If a story begins, “it seemed like a good idea at the time,” it probably wasn’t. This is today’s cat story. I’ve written before about our cat, Doll. I received her as a Father’s Day gift in 1996. I believe her to be part cat and part squirrel because of her tendency to climb great heights around the house, and then take great leaps of faith. She rests during the day so that she can hunt for her toy mouse after we go to bed, and then she brings it to us with triumphant howls around midnight, and/or around 3 a.m. and again around 4:30 or 5:00. A very close relative of mine began rewarding this effort with a flashlight shining on her victorious capture and with words of praise. She loves words of praise in the middle of the night.
So when this close relative saw there was a free cat game available for download to a smart phone or mini-tablet, it sounded like fun. The game, by the way, is for the cat. Just as partaking in word and skill games is supposed to keep aging minds active, this cat game is designed to help elderly cats stay alert. Doll loves to play her game. All she has to do is tap the moving red dot on the screen and she gets 100 points, and a beep, for as long as she wants to play. If this sounds like something your cat would enjoy, I have two suggestions when handing expensive electronics over to your cat: make certain your cat has been declawed; and, have a tight-fitting case for the occasional screen licking. Doll loves this game so much she wants to play it whenever her humans get out their electronic devices. This can get annoying.
This all reminds me of that Bible verse in Galatians 6 which points out that people reap what they sow. This passage cautions us to be mindful of our actions, for we must live with the results. And sometimes the results may keep us up at night.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Sow well. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
August was designated “birthday month” by our daughters many, many years ago. August is their birthday month; August 15, the day. (That makes February 15 their half-birthday, which they never successfully managed to officially get recognized as a gift-receiving day.)
It started like this:
At 3:15 a.m. on August 15, Dorothy woke up to announce a baby seemed ready to be born. After some profound questions like, “Are you sure?” and, “Really?” I got up, got dressed, and took her to the car. We leisurely arrived at the hospital with plenty of time for our baby to be born. Dorothy and I were somewhat surprised that her on-call doctor was her friend Saundra’s husband, Corky, who had recently joined the partnership of Dorothy’s obstetrician. Dorothy had known Corky since their high school days. After the brief awkwardness passed, they settled down to business and Donelle was born at 11:55 a.m. Corky could not wait to call Saundra and tell her the news.
At 3:15 a.m. on August 15, Dorothy woke up to announce a baby seemed ready to be born. After some profound questions like, “Are you sure?” and, “Really?” I got up, got dressed, picked up Donelle, carried her to the car, and then got Dorothy. On the way to drop Donelle off with a church family, Donelle prophesied, “I’m going to have a pink birthday.” This was before the days of ultra-sounds. When we arrived at the hospital every labor room was occupied and other women in labor were waiting on gurneys in the hallway. Dorothy bumped to the head of that line, and was quickly placed in a delivery room that was still being cleaned up. The nurse asked her to wait a few minutes until the doctor arrived, but she respectfully declined. The doctor appeared just as he was needed and Dayna was born at 6:14 a.m. Donelle celebrated her third birthday that evening with a “pink party.”
Do you know your birth story? We all have one. If you do not know, ask someone who might remember. You just might be surprised at what you learn about yourself. Our birth stories have the power to demonstrate just how strong, inside, we really are. What about your other birth story? The one about the time you were born into God’s eternal family? What do you remember? What has it shown you about yourself? How do you celebrate it?
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Celebrate your birth. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
We have a master gardener who lives next door. James’ idea of a fun thing to do every evening is mow and edge his front yard. He is passionate about his flowers and plants. Spending time at Tulsa’s Linnaeus Teaching Garden has opened his eyes to the possibilities of beautiful things everywhere. This year he decided to have a vegetable garden featuring tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. Of course he added other fruit and vegetables just to see how they would do. His sunflowers were spectacular. We ate some of his tomatoes at supper last night.
He began as a toddler watching from a front window as his father mowed the grass. Soon he started using sticks and brooms to imitate his dad trimming and edging. Someone got him a toy lawn mower. This summer James turned seven. He checks his garden every day—watering, fertilizing, weeding and harvesting. He knows more about my in-ground sprinkler system than I do. He can identify every sprinkler head and its spray pattern. He can diagnose every sprinkler problem and knows how to repair or replace it. He has a personal collection of sprinkler heads in his garage. He keeps asking his parents to get a trencher so he can lay out a sprinkler system of his own. James has a passion and a focus, yet like every kid he loves to act silly, tell jokes, make people laugh and play with his little brother.
James is a remarkable boy because his eyes and heart are open to the beauty and wonder of creation. Our hearts are the garden of our soul. What do you see when you look upon your heart? How well are you tending it? What have you planted within it? How do you nourish it? What needs trimming or weeding or pruning? What is your heart producing today?
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Look to the Master Gardener. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
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.