Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hiking Through the Scriptures

I plan to start reading the Bible through this year from a slightly different perspective. I will hike through the scriptures. I will be concentrating on the geography of the Bible and its significance to the lives and times of the people of the Bible. I will watch for the various animals that I encounter along the trail. I will take notice of the plants and trees as I walk. My hike will not be lonely for walking with me will be Adam, Abraham, David, and Jesus. The trail will cover thousands of miles taking me through North Africa, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Italy, and many other countries around the great sea. I can't wait to get started.

Tomorrow we will have services at the nursing home and I will work on the sermon for Sunday. The tree will come down tomorrow and many thank you notes will be written. A trip to the post office and car wash should round out the day nicely. The picture is of Janie and the grand kids at her mother's house the day after Christmas. God bless you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

35 years

It is our 35th wedding anniversary today. We tried to decide what was the exact time we said "I do." Our best guess was 7:15 pm. Janie was 19 and I was 20 years old when we got married. My life with her has been wonderful. God truly has blessed me. We got all dressed up an went out to a nice place to eat and then returned home, got comfortable and watched a "chick flick." It was fun just sitting in the quite holding hands and enjoying a good movie. The picture is of Janie and I five years ago standing in the same spot where we first met. God bless you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas day has past

It is the day after Christmas and we have arrived in Henderson by way of the DFW airport. We met up with my sister, Peggy and gave her three hour ride to mother's house. We have left her there and are now at my in-law's house. We will spend the night here and return to Hillsboro in the morning. We had a great Christmas day. We went to bed at 3:00 am and got up at 8:30 am. The kids loved their toys and things. My son-in-law gave me a pencil sketch that he had done of a lake scene in Kosovo. He is a really good artist and this morning was working on a sketch of my father-in-law. It too was very impressive. I have no talents for art so am amazed by those who do. Janie and I had a nice visit at the airport. We waited for nearly an hour for my sister to arrive and I enjoyed her company. Our 35th anniversary is tomorrow and we have no plans for celebration. I will work on my sermons and lessons tonight which I will use Sunday. The picture is of Janie and her mother on our wedding day. God bless you

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Tis the day before Christmas and all through the house I am the only one stirring and I hope there are no mice. We have another busy day planned. My oldest daughter and her family should be here this afternoon and we need to get things ready for them. I will go up to the church here in a bit and get things setup for the evening service. We are going to have a birthday party for Jesus tonight. The word "birthday" occurs three times in the Bible. Pharaoh celebrated his birthday in Egypt with a feast and King Herod celebrated his birthday by having a supper. I suppose that this would indicate that people of importance, at least, celebrated their birthdays. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. We will have cake and punch, maybe hot chocolate as well, tonight at church. I will bring a Christmas eave message on the subject of "What Can We Give Jesus for His Birthday."

Janie and I opened our Christmas presents to each other last night. I got two sweaters, a puzzle, a set of drill bits, an air compressor, and some flannel sheets. I gave Janie a pair of pajamas, a snuggle blanket, a book, a game, and a necklace. She was very pleased as was I.

We will be picking my youngest Sister up at the DFW airport and taking her to Henderson on the day after Christmas. We plan to visit a little with her and my mother and then run over to see Janie's parents and spend the night there. We will return to Hillsboro on Saturday. I have a new years sermon for Sunday and am anxious to preach it. My youngest daughter and her husband will be headed for Bronson the day after Christmas to spend a week there. I bet that trip will be a lot of fun for them. I better get busy, I have a lot to do before church tonight. The picture is of us at our granddaughter's birthday party. God bless you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Schlepping (to carry with great effort, lug)

My youngest sister used this word in an email she sent to me. I like learning new words and so I looked this one up. Her use of this word was most appropriate for I am a schlep (a person who is slow or awkward). The older I get the more schleppish I become.

A new year is about to begin and I enjoy the prospect of a fresh new page in my life. We measure our lives in years and the beginning of a new year is so wonderful for it is a time to put the past behind and move forward. I have much I would like to accomplish this year. I plan to have my blood pressure under control with diet and exercise. I plan to be 1/3 of the way through my thesis by this time next year. All these plans are dependent upon God's will because His plans for my life and use of my time must come before mine.

The services at Church this morning were very good. We had a good crowd and the Cantata went very well. I will be preaching from Isaiah chapter 61 tonight and plan to use that same text tomorrow morning at the nursing home when I preach there. We will do a little shopping tomorrow and some visitation as well. The picture is of a picture frame we bought this past summer at "First Monday" Trades day in Canton, Texas. We finally got some pictures printed out and put in the frame and hung it on the wall. The top row is our oldest Daughter's children and the second row is of our Son's children. The bottom row contains pictures of us, our children and their spouses. The Lord truly has blessed our family. God bless you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Allow me first....

Jesus called a man to follow Him and to go where ever He would lead. (Luke 9:59) And Jesus said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father. Our priorities rarely agree with God's. When God calls us to service we often say to Him "wait, let me do this other thing first and then I will go." There is a thin line between "Corban" and "allow me to first go..." Some focus completely on the work of the Lord and leave no room for family. Others use the least of excuses to keep from doing God's work. I started work on my thesis and it has taken a back seat to many other things. I must have the prospectus finished by the end of February and I will really have to get busy to make that deadline. It will be a balancing act to know what things should take priority over the Thesis and what should not.

The Mid-Week Bible School kids performed their Christmas program this evening and had it not been scheduled for tonight we would not have run the bus due to heavy fog. We made it to the Church and back safely and we thank God for that. My cell phone had a mind of its on while I was driving the bus tonight. It called one of our church members 11 times. They could hear the noise of the bus and wondered if the kids had overpowered me and took control of the bus. They turned their phone off and left it off until they knew that we were through with the bus run. The program was good and the ride home was very good because we had a Sheriff's deputy riding on the bus. He truly was a peace officer.

We will go over to Henderson Tomorrow and I will visit with my mother on what would have been their 62 year wedding anniversary. I will get some work done on my thesis this week, hopefully. We still need to get some Christmas shopping done and hope do some of that tomorrow. I have the sermon ready to go for Sunday. It is entitled "Gabriel's introduction of Jesus Christ to His Mother, Mary." We have business meeting Sunday night and I will bring another Christmas message for that service. The pictures are of our new bus seats and some of the children practicing the Christmas program. God bless you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

(Psalms 139:14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. King David said it right, we are wonderfully made. Physically the human body is an absolute wonder; But there is an intangible part of our beings which is also wonderfully made, our hearts. We have this wonderful capacity to love. We learn to love our parents and our brothers and sisters. We then make and have friends which we love. Next comes love for a spouse and this is indeed a wonderful thing. The first thing that God said was not good was that man should be alone. He gave to mankind the gift of marriage. It is a time for man to leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. That relationship ends when one of the two dies. The sorrow and mourning that follows is heart rending and serves to demonstrate how wonderfully we are made. My parents would have celebrated their 62 year anniversary this Friday the 19th of December. Janie and I will celebrate our 35th on December 27th. I want to thank my sister Jean and my Mother-in-law Charlcye for allowing the Lord to use them to get Janie and I together. It has truly been a wonderful 35 years. The picture is of my brother Ralph and his wife Denise on their wedding day. His first wife, Donna, died and God has blessed him again with another loving companion.

Janie has her ladies Bible study this morning and we will attend a funeral this afternoon. I have much work to get done today so I had better get started. Have a Merry Christmas and God bless you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jeremiah 31:33

"I will be their God." (Jeremiah 31:33) Christmas is a wonderful season of the year. It is my wish for each of you that you have a very Merry Christmas. To have a Merry Christmas Jeremiah gives us a wonderful key. “I will be their God.” This is all you could possibly need. Happiness lies in satisfaction and what could be more satisfying than this wonderful promise from God “I will be their God.” If you can pour this promise into your cup, you would say with King David, “My cup runneth over.” When this, “I am thy God”, is fulfilled and you accept Him as being so you truly possess all things. Desire, like death is never satisfied, but he who “filleth all in all” can fill the longing and emptiness of your soul. The Apostle Paul was able to be content with what ever he possessed. He knew how to abound and to be abased. Happiness is an attitude of choice. If you want more than quiet satisfaction and you desire joyous delight this Christmas season then here is music to your ears “I will be their God”, for God is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Here is a deep sea of bliss to which there are no limits. “I will be their God.” If this does not make your face beam and your heart leap with joy, then surely your soul is not in a healthy state. This is the masterpiece of all the promises, “I will be their God.” This Christmas season enjoy and delight in knowing your God who has chosen you and loved you so much that He sent His Son into this world to be your Savior.

This is Sunday morning and it feels odd that I will not be preaching this morning. Rusty Teer, a missionary to Thailand will be preaching for us this morning. He use to be the youth director at Walnut Street several years ago. He preached for us this time last year and did a great job. I love to preach but I also love to hear someone else preach a good sermon. I will not be disappointed this morning. We also have a substitute song leader this morning and that will change things up a little bit also. I am expecting a really good service today.

I will be getting up at 3:00 in the morning to go to Dallas. One of our church members is having heart surgery. Janie will have her Bible study Tuesday morning and I believe we are to go to Waco Tuesday night for services there. Wednesday is our Midweek Bible School Christmas program and we pray the weather will be favorable and all will go well. Next week is Christmas! Hope you have a Merry one. God bless you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tempest in a Teapot

I heard the term "a tempest in a teapot" today. I am over 50 years old and frequently think back on the events of my life. Many of the tempests I encountered in my life's journey seem like terrible storms at the time but looking back I can see that they were just "a tempest in a teapot." This means that they were actually not significant in the greater scheme of things. I can remember being laid off from my job back in 1982. At the time I was very stressed out and worried. But six weeks later I was back at work and all was well. Reading the Bible and keeping the bigger picture in mind will help one to realize that their tempest is not as big as it may seem. Angie called me to say that she had missed her flight and missed her connection in Chicago. I know that must be worrisome for her but she was able to make other arrangements and get to where she needed to be. God was looking out for her. When Jesus was asleep in the ship and the tempest hit, His disciples were all worried. They awoke Jesus saying "Carest thou not that we perish?" Because they lacked faith in God they could not see that this storm was just "a tempest in a teapot." The picture is of my wife and kids back in 1981. The youngest one looks like she is having "a tempest in a teapot" moment.
Tomorrow will be a busy day. I am not sure yet what all will be happening. I may be taking my father-in-law for his doctor's appointment and Chemo therapy. I will take my laptop along and try to get some work done while I wait. We need to get some shopping done and maybe we can do that tomorrow night and Saturday. I visited with my mother some today and had a good time. I went to the house and got out on the roof and looked it over. It is still leaking and I was trying to see if there was anything obvious causing this to happen. I could not see anything so will probably have to redo the shingles. The house needs a lot of work and I am not sure that Steve will be able to get all the work done as quickly as he may need it done. He may have to rent a house for a time while the work proceeds. I can not be depended upon to work on the house regularly due to my pastoral duties and family responsibilities.
Remember that when you are in a storm look up to heaven and see things from God's perspective and you will see that your storm is only "a tempest in a teapot." Merry Christmas and God bless you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Friends are a wonderful thing. Friends usually have something in common. For example we have friends that are a part of our church family. I have friends who are, like me, pastors here in Hillsboro. I met this evening with the Hillsboro Ministerial Asscociation. There were round tables and we had supper together. I took a seat at one of the tables which was empty. I was soon joined by the pastors who have been in this town as long or longer than I have. We have known each other for six years and have developed close friendships. They pray for me and I pray for them. The pastor of one of the churches here in town along with his wife cooked and served our meal and it was good. Some of these pastors I have worked together with at funerals and have prayed with them on the town square. It is my hope that we will have many more years together as friends.

Janie and I moved our freezer into the house from the garage and I am going to make a place for it in the wash room. I hope to have this project completed tonight. Tomorrow we will install a seat on the bus and get ready to pick up the kids for Wednesday night.

I want to spend more time with my friends. My work and my family sometimes keeps me from spending time with my friends and when they do I know that my friends understand and many of them have the same situation. I feel the need to deliberately schedule time for friends this holiday season. The picture is of me and my best friend lighting our half of a unity candle at Jason and Angie's wedding. God bless you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Tree is Up

The Christmas tree is up. The picture is of my youngest daughter and her husband standing next to the tree. We had a fun time at our tree decorating party. We had eggnog, chips and dip, pizza, and hot chocolate. The tree looks great and there are gifts already under it. Justin drew the star and Sarah cut it out and covered it with tin foil. Justin poked 2 holes in it and I tied it to the top of the tree. My oldest daughter and her family will be coming to our house on Christmas eve and our youngest will be coming over sometime on Christmas day. We will try to have a skype session with Jason and Angie while we are all here together. It will be a very merry Christmas.
Janie and I extracted another seat from the bus today and got it delivered down to Waco to be reworked. We had a good visit with the Woffords, the couple that are doing the seats. We brought back the one they just finished and will install it tomorrow. The seats look really nice.
Janie is about finished with her lesson for tomorrow and I am going to go now and work on straitening up the bedroom and moving the furniture around a bit. It is time for a change. It is good to move the furniture every now and then. I have a supper meeting tomorrow night with some of the other pastors in town. We have not met in a very long time and so it will be good to see them all again.
I am working on the sermon for the Sunday before Christmas and it is shaping up to be a good one. My brother should be in Texas by tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing him on Thursday. I will need to help Janie with her parents on Friday so will work with Steve on Thursday and will work on my thesis on Friday during and after my Father-in-law's Chemo therapy treatment. God bless you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor

Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was a terrible morning when 2403 men lost their lives and 1178 were wounded. As time passes there are fewer and fewer people of that generation living. My father died in July of this year and thousands of other World War II veterans die each year. It is my hope that the horrors of war will never be forgotten and that men would beat their swords into plow shears. One day the Lord will return and we will have peace on earth like the World has never know.
Our services went well today. We had a good crowd at church and a good time of worship. We observe the Lord's Supper tonight which causes us to remember the suffering and death of Christ on the cross for our sins. I am off to church now. God bless you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tree Times Four

My mother and I had lunch together yesterday. She told me a Christmas story from when she was a very little girl. There would eventually be 7 children in their family but this story occurred when there was only 4. She is the next to oldest child in her family. They lived in a very old house back in 1929 and it was a small house. They did not normally put up a Christmas tree because there was just not room for it in the house. The 4 of the kids each begged for a tree. They each wanted their own tree. They were wanting to set up 4 Christmas trees not one. Their parents consented and they went out had found 4 small pine trees and cut them down. They used buckets of dirt for tree stands. They each made their own decorations out of paper and each placed a paper star on the top of their tree. There was no electricity so there were no lights at all on these trees just homemade ornaments. Christmas morning under each of these trees was one homemade present, one apple, one orange, one piece of hard candy, and a handful of nuts (still in the shells). Their father, "Papa", bought a large box of raisins and they all shared them. They were never allowed to do that again. Four trees was just too much. It was sweet of Andrew and Lourie Nutt to indulge their kids that way. It was hard times in 1929. But they still were able to have a Merry Christmas. Mother also shared with me that there were 2 years when she lived at home with her parents that she got nothing on Christmas day. She admits that she was disappointed but that feeling soon passed.

Mother and I worked on the house together and she seems to enjoy working with me. We start by building a fire in the fireplace to take the chill out of the house. I went upon the roof and fixed a roof leak while mother drove nails and floated sheet rock. We ripped out the old shower next and cleaned out that corner of the down stairs bathroom. We called it day and she returned to her crochet and me to pastoring. The picture is of me, my brothers, and my parents in 1970 at Ayer Massachusetts. Merry Christmas mother and God bless you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


We got three more seats installed in the church bus. Just in time to make the rounds and pick up the kids. We picked up over 40 kids and had a real good Bible School session. The kids are working on a Christmas program which they will perform the week before Christmas. The couple in the picture were the ones who fixed the seats. They are a sweet couple and hard working. As you can see the seats look great especially when they are seen next to the ones that have not been reworked. Janie took some pictures of me under the bus bolting the seats back down. There are six bolts to each seat four of which have to be reached from underneath the bus. I thought Janie was going to scalp one of the kids when she saw him with his feet on the new seat. The bus is running really well and the new seats will make the inside really nice.

Our plans did not work out like we had thought they would. We got to Henderson this morning around 1:30 and got to bed about 2:30. We got up at 7:00 and due to Janie's dad having some problems I ended up taking her mother to the doctor. We left about 8:00 and got back home at 3:00 this afternoon. It was a long day but I did enjoy spending time with my mother-in-law. Janie spent the day taking care of her dad and he seems to be doing ok right now. Pray for him, please.

Tomorrow I plan to work at our house in Henderson but that may or may not happen depending on the needs of the in-laws. I am going to try to get some work done tonight and get to bed a little earlier than I did last night. God bless you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Boils At Christmas

"Boils At Christmas" is the title of the sermon I plan to preach this Sunday. The theme of this message is how to have a Merry Christmas. I wanted to bring this message the first Sunday of December so that as the holiday draws near people will be armed with the knowledge of what Christmas is really all about. One of my favorite Christmas TV specials is "The Grinch That Stole Christmas." It has an amazing message but does not quite go far enough. Dr. Seuss placed the emphasis on human relationships, that is "Christmas will always be just as long as we have we." But what if we don't have we? Can a person who is all alone have a Merry Christmas? Dr. Seuss makes clear that a Merry Christmas is not dependent upon things and that is true but neither is it dependent upon the quality or quantity of our relationships with others. "Boils At Christmas" may be heard online Sunday at 11:00 AM CST at .
We will work on the church bus tomorrow removing 1 seat and installing 3 others. I will try to post a picture of that process tomorrow. Janie's Dad is not doing well and we are very concerned about him. She takes him to the doctor on Friday and she takes her mother on Thursday. I will put the finishing touches on the sermon for Sunday Thursday night and will get the Sunday School lesson ready Tomorrow. There will be a tree decorating party at our house Saturday evening at 6:00 PM. We will have Christmas music and refreshments. We will watch a Christmas movie of some sort as we string popcorn and make construction paper chains for the tree. It will be a joyful time because of the REASON for the season. Oh yes and, Jean, I will decorate a shoe box as you suggested, thanks. Does anyone know where you can buy ribbon candy? God bless you.