Easter - 2018

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Funny - "Miracles"

I do believe in miracles! But this was just too funny to pass up. Thank you Ron Christman for sharing!
The preacher said, "Anyone with 'special needs' who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar."

With that, Leroy got in line, and when it was his turn, the Preacher asked, "Leroy, what do you want me to pray about for you?"

Leroy replied, "Preacher, I need you to pray for help with my hearing."

The preacher put one finger of one hand in Leroy's ear, placed his other hand on top of Leroy's head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed. He prayed a "blue streak" for Leroy, and the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.

After a few minutes, the preacher removed his hands, stood back and asked, "Leroy, how is your hearing now?"
Leroy answered, "I don't know. It ain't 'til next week."

Have a great weekend! You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Heritage of Worship

Psalm 61: 5
"You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name."
I am part of a great heritage of worshipers. I think of all the churches I have attended over the years: Church of the Cross in Modesto, CA., First Baptist and Calvary Baptist in Beaumont, CA., Fountain Valley First Christian Church in Fountain Valley, CA, Smoky Mountain Christian Church in Sevierville, TN., Gethsemane Church of Christ in Mechanicsville, VA, and Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield, IN. In each of these churches we have shared in true worship. We have acknowledged God's presence in our lives and declared His worth among the nations. In fact, you are also part of a great heritage of worship. We don't do this alone. Every time we enter into a season of worship or prayer or reading of God's Word, it is not only as part of our local congregation, but we gather with Christ Followers around the globe as we approach the Living God.

In some mysterious way, our worship is linked to the millions who have gone before us. Many of those gave their very lives because of worship. In church worship believers proclaim their creeds and beliefs. It is at great risk that we are proclaiming these beliefs. Persecution is in every part of our world today. I'm convinced that the world has heard enough of what the Church doesn't believe...compromise...what the world and those in the world that are "seeking" are truly seeking is "something." They want to know what we believe and how to find the truth in Jesus Christ. God has created us with the desire to invest our lives in Him and to completely immerse our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths in Jesus.

The church needs boldness to stand firm in worship. Christ-followers are to give love and compassion while demonstrating the healing power of Jesus Christ in the lives they live. Compromise is obsolete and it is time to be the people Jesus has called us to be. Then and only then will we be effective Christ-followers...effective worshipers living up to the heritage that has been given to us.

Standing firm with you - Don

Monday, October 25, 2010

I love the Fall/Autumn

I love Autumn. This time of year always recalls good memories. It also reminds me that great holidays are just around the corner. Last week I had the great joy of driving through West Virginia. The mountain were covered with color. The leaves were so brilliant it was like looking at new carpet covering the ranges of mountains.

John Shewell writes:

On an early autumn day, I looked up from my morning prayer to see myriad colorful leaves falling lazily to earth. As I gloried in and marveled at God's wonderful handiwork, I realized that the falling leaves could symbolize God's grace.

This grace comes to us freely, in God's own time and independent of our merit. The leaves fall because of the properties God has mysteriously given the trees and the earth. Grace comes to us because of the mysterious purposes of God. The twists and turns and shapes and colors of the falling leaves are like the infinite variations of God's grace. Grace manifests itself in us and through us in surprising ways.

The far distance shimmered with ever-changing colors and depth. My mind knew what my eyes could not distinguish, that individual leaves were falling there, just as they were nearby. In a similar way, a heart familiar with God's grace knows that it is everywhere. Infinite, endless, and timeless, grace falls on all of us to change our lives.

God's grace is something we do not deserve, yet He offers with with love and abundance. Much like the beauty I saw on those West Virginia Mountains. Ephesians 2:8, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

Enjoy this great time of year and take a moment and let the beauty remind us of His grace that so freely falls on us. You know I love ya, Don

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Funny - "Hymns"

It is Friday!
One Sunday a pastor told the congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns. After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in the offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate. A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady all the way in the back shyly raised her hand.

The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three handsomest men in the building and said, "I'll take him and him and him!"

Have a great weekend. Down Syndrome Buddy walk on Saturday. Check out Down Syndrome Indiana for more information. We also ways have a great time.

Take Care,

Monday, October 18, 2010

I am not Ashamed!

The following is an excerpt from my sermon yesterday. It is good review for me and a great reminder that I would much rather see a sermon than hear one.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NRSV)

31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.[1]

Forgiveness is free but it is not cheap. When Dr. Gene Nichol, president of William and Mary College ordered the cross removed from Wren Chapel on that campus, he failed to anticipate the outcry from alumni and others. He now admits he acted hastily and has ordered the cross returned, at least all day on Sunday. I understand the offensive nature of the cross. It’s too blunt, too brutal for our refined minds to encounter. All that stuff about a pierced side, nail-scarred hands, and a thorn-torn brow sounds gross in refined houses of worship. When you watch a movie such as Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ…It is rough, blinding in the gruesome flesh ripping, and brings tears to know that was for me.

I can tell you from experience…if you cannot tell me when you have been to the foot of the cross, then you have never been there. For at the cross of Jesus our sin is forgiven. Debts are canceled because somebody paid the price. Jesus paid the price. The cross was offensive in the first century too. Yet, as one that has bowed at the foot of the cross and received the forgiveness of Jesus, I am still content to sing:

Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.
Sin had left its crimson stain;
He washed me white as snow.

It is the cross that demonstrates the ultimate act of forgiveness.

It is the cross the sets us free.

It is the Cross the holds us tight in hard times.

It is the cross the sets us free!

I am trying to live out forgiveness as a way of life. You know I love ya, Don

The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Eph 4:31–32). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Funny - "Dead Church"

The Dead Church

A new Pastor in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services.

The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said.

Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the "funeral." In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church.

Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a "dead church," all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each "mourner" peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look.

In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.

Keep Laughing and have a great weekend! Don

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Forgiveness is life restored!

Forgiveness is life restored. What transformed the woman of Luke 7:36-50. She arrived, kissed and wiped Jesus' feet with her tears. She was a woman of the night being transformed into a servant of the light Jesus is working nothing less than a miracle of love!

Tony de Mello tells this story: “Everyone kept telling me to change. I agreed I needed to change but I couldn’t — no matter how hard I tried. I felt powerless, trapped, confused. Then one day a friend said, ‘I love you just the way you are.’ It was the most freeing thing I’ve ever known in my life. Suddenly I relaxed. I came to life. I found the power to change. He taught me the very deep nature of God’s love for me.” God starts with us where we are. He is willing to forgive us right here and right now.

Colossians 2:13-14: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

Forgiveness is a debt canceled but forgiveness also brings a life restored.

Clemmie Greenleaf is a 46-year-old advocate for the homeless in Nashville, Tennessee. She has lived in Nashville all her life. She lost her parents when she was 13. They were both alcoholics. Prostitution became the only way Clemmie could make enough money to take care of her younger siblings. So she turned to the streets, and drugs, and violence. Then as Clemmie tells it, “God called me by name when I was 40. I entered the Magdalene Recovery Program in 2000. By 2003 I was clean, sober, and able to hold a job.” Let us never forget that God takes people where they are and loves them back to life. He not only restores our souls, He restores our self-worth, our value. That’s what forgiveness is all about. It’s a life restored, brought back to life.

Forgiveness is a debt canceled.

Forgiveness is not cheap.

Forgiveness is your life restored.

Forgiveness returns to us what our sinful nature stole from us.

I am in no way perfect or even close, but I am forgiven. I am thanking God for His forgiveness today! You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 11, 2010

The treasures directly ahead!

The LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. -1 Samuel 16:7 (NRSV)

There are so many things in life that we choose to reject. We do not want to be bothered or to allow our busy lives to be interrupted. I was outside with the children last evening. It had been an unusually warm October day in Indiana yesterday. So, we were out playing as if it were summer.

We have a rubber tree on the east side of the house and the leaves are starting to turn different shades of yellow and orange. Alice, Matthew, and I noticed the veins and the beauty of these leaves. The tree is nice all year long, yet we never truly noticed it until tonight. Our strawberries are planted underneath and most of the time we are looking for the strawberries, while the tree watches from above. Tonight was different. The tree was the recipient of our affection...or should I say, "its leaves were."

It reminded me of a story written by Rebbecca Roberts. She writes:

No one wanted the monstrosity which had spent so much time outside in the weather that it was layered with years of grime and filth. My husband raised a finger. "One dollar," he yelled. "Sold!" the auctioneer said quickly, "to number 53." Once we got our 250-pound backbreaker home, I scraped and scrubbed for four hours until the snow-white porcelain of the 1948 Tappan™ gas range showed through. Underneath all that dirt, it was beautiful. Years later, my husband bought an old kitchen sink covered with filth and full of rotting oak leaves. After a short time of scrubbing, we found our jewel to be a 1928 Kitchen Queen™ without a single chip in the porcelain. No one had wanted it because of the visible grime.

Through these pieces God spoke to my heart. The Lord sees people the way my husband saw that sink and stove. We may be covered with all kinds of sin. Yet, God looks inside us where no one else can see and finds our worth. Now when I look at the many faces before me, I try to see past the outside to find the jewel within.

I learned a lesson from our rubber tree this evening. It is to find the treasure in the everyday life signs around us. We are given these gifts everyday. Many times the gift is hidden in the grime of life, but the gift is there. I need eyes to see it. So, my prayer has become, "Lord, help me to avoid being so busy working and striving to achieve the treasure, that I neglect to see the true treasures directly in front of me. Amen."

You are a treasure and you bring me great joy. Thanks for reading and keep looking for the treasures directly in view! You know I love ya, Don

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Funny - "Silly Things We Argue Over"

It is Friday. This is a moan of a joke so enjoy and have a great weekend!

Two show stallions are arguing over who should take best
of breed.

The first says, “I’ll grant you are the closest I have ever
seen to my equal, but my legs are just a bit straighter than
yours, and, you know, the legs are of prime importance. No
foot, no horse!”

The second horse says, “I’ll allow your legs are just a bit
better than mine, but mine are the legs I was born with. I
know for a fact you had thousands of dollars of corrective
work. Your foals will inherit your natural legs, not your
genius ferrier!”

The first horse mulls this for a moment, then says, “You’re
right. I stand corrected.”

You know I love ya,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Down Syndrome and God is right here!

Down syndrome has revolutionized our lives. Matthew has Down syndrome and he is seven. Alice doesn't and she is four. The two of them are priceless and a treasure beyond words. Their love for us, for each other and for life is so awesome. At times I wonder which one of us is disabled...me or him? At first it was hard, but now I see that God is with us and it is only through His grace that we are able to join in the great gift of an extra chromosome of "cuteness." Steve Davis of Georgia wrote the following of his brother with Down syndrome:

My younger brother, Alan, had Down syndrome and died four months short of his 50th birthday. He was terrified of thunderstorms. Our mom taught Alan that when a storm approached, he should put his hand over his heart and say, "God's right here." After Mom died, Alan stayed overnight with my family once a week. When a storm was near, Alan would come to us and say, "God's right here." Then he would calm down. Later, when the storm passed, he would come to us and say, "Alan's all right."

What a wonderful picture of faith Alan gave us! When the storms of life threaten, we can follow Alan's example and remember that "God's right here" - right here in our heart, every single day of our lives. And if we believe that as strongly as Alan did, we, too, will be able to say, "I'm all right," even in fearsome times.

We all face the uncertain times of life. We also learn to deal with those situations. It is in our inner self that we find the ability to be that which God has created us to be. It is when we say, "God is right here" that we are able to step through the hard times and accept the great times. The sorrow is hard, but the fulfillment of faith brings us great joy.

Having a child with Down syndrome is not easy. It is also true that not everyone can be a parent to a special needs child. I am thankful God has equipped and allowed us this privilege.

Matthew is a treasure and has an extra chromosome. Alice is a treasure and she doesn't. I am striving to be a dad that lets them know that either way, "God is right here." By the way, Matthew loves Thunderstorms. Alice doesn't. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prayers Heard!

Last night was the Changing Hearts Prayer Service held at Greenfield Central High School. We had about 425 in attendance. Of that 450 there was a 26 piece orchestra and 80 voice choir. I had the great honor of directing the choir and orchestra. We had a great day of singing and making music.

The service was good. There were opportunities to pray for forgiveness, each other, and for our community. As I was reflecting on it this morning, it occurred to me that God hears our prayers. Of course, I knew that truth, but it became real to me again. Many years ago, I asked God for a good choir and an orchestra to direct. He has heard those prayers and for the last 18 years he has allowed me the great honor of being a choir director and orchestra conductor.

A minister in Singapore wrote it this way:

As a pastor, I conduct weekly prayer meetings and pray for the sick and others in need. Prayer comes naturally to me and has been an important part of my pastoral ministry. Recently, in leading a devotional time on prayer, I discovered that I had made several typographical errors in the prayer quotations I had given to the participants. Although I was upset with the mistakes, I continued with the devotion.

How often are we as careless with our prayer life as I was with my typing? At times we pray not because we enjoy praying but because we were asked to pray or because we had to lead the prayer meeting. Sometimes we can be so caught up in what words to use in prayer (especially in public) that our prayer becomes merely an outward form.

Despite our shortcomings in prayer, Christ continues to invite us to pray and to teach us how. Jesus teaches us how to pray. He said, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites ... when you pray, go into your room." (Matt. 6:5-6, NIV).

I am praising God for hearing our prayers today. I am also praising God that in our inadequacies, he still listens and brings new mercies to us each and every morning. Praying for you and whatever is in your life today. You Know I love ya, Don

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Funny - "What is that?"

It is Friday and it is the first day of October....a great weekend ahead. Enjoy!

A certain professor arrived late for a lecture to find a most uncomplimentary drawing of himself on the blackboard.

Fuming, he asked the class joker in the front row, “Who, pray, was responsible for this atrocity?”

The joker won tremendous prestige with his reply, “I really don’t know, but I strongly suspect its parents.”

Don't forget to laugh...it helps heal the things that aren't so funny! Love ya, Don