How does an airliner land at the wrong airport? The recent misfortune of the Southwest Airlines flight headed for Branson, Missouri raises the question. They landed eight miles away from the appointed runway. The pilots apparently noticed their mistake, hit the brakes very hard and stopped their plane at the very edge of a disaster. Everyone was shocked. The pilots were not only shocked; they were embarrassed as well. They soon learned that the runway they had chosen was too short for their airplane to take-off to fly to the right airport; it eventually had to be toed away.
The pilots landed in the wrong place because they insisted on their own way. When preparing to land, the Branson control tower told them they were 18 miles away from the right runway. Recognizing the light configuration, the pilots insisted they could see the runway in front of them and requested to override the control tower and their instruments. The passengers were not happy about taking a bus with all of their possessions to the correct airport.
There is an old saying, Seeing is believing. But not everything we think we see is real. Some people reverse the saying, Believing is seeing. But not everything we may believe is true. The pilots needed to trust the control tower and their own instruments. The pilots decided to trust what they were seeing up ahead. They made an embarrassing mistake that could have quickly turned tragic. Did you know there is a verse in the Bible that speaks to these kind of situations? It is found in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but in the end it leads to death.” It comes down to trusting what is real and true. Trust God. Trust God’s Son. Trust God’s Spirit. Trust God’s Word.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Land in the right place. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Last Sunday, February 23, was an historic day in the life of our church. There was a positive, energetic and prayer-filled spirit. There was a strong attendance for our very first 10 o’clock worship service. The new monitors worked like they were supposed to, Dr. David Willets brought an excellent message, and the new Pastors’ Class was well received. Our 11:15 Sunday School hour more than doubled our Bible Study attendance. The Monte Los Olivos congregation filled the two center sections of the Sanctuary for their 11:15 worship service. About 40 children and teenagers were welcomed to their new Sunday School classrooms. To God be the Glory.
In 2012, by faith, we invited GracePoint Church to minister with us. The People’s Pantry was relocated to our building and our Clothes Closet ministry was reestablished. Last year we began a deeper Wednesday evening ministry with the Pantry and our neighbors. Ben Shepard offered to provide a Wednesday evening meal for anyone who participated in the Pantry ministry. The effort has expanded with a number of faithful workers coming along side to help with the meal for our neighbors. We work together delivering Meals on Wheels, singing in the choir and worshiping together. On Wednesday evenings Monte Los Olivos has added a 7:00 p.m. Prayer Service, and Youth and Children’s Bible programs. Great things He has done.
There continues to be lots of preparation work behind the scenes to allow God to use our church to proclaim a greater witness to our community. By intention there are three things that we are not doing: 1) we are not merging churches; 2) we are not combining budgets; 3) we are not changing any church names. We are networking together. We are working alongside each other to promote our common ministries and mission efforts. We are launching more intentional discipleship training and evangelistic efforts across the congregations and into our neighborhood. So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Have you ever stepped in a hole? Hopefully you recovered quickly and had the presence of mind to look around to see if anyone was watching. Stepping in a hole is not a first choice. Bad things can happen when you step in a hole, even a little one. It is never done on purpose.
Once Dorothy and I were walking down the sidewalk in Baguio City, Philippines. Our ultimate destination that day was the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary. We were with a mission team from our church which included Mrs. Avo Boes, our church’s Woman’s Missionary Union Director. We had been serving a church in the northern Luzon area and were invited to take this side trip up near the volcano. Typical of most tourists, we were walking, talking and looking around at all of the sites and shops. Suddenly there was a squeal and Avo disappeared. When we looked down, she was shoulders high in a hole. She had stepped into an uncovered manhole in the middle of the sidewalk. Miraculously she was not hurt. We somehow extracted her from the hole and helped her assess the situation. Some scrapes and bruises were located; then she said she was ready to go on to the seminary. The infirmary there gave her a couple of Band-Aids and let her rest for a little while, but she didn’t want to miss a single thing. For the rest of the trip and for some time after, she noticed every manhole.
Temptation is like an open manhole in the sidewalk. Step in it once and you might just blame the manhole. Stepping in that same hole in the sidewalk again? Well that is a different story. How many times are you going to purposefully step into that open hole before you realize it’s you, not the hole that has the problem. A couple of solutions come to mind: take a different sidewalk, or get someone to help you put the lid over the hole.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Watch where you step. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
After completing the macramé phase of my life, I turned to cross-stitch, with an occasional adventure in needlepoint. After all, you can only make so many hanging flower pot holders for all of your friends and relatives. New friends and more relatives were gifted with little pictures, sayings and Christmas stitchery. Some were graciously received. I stitched one piece that is framed and hangs in my office. It is about four letter words.
English is a very rich language consisting of approximately one million words,* yet a handful of vulgarities seem to lace daily life with too much regularity. Why does it seem to take weeks and weeks to teach a child “please and thank you,” or “Yes, ma’am or No, sir,” and only one time for a misplaced ugly word to be instantly memorized and utilized by that same child? It is probably time to upgrade our use of the four letter word.
“Four Letter Words that Change the World”
Love. Hope. Care. Help.
Heal. Work. Play. Feel.
Duty. Home. Good. Kind.
Pity. Rest. Seek. Pray. Live.
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Speak true and holy. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
We seem to be the only house in our neighborhood with an outdoor nativity. Most of the houses around us are decorated with all kinds of lights and displays, with an occasional star mounted up high. Santa and the reindeer are everywhere. So are snowmen and miniature Christmas trees. But the display on your lawn or in your window does not mean much unless Christ is in your heart. So I look to some of my favorite carols to point the way to the newborn King.
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. The unsuspecting town, filled with grumbling taxpayers and weary travelers, becomes the focal point of God’s divine plan of redemption. The King is coming.
Come Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. The King is born with a kingdom mission of forgiveness, salvation and grace. Cast your deepest, darkest burdens before Him, and He will give you rest.
O come, desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind. Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s peace. The King, who is the Prince of Peace, longs to heal the broken hearted, mend broken relationships and fill the world with Good News of great joy. Trust His word. Trust His love.
Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for a slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease. The King’s life example, His unmatched wisdom, His cruel death on our behalf, and His resurrection overcoming all sin, guilt and even death itself, cause us to bow before The King of Kings on this O Holy Night.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Rejoice! Rejoice! And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
How well are you doing on your goals for 2013? Looking back over my notes from last year, I discovered I did pretty well in most of them, but slid backwards and into a ditch on a couple of others. I did a couple of rewarding things I did not know I would do when 2013 began, like deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and fly fishing in Virginia. I completed two complicated community assignments that have turned out well. (New goal: No new community assignments in 2014.) Dorothy and I discovered an amazing thing about goals—if you write down 5 or 10 goals and put them in a drawer somewhere, at the end of a year most of your goals will be achieved. It is not magic. It is inspiration. How do you set goals?
Broaden the definition of a goal. Some goals are wishes. Others are challenges. Do not limit your goals to finances, health and fun times. I use areas like family, projects, learning, spiritual growth, adventure, work and relationships. Naming a goal or two for each category gives me more than enough for a new year. What do you really want to do with your life? Pray about it. Write it down. Dream a little more about it. Then start living on purpose.
Narrow the target of a goal. The secret to having accomplished a goal is to make it very specific. Set a goal like, ‘Go fishing four times this year,’ ‘Read three books’ or ‘Have a family reunion.’ Lose weight, exercise more and earn more money are not goals. They just burden you down with guilt. Give up soft drinks, park the car farther away from the store, and have a spring yard sale are goals. Do not be afraid to launch out into the deep.
Review your goal. At some point it is good to take a look back to see where your life has gone in the past few months. Things happen. A crisis or two or three may show up. Are you spending your days battered by the winds, or resetting the sails? Press on toward the ultimate goal, the prize of the high calling of your life.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Set sail. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
I am always looking for time. That is because I am always losing it. Time that is. I think I have plenty of it, only to discover that it has gone, vanished. Turn around and where did it go? Where does time go? One person told me they are living on borrowed time. Another said they had too much time on their hands. Is that where it went, or did they just take time and not tell me? Where do I get time? Is there a workshop some place near here where I can possibly make time?
One day I found time. I confess. It was just there so I used it. I was waiting somewhere when I realized I had time—time to listen, time to learn, and time to think. It was great. I ought to do it more often. Now it is winter time. Ice and snow are on the way. At least I hope so, for that is a good time to find time. There is a downside to being shut in, like feeling lonely all by yourself, or, trapped with too many close relatives. But the break in the routine can give us the perspective to see the value of time well spent.
Time is not consistent. When absorbed in a project, book or activity, it speeds on by us. When burdened by conflict, illness or fear, it slows almost to a halt. Some nights I barely close my eyes before the alarm starts ringing. On other nights I hear every tick of our grandfather clock. Psalm 90 encourages us “to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” For me this means that I am to use well the time allotted to me today. Time is a gift of grace. Apply it with wisdom.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Find the time. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.