Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friday Funny - "Happy New Year"

It is Friday and New Year's Eve. These holidays are filled with get together and parties...so I thought the following might bring a chuckle:

As in many homes on New Year's Day, Janet and Nigel, a happily married couple, faced the annual conflict of which was more important: the football match on television, or the lunch itself.

Hoping to keep the peace Nigel ate lunch with the rest of the family, and even lingered for some pleasant after-lunch chat before retiring to the living room to turn on the television.

Some minutes later, Janet looked in to see how he was and graciously even bought a cold diet coke for Nigel. She smiled, kissed him on the cheek and asked what the score was. Nigel told her it was half time and that the score was still 0-0.

'See?' Janet said happily, 'You didn't miss a thing.'

It is hard to believe the first decade of the new millennium is over already. Praying 2011 is awesome in your life. Keeping our eyes on Him and He will never let us down. You know I love ya,
Don

Keep praying for Nicholas and us. His surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, January 4th. I will let you know as I know...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year is a grateful New Year!

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. - Psalm 90:12

It is hard to believe that the first decade of this new millennium is already over. What a ten years it has been. I am thankful for the gains of children, new friendships, new ministries. I am also thankful for the new disappointments that have increased my reliance on a great a mighty God. I am reminded of what Lin Trantor wrote:

"I don't do any housework on New Year's Day," my aunt said, "because what you do on New Year's Day, you'll do all year." When I was young, I thought my aunt had the right idea. I didn't like housework, and so on January 1st I tried to do only the things I enjoyed.

Over the years, as I cared for my family and began to cultivate a more grateful attitude, I decided that doing some housework on New Year's Day would be a good way to begin the year. Washing dishes reminds me to be thankful for the food God has provided in the preceding year and to anticipate all that God will provide in the future. When I do the laundry, I remember to give thanks for warm clothes in the winter. Cleaning house helps me to be grateful for the shelter of a home and reminds me to give thanks for family and friends who are welcome visitors. With each of my New Year's Day chores, I find reason to give thanks.

When I pray on New Year's Day, expressing thanks for all that God provides, I hope the saying is true: What you do on New Year's Day, you'll do all year.

My grandmother was one of my losses in the last 10 years. I truly miss her and her ability to always give me a boost. She also would recite the saying of whatever you do on New Year's you will do all year long...the legacy lives on because my mother says it now.

In 2011, I want to be known as a servant, a follower of Christ, and one that is thankful for that which we have. With this mind set, I think it will be a good year, regardless of the joys or challenges.

Happy New Year to you and may the next year bring you all you desire and need. You know I love ya, Don

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Merry Christmas!

From the Crane's

You we love ya,
Don, Karen, Matthew, Alice, and Nicholas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Luke 2 - The Christmas Story!

Luke 2:1-20 - The Message Bible

The Birth of Jesus
1-5About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

6-7While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

An Event for Everyone
8-12There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

13-14At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

Monday, December 20, 2010

And that's why there's a Christmas Day!

When I was growing up, Lloyd Menning was our preacher at Church of the Cross in Modesto, CA. I remember a Christmas morning worship service and he had all the children come forward. I was about nine or ten years old. He asked us many of us if we knew why there was a Christmas?

We answered with the many typical answers; Jesus, presents, food... Then Pastor Lloyd began to sing this song:

"C" is for the Christ Child born upon this day;
"H" for herald angels in the night.
"R" means our Redeemer;
"I" means Israel;
"S" is for the star that shone so bright.
"T" is for the three wise men, They who travelled far.
"M" is for the manger where He lay.
"A" is for all He stands for;
"S" means shepherds came, And that's why there's a Christmas Day.

"T" is for the three wise men,
They who travelled far.
"M" is for the manger where He lay.
"A" is for all He stands for;
"S" means shepherds came, And that's why there's a Christmas Day.

And that's why there's a Christmas Day...I have never forgotten that moment. I was touched and still recalled its effect on me.

Today, as an adult that is in the profession of ministry, I wonder if he truly knew how much he touched me or for matter how many people God was touching through him. I have since asked him and his answer 20 years later was, "I was praying God was and worked to present the message, but truly did not know it at the time. It is nice to know it now."

I agree, many times we don't know it at the time and we rarely get to see its results. I am thankful for an true man of God that sang a beautiful song on a simple Christmas day and I rejoice in the opportunity and honor to following in his example.

Merry Christmas! You know I love ya, Don

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thanks to the Worship Choir...Mary is Safe for another year!

Merry Christmas and it is Friday!!! Also, thank you to a wonderful Worship Choir at Park Chapel. They surprised me last night with a gift I have wanted to while and also stunned me enough that I didn't know what to say... SO, in honor of them and their generous spirit and dedication to Worship this Friday Funny is for them:

About two weeks before Christmas, a little Catholic boy decided to write a letter to Santa. He started "Dear Santa...", he thought "No, I will go to a higher authority", so he decided to write a letter to Jesus.

"Dear Jesus, If you get me a bike for Christmas, I will be good for two weeks.."

"NO NO NO NO I can't be good for two weeks", he thought to himself.

So he started all over again...

"Dear Jesus, If you get me a bike for Christmas I will be good for one week."

"NO NO NO NO I can't be good for one week", he thought to himself.

So he quickly ran to the Study room and grabbed their statue of Mary, and quickly wrapped it up in a blanket.

He started all over again.

"Dear Jesus, I have your mother...if you ever want to see her again...get me a bike for Christmas!"

The gift was season 5, 6, & 7 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched my first episode this morning while working out and Mary is safe for another year!

Keep smiling, laugh some, and you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One of My Favorite Christmas Traditions

At the church I was raised in, we celebrated each week of advent (Christmas - the First coming of Christ) with an advent wreath. I have very fond memories of this part of the worship service. It is not as popular as it once was, but we still cherish it in our home. The following is how the wreath works:

Most Advent wreaths use three colors – purple, pink, and white. However, some may use blue in place of the purple.
  • 1st CANDLE – (purple) THE PROPHECY CANDLE or CANDLE OF HOPE – We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our hope comes from God. “And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:12-13)
  • 2nd CANDLE – (purple) THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF PREPARATION – God kept his promise of a Savior who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to “get ready”. Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O GOD! “As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.‘ (Luke 3:4-6)
  • 3rd CANDLE – (pink) THE SHEPHERD CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF JOY – The angels sang a message of JOY! “…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 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. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ When 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 2:7-15)
  • 4th CANDLE – (purple) THE ANGEL CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF LOVE – The angles announced the good news of a Savior. God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
  • 5th CANDLE – (white) “CHRIST CANDLE” – The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth! “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!‘” (John 1:29)

    Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.‘” (John 3:1-8)

Karen and I believe keeping traditions alive is an awesome gift we can hand to our children. It is also a great time to make new traditions. It is the legacy that will last. Merry Christmas and celebrate a tradition in honor of the Christ Child....You know I love ya, Don

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Not???


"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." - Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)


Dave Woods asked these questions in his sermon yesterday;
"Why not Mary?"
"Why not Joseph?"
"Why not you?"

I have been thinking of these questions all day. I am sure that Mary and Joseph did not feel qualified to be the parents to the Son of God. Nor did they seek it out or even think they were could. Then they heard from God and followed through...there is a lesson in their response for us. I am in many events, relationships, and tasks that I do not feel qualified nor do I seek to even have the job, yet God doesn't ask for my qualifications, but tells me to trust and I will be satisfied. He asks me to follow-through.

So, why not Mary? Why not Joseph? and Why not me or You? Success is in the follow-through.

Rediscovering the joy of Christmas - you know I love ya, Don

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Funny - "Job Performance"

It is Friday!!!! So, lets laugh!

A man who was unemployed for several months...

... gets a job with Public Works painting lines down the center of rural roads. The supervisor tells him he is on probation and that he must stay at or above the set average of 2 miles per day to remain employed. The man agrees to the conditions and starts the next day.

The supervisor checks and finds the man completed 4 miles. "Great," he thought, "this man will work out." The next day he finds the man only did 2 miles but the supervisor thought, "well he is still at the average and I don't want him to get discouraged."

The third day however the man only did one mile and the Boss thought, "I need to talk to him." The boss pulls the new employee in and says, "Son, you were doing great. The first day you did four miles and the second day two miles, but yesterday you only did one mile. Why? Is there a problem? An injury, equipment failure, anything keeping you from meeting the two mile minimum?"

The man replied, "I keep getting farther and farther from the bucket."

Keep smiling and laugh a little - You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Children are so cute, just look and see!

The Three Bestest Children!


Brother Bonding Time!


My New Carry Bed! Thank You Ladies Bible Study!


Merry Christmas!




Sister Bonding Time


Notice My Guitars!

Christmas 2010.
Matthew is 7, Alice is 4, and Nicholas is 3 weeks!
You Know We Love Ya,
Don

Monday, December 6, 2010

Joseph - the Measure of a Man!

"Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." - Matthew 1:19
A Study of Matthew 1:19 From The Berean Advocate Blog....
The focus now shifts from the pregnancy of Mary, to the reaction of Joseph. It was during the anticipation of marriage that Joseph learned the fact that Mary was with child. It is clear that at this point, “Mary had absolutely no means of proving her spotlessness to Joseph or to any other person in Nazareth,” stresses Lenski (Acts, 41-42). Upon hearing the news, it must have been a shock and great disappointment to Joseph. When he learns of Mary’s condition, he knew nothing of how this conception transpired. There is no indication that Mary told of the announcement of the angel. The passive “was found” (heurethe) in verse 18 has the sense of “proved to be,” indicating Joseph became aware of the condition of Mary when it became evident. At this point, his thinking would have been naturally the same as you or I would think—she had been unfaithful. We can only imagine what went through his mind: His intense hurt, sorrow, and anger.

In verse 19, we see a state of his ambivalence. Ambivalence is “the co-existence of opposite and conflicting feelings.” (American College Dictionary, 40). This is reflected in our text and brought out in two phrases, which reflect a tension between the two feelings.

First, “being a just man.” The word just is the Greek word dikaios meaning one obedient to the commands of God; an upright and law abiding man; a man of character and integrity. It refers to the inward condition of the heart, as well as, his outward conduct. Marriage had now become unthinkable to his mind. He was unable in good conscience go ahead with the marriage. The relationship had to be terminated. Jewish law required a man to divorce an adulterous wife (Deut. 24:1), in which he would have been expected to make a public example of her. This would have made Mary an object of public humiliation. Under the Old Testament Law, the penalty was stoning (Deut.13-21), but the Romans did away which such a penalty, so that divorce was the normal response.

Second, Joseph was a man of discretion. Not wanting to make her a public example, he was minded to put her away secretly. Being made a public example meant putting her to public shame, and thus a disgrace. Joseph was unwilling to put her to public shame (same word as Colossians 2:15: “make a public spectacle”). By putting her away secretly reveals his compassion, love, and concern for Mary. He wrestled with the conflict between his sense of justice and love. He tempered his sense of justice with mercy. While wanting to be obedient to the Law, he wanted to do it with compassion. Joseph had a choice as to how he was going to do it. He could have done it in a public forum, and asked for a trial to see if the unfaithfulness was by force or consent. That was his right. This meant public exposure of Mary as being unfaithful. He acted not on the side of his rights, but compassion. He was “minded” not to put her to open shame by trail, but divorce her secretly. This was simply done by handing her a letter of divorce privately in the presence of two witnesses (Num. 5:11-13). He was “not wanting” to do otherwise. This brings forth the emotional element that leads to his determination and action. It is vital to understand that the element of emotion did not lead to bypassing the Law (cf. Lev. 20:10), rather, it lead to carrying it out with compassion and discretion. This is a good lesson for us to learn. Turner reminds us that “Joseph becomes something of a model of one whose high standards are balanced with compassion” (Turner, BECNT: Matthew, 65). May we be such men!

I am taking this Christmas to rediscover the joy of Christmas and to work at living up Joseph's example in integrity, compassion, and love. - You know I love ya, Don

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Funny - "Grandpa's Gifts"

Its Friday, Snow is on the way, and Christmas is just around the corner...so a Friday Funny about the gifts and the bows is most appropriate! Enjoy!

Grandpa decided that shopping for Christmas presents had become too difficult. All his grandchildren had everything they needed, so he decided to send them each a nice check.

On each card he wrote:

'Happy Christmas Grandpa' - P.S. 'Buy your own present.'

Now, while Grandpa enjoyed the family festivities, he thought that his grandchildren were just slightly distant and somewhat curt with their talk. It preyed on his mind into the New Year, in fact it truly bugged him because he had been very generous. So, he decided not to talk with the family. "They can call me and use their own dime!" he thought.

Then while getting ready for Easter and doing some Spring cleaning, he was sorting out his study and under a pile of magazines, he found a little pile of checks for his grandchildren. He had completely forgotten to put them in with the Christmas cards.


I probably would do this. Keep laughing because it keeps the rest of us guessing and have a great weekend!
Don

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What is Sacred?


Have you ever heard the phrase, "Is anything sacred anymore." Some have a very positive view of "sacred" as in that was a sacred moment or these are God's sacred words. Another view is negative, such as an issue might be a "sacred cow" or "They'll make jokes about anything. Nothing is sacred to those guys."

So what does sacred mean and what are some of the things God considers to be sacred ? "Sacred" defined (dictionary.reference.com) is:
–adjective
1.1. devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated.
2. 2. entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.
3. 3. pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to secular or profane): sacred music; sacred books.
4. 4. reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object: a morning hour sacred to study.
5. 5. regarded with reverence: the sacred memory of a dead hero.
6. secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right: sacred oaths; sacred rights; sacred memorial; sacred location.
7. immune from violence, interference, etc., as a person or office.
The word is used 126 times in the NIV translation of the bible. Many references show a dedication such as covenants, alters, clothing, locations, and moments. Jesus tells this interesting story in Matthew 23 about how the flesh twists sacred; 16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath'."


The Apostle Paul adds a new dynamic when he writes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3, 16"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise."

So, sacred can be things, locations, and situations. Under the new covenant Christ-followers are also sacred. With these parameters, we can find the sacred in every day life. The cry of a baby, the smile of a senior, the moments in heartfelt communication, the place in which healing and comfort of the Holy Spirit does a mighty work in a life, and the kind act of a fellow Christian. The list is filled with endless possibilities. Personally, I am striving to grasp as many sacred moments and spaces in the Christmas season and prayerfully asking that my striving will become a habit that stays with me through my journey to heaven.

You are sacred to me...you know I love ya, Don