Tuesday, August 29, 2006

dallas...here we come

We leave for Dallas in the morning to visit children and grandchildren, something I look forward to since we get to do it just twice a year.

Three of our grandchildren--JJ, Camilla and Owen--live in the Dallas area. Milla said to me on the telephone tonight, "Grandpa, will you buy me some ice cream?"

That's enough to get me packing!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


One of our on site workers called me today and said he needed me to come and deliver a message to some Latin Amercian workers who are doing some tape and texturing work for us. None of them here today speak any English.

I am the resident Spanish "linguist" on the premises since I took three years of Spanish...forty years ago!

I went a delivered a very short message "Neccesitamos esto para veinte minutos." That was supposed to mean "We need this (piece of equipment) for twenty minutes." They smiled and agreed by getting off the equipment so we could use it. Mission accomplished!

For communication to take place it must be in a language we can both understand--sender and receiver alike. How do we communicate spiritual truths to those who don't understand the language of the Word or who can't relate to the theological terms we use?

Missionaries spend alot of time in countries where they don't know the language pairing up with local residents so they can establish relationships and learn the language that will enable them to effectively communicate the gospel.

I have tried to speak to our workers on site with a smile and a "Thank you" or "Good job!" However, if I want to share with them the truth about Jesus it will take more than that. Relationship gives me the opportunity to be heard, and then the use of language they truly can understand will provide the words that conveywhat I want them to know about Christ.

Learn a little Spanish...?

More importantly, build a relationship.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A visit with Virginia

Virginia does not go to my church. She is related to someone I know and I have had a personal relationship with her for over thirty years, though mostly from a distance. She has had her own church and her own pastors, but she has always been my friend.

I heard from her family Sunday that she is dying and so I called to see if I could come and visit with her. Beverly joined me as we went to see her yesterday.

She was downstairs laying in her bed in front of a window box planted with the caladiums that she had nursed with her own hands. They were a beautiful backdrop to her fragile body diminished by a five year battle with various infections that have now weakened her. She probably has just days to live.

But who would know?

She smiled as she greeted us with a somewhat raspy voice. I leaned over and gave her a kiss, and she welcomed Beverly, who she has only known a short while.

Our conversation was of heaven and hope. Was she fearful? No. Was she anxious to go? Yes. Why? This is what she has lived for. And now it is simply time to go.

We talked about her funeral and the part I would have and I reminded her of the legacy and testimony that she was leaving to friends and family members even in the days she has left until God calls her home.

And then we joind hands together and prayed. I kissed her good-bye, knowing I may not see her again...but promised I would see her again in heaven, by God's grace.

I will not soon forget my visit with Virginia.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The World Trade Center

I sneaked away this week and went to see the movie, "The World Trade Center". I was impressed by the poignant true story of two Port Authority policemen who were pulled from the rubble (2 out of 20) and lived to relate their harrowing story.

Apart from an apparition of Jesus that appeared to one of the men, there is, amazingly, no mention of God, faith, death, eternal life--all topics I would expect in a near-death experience. This is not to subtract from the character of these men, whose life and character are revealed to us through carefully-orchestrated flashbacks and crisis-generated dialogue. They have survived in spite of long-term injuries and their families, apparently, remain in tact.

I have been studying in John 11 in the passage where Jesus declares "I am the resurrection and the life" and then proceeds to demonstrate that by raising Lazarus from the dead. The context affirms that if we believe in Jesus though we may die, we will live eternally, and that challenges the fear and mystery of death, unaddressed and unanswered in the movie I saw. 2700 people died on 9-11 and our nation was pushed to the brink of disaster, but I am not sure, having flirted with death, that we yet have come to grips with our mortality.

The World Trade Center tragedy reminds me that we have no promise of tomorrow, that death "stalks" every man, and Jesus shouts into the darkness, "I am the resurrection and the life!"

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


"What have I dread, what have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
I have blessed peace
With my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms."
I have been living with some dread today. There is something I have to do--I know it is the right thing--but I am nervous and even fearful. I was thinking about it as my stomach churned and asking myself, "What are you afraid of?" (espcially if you are doing the right thing).
I guess it is the fear of the unknown--uncertain of the circumstances, the anticipated response, the endless possibilities of scenarios.
And then I remembered this old song we sang when I was younger and never worried about anything. I loved this song because on the chorus, where we sang "Leaning", the aftertime was "Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus..." and we did that with as much bass sound as adolescent voices could muster.
I am much older now, but the words of that song are my encouragement as I head for my moment earlier dreaded. I go in His strength, leaning on Him.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

mortgage calls and hang ups...

Every evening about this time I get several calls asking me if I would like to refinance my house. Generally, these calls occur about the time Bev and I are trying to eat dinner, or, just relax, and I find it difficult to be civil when we are asked, and asked, and asked...and, sometimes, I confess, I just hang up!

Not very courteous and Christlike, Pastor Dale.

Tonight I was asking God for something that I ask Him for day after day. I caught myself and wondered just for a moment. "Does He ever tire of my asking?" "Is He inconvenienced because He is caught in the middle of doing something else?" "Would He prefer just not to be bothered?"

Well, we have no human model like this except God who invites us to come to Him for grace and mercy in time of trouble.

Here I am again, Lord.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

unconditional love

One of the unique messages of the gospel is God's unconditional love for us. The idea that aGod who knows us best loves us most is confounding at best.

When we have experienced that love it is potentially a life-changing experience--certainly in our relationship with God and practically in our relationship with others.

Can we love one another with unconditional love?

Yes. I know.