Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Funny - Music and Floods

Well it is Friday and we need to "funny" in the day. When you life start flooding your schedule remember this little story and laugh out....enjoy

Little Noah came into the house with a new harmonica. "Grandpa, do you mind if I play this in here?" he asked.

"Of course not, Noah. I love music. In fact, when your grandma and I were young, music saved my life."

"What happened?"

"Well, it was during the famous Johnstown flood. The dam broke and when the water hit our house it knocked it right off its foundation. Grandma got on the dining room table and floated out safely."

"How about you?"

"Me? I accompanied her on the piano!"

You know I love ya and will be happy to accompany you on the piano anytime! - Don

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Need Encouragement!

But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.” So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me..."- Acts 13:14-16.
All of us need and want encouragement. No matter how educated we are, how old we are, how self-sufficient we are; we never outgrow our need to be stroked, encouraged, comforted, supported, and invigorated. And yet, encouragement is often a commodity in short supply. An old minister, on his deathbed, was asked, "If you had it all to do over, would you do anything differently?" He replied, "Yes, I would have criticized less and encouraged more."

We live in pretty heavy days. We have a multitude of concerns: personal, inter-personal, national and international. Are we safe from nuclear warfare? Will the Middle East ever know peace? Will South Africa solve its problems? Is the stock market a safe investment? Is there hope for a cure for the AIDS epidemic? Can we ever solve the drug problem? Will I have enough money to send my children to college? Is my job secure? Will my pension/retirement funds be sufficient? Will my wife/husband/children/parents/friends ever understand me? Will I (or my loved ones) survive this threatening illness? What about death; am I ready to die? Am I prepared to meet God?

Oh, yes, it's easy enough to see why these leaders of the synagogue asked for an encouraging word. The world is a rough place. Paul's starts of with the Old Testament and on to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul comes to the good news, that "word of encouragement" they had asked for. He said, "We (Paul and Barnabas) tell you the good news." True, Jesus did not deserve to die, true they killed him and nailed him to a tree, true they buried him in a borrowed grave, "But God" - (there's that wonderful phrase that we find over and over again in Acts) - "But God raised him from the dead!" The Christian faith and hope of the resurrection is a glorious one. It's a divine-shot-in-the-arm (or heart) for depression. The circumstances of life can only push us so far. The devil can only oppress us up to a certain point. We believe in the resurrection and nothing can ultimately defeat us!

We all need encouragement...the sure and depressing word is that we are sinners - all of us - but the "encouraging word" is that Christ died for sinners and there is for us, unworthy as we are, forgiveness of sins. We can be encouraged...we are not alone. God loves us enough to forgive us, lift us up, and embrace us with life for all eternity.

You know I love ya and be encouraged today because God love ya too. -Don

Monday, February 22, 2010

When Jesus Gives Up!

"Yet those who wait for the LORD, will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,They will walk and not become weary." - Isaiah 40:31
Ever feel like that? “Just giving up”?

“Just give up” was the Pharisee’s advice to Jesus. Herod is after you. He has you marked for death. Get out of town quick. Give up your mission here.

When Jesus hears this warning, he surprises those Pharisees by both disregarding and embracing their message. Jesus dismisses the threat of Herod with a flip and a quip. Herod is nothing but a “sly fox,” Jesus quips, forever plotting but powerless against God’s mission in the world. Jesus has his own schedule, his own agenda, his own mission to fulfill, and the time-frame has already been divinely determined.

But Jesus also asserts he WILL give up. He WILL give himself up. He WILL travel to Jerusalem and meet head on the traumatic tradition of that city encapsulated in this phrase — “Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it” (Luke 13:34). Jesus will give up everything, his very life, in order to fulfill his eternal mission of salvation.

Let me put it as clearly as I can: Jesus will “give it up” in order that we might “get it all.” We need to follow that example.

Cherishing it all and loving you! - Don

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Funny - Mud Holes

Watch out for the mud holes!

In a little town in Georgia, a motorist had to pay a farmer $20.00 to pull him out of a mud-hole.

"Seems to me that you''d be so busy pulling folks out of these lousy mud roads that you''d be doing it day and night."

"Nope. Cain''t pull 'em out at night," drawled the farmer. "Night's when we tote water to muddy the road!"

Keep Laughing - Don

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mountain Moving Faith!

I believe God can move mountains...and many times He does it by giving us a wheel barrel. Read this story of faith from East TN:
A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary. Unfortunately, the church with its undersized lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built.

In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard. Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had "mountain moving faith." They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o'clock the pastor said the final "Amen". "We'll open next Sunday as scheduled," he assured everyone. "God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too." The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called "come in", a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.

"Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We're building a huge shopping mall. We need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We'll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge if we can have it right away. We can't do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly."

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with "mountain moving faith" on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!
I believe He can do it. So lets go out and move mountains. You know I love ya - Don

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mountain Tops


"As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." - Matthew 17:9
Mountains were very important to Matthew. When Jesus was tempted to worship the devil in exchange for all the kingdoms of the world, it happened on a mountain. It was good enough for Luke to have Jesus preaching on a nice level place, but when Jesus preaches essentially the same sermon in Matthew he does so on a mountain. That's why we call it the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus went to the mountain to pray. And in Matthew 17, we have this story of the transfiguration, which happened on a mountain.

What is it about something happening on a mountain that adds such special significance? For Matthew, whose roots were in the Jewish tradition and who was writing to Jewish Christians, mountains were holy dwellings of God, places where God's presence was known and God's laws were given. Mountains became symbols of the way things would be when God's rule finally would extend over the earth. "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths" (Isaiah 2:3).

Whatever we make of this story of the transfiguration, it is no accident that it happened on a mountain. On a mountain the glory of Jesus is revealed and the voice from heaven says, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" We aren't sure how God is going to transfigure us in the future, but we like this idea of mountains.

When we are out driving and approach a great stretch of mountains, it is breathtaking and terribly humbling. A drive through the mountains gives us a different perspective on things. Some people invest a lot of time and money in mountain-climbing. That's not for the exercise. They could get the exercise doing a hundred other things. Mountain-climbing is about mastering the mystery and standing where few have stood. We rarely hear of stories about the treacherous descent down a mountain, even though that is great exercise as well. The stories are always about climbing the mountain, risking it all to get to the top, and spending time on some high peak that causes people to see things, and maybe even themselves, differently.

We like the mountains. We even describe some of our greatest moments as mountain-top experiences, but we can't stay on the mountain forever. The emotional level is too intense. However, we can take with us what we experienced on the mountain. It how we share that experience that will define us as Christians.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Funny - In honor of all those who serve to protect.

In honor of our Men and Women who serve to protect our cities, towns, and homes as police officers and highway patrol...this Friday Funny is for you.

These are actual comments made by 16 Police Officers.

These comments were taken off actual police car videos around the country:

16
. 'You know, stop lights don't come any redder than the one you just went through.'

15
. 'Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch after you wear them a while.'

14
. 'If you take your hands off the car, I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document.'

13
. 'If you run, you'll only go to jail tired.'

12
. 'Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? Because that's the speed of the bullet that'll be chasing you..'

11
. 'You don't know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?'

10
. 'Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I'm the shift supervisor?'

9
. 'Warning! You want a warning? O.K, I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket.. '

8
. 'The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?'

7
. 'Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step in monkey poop.'

6
. 'Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven.'

5
. 'In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC.'

4
. 'How big were those 'two beers' you say you had?'

3
. 'No sir, we don't have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we can.'

2
. 'I'm glad to hear that the Chief (of Police) is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bail.'

AND THE WINNER IS....

1
. 'You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? You're right, we don't.. Sign here.'

Thank you for your service - you know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Serve the Song, the Story, the Life

George Clooney said about his Aunt, Rosemary, "She serves a song better than anyone I have ever seen, At some point in her career she learned she didn't have to show off, but could just serve the song. That's what she does. She serves the song and the audience receives the blessing of seeing the service...she would take your breath away." To see the interview - click George and Rosemary

You can always tell the masters from those just trying to be a master. There are several in music that come to my mind, Sandi Patti, George Strait, Rosemary Clooney....all masters and the list could go on. It is amazing how a duet between one of the masters and one of those trying to be a master reveals the truth of pure talent. There is a scene in the movie of "Hello, Dolly!" that has a duet between Barbara Streisand and Louis Armstrong. This is a perfect scene of two masters. The entire movie is worth seeing just to experience the two minute duet between the two of them.

I want to be known as a person that serves a song, a story, and a life. I don't want to try to be a master, but to be a master. The difference is in the heart. A person trying to be a master is using talent to drive ambition, yet the master allows the ambition to rest and lets the talent shine forth. The talent is the God given gift that reflects the creative spirit of a generous God. Even if the person is not willing to recognize that God.

A Christ-follower allows the "mastery" of the God given gift to be guided, nurtured, and molded by the Holy Spirit. That is why we can not only be servants of the song, but of our story, and our life. We serve in humility so that He can make us into a great song, great story, and great life. It is the submission that is so difficult. 1 Corinthians 12:4 states, "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit." Thus, we make it our goal and we strive for His direction. He is willing and able to guide us through His Spirit. It is also so very worth it.

"Lord, peal all away that which keeps me from being a master of the gifts that you have given me. Help me to relax and serve the gift with truisms of life and not the ambitious things I make it. You are my God and I bow to your direction in all that I am. You are also my master, so train me as you see fit. I ask for this through the power and wisdom of Jesus. Amen."

Serving together, you know I love ya - Don

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'll do it myself!

I am amazed at how great the team of servants are that I have the great honor of serving with. Our musicians, tech crew, and worship choir are dedicated and real to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yesterday was a prime example of that. What a great day of worship and the thanks goes to a great God that allows us to work together. It reminded me of the following story I pulled from my sermon archives...
It was just after midnight on November 20, 1988. A 19-year-old Los Angeles woman apparently fell asleep behind the wheel of her car. The car plunged through a guardrail and was left dangling by its left rear wheel. That one wheel was all that prevented the young woman from falling to a certain death.

A half dozen passing motorists stopped and attempted to help. One of them had some ropes in his vehicle. They tied the ropes to the back of the young woman’s car, and hung on until the fire units arrived. A ladder was extended from below to help stabilize the car while firefighters tied the vehicle to tow trucks with cables and chains. “Every time we would move the car,” said one of the rescuers, “she’d yell and scream. She was in pain.”

It took almost 2 1/2 hours for the rescuers about 25 of them in all to secure the car and pull the woman to safety.

“It was kinda funny,” L.A. County Fire Capt. Ross Marshall recalled later. “She kept saying, “I’ll do it myself. I’ll do it myself.”

People are funny like that. “I’ll do it myself.” Against all evidence to the contrary, we somehow think we don’t need other people. And we think we don’t need God.

Eph. 2:19-22, "
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."

"Lord, thank you for giving me the privilege to serve along side such wonderful servants. You are a great God. How can we help but celebrate your greatness in all we are. We love you, Amen."

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Football - Animals Play Football

In view of the up and coming Super Bowl win by the Indianapolis Colts, I thought we should a have a football funny. So, enjoy the following story of when the Animals played football:
The animals were bored. Finally, the lion had an idea. "I know a really exciting game that the humans play called football. I've seen it on T.V. You should see this guy named Peyton Manning...Wow, can he throw."

He proceeded to describe it to the rest of the animals and they all got excited about it so they decided to play. They went out to the field and chose up teams and were ready to begin.

The lion's team received. They were able to get two first downs and then had to punt. The mule punted and the rhino was back deep for the kick. He caught the ball, lowered his head and charged. First, he crushed a roadrunner, then two rabbits. He growled like a wildebeast and knocked over two cows, and broke through to daylight, scoring six.

Unfortunately, they lacked a placekicker, and the score remained 6 - 0.

Late in the first half the lion's team scored a touchdown and the mule kicked the extra point. The lion's team led at halftime 7 - 6. In the locker room, the lion gave a pep talk.

"Look you guys. We can win this game. We've got the lead and they only have one real threat. We've got to keep the ball away from that sissy rhino, he's a killer. Mule, when you kick off be sure to keep it away from the rhino."

The second half began. Just as the mule was about to kick off, the rhino's team changed formation and the ball went directly to the rhino. Once again, the rhino lowered his head and was off running. First, he stomped two gazelles. He ran over a zebra, and bulldozed an elephant out of the way. It looked like he was home free. Suddenly at the twenty yard line, he dropped over dead. There were no other animals in sight anywhere near him. The lion went over to see what had happened. Right next to the dead rhino he saw a small centipede.

"Did you scare the Rhino to death?" he asked the centipede.

"Yeah, I did." the centipede replied.

The lion retorted, "Where were you during the first half?"

"I was putting on all these shoes."
Go Colts and have a great Friday! - Don

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Project Kenya - Close to my heart.


Psalm 96:3 - "Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does."

I am honored to serve on a the oversight team (labeled a board) for Project Kenya. The Project was established in 2002 with goals to BE JESUS by empowering Nationals to achieve freedom from poverty and disease, to facilitate relationships between Christ’s church around the world through various projects which motivate positive change in social issues, and to glorify God, by serving along side the local church. Reaching out to the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people. We have seen God move and bring restoration to many lives.

Through the God given goals above, we have seen and experienced tromendous blessing. The establishing of medical clinics, child sponsorships, educational training, feeding programs, and the regular preaching of the word have seen the local church thrive and grow beyond description. He is an amazing God and as we cling to His words and mandates lives are changed.

Project Kenya is also close to my heart because it is publishing good news in a dark world. To many times we get bogged down in the "religion" and forget we are to be Christ in action. Project Kenya is doing Christ's love in action.

I am also very proud of my mother, Teri Crane, she is the Project founder and director. I have lived a life where mom was a mom, then a minister's wife, then a widow, then a professional administrator, and now I see her living the love of Christ as a foreign missionary. It is hard to have her be so far away, but under the new missionary model, Mom is in the States more than in the past missionary models. When she is home she is still just as much a missionary speaking at churches, raising funds, making contacts, and sending emails. So, needles to say, I am very proud to have a mom that is such an example of Jesus to me, to my family, and her grandchildren.

May each of us publish the good things God is doing and call everyone to a restored and renewed relationship with Jesus. For more information on Project Kenya click on Project Kenya or email Teri at medimangr@aol.com.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eager for the Journey!

Many years ago the great explorer, Sir Francis Drake, was attempting to recruit a number of young men for an upcoming exploration. He gathered them around and told the group that if they came with him they would see some of the most marvelous things their eyes could ever behold. Sandy white beaches, juicy fruits, foreign peoples, priceless treasures, and gorgeous landscapes. And he told them that this wild adventure could be theirs if they came with him. Not one of them enlisted for the journey.

The next day a different group came out. Drake told them that if they came with him they would encounter storms that would terrify them to tears. Tiger winds would hammer them and blow them off course for months. Water would frequently be scarce. At times they would be so thirsty that their very souls would cry out for simply one drop of water. In short, danger would always be their constant companion. Drake concluded by declaring that if they could handle these things, the joys of exploration would exceed their wildest dreams. Every single one of them in the group joined Sir Francis Drake that day, some did not even go home to say goodbye to their families, they just boarded the boat eager for the journey.

What made the difference in these two groups? Why did the first group turn down the mission and the second jump at the chance? Was the second group different and more adventurous than the first? The answer is: No. It is not the men who had changed; it was the message. The first spoke of rewards; the second spoke of challenges. The first offered comfort; the second promised suffering. The first tempted them with things; the second seduced them with an experience unlike any other.

I like to think that Sir Francis Drake discovered what Jesus knew all to well. And that is this: The paths that are offered to us must promise to shape us, build our character, change our world view, if they are to have any appeal to us at all. If we are presented with a challenge that will challenge and change us, we will be eager for the journey.
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. - Luke 5:1-11
Excited about where God is taking us...have a great day and you know I love ya - Don