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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Blog 2: One Impossible Task at a Time

It's been high drama getting our graduate Benjamin Streit home to Canada from Texas.

His plane sat on the runway at DFW for 2 hours before they cancelled all flights due to a big storm. Nowhere to go. All hotels booked. Big thanks to Sister Julia Yuill who stayed up all night with us from California and managed to get Ben THE VERY LAST HOTEL ROOM AVAILABLE. 

His credit card didn't arrive in the mail in time and no one would take ours over the phone. Finally figuring that out, he took a $50 taxi ride to go the 4 miles (maybe 7 miles?) to the hotel, where he finally could lie down at 4 a.m., with no luggage, which is still on the plane. 

Everything is now pushed back 2 days. 2 days late for the $900 Canadian government no-changes, no-refunds mandatory quarantine hotel in Calgary. (We got it cheap. The Yuills priced it out at $4-5K!) 

The entire itinerary was already set in place, but the 2-day delay messed it all up. It's been a vicious cycle. Can't book the quarantine hotel without first booking a plane ticket, can't book a plane ticket without first booking the quarantine hotel, can't book either without yet another ADDITIONAL Covid test for $275 (although he is fully vaccinated), can't book the new Covid test without knowing when he's flying out, as the test has an expiry date. Crazy! 

After Ben, Sister Yuill and I stayed up all night working on this (and with special thanks to Brother Danny Young from our Hurst church for his help), finally ALL worked out except not yet being able to re-book his expensive flight home from Calgary on Friday after his 3 nights in Hotel Quarantine. 

If they can't change his ticket home, we may drive to Calgary and pick him up, even though the BC-Alberta border is closed due to Covid. 

Please remember Ben in your prayers! As always, and with the Lord's help, quoting the words to the song he gave me last summer, it's ONE IMPOSSIBLE TASK AT A TIME!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Blog 1: If I Can Help Somebody


Well, here I am again, thinking maybe I'll try to blog a bit.  It's been over a year since my last post and that's exactly what I said then, too, so we'll see!

But now I'm laid up on medical leave for a month or so with an infection in my foot.  There's always stuff to do around the house that never seems to get done, and I could be using my down time to do those things, and I'm sure I will.  But maybe I can make a stab at blogging again and put down some thoughts that might help someone else to better serve the Lord.

I know myself and my proclivity to promise things like this and then not deliver, so I'm not going to promise regularity or quantity.  But I will promise purity and honesty when I do write, and we'll see if the Lord blesses it.

I admire people who can post a blog or video on a regular basis.  That has not been my strength.  But hopefully I will write something edifying.  

I also admire the people who are proactive in doing what they can outside the walls of their church to edify others and lift them up.  There are thousands of you out there, but a few that spring to mind among my own on-line and personal friends are: 

  • My nephew Brother Joseph Carlson, who posts often in online forums on finding the joy of the Lord through personal trials of affliction; 
  • Sister Rebecca Gholson, so prolific in original songs and poetry that convict and uplift the children of God;
  • My childhood friend Sean Wieland, who seems to have been given a ministry to minister online in word and song during these Covid times;
  • Brother Aaron Livermore, who has recently been posting what I'd call "fireside chat" videos on his You Tube channel "Live4More" (a play on his last name), teaching how to live for the Lord in simple and practical ways.
  • The incredibly-gifted Kyle Dowell, who is a Godly example to his generation, ministering in humor, in song, and who--along with his equally-talented close group of friends--produces the "Testimonies of Witness" videos, working diligently to make us aware of the rich heritage we have in the body of Christ.   

I could list many more people and what they do for the Lord.  I could most likely name your name, and may in the future.  But my point is, these are not our front-row ministers that we all love and respect.  Yet these are all people who are not hiding their talent in the earth.  They are actively working for no pay, on their own time, for no personal glory, to edify God's people.  And that's what I hope to do in resuming the writing of this blog.

The question is: Is there anything I can do?  Is there anything YOU can do?  There are many members in the body, but we don't all have the same function (Romans 12:4).  I can't do what you can do, at least not as effectively, and maybe you can't do what I can do.

Let's not compare ourselves among ourselves.  Either we will get proud and God won't be able to use us, or we will feel inferior and count ourselves unworthy, and this will paralyze us from doing anything for God.

Rather,  let's each, individually, ask the Lord what we can do--what he WANTS us to do--to lift one another up, and then let's do that.  It's really a matter of each of us finding our unique place in his body.  Then, whatever your hand finds to do, do that with all your might.  That's the way to find the proper self-esteem, personal significance and godly influence the Lord intends for you to have in his family.

Albert Einstein said this:  "Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."


I believe the health of the body depends on every member doing the part God intended for it to do.  God wants to unlock your potential, because what you have is what we need.  

In closing, the words to an old Mahalia Jackson song come to mind.  And this should be our goal of ministering.

If I can help somebody, as I travel along
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody, as I'm singing the song
You know, my living shall not be in vain


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Starting To Blog Again

Hey, I'm back again, feeling from the Lord to share some inspired scriptural insights with the church, and with any others of you who will receive the Word with gladness.  I do have some really good things to share, but before I get into those, let me tell you why I stopped blogging in the first place.

In 2015, after 3 years of occasional blogging, I let the hecklers shut me up.  A few people, or possibly even just one person with a very nasty spirit (I do not know the number, as they chose to remain anonymous), felt it was their job to become my opposition, and in the end I let the discouragement of that situation silence me.  I will not make that mistake again.

As a flooring installer, I enjoy listening to the audio Bible on my phone as I work.  Lately, I am really relating to the Apostle Paul, and how he wrote of preaching the gospel though constantly bombarded with opposition.  As he wrote of "Christ in you, the hope of glory", he said this:

Colossians 1:28-29

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

I can very much relate to how Paul felt.  I know what it is like to have God's spirit working in me mightily, bringing revelation and inspiration to my mind, giving me spiritual things to feed his sheep.  When this happens, I could exclaim as Paul did, "Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel!"  I think every preacher called of God knows this compelling feeling, this driving Heavenly force. 

And so, I'm back to blog again.  And as the Apostle John wrote in 3 John 1:13, "I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee."  Ha ha!  I'm going to use a computer instead.


The more I grow in God, the more I understand that preaching is to be public.  God never meant his word to be sequestered behind closed doors, "preaching to the choir", so to speak.  And so, preaching by nature is irritating and obnoxious to those who don't want to hear it, or in this case, read it.

This also makes the preacher a target of hatred and ridicule for those who don't want to hear it.

Years ago, I felt the Lord tell me that he did not call me to be popular, but to be a polarizing figure.  I don't like this.  I don't like to cause waves.  I like to be pleasant and amiable, and I do try to be.  I want to be everybody's friend, and I really do have a love for every person.  But being unpopular is a hazard of the business to which I'm called.  Jesus told his disciples to steel themselves, because they would be "hated of all men for my name's sake" (Matthew 10:22).

Paul nailed it when he spoke of the nature of preaching the Word of God, and the two different kinds of hearers:

2 Corinthians 2:16

To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.

I appreciate those of you who will consider my words with a right spirit.  I thank you for the encouraging feedback that you have left in the past.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that you have been touched, and that my labor is not in vain in the Lord.

But to those who get upset by my writing, please let me tell you now, up front.  Please stop reading!  You are reading somebody else's mail and getting upset.  I am not writing to you or about you.  I am writing to many others who agree and accept what I say, and even rejoice in it.  You are not obligated to read my blog any more than you are obligated to attend the church I pastor.

And I bless you on your way.  You have every right to your opinions and values.  If you wrote a blog about your passionate beliefs, I would not be there to act as an agitator.  And you can still be my friend, even if I don't agree.  But please, with the same respect, allow me to have my own convictions without feeling the need to destroy what I feel from the Lord to preach.

Starting up this blog again, I may choose to utilize the options of screening comments before posting them or even blocking a person if needed.  Because I don't want the focus to be on contention, but on edification.

I feel a maturity and a strength in my soul that I didn't have before, and I will not again allow opposition from the few to keep me from working in my calling and from feeding God's sheep.

And so here I go again.  I will post when I feel the Lord would have me to.

Saying this, I want to begin on a theme: the theme of what the King James Bible calls "PERFECTION".  Let's explore what perfection is over the next couple days.  I'll try to publish 3 or 4 blog posts about some beautiful insights the Lord has been letting me see on this subject.

Feel free to follow me if you would like to be notified when I post something new, and please feel free to comment or question.

Wow!  You read all the way to the end!

Galatians 6:11

Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.