Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year - What Really Matters?

This is a quote from Christopher J. Klicka (1961-2009) in one of his final interviews before he passed into the arms of Jesus after fighting M.S. for years.

He (God) enables you to fulfill what He's called you to do. He's called me to be a father of seven and a husband, and work for the homeschoolers and to share His gospel. Charles Spurgeon once said that there will be no crownbearers in heaven who weren't crossbearers on earth. I got the cross of MS. Some people are going to have the cross of cancer, some are going to have the cross of losing a loved one, or some marriages will break up, or struggles that bring hurt and growth...for there are little crosses we all must bear; damage to cars, finances aren't doing well, or we loose a job...It's not a question of whether you are going to suffer or not. It's just a matter of how you deal with it...God is sovereign and we still must glorify Him...heaven's going to be sweeter than anything this world offers. I know it's going to be sweeter. I can't wait.

These are good words to ponder on a new year. May each of us face life with such power and grace. It is God's gift to each of us. I declare the gift of power and grace in 2010.

You know I love ya - Don

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Remember these....???

Matthew and Challenger Baseball last spring...Trophy Day!

Cousins Domanic and Dillon with Matthew watching something impressive on T.V.

Alice and Baby "B"...they are twin dolls and the male is "Billy Bob" - Dad was teasing and she liked the names.

Preschool graduation and Miss Trisch...

Buddy Walk and the Indianapolis Super Bowl Trophy!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Nativity!

Victor Knowles wrote this in the Christian Standard this week. I want share it with you.

When I was a little boy my parents bought a Christmas manger set. On the box were these words: “The Christmas story in beautiful cutout scenes and lifelike figures . . . It tells the Christmas story . . . Fascinates young and old.” I remember how special it was to assemble the cardboard set on Christmas Eve. I would lie on the living room floor, face in hands, and gaze at those familiar figures for hours.

In the background was the little town of Bethlehem. To the left were the shepherds, with one little “adoring child” kneeling in reverence before the Christ child in the manger. To the right were the richly dressed and multicultural wise men, bearing their gifts. Behind Joseph and Mary stood a cow and a donkey, suspending their grazing in favor of gazing. Above the little wooden shelter was the star of Bethlehem. You could insert a Christmas tree bulb in the opening of the stable roof to add a lighting effect.

My favorite figures were not the camels, impressive though they were. Nor were they the gazing donkey and cow. There were also two grown sheep and one little lamb. And that lamb was my favorite of all. I loved that little lamb.

As I grew older I learned just how appropriate it was for that lamb to be included in the Christmas manger set. In Scripture, Jesus is described as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! In fact, the Bible declares Jesus is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). God’s divine plan of salvation, from the very beginning of time, included our sins being covered by the blood of the Lamb—Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.

I never realized, as a little boy, how significant it was when I got to help assemble the Christmas manger set. The printed instructions on the flat portion of the landscape read, “Insert sheep and lamb here.” That is precisely what God did at Bethlehem when the little lamb, the Son of God, was born; and that is what God did at Calvary when the grown-up Lamb of God died on the cross for our sins.

I still have Christmas manger set (No. 743), box included, and I still set it up every Christmas. The cardboard little lamb, now more than 50 years old, is still my favorite—because of its messianic meaning.

Pray for Christmas miracles and Christmas dreams to touch all our lives. You know I love ya and Merry Christmas! Don

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary Answered, "May it be to me as you have said." - Luke 1:38
The messages of Gabriel's announcement was this: "Mary, even though you have never been with a man, you are going to have a baby." WHAT!!!!!

How does a young Jewish bride-to-be explain that fact to her mother and father and her Fiancee'...not to mention in-laws, friends, and neighbors? No matter what Mary said, she had to know that people would talk. Her pregnancy was scandalous. The religious community would condemn her. The story would spread like wildfire. Gossips would have a field day.

How unfair! Both Joseph and Mary were devoted followers of God. They knew and God knew that they had been morally pure. But the world that loves to whisper didn't know and probably didn't care. How ironic! To God, Mary was chosen; to the world, Mary was cheap. She might have protested. Instead, she humbly submitted to the plan and purpose of God.

Mary's response to the surprising will of God is a great example for us. When we are confronted by situations that seem crazy or unfair, do we balk and complain? Or do we say, "God, I trust that you are in control, that you are good, and that you know what is best. If this is your plan for my life, then I accept it willingly"? I am asking God today to help me develop confidence in his faithfulness in every situation in the year 2010.

How we respond to unexpected events is a good measure of our faith. You know I love ya and looking forward to Christmas. - Don

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Funny - A Lousy Tree

Signs You Bought a Lousy Tree

8. Two feet tall, forty feet wide

7. Salesman's opening line: "You're not a cop, are you?"

6. It looks suspiciously like a broom handle with a lot of coat hangers
Christmas Tree
5. While you sleep, it gets liquored up and takes the family caravan for a joy ride.

4. Each branch has "Duraflame" printed on it.

3. It's very small and says "air freshener" on it.

2. Rabbis have better Christmas trees than yours.

1. You are constantly bragging about its "trunk size"

Drink a cup of Hot Cocoa and admire your tree this year. You are loved...happy Friday! -Don

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Growing Up

My Mom made Christmas special for us. I was wrapping presents this evening and was thinking of her. She always had one present ready for under the tree the day tree was put up. Karen and I do it together. The children help us with "some" of the presents. I am very thankful for my mom and for giving me such wonderful memories. Many years it was slim "pick'ins" but mom always made it seem like we had a million.

I found this poem and it reminded me of her:
Visions Past
~ written by Roger J. Robicheau

The Christmas tree was real
That heavy tinsel, special feel

So many lights, in sparkling view
Glass ornaments, hung neatly too

An angel perched, atop it all
Seen shining down, it did not fall

The tree was watered in its stand
It's special smell, came on so grand

Nativity, was always perched
In middle window, all would search

Side windows dressed with candlelight
I'd check the view, from sidewalk sight

All was right, this child felt sure
That special time, lived in his door

I thank you God, for visions past
Which come alive, to hold and grasp

Thanks Mom, and may each of us cherish every day as if it were Christmas Day. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 14, 2009

God With Us - STILL?

"What, then, is the God I worship? ... You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present among us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring; and yet we cannot comprehend you." -St. Augustine

Isaiah 7:14
"All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us')." (NLT)

When the virgin gave birth to this Son, Immanuel was finally present among us, yet in so many ways he was still hidden from us. Romans 11:33 says, "Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!"

Have you ever wondered why God would want to live among us and even within us, when we cannot fully comprehend him? Only love create this desire within the great God we love and serve. For only love could write this story.

If you've ever gone to live in a foreign country, you've known the temporary loneliness and frustration of living among people who can't fully understand you. I've only been to Mexico. That was bad enough. Leaving the culture where we fit is hard yet, in spite of the hardship, it was often eased with the knowledge that one day would come and eventually all would be fully understood. You and they would be able to share in the cultural experience.

1 Corinthians 13:12 promises a day when we will no longer see through imperfect eyes: "Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."

Immanuel stepped out of eternity and into history. Jesus was God incarnate. In other words, Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus' birth was to bring clarity to us and for us. Could it be that Immanuel—God With Us—is looking forward to that day just as much as we are, that day when we see him with perfect clarity and know him completely? Thus, we strive for excellent worship because He is an excellent God. We serve to please Him, because He came to serve us. We study His Word for a better knowledge of "who" God is so that we might have a clearer vision of the God we love.

God with us and yes, He is still with us. "Lord, open my eyes so I may see glimpses of truth you have for me. Help me recognized that you are with us and I surrender myself to your touch of clarity. Amen."

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, December 11, 2009

Economizing the 12 Days of Christmas!

It is Friday and less then two weeks to Christmas...With the downsizing in this economy, I thought you might get a chuckle out of this Friday Funny. I did.

Today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:

The partridge will be retained because of his public appeal, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.

The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.

The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French. Not to mention their eggs will be good for everyone.

The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order.

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. Their function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance their outplacement.

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching.

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps.

Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen in late 2010.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet and keyboard reductions will suffice, a cut back on new music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down to the bottom line.

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved. We are also study the benefits of using the free shipping available through Walmart Site-to-store policy.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), action is pending.

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

Keep laughing and enjoy the season. You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Eternal Christmas Gifts

These are my eternal Christmas Gifts.

I am a Child of God (John 1:12)
I am Christ's Friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint and set apart for God (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the World (Matt. 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27)
I am fee forever from Condemnation (Rom 8:1-2)
I am a Citizen of Heaven (Phil. 3:20)
I cannot be separated from God's Love (Rom. 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, & sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
I may approach God with confidence and freedom (Eph. 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine (John 15:1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3:16)
I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1:5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14)
I am a Child of God (Eph. 1:5)

"Lord, thank you for giving me such wonderful gifts this Christmas. Happy Birthday!"

God is not limited in His supply nor does He offer a rain check. You can open these gifts too. You know I love ya - Don

Sunday, December 6, 2009

As the Magi were overjoyed, so am I!

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. - Matthew 2:9-11

I feel much like the wise men this morning. They traveled many miles looking for Jesus. They worked hard and dedicated themselves to a long obedience in the same direction...following the star. The Magi (Individuals that were able to interpret the stars) had a long journey and a purpose in mind. I believe the Magi's forefathers learned of the coming Messiah when the Jews were captive in Babylon. Thus, they were waiting and looking for the New King, God's Messiah. It had been a long wait.

At the time they saw the star, they were overjoyed. All the hard work, education, and dedication to their goals opened up the reality of seeing Jesus...

Today is the day after our "Only Love" Musical weekend. I feel much like the Magi because I am also overjoyed. The reality of seeing Jesus in the hearts and minds of so many dedicated people brings me great joy. We also started a long journey of obedience in August. After much waiting, dedication, and education, we were able to lift our artistry in praise and worship.

Lord, thank you for dedicated Christ-followers that are willing to serve you completely. Thank you for strength and skill development that we might offer ourselves to you in a creative spirit. Thank you for truth that "Only love could write the Christmas story and only grace could make it true." In praise of Jesus' name, Amen.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funny - Santa Requests

We are going to meet Santa Tomorrow night at the Down Syndrome Indiana Christmas Party. I found this joke...
The Santa Claus at the mall was very surprised when a young lady about 20 years old walked up and sat on his lap. Santa doesn't usually take requests from adults, but she smiled very nicely at him, so he asked her, "What do you want for Christmas?"

"Something for my mother, please," said the young lady.

"Something for your mother? Well, that's very thoughtful of you," smiled Santa. "What do you want me to bring her?"

Without blinking she replied, "A son-in-law!"
It is a amazing what you might see in the Mall...Happy Friday! You know you are loved - Don

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hearing from God and Going to See His Work!

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." - Luke 2:8-15

I want to follow the example of the shepherds. They heard from God's messengers and then they went. Granted what they heard was fantastically presented. The angels in the sky could not be missed. I am impressed in how they did not let the fear cripple their response. Instead, they went to see. They took action.

So many times, God reveals Himself to me and I will take it as mine. The truth is that God reveals Himself to us so that we might share it with others. Ignorance, fear, and lack of faith hinder my abilities to move...to act...to live as a Christ-follower.

Lord, help my unbelief. Open my courage to say and do the right thing. Lord, let me see your messages just as the Shepherd in the fields. Then, grant me the desire and the will to take action. I love you, Lord and thank you for my job, my family, and my home. Amen.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, November 30, 2009

Only LOVE could write the Christmas Story!

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. - Luke 2:19-20
Our 2009 Christmas Sermon series and Christmas Musical is titled "Only Love." We are studying and celebrating how God could only write the Christmas story. He also could only write such a story in the power of love. With God, only love could write such a story.

Just ponder for a moment: A God who humbled Himself, a young couple who clung to one another, a motley group of lowly shepherds. All this, and more. Angels who sang in the heavens, wise men who followed a star, and the humble babe lying in a manger from which animals normally ate. What more could we ask from a story? Not a thing. And it reminds us, in the shallowness of the materialism and glitter of our times, of those things that really matter. God, family, our responsibility for others. Christmas. Can any word be more beautiful than that one? Christmas, a celebration of love.

God loves you and me so much that he came as a baby....you know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude on Thanksgiving!

The following is a quote from our staff chapel yesterday. Thank you Dean Nester for sharing it with us.
Gratitude is more than a mental exercise, more than a formula of words. We cannot be satisfied to make a mental note of things which God has done for us and then perfunctorily thank Him for favors received. Gratitude requires more than that.

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us...and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a gift of grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. That is what makes all the difference in a true person of thanks.
- From Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton

I choose an attitude of gratitude on this Thanksgiving Weekend because of the experience...God is our creator, He is Good, and He is Faithful. Thanks be to God our Father. You know I love ya and wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving Day. - Don

Friday, November 20, 2009

What to do at Thanksgiving - Friday Funny

This is a reprint from last year....but it is still worth the chuckle.
1. Load your plate up high, then take it to the kitchen, toss it all in the blender, and take your "shake" back to the table. Announce that it's the new Thanksgiving Weight Loss Shake.

2. When everyone goes around to say what they are Thankful for, say, "I'm thankful I didn't get caught" and refuse to say anything more.

3. Bring along old recorded football games, pop them in the VCR when Dad's not looking. Make sure it is set to the last two minutes of the game. When he comes into the room, turn off the VCR and turn on the regular TV.

4. Invite a friend that only talks about the tragic and abusive conditions known to exist at turkey farms.

5. During mid-meal turn to mom and say, "See mom, I told you they wouldn't notice that the Turkey was past expiration date. You were worried for nothing."
Happy Friday! - Don

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Dad was a big man

My dad was a big man. He was 6 foot 5 inches. I also have no memories of him weighing less than 300 pounds. He was a football player. He loved the game. He could analyze and strategies with the best. He also loved basketball, baseball, and hockey. Until the day he died, he could hit a softball over any outfielder in any position and he liked to tell them it was coming before the ball was pitched. (His imitation of Babe Ruth.) The man knew how to play the games and loved sharing the experience with everyone.

I have memories of mom and dad and my Aunt and Uncle coming over to play cards on a regular basis. I never truly had the opportunity to play cards with my father, I think he was a little partial to letting my sister and I win, but he was just as good at playing cards and winning as well...at least that is what my mom and my Aunt Sue say.

I told you my dad was a big man. At one point in the his life, he was offered a scholarship to play football at Arizona State. It meant that he could get a free ride and do what he loved to do. Unlike today, in that era it also meant that he would have to leave my mother and me behind. He turned down the scholarship. That was the type of man he was. He had an arrogance for the games, yet that arrogance was always subject to his compassion. Dad was an outstanding athlete, yet I have very few memories of Dad playing on winning teams. You see, my father was great at playing the sports and games and he was also great at including everyone. He played on teams that were regular people that loved life, loved games, and loved sharing the fun.

My dad was a big man and it takes a big man to be willing to laugh hard. Dad was a tease and a man that loved to laugh. I can still hear the sound of his chuckle that would turn into a deep laugh. He also was good a making others laugh. I am not sure how, but he had a charisma that people enjoyed and allowed for the not so good in their lives seem not so bad either.

Dad was a big man. He was diagnosed with a fatile desaese at 27 years old. He and mom faced it head on. They saw all the doctors and dad became a great specimen because of his size but also because of his athletic abilities. The church elders prayed for him. We prayed together as a family. He was given 30 days and lived a very productive life until he died seven years later at that age of 34. About a year before he died, I learned how to drive and I don't recall why we were discussing it or "what" we were discussing, but I never forgot and I can still hear his voice saying, "It is hard, but you will be a better man if will learn to accept the stuff you cannot change." Dad accepted his disease because He knew that Jehovah was his God and that all things would be taken care of.

My father was a big man and he understood that we serve a big God. His love for Jesus dictated his love for others. He loved my mother. He loved his children. He loved his family. His abilities in sports, was always subject to his ability to laugh and share life with others. He knew the game would end, but our love for God and others would never die.

I am thankful for a dad that was a big man.

Hebrews 12:1-3 - "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Giving thanks for you, my blog reader, this week. You know I love ya - Don

Thanksgiving - More Than A Day

More Than A Day By Karl Fuchs

As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,

It brings up some facts, quite profound.

We may think that we're poor,

Feel like bums, insecure,

But in truth, our riches astound.

We have friends and family we love;

We have guidance from heaven above.

We have so much more

Than they sell in a store,

We're wealthy, when push comes to shove.

So add up your blessings, I say;

Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.

Enjoy what you've got;

Realize it's a lot,

And you'll make all your cares go away.

Giving thanks for you - you know I love ya - Don

Monday, November 16, 2009

Other's Thanksgiving

It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:13-15
We believe, so we speak. All this is for our benefit so that more people can give thanks to God for God's glory. What a great truth in the Word for us in this time of year. Many times the work of the Gospel gets tiresome, yet it is truly rewarding. Where is the reward? The reward is in the gift of seeing others giving thanks.

We are all on a journey of faith. I have found that as a Christ-follower, true reward is seeing others grow in Christ. I have also found that I grow in my walk with Jesus in the desire to see others giving thanks as well. It is so easy in "today's" church to focus on my needs, my desires, my thoughts on "how" church should be. True worship is not self-seeking...just as love is not self-seeking. So, how can we think only of our wants and desire while entering the throne room of God to give Him thanks? I do not believe we can.

So, the next time we step into a corporate worship setting, lets remember worship is not for us, but that our speaking is for the purpose of serving others so they might give thanks to God and ultimately for God's glory and adoration. It is interesting to note that as we seek to please the God we love by serving others and giving of truth to each other, God pours out blessing and rewards that last throughout eternity. Thus, our faith is revealed.

Lord, help me to believe so that I have the words to speak. Help me to proclaim the message that You are alive and working among your people. I also ask you to help me to serve and give thanks in my actions, my heart's desires, and my thoughts. You are a great God and it is a privilege to know that because you are God, life is worth living. Thank you. Amen.

I am giving thanks for you today. May we speak with boldness so that others can give thanks. You know I love ya - Don

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Funny - Thanksgiving Forcast!

Thanksgiving Forcast!
In the pre-Thanksgiving rush, I received an early weather report from our in-house weather reporters. Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. A layer of gravy will provide warm coverage.

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone and for a Christmas Ham.

Only a few days to go...You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving!


How often do you say the phrase “Thank You”? (If you are like me, probably not enough.)

When you receive a gift? When you get that new iPod or computer game or special something you’ve been hoping for? When somebody compliments you on your musical ability or athletic skills or talents or achievements?

We are taught to be thankful for all the wonderful things that have been given to us.

But sometimes I wonder...If all those things were taken away from us, would we still be thankful? Would we still rejoice in God, even if nobody buys us stuff or notices how talented and athletic and hard working we are? Would we still say, “Thank you”?

The prophet Habakkuk lived in a time of great devastation...There was war, there was economic decline, and he was living under a culture that hated God. He had every reason to be upset and not be thank-ful. And yet, he wrote these great words:

“Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; and though the produce fails and the fields yield no good food...yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” (Hab 3:17-18)

A modern version of that might go like this: “Even when I don’t get all the praise and all the stuff that I think I deserve...I will still be thankful for all that God has done.”

I am thankful for you, I truly mean that...you know I love ya, Don

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who do I trust?

This story was sent to me by my Aunt Sue. I pray it touches you as it has touched me.

A pastor had been on a long flight between church conferences. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten Your Seat Belts.

Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."
 
As the pastor looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice on the intercom said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

And then the storm broke . . .The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if were about to crash.
 


The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.
 
"Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly.
 
"Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world.

When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid." The minister could hardly believe his eyes.


It was not surprising that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and the behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.
 
The child replied, "Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home."

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.
 
Let us remember: Our Father is the Pilot... He is in control and taking us home. I choose to trust in the Lord, My God. You know I love ya - Don

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Funny - Looking for a Job!

With the unemployment rate rising, I thought a little job humor might be in order.

A man was applying for a job as a prison guard. The warden said, "Now these are real tough guys in here. Do you think you can handle it?"

"No problem," the applicant replied, "If they don't behave, they are outta here!"

So, you better behave or the warden might throw you out of the game....You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Devote, Devoted, Devotion....

I watched the remake of "V" last night. I liked it as entertainment. There was action, sci-fi thrills, and a little creepiness. I also liked how the writers made you think. I was provoked to think about "devotion." The episode ended with the reality that the visitors were gaining loyalty and devotion. I asked, "What am I truly devoted to...?"

Devote: To give over or direct (as time, money, or effort) to a person or cause, or activity (transitive verb).
I find it interested to learn that a transitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity like kick, want, paint, write, eat, clean, etc. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb. Therefore, to devote oneself needs a person or object to receive the gift.

Devoted: Characterized by loyalty and devotion (adjective).
I find this interesting because it describes me as the one being devoted.

Devotion: The fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal devotion to the cause (noun).
I find this interesting because it is the gift that is handed to the other person or object.

Thus...it takes two to have "Devote, Devoted, Devotion." That may seem obvious to many of you...but lets look what we are truly devoted to...our stuff, our food, our home, and the list goes on. It seems to me that we devote ourselves to "ourselves." What about being a Christ-Follower...what should I be devoting myself too?
Psalm 86:2, "Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you."

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." And in Colossians 4:2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."
I need to work on and watch what I devote myself to. That which I am devoted to defines the character I posses. In other words, my character is defined in my devotion. My devotion reveals that true nature of my heart and loyalty to those around me.

"Dear God, help me be more devoted to You, my wife, my children, my church, my family, my friends, and even those that do not know you. Bring your characteristics of devotion in my life and may I be as passionate about it as you were, even if it means being crucified for your sake. You know I love you and humbly ask this in Jesus Name. Amen."

Your fellow devotee - Don

Monday, November 2, 2009

Effect of afflictions!

Romans 5:1-8
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
This is one of my favorite scripture passages that reveals the effect of afflictions.

1. Perseverance

First, tribulations bring about perseverance, or patient endurance. Paul doesn't mean this is universally true. For many, tribulations unleash hatred and bitterness and anger and resentment and murmuring. But this is not the ongoing effect in those who have the Spirit of Christ. For them the effect is patient endurance, because the fruit of the Spirit is patience.

The point here is that until hardship comes into our lives, especially hardship for the sake of Christ and his righteousness, we do not experience the extent and depth of our devotion to Christ. Until times get hard, we do not taste and really know if we are fair-weather Christians—the kind Jesus described in the parable of the soils in Mark 4:16–17.

"And these are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away."

So Paul is saying that one great effect of tribulation is that it brings about patient endurance and perseverance in God's people, so they can see the faithfulness of God in their lives and know that they are truly his.

2. Proven Character

That's the point of the second effect that's mentioned (v. 4). "And [this] perseverance [brings about] proven character." Literally the word dokimen means "the experience of being tested and approved." We could say "approvedness" or "provenness."

This is not hard to grasp. If, when tribulations come, you persevere in devotion to Christ and don't turn against him, then you come out of that experience with a stronger sense that you are real, you are proven, you are not a hypocrite. The tree of trust was bent and it didn't break. Your fidelity and loyalty were put to the test and they passed. Now they have a "proven character." The gold of your faith was put in the fire and it came out refined, not consumed.

3. Hope

The third effect comes from this sense of being tested and approved and refined. Verse 4b: "And proven character [brings about] hope." This takes us back to verse 2: "We exult in the hope of the glory of God." The Christian life begins with hope in the promises of God in the gospel, and it spirals up through affliction to more and more hope.

The people who know God best are the people who suffer with Christ. The people who are most unwavering in their hope are those who have been tested most deeply. The people who look most earnestly and steadfastly and eagerly to the hope of glory are those who have had the comforts of this life stripped away through tribulations.

I choose to press through in order to achieve greater hope...you know I love ya and praying for you to NEVER give up! - Don

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Funny - You are not alone

I found this short little funny story and as a brother, I can relate and it brought a chuckle....
Mary, a typical teenage girl, was having a tough day and had stretched herself out on the couch to do a bit of what she thought to be well-deserved complaining and self- pitying.

She moaned to her mom and brother, "Nobody loves me ... the whole world hates me!"

Her brother, busily occupied playing a game, hardly looked up at her and passed on this encouraging word: "That's not true, Mary. Some people don't even know you."

So, if you are feeling a bit out-of-sorts...don't worry, not everybody hates you....

Don't forget to smile at the cute children and fun costumes, laugh at all the weird-ohs that dress up for All Saint's Eve, then turn your clock back an hour. Fall back in the Fall...

You know it - Don

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Blended Worship Service IS???

Park Chapel Christian Church has a Blended Worship Service...we call it Solid Ground. What do I mean by "blended worship" service?

Well, let’s start with the word “worship”. Many books and articles (perhaps deliberately) do a poor job of pinning down what they do and do not mean by that word. On one end of the spectrum are definitions like “a complete liturgical event for which the people of a church regularly gather”: greeting, singing, preaching, praying, the kid’s moment, it’s all part of “worship”. On the other end of the spectrum is “participation in the singing of a particular type of song of adoration towards God, usually to soft, melodic, contemplative music”. While we all agree that “worship is important”, we have wildly different notions of what is and is not a part of that important thing. Worship is simply, "declaring how much God is worth with a physical response."

For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to use “worship” to refer to those times when the gathered church sings and prays aloud together (whether en masse or one-at-a-time). An alternate definition which will work just as well is those things in which the gathered church participates in perceptible ways with the intent of engaging with the presence of God in and among them so as to respond to our Creator by declaring He is worth more than anything else.

So what is “blended worship”? Simply put, it is the use of songs and prayers from radically different streams of the church and cultural genres, in their conventional forms, within a single worship event. Imagine a choir-sung Lutheran hymn, a neo-punk chorus, and a Gregorian chant as back-to-back songs within a single service and you’re starting to get the idea.

Notice that an otherwise-traditional church service in which a single “contemporary” song is performed by a singer (”special music”) is not blended, and neither is a rock-ensemble worship band covering a hymn; each of these is an example of one style co-opting the other, but using it on its own terms.

Therefore, in the Park Chapel Solid Ground service, we make it our goal to please our Creator by offering ourselves to Him in many diverse offerings...blending many facets of our abilities and gifts together so as to declare to anyone and everyone that we praise, adore, and love a creative Jehovah that has blessed us beyond our imaginations.

Genesis 2:3, "
And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that He had done."

All thoughts are welcome...you know I love ya - Don

Monday, October 26, 2009

Words to encourage...

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”- Ephesians 5:19-20
Speak to one another is the first mark of a Christian who is being matured by the filling of the Holy Spirit: “...Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs.”

In other words, these Christians are addressing one another in a way that encourages their mutual edification. Even in their conversation with one another, their desire is to edify, to build up, to encourage. It’s addressing and exhorting and encouraging one another—in this case, he says, with scriptural songs, or songs that are scriptural and spiritual—so that we’re moved to adoration and confession and thanksgiving, and petition and intercession.

An elder at Gethsemane Church of Christ is particularly good at doing this. Any time I got a note from him, he almost always began it by quoting a long passage of Scripture before he then moves on to a word of encouragement. And even sometimes when I was talking with him, he’ll start the conversation off by quoting Scripture, and then we would move into the substance of what it is that we’re going to talk about. And very often in his prayer he would quote Scripture first, verbatim, and then move into lifting up the specific praises or petitions to God. Cleveland Bosher will always be a good and encouraging example to me.

Yesterday, I was talking to one of the mothers of the congregation as she walked into the church, I was reminded of another manifestation of this speaking with one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. She was talking about the importance of parents encouraging their children to read the Bible, and to ask them what they’re reading, and what they’re learning from the Bible, so that their conversation is filled from time to time by talking about the things of the Lord, naturally; that we would desire to have that as a normal part of our interaction with one another in human relationships, whether parent and child, or friend and friend.

Well, the Apostle Paul says the person who’s being Spirit-filled has a conversation which is filled with the truth of God’s word in a way that encourages or edifies our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. That’s one mark of a Christian who is being matured by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, Help me to have encouraging words today! Amen.

I am sending encouraging words your way - you know I love ya - Don

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Funny - The Birthday Wish

It is Friday, so lets laugh....

A man asked his wife, "What would you most life for your birthday?"

She said, "I'd love to be ten again."

On the morning of her birthday, he got her up bright and early and off they went to the theme park. He put her on every ride in the park...the death slide, the screaming loop, the wall of fear, and so on. Everything there was, she had to go.

She staggered out of the park five hours later, her head reeling and her stomach upside down. He takes her to McDonald's, where she was given a Double Big Mac with extra fries and a strawberry shake. Then off to a theater to see a replay of Star Wars double feature with more snacks of candy and popcorn and soft drinks.

At last she staggered home with her husband and collapsed into bed. Her husband leaned over and asked, "Well, dear, what was it like being ten again?"

One eye opened and she grown, "Actually I meant dress size 10."

Keep smiling and have a great weekend! - Don

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Orionids Shining Bright

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. - Philippians 2:12-18

I woke up last night and had an opportunity to look out the window and witness the Orionids Meteor Show. I did not see too much. Our neighbors had their bight spot lights on and the sky was not as dark as it could have been. I did get to see four shooting stars. One really bright, and three the were much shorter in duration.


I thought of this verse in Philippians. We live in a world that is flesh driven. Too many people are living the crooked and depraved life. It is shows in the amount of depression, arrogance, and immorality that is everywhere. Just yesterday, I had to deal with good Christian people, that made some foolish decisions and then acted as if they were "holier" then the other good people that were hurt and truly diminished as a result. The world influences us in many ways, it is our (my) job to hold tightly to the "Word of Life."

There is not other way to live in victory over the world unless you hold on tightly to the Word of Life. I believe Jesus is the word of life and the great blessing to holding on to the word of life is that He is unable to let go. There is no way Jesus can let go of us when we hold on to Him. It is not in God's nature to let go, therefore the absolute truth of an absolutely wonderful God is "He unable to let go."

I want to shine like the stars...Lord, help me to hold tightly to you and may others see me shine brightly. Display me like the Orionids I saw last night so that others may know that you are truly God and God Alone. Amen

You know I love ya - a fellow star

Monday, October 19, 2009

Response to a Detour!

Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:13-14

We can let fear dominate our life or we can choose to be strong and courageous. I say we can “choose” but have you noticed in today’s verse it is a command? Why would God do that? Why would He command us to be strong and courageous? Because we NEED it and He is WORTHY of it! However, we do have options. We can let fear grip our heart and influence our decisions. We can rationalize why we can’t be strong or courageous. We can justify why we should be discouraged and drown in self-pity and yet what does God command? “Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Today, I am deciding to obey the Lord by being strong and courageous in everything I face.

When you are facing a detour…. Remember Jesus desires to walk the journey with you…do not be afraid and stand strong in your faith…then keep your eyes open during your detour because you will witness an Almighty God that will...

Part the Red Sea,

Bring the walls of Jericho down,

Slay the Giant with one little stone,

Keep you alive in the belly of a fish,

Bring fire down and burn a wet alter,

Be born in a small stable

Make the lame walk, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear,

He will cast out the demons

He will rise from the dead…

I am keeping my eyes open and looking for great things to come. You know I love ya, Don

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Funny - Wives!

Men in Heaven - Who is the Head of the Household?

At the end of the age when all the believers were standing in line waiting to get into heaven, God appeared and said, "I want all the men to form two lines. One line will be for the men who were the true heads of their households. The other will be for the men who were dominated by their wives."

God continued, "I want all the women to report to St. Peter."

The women left and the men formed two lines. The line of men who were dominated by their wives was seemingly unending. The line of men who were the true head of their household had one man in it.

God said to the first line, "You men ought to be ashamed or yourselves. I appointed you to be the heads of your households and you were disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose. Of all of you, there is only one man who obeyed me. Learn from him."

Then God turned to the lone man and asked, "How did you come to be in this line?"

The man replied, "My wife told me to stand here."

I love my wife and always want to please her by doing what she tells me....well, most of the time. Happy Friday, Don

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Buddy Walk 2009 Pictures

It was a great Buddy Walk in Indianapolis 2009. Lots of Fun and worth every step!
Around 2,300 in attendance!





You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Detour through the Red Sea!

"And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant" (Exodus 14:31, NIV).

Stuck! The Israelite's enemies were in hot pursuit, and in front of them stood an enormous expanse of water. What were they to do? They needed a detour through the Red Sea. If they turned back, their rivals would surely kill them. To venture into the Red Sea meant certain death as well.

Understandably, they turned to their leader, Moses. "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?" they cried. "What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" (Exodus 14:11-12).

Like petulant children, the former slaves turned to the man in charge and whined. And before I go any further, I must admit I've done the same thing. When I go through God's detours, I complain and whine.

There I am. Stuck. My enemies--self-doubt, fear, depression--are pursuing me. In front of me is the deep darkness of grief. To go forward requires a faith I don't have. To go back means losing all I have learned. So I complain.

"Lord, why haven't you answered my prayers?" I cry. "I thought you blessed those who seek you. I've been asking you for the same thing for months, even years. Don't you hear my prayers? It would better for me if I had never been born than to go through this pain. Didn't you hear me when I said I'd had all I could bear? How long will you let me go on like this?"

Have you been there? Most likely, God allows us to get to a "Red Sea" in our lives in order to show His glory to us, as He did for the Israelites.

Like many people, I hate waiting. And I'm sure the Israelites didn't like Moses' response to their little temper tantrum. He said: "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Can't you just see their astonished faces and hear their incredulous replies: "What did he say? Be still? A lot of good that will do!"

And we act the same way. God tells us to "wait," and we decide that's not good enough. So we make ourselves miserable trying to solve the problem (infertility, financial difficulties, marriage troubles, illness, and disease) ourselves.

But God provided a detour for the Israelites, as He is for us today. He sent a mighty wind, which blew back the Red Sea until it made two walls. Then He commanded His children to "move on." And one by one, they resolutely set foot into the bottom of the ocean, marveling at the incredible sights on either side of them.

So when you are faced with a great detour, stand back and watch. Allow the Lord to blow back the sea and astonish you with His miraculous deeds. God will make sure you arrive on dry land, and in doing so, He may slay a few of those enemies you've been running from.

Lord, give me the courage to be still and let You work in my life. Amen

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Funny - a dying wish!

An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his senator and his congressman, both church members, to come to his home.

When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything.

Both men were touched and flattered that the preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed, covetousness, and avaricious behaviour that made them squirm in their seats.

Finally, the banker said, "Preacher, why did you ask us to come?"

The old preacher mustered up his strength and then said weakly, "Jesus died between two thieves, and that's how I want to go."

This is a bipartisan joke, so take it against all parties....

Gotta laugh out loud once in awhile...try it at work. People will think you are crazy. I am going to today, at least once. You know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

God and Luck!

God and luck. Did you know that the word "luck" never appears anywhere in the scriptures? Odd, in a way, since it was a popular concept in the ancient world. Pagans were always ascribing things to the fates, those women who sat at their spinning wheel in the heavens and, when their thread broke, so did the lives of some poor mortals here on earth. Our lives, said Homer, are mere playthings of the gods. It is all a matter of luck, fate, chance. And what can anybody do?

Sometime back, the National Safety Council urged news organizations to stop speaking of "accidents" on our highways. Rather, they thought it more accurate to speak of "crashes." If you are doing a hundred and ninety on Route 9 and have a wreck, is this really an "accident?"

Luck is often perceived as a gift from God. Does that mean being unlucky is God's way of punishing us? Absolutely not! We have the freedom to choose. A true Christ-follower intentionally steps out on faith and allows God to control and work His providence. Many times God takes us on detours around our plans to mature and mold us into His plans. I am pondering on Joseph's response to His brothers in Genesis 50:19-20, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

I like God's truth...when we stand in faith, many of our detours that often make our journey longer, truly enhance the journey and draw us closer to the God we love. So, I am going to plan on enjoying the journey, even the detours.

You know I love ya - a fellow journeyman.