Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goats for Grandmas

My friend, George Voss, has turned his room at the nursing home into a mission field. Here's a video we showed of him this past Sunday. We helped him buy several more goats for grandmas in Zambia. He has a whole flock now! (Special thanks to Jeremy Mavis for doing the video editing.)

Goats for Grandmas from Jeremy Mavis on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Banderdinker: A God Idea

Some ideas are good ideas -- and some ideas are God Ideas! 

An idea that inspires faith -- brings people together -- and helps others is a God Idea!

The Banderdinker, birthed in the imagination of my friend, Pam Ruetten is one of those!  It's going to be an amazing day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It Came to Pass

Several times, the Bible says, "It came to pass. . ."  Never once, does it say, "It came to stay!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I awakened at a rooster crow, which seemed so strangely out of place
In the busy marketplace of Addis Ababa.
My first awakening in Africa
To  foreign blends of sound, and above them all,
a rooster crow -- Gallicantu.

Yes, it was a rooster crow that called me
From my dark and restless slumber into the light of day.
And stirring in the misty haze of wakefulness and sleep

I saw myself as Peter
In blustering conceit
Lulled to lethargy -
Content with boistrous faith which quickly rose
And quickly went
When the first accusing finger posed the question,
"Are you one of THEM?"

"I am not!" I cried, and again with cursing,
"I do not know that man!"

Not one, not twice, but three times Christ denying.
Then -- Gallicantu.

A rooster crow that seemed so strangely out of place.
I awakened from my dark and restless slumber,
And wept bitterly.

Bad Breath Preaching

Preaching the Good News without love is like giving someone a good kiss when you have bad breath.  No matter how good your kiss is all the person will remember is your bad breath
-- Ed Silvoso

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Like Having a Baby

I've been posting less and more irregularly here at the blog, and thought I should give an explanation.  I'm finishing up a book manuscript -- which is due April 1.

Writing a book is like having a baby.  In the ninth month, it's obvious, uncomfortable -- and wanting to get out!

"Through the joy set before him. . ."

Monday, March 21, 2011


Guy Kawasaki, the groundbreaking social network entrepeneur (i.e. founder of Alltop), has recently written a marvelous book called Enchantment.   I was privileged to receive a complimentary preview copy before it hit the bookstores -- and just received word that it has made the New York Times bestseller list!

It's sort of an organizational "How to Win Friends and Influence People" for people doing business in this digital age.

The book's basic theme is that we need to win people relationally, if they are going to join with us.  Guy then gives tons of practical insights on developing positive winsomeness.

I really appreciate Guy's user friendly and down to earth persective, which applies well to any organization or business, including churches and other non-profits.

I suppose you could call it a handy guide for common sense and being likeable.  Good stuff, and I know a few of people who could definitely use that!

Purchase Here

Friday, March 18, 2011

Parenting in the Midst of Tragedy

Here's great article from Focus on the Family to guide parents in helping their children as they process traumatic events


1. Troubles are common to everybody. We shouldn't be so surprised when they come. Often, a problem arises and people freak out. "Oh my! This is just awful! What am I going to do? Why did this happen to me?" Instead of being shocked by difficulties, expect them. A trouble free day is exception rather than the rule.

2. Troubles come to everybody.  You can't choose whether or not to have them.  You can't choose when they come (and they always come at the wrong time.) -- but you CAN choose how you are going to respond.

3. If you remain open-hearted, you can will through your troubles. If you close down emotionally, the hard times will make you bitter.

4. You do not have to face your troubles alone. God promised to be a present help in the hour of trouble -- Can you think of anyone better to have beside you when you face life's trials?

5. Troubles are never neutral -- If they don't do you good, they'll do you harm. You can harvest them, or waste them. The choice is yours.

6. Troubles are like babies -- They grow larger by nursing!

7. Troubles don't seem so bad when you maintain your sense of humor.

8. The "school of hard knocks" provides wonderful learning opportunities!

9. Troubles are seldom solved by procrastination.

10. "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level at which we created them." Albert Einstein

11. Many troubles can be avoided by looking ahead. Remember the 5-P Principle: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

12. Remember, there is always somebody worse off than you. Socrates said, "If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart."

13. "Have you got a problem? Do what you can where you are with what you've got." Teddy Roosevelt.

14. "Just take things as they come and handle them the best you can." Robert Frost

An anonymous poet penned the following message of hope in adversity,
"The Hard Way."
For every hill I've had to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and sweat and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat,
My heart sings but a grateful song -
These were the things that made me strong!


The joy of Jesus, like the joy of swimming is found in the deep end of the pool.  Dive deep!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breastplate of St. Patrick

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,

His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom

I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,

The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord

And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,

The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.

The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;

Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,

Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Facing Your Fears

Fear is a terrorist, lurking in the shadows of our hearts -- waiting to attack at any moment.

Fear keeps us from achieving success. It destroys our dreams. It dashes our hopes. Immeasurable damage is caused by this small four-letter word.

As we run the race of life, fear is the rope which twists and tangles itself around our legs, causing us to stumble, to falter, and to fail.

The theologian, Paul Tillich, stated that our fears put frightening masks over people and things. They appear to be more dreadful than they really are. When we remove the mask, the terror disappears.

Strangers are not so terrible when we view them as fellow human beings. The future is not nearly so fearful when we see it as it is -- realizing that life will go on.

"There is nothing to fear," quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt, 'but fear itself." It is the greatest enemy of courage, progress, and enthusiasm.  As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy -- and he is us!"

So, how do we attack fear head on, rather than waiting for it to attack us?

1. Trust in Your Creator.
The 23rd Psalm says, "I will fear no evil because you are with me." This presence brings calmness and eliminates anxiety.

2. Practice Courage.
Do the courageous thing -- even if it scares you to death! "Build dikes of courage," said Martin Luther King Jr, "to hold back the flood of fear."

Meet your fears with a reservoir of courage, and they will melt away like April snow!

3. Love Sincerely.
True love casts our fear. If you love others, you will not fear them. If you love life, it will not terrify you.

4. Keep Moving Forward.
Do not allow small fears to discourage and defeat you.. Move ahead! Keep plugging away! Dare to take a chance!

Life is too short to remain handcuffed to anxious stomach-churning thoughts. Break the chains, be bold, and conquer your fears today!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They Taste Like Chicken

Nard Pugyao, of Wycliffe Associates, has been the speaker this week during our Missions emphasis.  He is a delightful, godly man -- raised in a remote jungle village in the Philippines.

He told us that he is the direct fruit of missionary efforts. 

"If missionaries had not come, I would not be here today," he declared.  Ralph and Carene Jacobson, of our congregation, were among the missionaries who influenced Nard significantly during his growing up years.

Through Ralph's encouragement, Nard became a missionary pilot -- and was privileged to be the first person to bring the Bible to his people in their own heart language.

Last night, we concluded the service with Nard speaking a prayer of blessing and thanksgiving over Ralph and Carene.  It was touching.

His message was a great reminder to us of the importance of supporting missionaries around the world.

Nard's ancestors were headhunters -- so he brought a unique perspective.

"When the first white man came into our village, we didn't know what to do with him," Nard said, "Maybe we should eat him!  After all, white men taste like chicken!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Collecting Dust

Most Christian families have several Bibles in the house, collecting dust.
While visiting the home of a family in his congregation, Pastor Tom requested that someone get their Bible, so he could read a passage before departing.

Momma turned to little Johnny and said, “Honey, would you go into my room and get that precious book she loves so much and reads every day?”

Johnny returned, carrying T.V. Guide.

That’s par for the course. We’ve tuned in more to Hollywood than the Holy Word, leaving our souls shriveled and malnourished. Seven days without Scripture makes one weak.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale

Mother Teresa's Prayer

Deliver me, O Jesus,

From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire to being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,

From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Have a Good Day

The other day as I was traveling out of town, I talked with a grumpy sales clerk.
"How are you today?" I asked.

"Terrible!" she replied, "This is a rotten day. It started out bad and has been going downhill ever since."

I noticed that it was only 9:00 a.m. and said, "I think it's a little early to say the whole day is going to be bad. I'll bet the worst is over and that things will start getting better from here!"

The guy behind me in line chimed in, "It'll probably get better for a little bit - but then it's gonna get worse! That's the way life is. It always gets worse."

“Thanks for the encouragement, buddy,” I thought.

Surrounded by pessimists! My optimism-spreading effort had gone over like a lead balloon.

As I drove away, I felt bad for those poor folks. They didn't realize that, for the most part, our attitude determines our happiness.

Don't let your circumstances dictate whether or not it's going to be a good day.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Eight Ways to Have a Good Day

1. Determine to have a good day.
Make up your mind that you are going to make the best of this day, no matter what! A firm decision to live positively is half the battle.

2. Start your day with a prayer.

Before you get out of bed, pause and thank God for your life and ask for guidance and wisdom.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Isn't it funny how we can become so uptight about non-essentials? My friend, Eunice Walker, calls these petty frustrations "bugs on the windshield of life." Refuse to let minor annoyances get the best of you.

4. Look for postcards from heaven.

Every day God sends postcards that say, "I love you." He hides them in the most unexpected places - and you have to search in order to find them. Each day is packed full of blessings for you to enjoy. Look again!

5. Release your resentment and regret.

Some people are hostage to the past. Regret and resentment (the siamese twins of misery) bind us up so we cannot enjoy the present. Yesterday is history. You can't go back and change it - but you can do something about today. Make the most of your moments - and do not allow bandits from your past to rob your joy.

6. Invest your life in service to others.

One of the best ways to be happy and fulfilled in life is to be a blessing to others. Look for ways to help and encourage other people, and you will be rewarded with happiness. I've never yet met a generous grouch.

7. Always tell the truth.

Honesty brings freedom to the soul.

8. Nurture your most important relationships.

Be sure to cherish your faith, family and friends. Don't get so caught up in the hectic pace of making a living that you forget to make a life. The human heart is rich, indeed, when full of love.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Lonliness of Pastoring

The Lonliness of Pastoring is an insightful post by Mark Roberts.  I encourage you to stop right now, and pray for three pastors specifically.  Pray for encouragement and strength -- that they might serve the Lord with gladness and a full heart.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

How to Know When to Shut Up

Nothing is opened by mistake more often than the mouth.

Here's a great post at Wesleyan Life, by my friend, Larry Wilson:  How to Know When to Shut Up.

Put the Brakes on Loshon Hora

Chaim Feld, a Rabbi, from Cleveland, decided he had heard enough negative talk. It seemed as if everywhere he went, people were criticizing, complaining, and condemning. He decided to do something about it -- and founded an organization dedicated to the eradication of Loshon Hora.

Loshon Hora is a Hebrew phrase which means "negative speech." It includes gossip, backbiting, put-downs, and the like.

He has invented a bumper sticker which sold like hotcakes --"Put the Brakes on Loshon Hora!"

I’d like to buy one of those bumper stickers. We would all be better off without so much Loshon Hora dragging us down.

John Wesley, the 18th Century founder of the Methodist movement in England, was also fed up with Loshon Hora. Although he didn't use the phrase -- he made every effort to eliminate patterns of negative speech from his life.

Concerned about the misuse of good time for bad talk, he and eleven other ministers entered into the following covenant together:

"It is agreed by those whose names are underwritten-
1) That we will not listen, or willingly inquire after any ill concerning each other.
2) That if we do hear any ill of each other, we will not be forward to believe it.
3) That, as soon as possible, we will communicate what we hear by speaking or writing to the person concerned.
4) That, until we have done this, we will not write or speak a syllable of it to any other person whatsoever.
5) That neither will we mention it after we have done this to any other person.
6) That we will not make any exception to any of these rules, unless we think ourselves absolutely obliged in conscience to do so."

Wouldn't it be great if we would all treat our friends in this same manner?

Lot's of things are opened by mistake -- but none as often as the mouth! Think before you speak -- and "Put the Brakes on Loshon Hora!"

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Here is Love Vast as the Ocean

I was reading about the 1094 Welsh Revival this morning, and learned that "Here is Love Vast as the Ocean" was used as the theme song. It was, appropriately called the "love song of the revival."

Here's Robyn Mark's version:

And the cyber hymnal version which contains a couple of additional verses.

"I'll Drag Her on Over to Oak Street"