Thursday, November 30, 2006


You would think that Rebekah had grown up in the tropics and was allergic to snow the way she has been carrying on lately. But she grew up in Kenosha on Lake Michigan. She should certainly be used to snow. It is predicted that it will snow today and through the night. All I have heard the last day or so is that snow is a four letter word. You might get the impression if you read her blog that she was the one who shovels the snow. Those of you who know her know that isn't true. She doesn't even have to drive in the stuff. ;-)

Seth has been messing with me. The little guy keeps fiddling with my alarm clock radio. If I don't see him do it than I am very surprised when I wake up at 8:00 because my alarm didn't sound. I thought I checked last night after he went to bed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Power of the Blog

Blogging has become a phenomon. It connects people who have never met in deep ways. Some of the blogs I enjoy most are written by people I have never met but I feel like I know them well. I know that it may be an illusion but it still strikes me as something about our culture that has changed dramatically in the last five years. Anyway I have been moved by Ragamuffin Soul .

Los has brought us along as he and his wife have flown to South Korea to pick up their son Losiah whom they have adopted. I have been moved to tears several times by the videos. This medium has so much power when done right. He sure is blogging the right way. I have enjoyed the journey and have rejoice with this family even though I may never meet them in person on this side of life.


Bethany is a village of 1300 or so souls. We have five churches that are a part of our ministerial alliance. The catholic church is five miles out of town and no longer has a full time priest so they don't participate. It is my second time around as president of the alliance. The title is largely symbolic as we all work together and decisions are by consensus (Such as waiting until I had to step outside to take a phone call to elect me as president this year). We do things that have been done for as long as any of us knows. It is Christmas time and our big project is at hand. It is voucher time.

We have five community services plus a community VBS. We also give food voucher for the local grocery stores to those who may be in need in our village. The list includes families with single parents and both parents, as well as widows. We are editing a list that is a couple years old. Some of the people have died and some have moved away. Others have gotten better jobs. A couple of single moms have gottern married or are engaged and things while not great are much better and they aren't struggling like they were. After talking to the other pastors we all really want to help people who are in a tough place because of circumstances they couldn't control. But I wonder how much we are really helping some of the folks. Here a few observations.

1. All of the pastors have been here at least two years and yet none of us knew more than half (out of thirty nine names) of the people. The village treasurer didn't know all of them either but she knew more than we did. Ouch!
2. A couple of churches had no connection with anyone on the list. What are the implications of that?
3. Some of the widows have grown children who go to church and profess to be Christians. My opinion is that we shouldn't have to help these widows.
4. Some people have been on this list and have received help for years even though they don't need the help. I will probably receive angry phone calls from some of them when they don't receive their voucher. Some of these people make a comfortable living.
5. Is it my place to judge the economic needs of people I barely know? I'm still sorting through the decision making process.

I plan on bringing to begin a conversation on how our churches can be more effective in ministry to people with economic needs in our community. I have learned a lot about who knows who is in need in our town. I wish more of them were believers.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I went to the eye doctor today. This is an annual thing of course and I have been going to the same OD fir a number of years. So I've seen Dr. Temmen six times by my count. She is a really nice lady and does a great job. But she walks in the exam room and says, "I thought I heard your voice." Apparently I have a very distinct voice. I see once a year but she remembers my voice. This isn't the first time I've been surprised by this observation. Many people I have talked to once have instantly recognized my voice on the phone. So I guess a lot of you know it's me on the phone before I identify myself. Anyway... my eyes are gradually getting better. She said that as I age my near sightedness will get somewhat better but in ten to fifteen years I will probably start getting far-sighted. Got to take care of the eyes.

I could probably make some sort of spiritual analogy about the near sighted far sighted thing but it's monday and sometimes I don't feel real spiritual on mondays. I heard Rob Bell describe monday's as the day pastors have hangovers. Your tired. Your head hurts. And you keep thinking, "I said what?"

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I am tired but have enjoyed the family time. I've been up past midnight the last three nights. I am not used to that lately. Now it's time to get focused on Sunday. We are concluding a four part series on joy. I have enjoyed studying and putting the messages together. Hopefully they have come across with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and helped to change peoples perception and perspective.

Tomorrow's message is Joy Remix or (Rejoice). The definition of a remix from Wikipedia is:A remix is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version. A record producer or audio engineer uses audio mixing to alter the original tracks of a song, adding or subtracting elements, changing the relative frequency, volume, length, or almost any other aspect of the various musical components. A song may be remixed to give a song that wasn't popular a second chance, to create a song that will be played in dance clubs, or to alter a song to suit a different music genre or radio format.

John Von Seggern of the ethnomusicology department at the University of California, Riverside says that the remix is "drawing together and making sense of a much larger body of information by threading a continuous narrative through it." A remix may also refer to a non-linear re-interpretation of a given work or media other than audio. Such as a hybridizing process combining fragments of various works.

So to remix the joy that God gives us is to rejoice. We may add or subtract elements around a theme but the theme remains the glory of our King. When we rejoice it helps us to make sense of the experiences or information of life by threading the conitinuity of the presence and goodness of God through it. A Christian can rejoice in suffering because the joy of the Lord allows us to reinterpret what happens in life from a different perspective than a non-believer.
In this way the joy of the Lord drives the life of the believer much as the bass line can drive a song. It gives it depth and power and a certain "catchiness." People who can rejoice in any circumstance have a certain "catchiness" about them.

So looking forward to it. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, November 24, 2006


We had a great day. It was one of the best family times in a memory. So much to be thankful for it is hard to put into words. We rejoiced together and laughed a lot. Hope you had a great day also.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who Knew?

I had no idea how hard this year would be. But we are closing in on the end and I am excited to see what God is going to do next. I am ready work with Him to make the future. I am not willing to see what happens next, I am actively working to shape my future and by extension the lives of all who are connected to me. I know God has great things in store. And God has lots of surprises too!

After all this year I was sicker than I have ever been. I spent time in the hospital. I spent days contemplating the possibility of having cancer. I received the news that I don't have cancer but rather that a fungus was growing in my body. I have had several CT scans which now show the fungus shrinking. I will have another in 12 days. I have had a multitude of Xrays and an MRI. I have undergone physical therapy. I am still dealing with annoying pain. I have walked through the darkest depression of my life and come through the other side.

And here is what I know that God was with me all the time. His Holy Spirit was abiding and giving comfort and strength. I know that I am blessed. My wife loves me and my children are healthy. I know what God has called me to do and I am doing it!

Lots of other great things have happened in the lives of friends. Some of them surprising, some just plain awesome.
Greg and Sam brought baby Blinn into the world. Which means Larry and Patty are finally grandparents!
Friends who are missionaries in Southeast Asia are coming home in December so that she can deliver their first baby in February!
Our friend Abby is getting married in a little over a week!
I was able to reconnect with my friend Scott Hodge.
My sister-in-law and her new husband are expecting a baby!
Joshua and Christy are expecting their third child and it looks like Joshua is finally getting his boy!
Even though I haven't met him I enjoy his blog. Los is right now in Korea preparing to bring home his son!
Seth tooks his first steps and is running now!
Noah can write his name and is getting to be an awesome video gamer.
Elijah got his first hit in baseball.
Kaitlyn is growing into such a beautiful girl that sometimes it takes my breath away.
And Rebekah continues to be an awesome mom and wife!

I'll post more surprises in the next days. (You'll notice that so many of these are about baby's. What can I say I am a sucker for babies.)