Category Archives: Bread And Spirit

The Other Miracle at Cana

Nicaragua Day3 - 134Jesus Is On The Move [John 4:46-54]

Jesus is Going to Where the People Will Hear

He has just come back from Jerusalem where he did several miracles. Jesus settled into an area of northern Galilee. He did not return to Nazareth explaining that a prophet  is without honor in his own city and in his own family. In contrast, the people of Galilee warmly received him, having seen the miracles he did in Jerusalem and many believed he was the Messiah.

Cana is SpecialNicaragua Day 4 - 198

Cana of Galilee is special to me. The wedding, the first miracle, the dialogue between Jesus and his mother, the display of God’s heart… to care about a young newlywed couple being embarrassed, to care about the affairs of our ordinary everyday lives, to care about family and community, to care about what’s on Mary’s heart and her prayer.  It also shows the generosity of the Almighty. These are a few things that touch my heart about Cana. John is the only gospel writer to record this miracle. He said it was Jesus’ first. As I think about it now, possibly what touches me so deeply is the revelation of the humanity of Jesus here. It demonstrates earthly families and our heavenly family in close conjunction. There are at least two people present who are very in tune with God. They are praying, listening, and feeling in their hearts what’s going on with their community, friends, and family.

Nicaragua Day3 - 001Nicaragua Day3 - 031Nicaragua Day2 - 229The author John Eldridge, in his book about the humanity of Jesus, Beautiful Outlaw, uses this miracle to demonstrate God’s generosity. I smile when I think about it. He goes so far as to compute how many bottles of wine Jesus produced for this celebration very late in the party, 908 if you take a large number, 757 if you take the smaller number. Then he ends with the humorous comment, “Don’t get mad at me! I didn’t do the miracle, I just did the math.”

Another Miracle in Cana

Today, in my New Testament reading and meditating about Jesus, I was struck with thoughts and insights about a second miracle that happened in Cana. Jesus had  just come through Samaria (Gasp!), dialoguing with the woman at the well then staying a few more days in her village introducing many of her friends to the kingdom of God. Standing now in Cana a few miles north, he had just made the comment about prophets not being received, then a ruler of the people, a man of some position and authority from Capernaum, who had traveled some miles to find Jesus stood in front of Him.  He was desperate and needy because his young child was sick and close to death. With  desperation and determination that perhaps only new parents know, he ended up in Jesus’s presence. “Please come heal my child because he’s close to death,” gushes out of him.

Nicaragua Day3 - 240For reasons we don’t understand because we weren’t there and because we’re not God, Jesus gave an unusual reply. It was something along the lines, “You people are always looking for a sign unless you see a sign you won’t believe.” He may have said it to teach the disciples something true about themselves and all the people in the area? He may have said it because he wanted to challenge the thinking and understanding of the people in the region who were hearing his words? It might be because the Holy Spirit knew it would be recorded, informing and instructing people there and for ages to come about the condition of people’s hearts and what it really takes to please God?

Nicaragua Day3 - 360For whatever reason he said it, it seems a little confrontational toward the ruler and father standing in front of him? But in humility and desperation, the man chose not to speak to Jesus’ comment nor question it. He just seems to say, “Please Sir, will you come and heal my son!?”

Then Jesus seeing the man’s humility, desperation, and love for his child; feeling compassion for him and seeing the faith demonstrated in his coming, simply said, “Go your way, your son is healed.” And so he was healed in the city a few miles away because a loving father exercised humility, action, and faith — a faith well placed in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

It Was A Turning Point

That was a turning point for this ruler, and for others. People would hear. The news of Jesus power to heal and do miracles would spread. Capernaum, whose Hebrew meaning is ”covering of mercy”, would become known as Jesus’ town, as it is to this day. He made it His headquarters for ministry during His three years in the Galilee.

Many Jews and Samaritans in the region would come to believe that he was the Christ the Son of the living God. Indeed, in the almost 2000 Easter seasons since, many millions of people have read this story, and and others like it recorded in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, the most published and best selling book of all times, coming to the same conclusion.

That conclusion seems to be reached by hearing or reading the Gospel story combined with some revelation from above bearing witness to its truth. Then those two events are mixed with the hearers own faith resulting in salvation and a relationship with the Most High through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ.

The angel Gabriel told a maiden named Mary from the village of Nazareth a few miles from Cana that she would bear a son to be named Jesus, which in Hebrew means “God saves”. And that Jesus would set on David’s throne, the ruler of a kingdom which would never be destroyed. It’s my prayer, that if you’re not part of this kingdom and the Family of God made possible by His sacrifice and resurrection, that this Easter season you too will become a part. May you know His salvation and peace now and forever. Amen.

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household.” (John 4:50–53)

Nicaragua Day 4 - 200Nicaragua Day3 - 374Nicaragua Day 4 - 067

My Goodness 2015

January 1 Greetings,


Making new Friends

This time of the year and this day of the year are excellent for pondering one’s life, and especially the years — the passing of time. My wife and I have each remarked that 2014 was the fastest passing year of our lives. With technology and communication being what they are, there is no reason to expect time to slow down going forward! Unless, unless we make a quality, personal decision to make it so, and then take some necessary action!

Reconnected with Old Friends

Reconnecting with Old Friends

Quickly said, our times are against us in the matter of enjoying our lives and making the most of them. We’re at each and every turn confronted with images, voices, talking heads, technology to use, learn, and play with, and the list goes on, growing larger seemingly by the day. What’s a person to do?

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That’s what I hear in the Spirit when I ask that question.

I want my life to count for something — for something bigger than me, and for something eternal.

When I look around it seems as if the kingdom might be loosing ground? At least in our time and place.

Enjoy Life with Present Friends

Enjoying Life with Present Friends

But then I reflect on Abraham (2000 B.C.), David (1000 B.C.), Daniel (600 B.C.), Esther (470 B.C.), Paul and Peter (30-70 A.D.), and I realize the kingdom is never losing ground — only we, perhaps are loosing ground!

“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

I reflect from time to time about writing another book (only if the Spirit leads of course. :)) I might title it, “The Laugh of the King!” from Psalm 2.

Peanuts Cartoon appearing while our home group studied Job :)

Peanuts Cartoon appearing while our home group studied the Book of  Job 🙂

Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, …!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, ….” (Psalm 2:1–4)

So what can you do to overcome your flesh and the distractions of our complex times? Seek a relationship with the King and the King’s people — His followers, His disciples, His Bride, His Church. These relationships are all you can take with you! Not possessions which will end up in the trash heap or burning up. People are eternal. Sow your life into relationships, into people. They are eternal.  Their hearts, and lives, and character, and love are all that will make it to the other side.

Family Vacation Celebration

Family Vacation and Significant Birthday Celebration

Someone has said, “In the end all that will matter is who you loved and who loved you.”

So for me it’s: [1] Read the Bible daily. [2] Talk to God, listen, mediate, ( spelled “pray”) daily, and occasionally journal impressions that come during these times. [3] Seek out and get to know others who are passionate about Jesus and want to know Him better. [4] Doing these things  helps me keep the trappings of our culture and times from stealing my attention, my affections, and my time — my life.

Cousins at Family Dutch Oven Event

Cousins at Family Dutch Oven Dinner

By doing these things, perhaps something of my life will count for others, for the King, for something bigger than myself, and for something eternal?

I look to Him who loved me and called me; and I trust Him to make it so! The Lord is my Shepherd, He leads….

Slowing to the Speed of Life

Slowing to the Speed of Life 2014

May you have a great and prosperous new year in 2015, as your soul prospers.


OBTW, Short term mission trips are another way to get your mind and heart on the bigger world and greater good, serving others and seeing what God is doing in other cultures. It is perspective changing, paradigm changing, and life changing.

It’s a win/win situation, but those who go and serve get more from the experience than those who are served. 🙂 Our Lord Jesus said it this way, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” And of course everything He said is true.

Go on a mission adventure soon!

Go on a mission adventure soon!

You'll be glad you did!

You’ll be glad you did!

On that note, I’m leaving soon on a short term mission trip to Honduras. Please pray that God will bless this trip as He wishes with purpose, provision, and protection. And consider contacting the folks at XMA to go on one of their mission adventures around the world. Take a look at their website. Grab a friend or friends and go! You’ll be blessed more than you know!

Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”” (Psalm 2:1–6)

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:14–17)


Giving Thanks . Remembering Advent

Our Home Fall 2014

Our Home Fall 2014

While being on a quasi techno fast the last couple months, posturing myself for hearing better spiritually, I’ve been absent from Facebook and even overlooked some important email. One such email came from a great friend who gave a fantastic and spirituallly concise history of Thanksgiving with a look toward Advent! Perfect!! I’ll share his writ here.

Then Sunday a young man, friend of the SONY DSCfamily, stopped by and gave us a book for Advent, daily readings preparing hearts for the coming of Christmas anew. It’s been very rich and special, so I’ll pass that recommendation to you. Get it quickly if you can and read one selection morning and night until you catch up with the date, then slow to the proper pace of listening and reason, savoring the season.

SONY DSCSONY DSCHere’s some worshipful Christmas music just published by my pastor and friend Craig Smith  supporting mission causes around the world. I hardily recommend it as it’s very worshipful and not been out of my truck’s CD player for weeks.

Here’s an advent video  I watch every Christmas with wonder. And a link to last years Christmas musing, that’s still alive with the message and meaning of Christmas! I pray you’ll enjoy it anew.

SONY DSCMay you and yours be blessed of the Lord as you give thanks with a thankful heart, and meditate on Jesus’  advent, His first appearing, and His next. Doing so will warm your hearts and make you alive to the spirit and meaning of Christmas, in our time and in all times.

Joyfully in the humble and mighty name of Immanuel,


Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)



Carpe diem

This is the day the LORD has made...

This is the day the LORD has made…

Years ago I tried to read The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but just couldn’t get into it. I found it a hard read by a brilliant man, philosopher, and theologian. But recently a young  friend of mine, a junior high school math teacher, started a Friday morning men’s group at our church and this is the book he’s chosen for discussing and journaling about at the moment.

Colorado Aspens 2014

Colorado Aspens 2014

It’s been said, “Timing is everything.” And that may be the case here, because now I’m devouring this writ paragraph by paragraph and getting so much out of it! Maybe it’s where I am spiritually, or where the Lord is leading me? Maybe it’s because Bonhoeffer’s times (pre-WWII Germany)  are so much like ours? I just know I’m grateful to the Lord, to Bonhoeffer, to Ryan and to the the men who meet on Friday mornings, because I’m getting so much truth for living and spiritual food out of this book.

This one knows how to seize the day!

This one knows how to seize the day!

The book is largely about Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” and about discipleship. In essence it is about Jesus and about us – disciples. Of course, Bonhoeffer wrote and knew there was a cost to discipleship, something we don’t hear much about in our churches today. And as John Eldredge says in Beautiful Outlaw, “An honest book about Jesus that does not address suffering is not an honest book.”

But we’ll leave the ideas of cost and suffering in following Jesus till another day. Today I want to share a concept and a couple verses that have been ringing in my ears and spirit since I read them in The Cost of Discipleship. The concept is “live today,” and only “in the present,” as opposed to “the past” or “the future.”

The same one… :)

The same one… 🙂

In His model prayer, Jesus said, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” Do you see His focus on today? And on looking to God, our Father, daily, each individual day, as we live one day at a time, for all our sustenance, physical and spiritual? This philosophy and practice fosters and strengthens your most important relationship in the world, that between you and your Creator, your Father in Heaven. It also gives you the focus you need, to make the most of your time, and bring the maximum meaning to your life and experience on earth in relating to God and others. Live today, in the moment.

SONY DSCI attended my father’s church Sunday and heard the preacher say about Judah in Jeremiah’s day, a day also like ours, just before the Babylonian captivity and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., that their religion or relationship with God had “become a part of their life instead of the center of their life.” Don’t let this happen to you! Pray as Jesus taught, and live in the day.

DSCN3628The second Scripture Bonhoeffer used in making this point about living each day was Matthew 6:34, “each day has enough evil of it’s own.” So don’t drag yesterday’s regrets, judgments, etc. into today! Nor are we to drag tomorrow’s worries into today! Each day has “enough trouble of it’s own.” It seems to be the natural order and design of things, so listen to Jesus and do what He says. Make it your practice to live today, in the present. And recommit to it everyday, or whenever the thought crosses your mind. Start today! Live today!

DSCN3760In doing so you will carpe diem “seize the day!”

‘Give us this day our daily bread. Jesus (Matthew 6:11)

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Jesus (Matthew 6:34)





Finishing Well – Kings of Judah

DSCN8674There has been a lot said recently by Christian baby boomers about finishing well.  It’s also a recognizable theme in the Bible among historical figures, some of whom finish well and some do not?

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:11–12)

IMG_0069Recently, while reading through the Bible in a year, my plan covered the time of the kings of Judah and Israel.  After the first three kings of Israel, the kingdom divided in  931 B.C.  Two of those three Kings did not end well including Solomon!  And there are some good lessons to be learned therein. But I was thinking of the kings of Judah.

I remembered that in the ten northern tribes of Israel there were no good kings. There were nineteen kings and all were evil!  They with their tribes were judged by the LORD and carried away into captivity by Assyria in 722 B.C.

IMG_6426In Judah  (the name given the southern kingdom, the tribes Judah and Benjamin), there were twenty kings and eight did “what is right before God.”  I remembered that, and a lot about their lives. But what I didn’t remember was that they didn’t finish well!

What a shame! To have lived your life mostly right before God, experiencing his protection and provision, and yet in your later years finish poorly, away from God and His purposes.

Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t let it happen to me! Let’s purpose together not to let it happen to each other, to the best of our ability.  I propose we look at these kings of Judah and learn from their mistakes.  We can look at their successes too! That’s really what gives light to their mistakes. Their lives are given to us for an example as the above Scripture tells us. Their lives are an open book. And so are ours, before God.  Let’s consider their ways, and ours.

Live Above the Fray

Live Above the Fray

Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:7)

Names like Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah? Are you as shocked as I was? Look them up. Read and learn, asking the Spirit to be your guide to insight, wisdom, and obedience. You’ll be blessed by wisdom from the LORD. Wisdom to help you in your journey, and to finish well.

I’ll give you a little insight into Asa’s history here, but the rest are just as fascinating and instructive.


With Friends In Community

He [Asa] gathered all Judah and Benjamin and those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who resided with them, for many defected to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” (2 Chronicles 15:9) “And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.” (2 Chronicles 15:19)

At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. “Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. Now, the acts of Asa from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa slept with his fathers, having died in the forty-first year of his reign.” (2 Chronicles 16:7–13)

A forty-one year reign! Mostly good! But it ended like this. Don’t let this happen to you.

IMG_6442The second king of Israel, David, did finish well! Even though he wasn’t perfect and went through a lot of trials; mostly self inflicted or sin inflicted. The Scripture eventually says of him that he accomplished the purposes of God in his generation.  May we give ear to the Scriptures, and our hearts to God, so this may be said about us.

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, …” (Acts 13:36)

Godspeed on your journey! May the King of Heaven grace you to serve Him all your days. [a prayer]


Humility and Pride

IMG_0190Pride is public enemy #1. It’s a killer. It’s also private enemy #1. It goes before destruction.

Fortunately there is an antidote for this deadly menace. It’s called humility.

I love humility. I admire it whenever I see it in people, and I aspire to it. But I struggle with and seem plagued by pride. I confess it immediately when someone accuses me of pride. It’s the original sin, and it’s in every human. But it’s a cop out to justify it or make peace with it because of those facts.

IMG_5806The Scripture says, God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. The Bible also says, “Humble yourself under the hand of God, and He will exalt you in due season. From this we can see there is power (“grace”) available from God if we are humble. And we can humble ourselves.  I remember recently thinking about humility in connection with my recent plane crash; that I should not miss or waste an opportunity to humble myself.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I would give the details of the accident in a subsequent blog for those who wanted to know what happened. I haven’t done so because of a crowded schedule, not because I was skirting the issue. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to make my error known and humble myself, so here goes.

IMG_5808After flying as a pilot more than fourteen thousand hours over thirty-five years, and never scratching an airplane, on March 28th of this year I crashed and totaled one. I walked away from it, and there is an old saying in aviation, “Any landing you walk away from is a good one.”  🙂 This is in fact true, for reasons that should be self evident, but it’s still very embarrassing to have an accident like this as a pilot. I think most people take pride in their abilities and records demonstrating those abilities, but it may be heightened in the flying profession. Anyway, I suggest we call pride “pride,” and humility “humility,” and get on with this story. Here’s what happened as I told it to the NTSB representative assigned to my case, and later to the FAA.


I departed KFSM [Fort Smith, AR] Friday morning about 0715L, March 28th, 2014, en route to visit my father in Harrison AR. It was a clear, calm day for flying. I flew a stop and go to Rwy 7, before turning out of traffic to the NW VFR. I had walked a friend’s field the day before near Dora, AR, and determined it to be a suitable runway for the Maule, so I decided to make a landing or two before continuing on my way to KHRO. The first landing was uneventful and went as planned, landing to the north. I rolled to the end of the field, turned around and shut the airplane down to take some early morning photos. Then I climbed back in and took off to the south, deciding to make one more landing before continuing to my destination. This landing was much like the first, but with a considerable bounce. I added power and straightened the airplane’s flight path bringing it to the ground just short of midfield. I looked at the distance remaining to the end, and decided to go around. With the addition of TO power I was committed to the take off, and seeing there wasn’t obstacable clearance ahead attempted to clear a fence at the NE end of the field where there was lower terrain. I impacted the fence coming to an immediate and forceful stop with the tail of the airplane straight up in the air, the airplane slowly falling on over on it’s back. I found myself hanging upside down in the harness, with the smell of gasoline in the cabin. I quickly turned off the master switch, then tried a few times to open the door unsuccessfully. So I unbuckled from the seat belt/shoulder harness and kicked the door glass out, crawling out on the wing, and moving quickly away from the airplane. The ELT was beeping loudly. I was unharmed and unscratched amazingly. After a few minutes I climbed back into the cabin briefly and turned off the ELT. 

In retrospect I should have practiced several more hours in the airplane before landing in fields where go around options are limited. This landing would have been a non-event on a normal runway with sufficent clear zone for a go around. Even though I made dozens of landings durning Maule training and felt competent, more time could have helped in avoiding the bounce, correcting for such, and go around practice.  A firm decision to land or go around must be made early at such fields to ensure safe landings or obstacle clearance for go arounds. 


IMG_5815The mistakes leading to the crash seemed impossible and not real about a second before impact and all during the day after the crash, which I spent alone in retrospection because my family was in another city. Even though I was unscratched and not even sore from the impact, I knew my airplane lay mangled on its back in a friends field not far away. It was my fault. I needed to own it and take responsibility for it, which I do.

There is a real freedom in feeling small, and knowing that God is big. I know I’m fortunate not to have ended up in a burn unit somewhere. I know I’m fortunate to be alive. I thank God for His protection, and for the opportunity at another chapter of life.

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (Proverbs 15:33)

However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.” (2 Chronicles 32:26)

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18)

My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice.” (Psalm 34:2)

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10)

Celebrate Freedom Where You Find It!

Alma HS ROTC Presents the Colors

Alma HS ROTC Presents the Colors at Oaks Manor Celebration of Freedom

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

There are forces at play in our world, our country, and our lives that seek our harm. They seek to enslave us and take away the God-given gift which is to live free; free from tyranny, free from fear, free from self. That freedom is found spiritually and historically in Christ, and the Cross.

SONY DSCChrist and the Cross is the well-docmented foundation of these United States of America, and Christ living in our fore fathers that made our nation great and the envy of the modern world, bringing God’s blessings which in turn have been extended to the world.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)

SONY DSCBut of these blessings, wealth and possessions are not the greatest. Consider “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!” Especially today consider “liberty.”

Consider with me also personal liberty. Freedom from self and freedom from sin (an ancient archery term which means “missing the mark”). That’s the real issue since the beginning of time. That’s why Christ came, to make a way through forgiveness, and by giving us the power to live a life from above while journeying here.

LTC Tom Smith brings some challenging and heart stirring words.

LTC Tom Smith brings some challenging and heart stirring words.

So the major price for our liberty has been paid for us, and given as a costly gift from above and from our forefathers. But still, as in all times and all places we have our part to play. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Oaks Manor Conference and Retreat Center has been assisting Christ followers in that quest for 10 years now, and has a bright future for doing so for many years to come. Last Sunday evening they invited the public to a gathering to celebrate the freedom of and in our country.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

They exist to provide a peaceful, beautiful place for Christians to come aside and rest for awhile, to get out of the rush of our culture to read, study, mediate, relax, rest — refresh themselves spiritually and physically. It’s a great service and greatly needed. I encourage you to give them a look and take advantages of their services as often as you can and “come aside.” We all need this kind of retreat. Even our Lord did. And His disciples.

SONY DSCBlessings in Christ! Celebrate!!

Photos of the Oaks Manor Celebration!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)

Who is the Greatest?

Generations...Sowing into Eternity

Generations…Sowing into Eternity

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”And He called a child to Himself and set him before them,and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1–3)

I donated three and a half days last week, along with 25 adults and some of their children from 4 different churches to host a week-long summer camp for 25 foster kids. It was a rewarding and beautiful event on several accounts.

First the kids! Matthew 25:40 says, “If you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.” The kids are the main thing, and will always be the main thing, about this camp, which just completed it’s 10th year under the vision and leadership of friends Curtis & Paula Michlitsch and their ministry “Matthew Eighteen.”

Canoeing is a Big Hit

Canoeing is a Big Hit

Second, it’s a clear directive from the King to His disciples to declare His faithfulness to the next generation.   “… He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God…” (Psalm 78:5–7)  “And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:18)

Beautiful And Delicious

Beautiful And Delicious

Third, it’s wonderful when different churches and denominations work together in kingdom events and activities. We are each a part of the body of Christ. I met a guy named Brad who I didn’t know. He was ordinary but powerful with the kids, and delivered one of the best teachings before lunch one day that I’ve ever heard in any camp, anywhere; the kids hanging on his every word. Come to find out, we’re going on the same mission trip to Nicaragua in July!? I look forward to getting to know him even better.

Fourth, volunteerism. The camp shows how a non-professional staff of average adults can come together because they are willing and make a huge difference in the lives of these little ones, who get many hugs, smiles, pats on the head, and much affirmation for a whole week of

Hours of Swinging

Hours of Swinging

romping about outdoors in a safe, healthy environment, punctuated with worship services designed for them, teaching times, serving one another, and some excellent food! Thanks, chef Michael Brown and the kitchen staff, for your care and excellence in serving these little ones, who are children of the King.

You know I started out this article thinking, “If you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me.” You will recognize those as Jesus words when telling the telling story about the sheep and the goats. The emphasis of that story is on us, and our service to others, and to the King. And, do we really know Him? Or does He know us?

While that’s not wrong, the message of Matthew Eighteen is a little different but the same.


Dads and Big Brothers Needed and Appreciated

Dads and Big Brothers Needed and Appreciated

“And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.” (Matthew 18:5)  As we study these little ones and become like them, they will lead us to be spiritually like God wants us to be and to approach Him. “He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1–3)

A picture is worth a thousand words!! Enjoy!!!

Blessings in His Name

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Camp Director!

Camp Director!

See you next year! Father's Day!

See you next year! Father’s Day!

Delightful Young Ladies

Delightful Young Ladies

Spiritual Bread & Rapid Change

Five Loaves

D.T. Niles said, “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.” I love that definition of the Faith. It’s also true many times for me as I find my necessary spiritual food for the day, week, or hour from some other source.

It happened this morning as I read the pastoral newsletter from Charles Simpson. So I’m passing some of that bread along to you, and letting you know where you can check out the whole loaf if you wish.

I find this season of change disorienting, and I know many of you do too. Even if you see it from a Biblical and historical perspective, giving it framework and meaning in the great story of God and man; this pace of change makes one dizzy. May this help you keep your senses in check, to keep your balance, to keep you from falling or becoming unconscious to what’s important and real.

Discipling Generations

Discipling Generations

In this short season I’ve heard the words [1] persecution [2] discipleship [3] generations [4] story [5] risk [6] joy and [7] Jesus. They’ve come quickly and intensely from several sources within the last two weeks; books I’ve read, sermons, things friends have said, daily Bible reading, bill boards — like sign posts, everywhere, “signs of the times.” 🙂 I’m not sure what the world’s concerned about at the moment, and don’t really care that much. But when I sense the Spirit is speaking to me or my community, I want to get still, and listen.

This newsletter and this morning was one of those stilling times for me. On a cool, rainy June morning, I arose early, built a fire outside and read. Here are some of my journal entries or quotes. I pray they encourage you, strengthen you , and enlighten you, as they did me.

Sometimes change does not happen in small increments; sometimes it is unexpected and cataclysmic. How can we be ready for the seemingly radical and unplanned events that are beyond our control? …What about the more catastrophic events that are unforeseen such as the loss of life or financial collapse? Can we be prepared for what we did not expect? I believe so. 

A renewed mind looks for the purpose of God in any situation and that makes us different-no longer conformed to selfish thinking or the cultural thinking. 

Generations are Important

Generations are Important . A Daughter and Her Papaw

In the past, we acted by rules and habits; now we are learning to respond to change as Jesus did, as the apostles did. Jesus prophesied, but He also prepared His disciples. He did not “promise them a rose garden.” … His focus in preparing was primarily in three areas: [1] Be filled with the Holy Spirit, [2] understand the Kingdom of God, [3] and make disciples of all nations. He warned them that there would be trouble. 

In Luke 24:49, He commanded them to go to Jerusalem and receive the “promise of the Father”. They would need the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:5; 8). This was not a “do it yourself project.” 

Then Acts 1:3 tells us that He spent 40 days teaching them about the kingdom of God, and that was after three-and-a-half years of teaching about the Kingdom. God’s government is always vital, but in times of change it is absolutely necessary. 

Camp Hope

Camp Hope

Finally, He commanded them to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20). Jesus expected them to give what they had received. Failing to do so would cause them to lose what they thought they knew (see Mark 4:21-25).

These three issues prepared the disciples for the future, and they changed the future! The transformed became transformers. We are called to be different and to make a difference. 

SONY DSCAgain, if these quotes from Charles Simpson strike a cord with you, I hope you’ll examine the whole loaf! Bro. Charles who is in his seventies is still actively preaching the kingdom in the power of the Spirit. He is also a man of prayer and relationship who can many times tell you what’s on God’s heart. I attended his leadership conference this year and was encouraged very much by it’s focus and spirit — discipling the next generation.

This comes on the heels of reading the most enlightening, motivational book I’ve read in  a while, “The Insanity of God,” hearing a good, but rare sermon on persecution from John 16 last week, and attending a men’s group where we are reading and discussing “The Cost of Discipleship.” God is speaking! Are you listening or asleep? Do what it takes to hear!Lonoke5.07 (31)

We Have Seen … God Speaks with Man

Friends sharing life and what they know of God

Friends share life and what they know of God…

“We have heard His voice …We have seen today that God speaks with man.Deuteronomy 5:24

What is God saying in this hour? To you personally? To His bride, the Church? Can you know? Can anyone know? Does He speak? Do we hear?

Some of you reading these questions would be  able to respond right away with what you’ve heard recently, or what you believe is on God’s heart from what you’ve read, or heard from the mouths of His followers.

Some of you would say, “You’re kidding, right?” “No one can hear the voice of God, or know what’s on His heart or mind.”

I’m going to leave those two positions with you to ponder or decide, and blow right past them to what I’ve heard lately and believe to be on God’s heart and mind.

My Good Friend Luke Now In Seminary

My Good Friend Luke Now In Seminary

In so doing I’m going to point you to some recent books that have made their way into my life through friends, as well as some that have come recently onto the national scene. I’ll also  launch a new web page I’ll probably entitle “Kingdom Resources,” or something creative like that. 🙂

These books speak loudly on their own, and easily stand alone. But I’ve learned when books come to me like this in the same season of time, and I hear other believers talking about them, sharing common insights, and I read the same Bible stories and passages stressing the same points from my daily reading  scheduled a year in advance; I get it. This is what God is saying. This is what’s on His heart. At least for me and my friends, where we live, and love , and serve.

When I sense He’s speaking in such a fashion. I get more and more quiet in my spirit. I try to listen more intently, to see if He will say more? Or impress me with some activity or action in concert with what I’ve heard? To be obedient to His leading; to be a part of what He’s saying or doing;  nothing brings me more joy!

So what are the books? 🙂

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken

Risk Is Right, Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It by John Piper

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, The Path to True Christian Joy by Timothy Keller

They Share What They Hear God Saying and See God Doing

They Share What They Hear God Saying and See God Doing

I encourage you to read these books, now, in this season. Perhaps in this order! Don’t let the size of the first one dissuade you! He’s a great story teller, and you won’t be able to put it down. The second two are very short, easy to read, and weighty; the way men like them. All three are books men would like, because of the message.

What is God saying through these books and His other methods of speaking? Things about sacrifice, courage, serving, discipleship, the next generation, freedom, persecution, faithfulness, knowing God, joy, and more. Read and listen. Enjoy what God by His Spirit will make known to you. His words are truth and they are life. Amen.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:5

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:6