Jesus and asked him for a wagon for Christmas. I told Him that if He gave me one, I'd take Him for a ride in it."

Keep looking for the humor and you might just enjoy the ride. You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve & Pizza


Today is Christmas Eve 2008. I am drinking a cup of Earl Grey, eating a Christmas cookie, and remembering all the great Christmas events in the past. Mom always made Christmas special at our house, even when she had nothing to work with, she always found a way.

Our typical Christmas schedule started by going to Christmas Eve services at church. It was a wonderful service with candles, carols, and communion. I can still close my eyes and see the church, smell the candles and hear the pipe organ. It was truly a blessing.

Next, we would go to Grandma's house. All the kids would travel with my dad, He was in charge of picking up the pizza. In those days, pizza was a special event. It was not as readily available as it is today (probably lack of funds and not going out to eat.)

The pizza came from Round Table Pizza and at the time they had a pizza that was the size of the table. Absolutely huge and we had a van, so it would fit. I also think it was a time for the parents to get things together. (For some reason, Dad always drove slow that night.) Santa always came to Grandparents houses first and we got to open his gifts at Grandma's on Christmas eve.

We would then go home followed by the long night of trying to sleep. I was always excited to see what was coming the next day...we had to stay in our rooms and call out to mom and dad. Dad would start a fire in the fireplace and mom would put Christmas sweet rolls in the oven. That seem to take forever! Then, we would emerge for our rooms to a room full of gifts.

Around noon, we would head back to Grandma and Grandpa's from lunch together as a family. This lunch was almost spiritual. It was a time of eating, remembering, and fellowship that brings families together. (I should blog more on that sometime.) The day would end with everyone stuffed, relaxing, and very thankful for another year.

Some things have changed over the years...the big ones are the miles that separate us, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa are with the Lord, and the children now have children of their own. But, the spirit is still there. We are going to church tonight, Santa will deliver presents and the families will travel over the next week to be together and share in a meal that remembers past Christmas events as well as looks forward to future hope the Christ Child brings.

I am not sure this blog will make sense to anyone else, but it has been a terrific experience for me in writing it. The point is that Christmas can be the best time of the year....seize every opportunity to share the love. Merry Christmas - you know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 22, 2008

Afraid at Christmas - Courage

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2:8-11

I wonder if I would be afraid if I was sitting out in the fields and an angel appeared out of no where and told me to not be afraid and then a whole multitude of angels appeared and started chanting and singing....I wonder.

Growing up in the city, I probably would have been afraid just being out in the fields. Anyone that knows me understands I can kill bugs, rats, and snakes....but not Crickets (the Japanese Camel Crickets - not the black ones). We did not have these crickets in CA and thankfully not in Indiana either. Or what about the other wild animals? I probably would have been afraid of these things as a shepherd. I probably would have been afraid of losing a sheep during the night as well. So, I would have been awake making sure all was in check and accounted for. I probably would have been afraid of getting cold...so I would check the fire over and over...there was no plumbing and I am not even going to go there...the reality is I am not a shepherd.

If I had been a shepherd, the wilds of the fields would have not scared me. My point is that, yes the shepherds were labeled as the least of these, but they were filled with courage and grit! It is also significant to mention that Jesus was born to BE the Lamb of God. Jesus is also known as the Shepherd of this Flock, the Church. It is the true character of a shepherd to not be afraid...this must be why they said to themselves..."let us go and see this thing that has been revealed to us." The Lord knows, I would have been too busy running from the crickets to even notice the angels.

As we celebrate Christmas, may there be a little more shepherd in each of us.
You know I love ya-four days until Christmas - Don

Friday, December 19, 2008

All I Want for Christmas - Friday Funny

If I hear any yelling....I will get the picture. Enjoy a chuckle and Happy Friday!
Two little boys went to their grandparents' place for Christmas. At bedtime, the youngest one began to pray at the top of his lungs.

"I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE...
I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE...
I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..."

The older brother exclaimed, "Why are you shouting? Do you thing God is deaf." The little one promptly replied, "Nope! But Grandma certainly is!"


Only 5 days to go! You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Consequences of Unforgiveness

The Following is from my daily devotions. It is too good to keep to myself. I am praying God's blessings for you today.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. - Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
Scripture stresses the importance of pardoning those who have offended us. While it may feel natural to pull away from hurtful people, refusing to forgive has consequences far worse than the pain of being wronged.

Unforgiveness...
1. Harms family interactions. Have you ever tried to maintain a growing relationship with an individual who's rooted in bitterness? You can't do it, because that person is fixated on his/her unhealthy feelings about someone else. Moreover, it's hard to spend time with anyone consumed by bitterness, because such people simply cease being likable.
2. Hinders prayer life. Unforgiveness is sin, and unconfessed sin creates "static" in our relationship with God. So we must forgive others before prayer or worship (Matt. 5:23-24).
3. Damages one's personal witness. The highlight of your testimony is salvation, which centers around the truth that the Lord has forgiven all your sins. How can you stress the importance of this if your listener can't see even a hint of forgiveness in your life?
4. Thwarts spiritual growth. God will not bless sinful actions. And so, if you are living a life mired in unforgiveness, you cannot expect Him to shower you with His blessings. By persisting in disobedience, you disrupt intimate fellowship with the Lord and put yourself in a dangerously weak position with God.

Is there anyone you need to forgive today? Don't let another moment pass without granting that forgiveness. there is more at stake than you may have realized. Not to mention, you are only hurting yourself.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, December 15, 2008

Joy, Fear, Worries....the Lord has come.

“But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”- Luke 1:30-33

Joy is the keynote of the entire Advent season, especially for the Christian, who realizes its spiritual significance---God Himself invading this world and providing a means that sinful man might live eternally. This next Sunday the Park Chapel Worship Choir will present, "Joy to the World." I am excited about the presentation and the offering of worship we will share while declaring God's worth in our lives.

We will forget our worries and turn our hearts toward a grander precept of love and the truth that God has touched history and changed the lives of believers all around the world. Much like we see the angel reassure Mary to not be afraid, we too hear the angel voices to not be afraid but to have joy for the Lord has come.

Take time to be joyful and allow God to seize your worries and fears. We have truly found favor because the Lord has come.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Reindeer - Friday Funny

The game show contestant was only 200 points behind the leader and about to answer the final question - worth 500 points!

"To be today's champion," the show's smiling host intoned, "name two of Santa's reindeer."

The contestant, a man in his early thirties, gave a sigh of relief, gratified that he had drawn such an easy question. "Rudolph!" he said confidently, "and, ...Olive!"

The studio audience started to applaud (like the little sign above their heads said to do,) but the clapping quickly faded into mumbling, and the confused host replied, "Yes, we'll accept Rudolph, but could you please explain... 'Olive?!?'"

"You know," the man circled his hand forward impatiently and began to sing, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glowed. *Olive,* the other reindeer..."


Have a great Friday...only 13 days until Christmas! - You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Matthew, Daddy, & Alice

Matthew, Mama, and Alice

Alice, Mrs. Claus, Matthew, and Santa Claus

"I would like........."

"I can't believe I am actually standing with Santa."

Merry Christmas!
Away in a manger, no crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head.

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray!
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And take us to heaven, to Live with Thee there.



"Away in a Manger" is a religious Christmas carol first published in an 1885 Lutheran Sunday School book by James R. Murray (March 7, 1841 - March 10, 1905), but the author of the first two stanzas is unknown. There are at least two major melodies for the song: one, "Cradle Song"[1], more commonly encountered in the United Kingdom; the other, "Mueller"[2], more commonly found in the United States. The tune commonly used in the United Kingdom was written by William J. Kirkpatrick and was first published in 1895. The tune commonly used in the United States was written by James R. Murray and first published in 1887. It is certain that stanza three was added in 1904 by Dr. John McFarland of New York City.

Some have attributed the song to Martin Luther himself. The confusion may have began because Murray published it with the subtitle "Luther's Cradle Hymn (Composed by Martin Luther for his children and still sung by German mothers to their little ones)."

The carol is associated with the tune "Mueller" in some churches and with the tune "Cradle Song" in others.

Take a moment and think of what it would be like to see God's Son, sleeping in hay and a manger. Pretty remarkable - You know I love Ya - Don

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peace!

Peace with God grants a Christ-follower these five action points:

P – Purpose – When a believer grasps the truth of Jesus Christ in Passover, we gain a new purpose. We have direction to the Promised Land. Have a certain hope and a confident future. We have purpose in Christ Jesus.

E – Exit (Exodus) - As believers in the Messiah, we have an exit from Sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. Paul writes in Romans 6:6, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—.”

A – Assurance – The Christ follower has a new assurance. “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.” We have assurance of God’s power.

C – Confidence - There is a new confidence that is gained through the Messiah, much like Simeon’s confidence (Luke 2). I can die in peace because of Jesus. There is no longer any need to search out the unleven bread, it has arrived and is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

E – Empowerment that comes from Emmanuel (God with Us) - On the night Jesus was betrayed they celebrated Passover. He took the third cup, the Cup of Redemption, and after giving thanks, He said, "take and drink. This is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me." Jesus is Emmanuel, God with Us, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Jesus is the prince of Peace and allows us to have a restored relationship with our Creator. He came as a baby to live a life with out sin... then He freely gave His life to be our payment for the wrong in this world and the sin in our lives.

Have a great Monday and ponder these things. It will change your life. It has mine - you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Struck by a Star

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east[b] and have come to worship him." The Magi from the East in Matthew 2:2.

"We saw his star and came to worship"... this verse struck me this morning. It was the star that guided the Magi to the Baby Jesus. It was the star that lead the Magi to worship.

I was struck by the fact that we have been called to be Jesus' star today. We are to be the ones that guide the world around us to the Christ and open opportunities of worship. We are to strike people with a "Jesus" attitude and lifestyle that will guide them to worship.

I have said this many times, "Worship is declaring how much God is worth to you." In many cases, Jesus does not have any worth in a non-believer's life. Therefore, it is our task to show them how much He is worth in our lives and be so good at it the non-believer gains a desire to gain something you have because of your relationship with the God you love. We are to be their star.

The question, "How many people follow your star?" I need to work on my star even more...I need to polish it regularly, change the light bulb when it needs it, and display it with humility and grace. I am praying that "we" will follow the star. I also pray we will follow the star's example and guide other's to the manger.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas - God Dwelled Among Us

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” - John 1:1-2, 14
It is December 1st, 2008 and there are only 25 days until Christmas. We have had the time to get our house decorated. The decorations team at church was able to meet on Saturday and decorate the church. Both places are beautiful.

This Friday, Greenfield will have a Christmas parade, living nativity, and Santa Claus events. We have a the Victorian Dinner on Saturday and more parties and events than one could imagine. To the point that we are over booked and will have to miss a few. The stores are crowded and people are buzzing with excitement.

We do all this, because its Christmas...because God made His dwelling among us over 2000 years ago. That will kind of boggle your mind if you let it. Not that we have so many parties and events, but that the Creator of the Universe made his dwelling among us somewhat pathetic humans. Not only did He come but then He took a stand against sin (was without sin) and was crucified in MY place for MY sin. It is no wonder the world is buzzing with excitement.

The world may not know Him, but the excitement and events along God to show, you cannot stop God. I looking forward to the events...mostly the seeing of friends, family and good singing. But in it all I know that it is because of God dwelling among us that we "PARTY!"

Enjoy the party and celebrations - only 25 days to go - you know I love ya - Don