Friday, June 30, 2006


Bev and I leave tomorrow morning for Lake Tahoe. It is a getaway encouraged by our caring Board of Elders. We will be gone about ten days and we are leaving at a critical time. I spoke of it to my daughter, Jennifer, yesterday and she merely remarked, "When have you ever gone anywhere that it wasn't a critical time at church?"

Point taken.

There are a bunch of issues, I guess, that come into play when I leave at "critical times".

1. How will they survive without me? (Not really...but my hesitation makes it seem like that)

2. Will the right decisions be made (there are some vital ones to be implemented)? I know they will because we have a seasoned group of elders and deacons who are seeking God's direction.

3. Can I really relax when so much is going on for which I feel responsible? The key here is to acknowledge "I am not responsible". This is God's church, His building program. he can be trusted.

So we are getting away--no television, no church work--only our bikes, lots of good books--and our 18' travel trailer that will be our haven by the side of Lake Tahoe.

It's getaway time. I am ready.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Dennis is my twin brother and, he like me, is a pastor. I went to visit him yesterday. He lives about sixty miles from me and I wanted to see him because I missed him. He just returned with a group from his church from a work trip in Arizona where he fell on a rock climb, injuring four of his ribs. He was home, recovering--taking it "easy"--preparing for VBS, making sandwiches, planning for the care of a widow who had sprained her ankle, preparing for a dramatic part as a last minute fill-in for someone who couldn't make it, getting ready to set up for the evening acitvities. That's what pastors in smaller churches do.

Dennis pastors the church begun by my father fifty years ago. Some of the grandchildren of people my father pastored are now his parisioners. Dennis does what my father did best--ministers grace and love to his people.

I am proud of him, and my father would be, too!

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Friday, June 23, 2006


It was tragic to know that my friend died this week, a very young man. It was more tragic to know that he had reached the abyss of despair and that he took his own life. Just one day before his death I asked a mutual friend how he was doing and he responded, "Not well." The next day he was gone.

He was not a part of our chuch family at Grace but I do believe he was a part of the family of God. Several years ago I was present at his father's funeral where he told how he led his father to Christ before his death. I have known him over the last thirty years and have seen the changes that came into his life following his salvation.

He had some problems with which he grappled most of his days, even as a believer. In recent weeks they had risen up to grab him again by the jugular vein, sapping his spiritual life of hope and vitality, and shutting his mind to the truth of God's grace and mercy.

I read Ephesians 1:3-14 today, and I will read these words at his memorial service. I am buoyed by the words, "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world...He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus the praise of His glorious grace which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he has lavished on us...Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of His glory."

I believe my friend was God's possession...and is now in His presence. It is the certainty of God's grace and mercy that remind me it is so.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cousin's Camp

We have five of our ten grandchildren here for five days and we are calling it "Cousin's Camp", not original with us. I have taken a week of vacation to assist my wife in this venture and after one day I understand why it takes two of us!

Which is not to say that the kids aren't terrific--they are--but we are a combined 118 years and they are a combined 31 years...get the picture?

On Father's Day I spoke about Paul's admonition to his spiritual son, Timothy in I Timothy 6:10,11, where he tells him to flee from the love of money, to pruse godly character, to fight the good fight of (the) faith and to take hold of (the) eternal life.

This week we get to invest a little of our faith in our grandchildren--already products of wonderful Christian homes. We can affirm what they have already been taught, and punctuate it with a grandparents' touch!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Elusive peace

A woman I know has been told by the doctors that she may have cancer and several tests are in place to ascertain whether or not it is so. The follow-up questions about how to treat it if it is cancer have been answered with a stoic, "There is no treatment". The result for her, of course, is a heightened sense of apprehension as she awaits the verdict.

She sent me these words when I wrote her a note having met with her for prayer and charting now her progress in dealing with worry. Someone had written these words to her.

Release...the regrets from yesterday
Refuse...the fear of tomorrow
Receive, instead...the peace of today
I checked with her yesterday and the tests were inconclusive and now there is another two week waiting period to see if the dreaded cancer is indeed there.
I found this woman calm and relaxed and grateful, receiving the peace of today.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer ansd petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which trascends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6,7

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

nine years and counting

On Thursday Beverly and I will have been married nine years. It is an accomplishment in the sense that she has endured my slow learning curve, and yet, continues to love me.

Our introduction to one another is a miracle story in itself. Every time Bev tells it to one our friends I smile and, sometimes, even cry. It is a the story of God's grace and faithfulness to us both on the heels of marital disappointment and dissolution.

I am thankful for the new life we have together. We love our six children and ten grandchildren, and we are adjusting to the fact they all have their own lives and are, for all intents and purposes, far away from us. Our visits are not nearly often enough but each one reminds us of the legacy of our former lives now melded together into the present.

Thanks, Bev, for the last nine years.

I am counting on many more!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


A recent sermon by John Piper linked anxiety to the sin of unbelief. His argument from scripture was compelling, unfortunately for me.

I have such difficulty trusting in the moment. I can rehearse and recite God's qualities and track record of faithfulness, but in the situation I can find myself harried and frenzied in a way that is inconsistent with the expression of my faith.

I have a fellow brother who shares the same propensity for worry. When I observe him, it is so easy for me to critique how he is responding...and then I remember he is much like me.

And then I ask, what kind fo example am I to him, my friend?

I have another friend who is the eptiome of calmness, in almost any situation. He was a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam, so he has been in places where that calmness was an absolute necessity. I like hanging around him because I keep hoping his mindset will rub off on me.

Here's to John Piper who reminded me that my anxiety reflects upon my relationship with God and my willingness to truly trust Him and believe His Word.

I am anxious about how soon I will stop worrying...