Monthly Archives: April 2007

I’m Home!

Just got home… I’m GLAD I was discharged, but had I realized what Pittsburgh travel is like on Routew 28 North on a Friday afternoon at supper time, we could have stayed at the hospital for a couple more hours and THEN left… and gotten here at exactly the same moment!! (OK… maybe I’m exagerating a little bit… Frankly, I’m just praising God for a wife who is an EXCELLENT driver with TONS of patience…Thanks Gay!!! Thanks GOD!!!!)

I’ll write more later on!

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Hospital Notes

on Monday, Gay & I got to Pittsburgh at about 5:30 am with my surgery set for 7:30.

the surgery went well (or so they told me). I now have some laproscopic holes and some normal incisions on my left side where the kidney actually came out.

and LOTS OF STAPLES!

a friend (Keith) met us there, so even after I left, she didn’t have to wait alone.

People from ALL OVER have sent cards, flowers, phoned, and visited! WOW!!!

THANKS!!!!!

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Weeping Jesus

Today is one of those “day of infamy” kind of days… Lexington & Concord, Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Oklahoma City. And it’s not just today, but the entire week. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the Columbine Massacre. And now, we add the horror of Virginia Tech.

Today’s post was written shortly after our family returned from a cross-country educational field trip in 2002 when I was pastor in Patton, PA. When we got to Oklahoma City it had been a mere 4 months since the September 11th attacks and I was simply overwhelmed by what I saw in Oklahoma City. Here is my pastor’s letter from our Trinity UMC newsletter for March during Lent of that year.

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In January, my family visited the National Memorial in downtown Oklahoma City. After we explained to our girls the horrific story of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, we began walking through the memorial that has since been built on the spot where the building once stood. I have never been so moved as I was that day.

At each end are huge gates… one representing the moment before the bombing (9:01 a.m.) and the other representing the moment after the attack (9:03 a.m.). And in between those two gates… in between those two moments… was the blast and its aftermath. Each of the lives lost is symbolized by an empty chair bearing the name of one of the 168 victims. Walking around the reflecting pool, looking at the chairs and the remains of the one piece of wall that still stands, I slowly began to realize that the chairs were of different sizes… and I remembered that 19 of those killed were innocent children at play in their day-care center. And I was struck by the horror of it all over again.

At each end of the memorial site stand two church buildings that had also been damaged in the blast. Across the street at the eastern end is the United Methodist Church, which included an open chapel on the grounds when they rebuilt, complete with helpful brochures, healing pamphlets, and even free Bibles, offering the peace of Christ and the hope of Jesus to any who want to leave the terror behind.

Across the street at the western end is a Roman Catholic Church, that commissioned a memorial of their own when they rebuilt: a statue of Jesus, with his back to the grisly destruction, weeping.

Jesus Christ, weeps in the face of such hatred that would be so violent and murderous. He turns his back to such evil and destruction. God cannot stand sin… sin cannot abide in his presence. According to the Gospels, God the Father hid his face from His own Son when He was bearing our sins on that cross so long ago.

Engraved on the gates of the Oklahoma City Memorial are these words: “We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever…May all who leave here know the impact of violence…”

We need to remember. Especially in light of the unimaginable events that we have since lived through in this past year. Terrorism is well named. For it is terror we feel when faced with these unthinkable, cowardly acts of violence. There is no protection it seems, no hope, no safety, no peace, when faced with terror.

Yet, we are reminded by these two churches, and by the Scriptures, that even though our Lord despises and rejects such hatred, He is never untouched by the pain and the suffering. His back may be turned to evil, but his face is filled with tears of compassion and love. He promises to walk through the darkest of times hand-in-hand with anyone of us who calls on Him and allows Him to bring us His peace and His comfort.

Back here in our church, we are preparing again for the celebration of Easter, reminding us that Christ is victorious over sin and death. But as we journey towards that glorious celebration of His resurrection, we are called to remember his broken body and His shed blood as He turned His back to a cross and allowed Himself to be nailed to it in order to once and for all time purchase our eternal freedom. Since God cannot allow sin into His presence, and every one of us has sinned, we were all doomed for an eternity separated from God… an eternal death. But Jesus Christ, the only one who ever walked through life without ever sinning, took our place… facing death and hell so that we could be freed from that judgment of eternal death. Like when someone chooses to pay off a debt for you that you knew you’d never be able to pay.

In this time of uncertainty, when the terror and fear and sin is so clearly visible, it is time for us to return to the weeping Jesus, and remember His death until He comes again.

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Church Fathers

OK… here is the other quiz Keith referenced in his blog

You’re Origen!

You do nothing by half-measures. If you’re going to read the Bible, you want to read it in the original languages. If you’re going to teach, you’re going to reach as many souls as possible, through a proliferation of lectures and books. If you’re a guy and you’re going to fight for purity … well, you’d better hide the kitchen shears.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

 

 

 

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Superheroes!

I ran across a couple of quizzes on my friend Keith’s blog and, since I was still trying to find my consciousness at 6:00 am on a Saturday morning, I decided to try them. This is the first one… Superheroes! Check it out!
Your results:
You are Superman

Superman
75%
Hulk
75%
Spider-Man
70%
Green Lantern
70%
Batman
65%
Robin
52%
Iron Man
50%
Supergirl
42%
Catwoman
35%
The Flash
25%
Wonder Woman
17%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

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My Confession

I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.

–Dayton Mix, 2007, AND ALSO The Apostle Paul, Romans 7:19-25a from The Message

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Jesus, First Fruits

I wrote this devotional originally as the Easter Day entry for a Lenten Devotional my church in Patton, PA compiled in Spring 2001.
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“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
–1 Corinthians 15:20 (NIV)

I grew up around a farm. I didn’t really live there, I just hung out there a lot. It was my grandfather’s and I basically just visited on the weekends and stayed most of every summer, but I proudly considered myself a “farmboy.”

Truth is, I helped in the haymaking each summer, and usually got to go out with Grandpa gathering sap once or twice each Spring, and a couple of times gathered eggs from the henhouse. That’s it. Not much of a farm life after all.

BUT, I remember the wait for the fresh peas and green beans from Grandpa’s garden. Oh, and the corn on the cob, too! I could hardly wait for Grandpa to say they were ready, ‘It’s about time we tried some of those peas and beans.’ (He actually liked the onions and turnips and asparagus too, but even grandparents can’t always be perfect, I suppose).

And that first small serving of fresh vegetables, that first taste of the fruit of Grandpa’s hard work, was delicious! But with that first taste of those “first fruits” came the knowledge that much more was on its way! We wouldn’t have to wait much longer!

It doesn’t take much of a farm boy to recognize the parallel in our Christian walk when Paul talks about death and uses Christ’s resurrection as the “firstfruits” of the resurrection to eternal life that all believers will experience. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, then we can look at Christ and recognize that His resurrection is merely a “firstfruits” of ALL believers’ resurrections to come. There is HOPE of what is yet to come! For us… and for our loved ones in Christ who have already “fallen asleep” through death.

Oh Christ, You are only the FIRST fruits of resurrection. HALLELUJAH!!!

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