Easter - 2018

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Funny - Football

It is Friday and in light of our Indianapolis Colts going to the Super Bowl...I thought our Friday funny should be Football related....enjoy:
A guy took his girlfriend to her first football game. Afterward he asked her how she liked the game.

"I liked it, but I couldn't understand why they were killing each other for 25 cents," she said.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, everyone kept yelling, 'Get the quarter back!'"

Just in case, Payton Manning is the Quarter Back...Keep laughing and find the humor in life. You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gethsemane / When Life Presses in hard....

Karen and I served Gethsemane Church of Christ from February 2001 through October 2006. It is a great church. We loved every part of our lives with these people. The people are gracious, God-fearing, and true Christ-followers. The building is beautiful and the location is like a park setting. We grew closer to Christ there, we had our children there, and we will always look very fondly to that time in our lives. One week at Gethsemane C of C, Ronnie Jones our senior minister was leading us in a time of teaching and he spoke about the Garden of Gethsemane. I remember a follow-up study I did and there are amazing parallels in the Garden and to Jesus' suffering.

The Garden of Gethsemane is not really a garden but an orchard. Olive trees still grow there today. During Jesus’ day it was a place of business, an olive press producing the local areas supply of oil. This is where the word Gethsemane comes in. A gat (Hebrew) is a press, a large five-foot high square stone pillar, and a semane, or seman, is oil. So on the evening before his crucifixion he went to the orchard of the Olive Press with Peter, James, and John, to pray.

If you lived in the first century and worked with a gethsemane your day would be spent gathering olives, placing them in a woven fishnet like bag, and putting them on top of a stone table. This specially designed table is round with beveled edges that curve down to a trough. The trough is angled and funnels into a pot which holds the oil. The top is designed to receive the gethsemane. The tall square stone is lifted up and set on top of the basket and for several hours its tremendous weight is left there to crush the liquid from the olive.

It is no mistake that Jesus spent his last evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. From there he would leave to go to the cross and receive the weight of the world, the gethsemane of our sins, blood crushed from his body running down the cross to the world below. Luke describes the pressure Jesus suffered that evening: “Being in anguish his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” It is an image of the gathsemane crushing the oil from the olive fruit.

Gethsemane ever since has come to symbolize suffering. And my friends the world is crowded with gethsemanes. Whatever is pressing in on you today, please know that God love you. He knows what is means to be pressed and He will never leave you nor forsake you. God uses pressure to create diamonds and get oil in our lives.

Life changes and God moved us to a new church in Greenfield, IN (Park Chapel). It is another great church with over-flowing blessings. None the less, we will always be thankful that God allowed us to serve in Mechanicsville, VA along side a group of believers at Gethsemane Church of Christ.

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, January 25, 2010

Colts Win & Reminders to Believers!

The Indianapolis Colts are on their way to taking us to the another Super Bowl win. I was watching the game and I realized the modern Football player is either an offensive or defensive specialist. Even the cheerleaders have a set of cheers for each team. When the defensive team is on the field they shout, "Hold that line! Hold that line!" But when the offensive teams takes over they yell out, "Go, team, go! Go, team, go!"

There was a moment when Jesus faced his disciples. Behind him were all the years of public ministry, the trials and the triumphs, the ecstasy and the agony. All the previous events culminated in this moment as he stood before his disciples, a strange and motley mixture of human beings, and said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Along with this challenge there was a promise, "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (v. 20b).

The saints who came before us were offensively-minded. They moved the ball down the field. Look what happened. It was like the concentric circles which result from a rock thrown into a pool of water. First there were twelve, then in the Upper Room 120, then 3,000 on the day of Pentecost after Peter preached his sermon. For four centuries the Christian fellowship was a mighty force and power that no emperor or nation could stop. But today a malaise has come over the church. It has become defensive, producing a fortress mentality, a kind of spiritual protectionism. There is a widespread desire to hold, protect, and keep what we have by avoiding risk. The cry is, "Hold that line!"

Let's stop the clock, call a time out, re-group, huddle, and do some serious thinking together. Let's consider one important question. How did we get here? We got here because the saints before us were willing to carry the ball forward. Take a stethoscope and listen to the heartbeat of the early church. What do you discover? J.B. Phillips in his introduction to his book, The Young Church in Action, states:

"Here we see Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history. The young church is appealing in its simplicity and single-minded-ness. Here we see the church ... valiant and unspoiled -- a body of ordinary men and women joined in an unconquerable fellowship never before seen on the earth ... There is someone at work here besides mere human beings ... never before has any small body of ordinary people so moved the world that their enemies could say with tears in their eyes, that these men and women 'have turned the world upside down'."

We got to where we are because of the readiness of these saints to believe, to obey, to give, to suffer, and if need be to die, so as to establish a way of fellowship united in love and faith. They were open to the God-ward side of life that is almost unknown to us today. Their rallying cry was never, "Hold that line," but rather, "Go, church, go!"

Football is just a game for entertainment and fellowship. We certainly enjoy the Colts and the fun of an exciting game. My prayer is also that the church will never forget that we are in an eternal struggle that will see rewards beyond a trophy. The reward is eternal for every Christ-following believer. Have a great day, "Go Colts!" and "Go, Church GO!" - Don

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Funny - They are always watching!

This is a Friday Funny that I can relate to all to well....

A young family moved into a house, next to a vacant lot. One day, a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot.

The young family's 3-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing the workers. Her name might have even been Alice.

Eventually the construction crew, all of them "gems-in-the-rough," more or less, adopted her as a kind of project mascot." They chatted with her, let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks and gave her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.

At the end of the first week, they even presented her with a pay envelope containing ten dollars.

The little girl took this home to her mother who suggested that she take her ten dollars "pay" she'd received to the bank the next day to start a savings account.

When the girl and her mom got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young age.

The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with a real construction crew building the new house next door to us."

"Oh my goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on the house again this week, too?"

The little girl replied, "I will, if those as*!#!es at Home Depot ever deliver the fu*#'ng sheet rock..."

Remember to laugh today and GO COLTS! You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

“God uses crisis to unleash the Church”

In the wake of the earthquakes in Haiti I am reminded of one of David's Psalms. In Psalms 22, we are privy to King David’s deeply intimate thoughts. Reading those haunting verses is like looking over his shoulder while he makes an entry in his personal journal. It’s obvious that David is in much distress and oppression. As far as he is concerned, God is on vacation. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” he cries.

But when we look again, we see an even deeper realization that God’s mercies are faithful and true. Even though David feels forsaken by God, he expresses his doubts in prayer. This psalm is a prayer to God. Wouldn’t you think that if David really felt God was nowhere to be found he wouldn’t waste his breath complaining? Not so. There is something in David that causes him to believe that God is still within earshot, even if it seems as though He’s gone for good.

The reality is that God views the entire picture and we see through a glass dimly. David understood that, even though his emotions did not. David had been in a tight spot or two before and the Lord has always come though for him. God and David had a relationship that has reaped a harvest of fruit through the years because they had walked together.

Jesus also used these words on the cross. Our Lord demonstrates that in the most difficult of times all believer's have the opportunity to cling to Scriptures. Jesus is reciting a well known passage and drawing closer to His Father while in a great crisis.

The early Christians persevered through some very difficult times as well. Yet, they knew they could not deny the truth they had seen and experienced. As Christ Followers, we will be worshipping a God that allows persecution and oppression to unleash his power through His people. The Lord is our God as He was to David and the early believers. He can handle our honest doubts and fears. Our response is to be faithful to Him and release our prayers and our faith so that He can unleash them into power. It is good to see the church in action in Haiti. My prayer is that we can also swoop into action at home.

“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” – Psalm 22:24 NIV

You know I love ya - Don

Monday, January 18, 2010

Not Now!

Have you ever been in a place when God answers a prayer with, "Not Now?" It is sort of a "no" yet it still leaves the door open for a yes. If you read regularly, you know Karen and I were trying to adopt a little guy that has Down Syndrome. Last Friday, we received a call that the his birth family decided to go with the other family. We had prayed all along that God would close the doors if this was not what He wanted. He answered our prayer.

God also answered our prayer with an opening that we had not been prepared for. It was an answer of "not now." If there had not been an urgency in the process, we probably would have reasoned a way out of God's call, yet through the process He revealed His desire for us and then made it possible with all the paper work and people involved. God used this situation and this little guy in Chicago to bring us to a point of preparation for the next step.

This first time I truly had to learn this was when Matthew was born. He had been diagnosed with ASD and VSD and would eventually need heart surgery. I remember praying, "Lord, just let us take him home." Now I did not hear any audible voices, but I knew in my heart the answer was, "No." To be totally honest, that answer from God did not make me very happy...in fact it ticked me off. I did not lose heart or my faith. I just did not want to hear it. I prayed it for several days and the answer repeated, "no."

To make a long story short, a little over a week later Matthew went into congestive heart failure and we were transferred to the University of Virginia Hospital. After we were admitted the business people came through and they regretfully informed us that UVA was not a participating hospital in our insurance policy. I told the woman that I was a minister and she laughed and told me I might be paying on this for a long while.

42 days in the hospital and we finally got Matthew home. Three surgeries for heart and staph infection. Many doctors, nurses and caregivers to thank and then we were home. The next day, we received the bill for over $473,000. Yes, almost a half a million dollars. Our insurance carried a $10 co-pay for every doctor we saw. We had over $3,000 in $10 co-pays.

The day after that, we received a letter from our insurance that stated we had an underwriter in our policy that stated if we were transferred from a participating provider to a non-participating provider it would be covered as an "in-network" facility. Thus, they would be willing and did pay every dime. So, they answer God originally gave us of "no" would have better been stated, "No now." If we had went home, we would have had to pay everything, instead God was in control and He was going to take care of the bill. They paid for everything but our co-pays. Gethsemane Church of Christ raised the funds and paid for the co-pays and even more than that to cover some therapies and educational supplies.
I waited patiently for the Lord ; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord . Psalm 40:1-3
God has put a desire in our hearts to adopt an infant boy with down syndrome. The answer we have currently is, "Not now." We are confident that He is with us on this journey and He has changed the flight path, but the destination is still the same. Thank you for your prayers and as always - You know I love ya - Don

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Funny - Oh My!

Friday Funny....things we do to impress others:

Big Frank (A large black man with tons of hair) was having his hair styled at the hairdresser's when a taxi smashed into a car, outside. Draped in a cape, his hair divided with aluminium clips, Frank, an ex-paratrooper corporal raced out to the car and found the driver unhurt.

The taxi driver, however, was slumped over the wheel, unconscious. Big Frank lost no time in applying his army acquired CPR techniques, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The taxi driver recovered consciousness several times, but kept passing out again.

Soon the ambulance arrived with the paramedics and took over, and Frank returned to his barber's seat. 'I just don't understand why he kept passing out,' he said to the hairdresser. 'I did everything they taught me.'

'Well, put yourself in the taxi driver's place, 'said the hairdresser. 'He's driving down the street without a care in the world. The next thing he knows, he's waking up to see some big guy in a green cape with a head full of wires pounding on his chest and kissing him. You'd pass out too'

Keep laughing, it keeps everyone else guessing. You know I love and have a great weekend! Go Colts! - Don

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Relationships Matter

Park Chapel is going to take the "One Month to live Challenge" on February 14th. The challenge is fairly simple, "What would you change in life if you were told you only have 30 days to live?" I am looking forward to the study and I am also seeking God direction and looking for change in passion and direction. I am also thankful we are a family that lives with passion and drive for changing lives and living as if today is the last opportunity. That being said, I am looking to God and we will see what happens.

The following devotion is on relationships and come directly from study. It touched me and I think you will like it as well.
We were created for relationships. God created us to be in relationship with Him.

Adam depended on a relationship with God for his very life. The first man did not become a living being until God breathed the breath of life into his body. But God didn't stop there. He also said, "It is not good for the man to be alone;" Gen. 2:18 (NIV) so He created Eve. Ask any prisoner to describe the most feared punishment in penitentiary; they will tell you it is solitary confinement. We were not meant to be alone. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. Being connected with others is at the core of God's original plan and it is vital to our well being.

At any given time we are in three relationships; with God, ourselves and others. If any of these relationships are out of balance, the others are affected as well. The problem is most of us have relationships that are out of balance. So what can we do? When Jesus was asked which commandment was greatest, He said love God and love others (Matt. 22:36-40). When we love others our relationships become healthy. When we are committed to other people our relationships become meaningful. Commitment takes time and energy; it also means learning new skills. It is our hope that you will make that investment because the quality of our relationships directly affects the quality of our life.

For more "One Month to Live information" go to Onemonthtolive.com

Taking the challenge. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, January 11, 2010

Waiting is Preparation!

"He gave...to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." - Ephesians 4:12-13
Many of my regular readers are also my Face-to-Face Friends. You already know I love you and as long as you keep reading, I will keep writing. You also know Karen and I (& the Children) are in a waiting period that should have some resolution today or tomorrow. We are trying to adopt a little boy in Chicago area. He has down syndrome and some of the same heart issues we dealt with Matthew's heart surgery. It is hard to believe Matthew's issues were 6 years ago. (Note: Matthew is still doing great and is starting to talk with good clarity.)

Our personal situation (and many of yours) reminded me of the above Scripture. God uses our circumstances to help us, remind us, and to prepare us for a greater fullness in Christ. We make it our goal to mature in Christ and be Christ-followers in order to please the God we love.

When we wait God helps us. I find this most helpful, because He is in control and He loves me. In that love comes help and comfort. He is working to make me more than I could image and we are confident He is willing to bring to completion that which he started.

When we wait God reminds us. He reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. To many times "hurry up" is a pride issue. I want, I want, I want. Alice is three years old and she is at the cute age of "I want." Last night she was thirsty. We were cleaning and clearing out some Christmas Decorations. Karen and I were in the middle of it and told Alice to wait a minute. She got quiet and then said, "I am thirsty and you need to get me milk." I said, "You can wait." She got a little louder and said, "I am thirsty. I want milk and it is in refrigerator." (I chuckled inside - if you know where it is, you could get it yourself...but didn't say it.) I told her to wait. It took us five minutes to finish...I think I heard the request of, "I am thirsty" at least 20 times. I could not help but think, I am not much different when the Lord tells me to wait. I want, I want, I WANT! While I wait, God is reminding me that I am not in charge.

When we wait God prepares us for the grand event. It is amazing how while we are waiting God sits there with us. When Matthew was in the hospital, Stan Martin a minister at a sister church, visited us every day. He didn't stay long, but stopped in to check on us and say hello. Words could never express how much that meant to Karen and I. God is the same way. While we wait God waits with us...While we wait He is building patience, confidence, endurance, and trust in our hearts. Thus, our faith is revealed when the waiting is over, but during the waiting our faith grows and strengthens for the next waiting period on the journey. It is then that I (we) also learn that God was preparing me for a great reward that is yet to be revealed in this life.

I pray this helps you in your times of waiting. It has helped me and I am thankful we serve a God that loves us enough to make us wait on occasion. You know I love ya - Don

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Funny - SNOW!

Oldie, but goodie...Happy Friday!
A blonde got lost in her car in a snow storm. She remembered what her dad had once told her. "If you ever get stuck in a snow storm, wait for a snow plow and follow it". Pretty soon a snow plow came by, and she started to follow it. She followed the plow for about forty-five minutes.Finally the driver of the truck got out and asked her what she was doing.

She explained that her dad had told her if she ever got stuck in the snow, to follow a plow.The driver nodded and said, "Well, I'm done with Wal-Mart; now you can follow me over to K-Mart."
I love this weather....Keep Laughing and enjoy the snow! - Don

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Waiting is Hard!

Most of the devotionals I've heard on Waiting on the LORD have been about a passive "waiting". There are MANY verses that mention waiting that do sound very passive, but look with me now at God's Word...at the Hebrew & Greek meaning of Wait, Waited, & WAITING.

I truly believe you'll see that waiting is meant to be a VERY ACTIVE process, not the "lah dee dah", twiddling-your-thumbs, biding-your-time type waiting the term itself brings to mind...

Wait.... Sounds simple, doesn't it? Think about it though...how many of us ENJOY "waiting"? Waiting for someone's plane to arrive at the airport. Waiting for that all-important letter to arrive in the mail. Waiting for Mr. Wonderful (or MRS. Wonderful, guys!) to come into your life. Waiting for your baby's DUE DATE to roll around...while you...ahem...roll around....or a phone call.....

No, waiting is neither simple nor NATURAL for the INSTA-MATIC, DRIVE-THRU mentality of today. So, how exactly are we SUPPOSED to "wait" according to Scripture?

Psalm 37:7 "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him...."...hope, trust, wait carefully (patiently) PATIENTLY...oh dear! We all want PATIENCE...NOW...

Psalm 62:1 "Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation." quiet, trust:--silence, silent, waiteth.

Psalm 62:5 "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." to be astonished, to stop; to forbear, hold peace, quiet self, rest, be silent, keep silence, be (stand) still, tarry QUIETLY, CALMLY, even SILENTLY. And I just love this next verse...our precious Heavenly Father is waiting for us.

Isaiah 30:18 "And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him." to adhere to, hence to await:--long, tarry, wait.

I find it interesting that one of the most often seen uses of "wait" in the Bible is used as "lie in wait", as in an ambush, ready to POUNCE! (35x!) To lurk.... Obviously, that is not what is meant by waiting on the LORD. Many of the uses of wait were in verses referring to the priests who waited on God in the temple (Numbers 3:10, 8:24; II Chronicles 13:10). To attend...serve.... Now we're getting somewhere! Do you remember all the particular things the priests had to do in the temple? THEY had to remember...or in some cases, they were struck dead for doing it wrong, with the wrong spirit!! WOW...makes you think.... They had to prepare themselves both physically, in their special priestly garments, and spiritually for waiting on God.

Micah 7:7 "Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me." to wait...to be patient, hope....With His Word giving us HOPE: Psalm 130:5 "I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope." Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." That when we look back, we will be GLAD we waited on Him.

So, I am waiting on the Lord today…If you are waiting on God, know you are not alone. There are several of us in the preparation waiting room. So, we will wait together. You know I love ya - Don