Easter - 2018

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

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

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

Happy New Year! You know you are loved - Don

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Day After Christmas - Friday Funny

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

Day After Christmas

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

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

The boy answered honestly, "In the church."

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve & Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

Afraid at Christmas - Courage

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

All I Want for Christmas - Friday Funny

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


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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Consequences of Unforgiveness

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

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

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

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, December 15, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Reindeer - Friday Funny

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Matthew, Daddy, & Alice

Matthew, Mama, and Alice

Alice, Mrs. Claus, Matthew, and Santa Claus

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

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

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

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 8, 2008


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Struck by a Star

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

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

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

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

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

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas - God Dwelled Among Us

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tail Spin - Friday Funny

There was a young lion who wandered from his father to test whether or not he would get the same respect from the other animals as his father did. As the young lion approached some monkeys, he roared and asked, "WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE?" The monkeys, being afraid, responded, "YOU are!" The lion replied, "And don't you forget it!" The lion repeated this to each animal in the jungle and got the same response until he came across a herd of elephants. The little lion roared and asked, "WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE?" The big bull elephant walked closer to the lion, swooped him up in his trunk, swung him around and around and threw him in the river. Battered and wet, the little lion replied, "Just because you didn't know the answer to the question didn't mean you had to get nasty about it!"

Most of us roar through life without God in the same way - as if we are kings of the jungle - until life throws us in a tail spin and shows us that we are not. Have a great Friday! - Don

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving for an unshakable Kingdom

The cornucopia is a time-honored symbol of abundance, long associated with Thanksgiving. However, it was symbolic well before this holiday existed. The word 'cornucopia' actually dates back to the 5th century BC. It derives from two Latin words: "cornu," meaning horn (as in the name of that one-horned creature, the "unicorn") and "copia," meaning plentyhorn of plenty, and the names are used interchangeably. It was usually depicted as a curved goat's horn, filled to overflowing with fruit and grain, but could actually have been filled with whatever the owner wished...to read more click here.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” - Hebrews 12:28

There is one day until out Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States. This verse says it all. God's Kingdom CANNOT BE SHAKEN! Now that is a big reason to give thanks. Over the years, we have tried many means to abolish God's Work and His Kingdom! Yet, it still is unshakable and still moving with mighty power; giving hope, grace, and discipline. I am thankful for that.

I am also thankful for you. The readers of this blog have opened a totally new window of ministry for me this year. I have renewed friendships from years past. I have honed current relationships with great dialogue. I have also had contact with people I would have never met before. Thank you Ed Bahler for prodding me to start blogging. Blogging is also on my Thanksgiving list.

I am also thankful for my Wife and Family! They are terrific and give beyond imagination. My family is just a preview of what is to come in December.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember....NOTHING CAN SHAKE GOD'S KINGDOM!
- You know I love ya - Don

Monday, November 24, 2008

His Love endures forever!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

This phrase appears in the bible over 25 times. It is a reoccurring theme. It usually is attached with these words preceding it, "Give Thanks to the Lord." I am on a Thanksgiving theme the last week or so because it is the Thanksgiving time of the year. We are in the End of November and the beginning of the Christmas Season. In the United States, we set aside time to give thanks to the Lord.

This phrase caught my eye with the words, "His LOVE endures forever." How appropriate that God's love is enduring. The definition of "enduring" is to be lasting; continuing; durable, long-suffering; patient. WOW! I am glad God's love is lasting, continuing, durable, long-suffering and patient.

So, I have another thing to add to my Thanksgiving list this year....I am thankful for God's love and that HIS LOVE endures through my biases, temptations, and foolishness. He loves me....He loves you, too. I guess you have something to be thankful for as well.

Giving thanks is a wonderful thing...give thanks to the Lord, His love endures forever.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stuffed Turkey!

There are only 6 days left until Thanksgiving! It is also HUNTING season in Indiana and probably in most of the United States. So, I thought this funny story would be cute for our Friday Funny.

Stuffed Turkey

Baby Bruno was sitting in his grandmother's kitchen,
watching her prepare the Thanksgiving meal.

"What are you doing?" Bruno asked.

"Oh, I'm just stuffing the turkey," his grandmother replied.

"That's cool!" Bruno said.
"Are you going to hang it next to the deer?"
Do you eat the Stuffing inside the bird? I love the stuffing from inside the bird, but Karen tells me (So does my mother) that is is bad for you....something about bacteria....so I wonder how many people eat the stuffing from inside the bird. Karen and Mom do not, they make it in a separate pan and drizzle the juices over it to give it the "stuffed" flavor. Seems to me you can't call that "stuffing." You have to call it "drizzling" or something else.....So, how many people actually eat the stuffing from inside the bird?

You know I love ya - Have a great weekend - Don

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Ready!

“I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”
- Psalm 63:4 NIV

If you have ever watched a weightlifting competition on television, you can describe the scene. A muscle-bound contestant resembling Hercules strides onto the stage wearing a body suit. As he prepares to reach down for the massive weights, his face takes on a certain aura. The lifter’s eyes are closed. It’s as if he is praying. Actually he is lost in deep concentration. As he collects his thoughts, he is marshaling all his strength for what is about to take place. And then after several moments of personal preparation, the athlete quickly jerks the bar up and pushes it over his head.

What a great parallel for the person who prepares to worship the Lord we love. The worshiper prepares to declare to all the nations that Jehovah God is the highest worth in all their life. In order to lift up the name of Jesus, we must thoughtfully prepare for what we are about to do. We need to focus out thoughts on the One we desire to worship. Closing our eyes to better concentrate, we may feel the need to confess wrong attitudes or sinful behavior. We no doubt will want to rehearse in our heads how the Lord has demonstrated His strength in the midst of our weakness. Much like the weightlifter who must mentally prepare himself for that which tests his limits, the awesome task of lifting the name of Jesus higher and higher requires us to go through a series of warm-up preparations and follow through actions.

As we embark on another Holiday Season, let us join together in clearing our minds and opening our eyes to the vision God has for the world and his desire for service. Join me in concentrating and preparing our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths to worship Him!

Looking forward to Thanksgiving – You know I love ya - Don

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving as a way of life.

1O come, let us (A)sing for joy to the LORD,
Let us shout joyfully to (B)the rock of our salvation.
2Let us (C)come before His presence (D)with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him (E)with psalms.
3For the LORD is a (F)great God
And a great King (G)above all gods,
- Psalm 95:1-3

"Thanksgiving" is an American holiday. Yes, other countries have a day of "Thanksgiving." Some countries celebrate much like the United States, but there are some countries that take thanksgiving and apply it to holidays or festivals such as the Chinese New Year or in many European Countries there are "Victory Day" celebrations that celebrate and give thanks for the victory over Nazism. Many British countries celebrate, "Boxing Day." Boxing day is celebrated the day after Christmas and is much like the American Thanksgiving. Therefore, most, if not all cultures have a nationally recognized holiday to give thanks.

As I read Psalm 95:1-3, it becomes apparent that giving thanks is a Judeo/Christian concept that spread through all religions over time. God wants His people to give thanks. From the very beginning, God and Adam walked to together and Adam gave thanks to Yahweh. Giving thanks was also a lifestyle for every major God fearing character is the Old and New Testament. I have also lived it with examples of Christ-followers all my life.

My lesson for the day is that I need to have thanksgiving as a way of life. I am not talking about the food, the festivities, and the football...I am talking about....giving thanks. The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for. It's our special time to look to God and say, "Thank You"... not just for the obvious, like food, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

You are on my list of giving thanks this year. I entered the world of blogging this year and I am thankful there are people like you that are willing to read and study with me on this journey towards heaven. Thank you and I will keep writing as long as you keep reading.

You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Makes me Lie Down in Green Pastures

Psalm 23:2, "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters."

Yesterday morning I was awake but it was too early to get out of bed, so I was reciting scripture. This is a great technique to pass the time and take your mind off your insomnia. One of the passages was the 23rd Psalm and the Holy Spirit started to speak to me about the last week. Especially with verse two.

Last week... I went to have a fifteen minute ear surgery and it turned into a three hour procedure to remove a cholesteatoma (click for more info). This is an abnormal skin growth inside the ear. We thought we had gotten it all last spring and was going to check if it had come back. Well it had and there was more in places the Surgeon could not see. Needless to say, I was down for the count.
Last week... Karen's Aunt Linda passed from this life (see my last post on Monday, Nov. 3rd.) Which meant we were traveling to Mid-state New York for the service on Saturday. With the drugs, Karen had to do all the driving. There was also no Internet available and very little noise. Nunda, NY is a very rural place. We stayed at the Colonial Motel and it is a wonderful place to relax and recover.
Last week... The George W. Bush era began its last few days. Whatever your political views, these last eight years have been very hard on the U.S. ...9/11, Afghanistan, Katrina, Iraq, more hurricanes, tornadoes, and even a bridge collapse to just name a few. We have spent a great deal of time on our knees for this man and His family. (We did for Clinton and we will for Obama.) Without God, I am not sure how anyone could stand against the amount of turmoil this world brings. Karen and I are at least two people that think President Bush has done an outstanding job. We thank God, G.W. Bush was in the White House the last eight years.

So, all this was on my mind and God took us to a place to recover, grieve, and ponder the reality that He is still in control. It is also very comforting to me that even when I don't want to...God MAKES me lie down in green pastures. I was forced to rest, but it was in green pastures. I love that part of New York and the Colonial Motel is a fabulous place to be disconnected from the world. God knows exactly when it is time for His follower to disconnect and retreat from the front lines. Thank you Lord, for making me lie down for a week and please help me to receive it every time it comes.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, November 3, 2008

Linda Burns - You were one of a kind, that we will never forget!

This is Karen's Aunt, Linda Burns. In this life, she was a perfect example of Proverbs 31. She passed from this life to the next today, 11/3/08, around 8:30 PM. She will be missed and loved until we meet again.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Linda, You know we love ya.....Don, Karen, Matthew, and Alice

A Bad Monday

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

Psalm 63:1-2

This is a great POWER verse for a Monday. A believer that takes times to recognize God in their lives on Sunday and visits the sanctuary is bound to have power on Monday. As believers, we took time to visit with the Creator of the universe, Jehovah God, the Almighty, and the Savior of the World. You have seen Him...your thirst was touched...and you beheld His power.

(All that is assuming you were awake and alert to God for these things...)

Today, we get to go forth and live with God in our daily lives....WOW! Evil will press in and try to topple your day, but if you cling to His grace and these assurances of power, how could any day be a bad day.

You know I love ya and keep pressing in! - Don

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saint's Day - may we never forget!

The Church has always honored those early witnesses to the Christian faith who have died in the Lord. (The Greek word for "witness" is martyr.) During the first three hundred years Christians were severely persecuted, often suffering torture and bloody death -- because they were faithful . They refused to deny Christ, even when this denial might have saved their own lives, or the lives of their children and families.

The early history of the Church is filled with stories of the heroic faith of these of witnesses to Christ's truth. The stories of these saints -- these baptized Christians of all ages and all states in life, whose fidelity and courage led to their sanctity or holiness -- have provided models for every other Christian throughout history.

Many of those especially holy people whose names and stories were known, the Church later canonized (that is, the Church formally recognized that the life of that person was without any doubt holy, or sanctified -- a "saint" who is an example for us.) The Church's calendar contains many saint's days, which Catholics observe at Mass -- some with special festivities.

But there were thousands and thousands of early Christian martyrs, the majority of whose names are known only to God -- and throughout the history of the Church there have been countless others who really are saints, who are with God in heaven, even if their names are not on the list of canonized saints.

In order to honor the memory -- and our own debt -- to these unnamed saints, and to recall their example, the Church dedicated a special feast day -- a sort of "memorial day" -- so that all living Christians would celebrate at a special remembrance for the lives and witness of those "who have died and gone before us into the presence of the Lord"...

To read more click All Saint's Day.

May we never forget and have a great All Saint's Day! - Don

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Friend Beth sent this to me yesterday and reminded me of this wonderful Liz Curtis-Higgs poem. It is also available as a children's book.

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.
God lifts you up, takes you in
and washes all the dirt off you.
He opens you up,touches you deep inside
and scoops out all the yucky stuff --
including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new face
and puts His light inside you
to shine for all the world to see.

Happy Fall & Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Restitution...seventy times seven...get over it.

The day of the LORD is near for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.
- Obadiah 1:15
Not much has change over the last 2.5 thousand years. If you bring injustice to another, you will eventually have injustice return to you. I found this verse interesting today. I know that it applies to the prophets of old and the ancient countries/nations, but the principle that God is establishing still stands true today. Do unto others as you have God do unto you might be a new way of rephrasing the golden rule.

What about the times that injustice is done to you and you did not deserve it? The sinful man in me will twist this rule to say, it is time FOR ME to return the favor...but Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 18:21 and following:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[f]

"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

So, the lesson for me today is: Yes, things have not changed much, there are will always be ignorance, injustice, and hatred this side of heaven. As for me, I have been forgiven "much" and it is my responsibility to act in response to being forgiven much.

My mother used to say to us (My Sister and I) when we would get in trouble for something we did not do, "Consider it punishment for a time you did do something wrong and did not get caught." So, I think it good to remember who went to the cross and that He has forgiven us and the next time I get the hit from another person I will consider it punishment for a time when I caused someone else grief and Jesus took my punishment. My job is to forgive and God will judge and bring restitution.

Praying for you as you read this and You know I love ya - Don

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jesus is Alive

“But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” – Hebrews 7:24-25 NIV

In the church I was raised our Minister, Lloyd Menning, would always start his Easter sermon with this phrase, "Easter! The greatest day that ever dawned, from the greatest story ever told, in the greatest life ever lived! Jesus is Alive! He is risen indeed!" I woke up this morning hearing his voice and that phrase. I like mornings like this.

People of all ages gathered in a small Baptist church in rural Bangladesh to view a screening of the “Jesus” film. The small building was so crowded that little children had to sit on the floor while rows of adults stood in the back. During the crucifixion scene, weeping and gasps of disbelief could be heard as the dark-skinned audience looked on in horror. As the Bengalis watch, they vicariously sensed the drama of the moment. It was as if they actually could feel the agony of Jesus’ pain and the disappointment of the disciples. In that emotional moment, one young boy near the makeshift screen jumped to his feet and cried our, “Don’t be afraid! He gets up again! I’ve seen the movie before.” [from Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart, Integrity Publishing, 2002]

Whether we say, “He gets up again,” “Christ is risen,” or “He’s alive!” the reality of the resurrection should not be reserved for one Sunday a year. Our shouts should be heard everyday in the lives we live. The message of Easter is the foundation of our faith every single day of our lives. Jesus defeated death and it is the greatest truth ever told. Therefore, Jesus is not bound by space, time, or distance. He’s alive and working amongst his people even now. Let us fix our eyes on Him and press forward without distraction toward the prize of seeing him face to face and celebrating our personal Easter.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, October 24, 2008

The biggest Lie - Friday Funny

Hello Friends. I trust your Friday was a great day. I always try to find something funny for Friday. With all the campaigning going on, I thought this might be fun.

A Minister was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group had surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?"

One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

Have a great weekend and you know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sour Dough Bread

I love sour dough bread. I am sitting here eating a piece of toasted sourdough with a cup of Earl Grey tea....I think this is a little taste of heaven.

Jesus said in John 6:32 & 35, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven...Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

I cling to this verse today. Probably because of the sourdough feelings and memories I have. We used to fish off of the Santa Cruz pier as a child and we would get soup and a Sourdough Pull-A-Part Roll. We would share it as a family and it always filled us up. So, these verses encourage me, but also give me something to look forward too.

Of course my diet limits how much bread I eat, but the memories will never fade.

Here comes Matthew and I shared a bite or two...Oh the rest of the piece with him...Did I say eating a piece of sourdough with a cup of Earl Grey was a little like heaven...strike that, because I just found out what is even better...sharing a piece of sourdough with my son and drinking a cup of Earl Grey is a little piece of heaven.

Looking forward to sharing the bread of life - you know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain/Palin & "Puts His Faith In You!"

We attended a McCain/Palin rally on Friday. It was electrifying! 24,000 people and Indiana is on fire for the Gov. Palin and I can honestly say, I feel the most like her and her family. They have my morals, they love the same God I do, they are not afraid of taking on corruption and bad government AND they stand for smaller government.

There were several statements that Gov. Palin made a the rally that resonated with me. The one that I hear over and over today is, "You have a choice between a politician who puts his faith in government and a leader who puts his faith in you." This hit me hard as a minister because it is the same with religion and the Almighty.

World religions say they have the correct answer and poof we have people of all faiths and religions that turn into religion followers and in the Christian world, "Church-goers." On the other hand, The Almighty Jehovah, puts his faith in people and loves us and guides us and molds us because He puts his faith in us.

Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Our faith is trusting in God and poof we have "Christ-followers." Then he responds with Ephesians 2:6-7, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

Thank God He loves us and cares for us and trusts us with the message of His Son, Jesus, AND puts His faith in us.

You know I love ya, Don

Friday, October 17, 2008

Radiate Jesus

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. - Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)
Episcopalian Cecil B. DeMille produced the first big Jesus epic. The primitive special effects accompanying Jesus' miracles somehow make them more believable and real. In a world of bigger, louder, and faster, King of Kings humanizes the Gospels and radiates a visual representation of God's glory in Jesus.

We attended a Sarah Palin Rally this afternoon. Her speech was great and the enthusiasm 24,000 plus in attendance added to memory. The words seemed to be the same. The speech was much like what we hard heard on television and on blogs. Yet, I discovered a humanizing of the entire American election process. I am proud of this great land.

Then, I thought of this verse from Hebrews, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to be the visualization of Jesus to the world...I can't help but wonder how many people have seen the "humanizing" of Jesus in me....or you? God has trusted us with a message that is larger than comprehension and easy to grasp. It is our job to develop it with in our minsitries and lives.

In order to truly declare how much God is worth (worship), it is imperative that we are Jesus to those we come in contact with. Our current sermon series deals with, "Getting MORE out of what you've got." The answer is to "Give MORE of what you have." Therefore, give thanks to the great God we love this Thanksgiving season and be the radiance of Jesus in the lives we live. The believer and Christ follower is much like the epic, "King of Kings" in that we are to radiate the greatest life ever lived.

You know I love Ya,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Sermon Series: Getting More out of What you've Got

We are starting a new six week sermon series titled: "Getting more out of what you've got." In order to do this we are to GIVE more of what WE HAVE! I will be preaching the first two sermons in the Solid Ground Services that deal with this topic. I am very excited about where this will take us.

The above VIDEO is the Sermon Opening. Our first scripture text is Matthew 25:14-30.
The Parable of the Talents
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

We are going to have some study "fun." Join me in praying about how God will lead us through the text and what we can do to get more out of what we've got. You know I love ya - Don

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beautiful in its time!

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. - Ecclesiastes 3:11

We are travelling home from a wedding in Virginia this weekend. Our travels are taking us through the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. It is beautiful! Fall is in full bloom and the trees and mountains are a alive with reds, browns, yellows and greens.

I was thinking of this verse, God has made everything beautiful in it time...in my opinion the best time is Fall. With the vastness of the cascades and the greatness of the blue sky above, I think of the eternity God gives to those who believe. With His eternity in mind, MY MIND, can not even fathom how wonderful it will be.......I (and You) can have complete confidence that God will complete the work He started in ME on His time and it will be TOTALLY beautiful!

As I see these mountains today, What can I do but worship....but to declare how much God is worth to me!

You know I love ya, Don

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Political Humor....I promise

With all the politics in our country right now I thought a good Friday Funny (its a day late, sorry) should lean towards Political Humor (well that is what the polls indicated....and I always go with the polls. Remember Al Gore and John Kerry were both winning according to the polls. Where are they now?) So, enjoy and remember to laugh a little at all the rhetoric...it will keep you from crying.

A little girl asked her father, "Daddy? Do all Fairy Tales begin with 'Once Upon A Time'?"

He replied, "No, there is a whole series of Fairy Tales that begin with 'If elected I promise'."
Have great weekend and you know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Milk, righteousness, sin, and looking forward!

Hebrews 5:13; "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness."

I just gave Matthew and Alice there morning milk and this verse came to mind. Matthew and Alice both started with a bottle with only a couple of ounces, now they get a cup with 6-8 ounces on a regular basis through out the day. The writer of Hebrews was using this as an illustration of how we are to grow into right living.

Righteousness is the opposite of sin. In the words of Mr. Spock, it is logical to follow the logic.....as we grow into more right living we will have less sin and more righteousness....will we ever achieve success? Yes, but not until we reach heaven. The flesh is a burden that holds us down. BUT, when we get to heaven we will receive a new heart, a heart that does not have the sinful nature that holds us back in this short life.

Therefore, we make it our goal to please Him and strive for righteousness, running the race and leaving behind all the sin that so easily entangles us and ruins our lives.

Join me in running for Jesus...you know I love ya, Don

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Being a Dad

I love my job as a Dad. I don't know why God saw fit to bless me with two great children, but He did. So, I am thankful for the job. I also pray God gives me and their Mother (world's greatest wife) the wisdom to do a great job...because they deserve it. Thanks Matthew and Alice for blessing me. - Dad

Thank God for Kids

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Bride and Groom - Friday Funny

Happy Friday to you! This weekend is the Riley Festival. We are looking forward to that. For more information click on "Riley Festival." The queen this year sings in our choir, awesome Christian Girl. Way to God Melanie!

I seem to be in wedding mode (one tomorrow and one in VA next week) so I thought this would be a good Friday Funny. Enjoy and you know I love ya, - Don

The Bride & Groom

During the wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the pastor with an unusual offer:

"Look, I'll give you $100 if you'll change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I'm supposed to promise to 'love, honor and obey' and 'be faithful to her forever,' I'd appreciate it if you'd just leave that out."

He passed the minister a $100 bill and walked away satisfied. On the day of the wedding, when it came time for the groom's vows, the pastor looked the young man in the eye and said:

"Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?"

The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, "Yes," then leaned toward the pastor and hissed: "I thought we had a deal."

The pastor put a $100 bill into the groom's hand and whispered: "She made me a better offer."

I am not sure I would go for this as a minister, but I might. - Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Advice for Sarah Palin

This is great advice for Sarah Palin in preparation for her debate with Joe Bummer.....

Romans 11:33-12:2

33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"[j]
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"[k]
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[l] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Hey, this is good advice for all of us.....Have a great Thursday! -Don

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Way to God

John 14:6-7, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Do you know God? Christians have compromised to the point that many Americans call themselves Christians, yet we see panic and confusion...loss of love and courage...hatred and bickering...and self-centered actions. These are the Christians that are acting this way. The world has a whole other set of issues, but there is no standard to hold the world too...they openly do not know God!

I am asking about the ones that say they know God and act this way. Paul would have said, "I want to do one thing, but my flesh pulls me to another...." (Don's paraphrase) He also called this action his thorn in the flesh. Yet, we see Paul with a contrite heart and a willingness to seek repentance and forgiveness from the Almighty...a vast majority of Christians today are not seeking repentance or forgiveness...there is the attitude, "I did that already."

I wonder if what we really aught to call ourselves are "church-goers." I go see a movie and I am a "movie-goer." I watch a debate on TV and I am a "debate-watcher." I read a book and I am a "book-reader." I DO NOT WANT TO JUST BE A "CHURCH-GOER! I WANT TO BE A CHRIST FOLLOWER....and then I will know God!

The way to the Father is (Put your name in the "I") "I hear the word...then I respond to the word with confession and repentance...then I submit to His authority in immersing my entire "self" with Jesus Christ in water and spirit." Now "I" am a Christ Follower!

If you have thoughts or would like to know more please feel free to email me at dcrane@parkchapel.org.

You know I love you enough to tell you that there is only ONE way to the Father...it is Jesus Christ, no one comes to God without Him. To coexists is not the issue, but to exist in the love of God is.

- Don

Monday, September 29, 2008

Financial Crisis...where's my credit card?

Are we really in a new financial crisis OR are we just realizing that the crisis is real?

Karen and I (and the children) went to the Mall on Saturday.
Why would you do that, you might be asking? Well, we purchased some shoes online through J.C. Penny on Labor Day because the shipping was free and the shoes were buy one get one 1/2 off. Karen's shoes were a size too big, so we had to exchange them. Karen needs them to wear to our nieces wedding in two weeks....aren't you glad you asked.

So, we are at the mall (all four of us) and there were people everywhere. It was like the day before Christmas and people were spending money left and right and USING CREDIT CARDS! Now I understand that there is a difference in the type of credit we are talking about and yes, I know that this will "trickle" down to the average American if something is not done, but what is the doom and gloom all about. It doesn't seem to be slowing us down.

And then there is the price at the gas pump...I rode my bike into to work today, not because of gas prices, but because it is absolutely beautiful in Greenfield today....I love the Fall... but after the mall we needed gas and I went to "Swifty" and there was a line of cars getting gas. People are still buying gas...Swifty is cheaper if you pay with cash, there might be hope in that....but the gas prices don't seem to be slowing us down.

What about the light bill....We went for a walk last night and there were lights on in every house as well as T.V. sets or I should say "plasmas." Don't even get me started on the amount of cars parked in the Walmart Parking lot....it wasn't just employees.

This morning on Fox News the commentator was explaining it this way; The American financial house is on fire and we need to put the fire out so that it doesn't burn down the house....I say let it burn. It doesn't seem to be slowing us down.

O.K...I know I am just an ignorant American, but common...Don't blow me off but realize my treasure is not in this world, but in the next. I whole heartedly believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I also know that this world is not my home, I am just passing through. I pray you do to.

Now go out and hoard up some money... You know I love ya, Don

PS - Lets not put all the blame at President Bush's White House Door-step...our country does not have ONE person that has that much power or that much blame! Oh yeah..."Obama is up in the polls...so was Kerry and Gore..."