Monday, November 13, 2006

Hey Everybody!


Most of you might already know that my Grandmother, Lois Wallen died last Wednesday. To those of you who knew, please know how much my family and I have felt your prayers. I had the privilege to preside over the funeral service that was held on Saturday morning. That was one of the coolest, yet hardest things I have ever done. Everyone was so incredibly supportive. I love my family and would do anything for any of them.


I have included the obituary from the Ypsilanti news paper that ran on Friday.


Before you read that, I would like to ask you all to continue praying for my Mom, Saundra. She is doing very well considering the circumstances. Also. Please pray for my Dad, Bill. His mother had a massive stroke last Tuesday and is not expected to live through this week. I am taking Dad & Mom to the Lansing Airport today so they can get to Atlanta before Mamaw Lawson (Lena) passes into Glory. I'll write more about her and the my plans to attend her funeral in a couple of days.


WALLEN. Lois F.

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Age 79

Went to be with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, November 8, 2006 with her loving family at her side. She was born May 7, 1927, in Wheelwright, Kentucky, the daughter of Luther and Hester (Borders) Osborne. On November 30, 1946, she married Richard Wallen in Wheelwright, Kentucky and he preceded her in death on April 25, 1992. Lois was a member of Graceway Baptist Church where she was active in the WomensÂ’ Auxiliary and also a member of Forest Ave. Baptist Church . She will always be remembered for her love of family and gardening. Survivors include 5 children: Saundra (William) Lawson, Mike (Debbie) Wallen, Diane (David) Butler, Debby (Barry) Stanley and Theresa (Norm) Johnson; 10 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; l brother and 4 sisters; numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral service will be held Saturday, November 11, 2006 at 10:30 A.M. at the Janowiak Funeral Home, Geer-Logan Chapel with her grandson, Pastor Billy Lawson, of Willow Community Church, Lansing, MI officiating. Burial will follow in Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton, MI. Contributions in her memory may be made to Hospice of Michigan. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home where the family will receive friends Friday from 2-8 p.m.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Mamaw

It won't be long until my Grandmother will be with Jesus! "Lois" to many, "Mom" to five and "Mamaw" to so many I have lost track, is losing her battle with Altzheimer's. She was diagnosed several years ago, but has recently began to weaken to the point that we can tell that she will not be with us for much longer.

There is a part of me that is very sad about losing her to this disease, but there is this whole other part of me that is, frankly, not so sad. I know that sounds awful to some of you, but check this out: Mamaw is a Christian! She believes that God loves her so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that she will not parish but have eternal life. ... "Not Parish But Have Eternal Life." That means life without end. She believed that her eternal life began when she accepted the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind, the great forgiver of all sin, the gateway to God, the only way to heaven and the anointed King who has authority over everything, even death. Yes, her body will eventually succumb to the disease of death and be buried in the ground, but her soul, that part of her that we all loved, will never die.

I had a wonderful opportunity to see Mamaw this last Saturday. She was awake and very much aware that a bunch of her family was with her in her room. She couldn't talk so she kept pointing at the children that came with us and they kept going to her in order for her to kiss them. It truly was beautiful! Every so often I would catch her staring at me. Once, my mom even noticed her doing that. I asked my mom what she thought Mamaw was seeing when she saw me. Mom said that I look an awful lot like Papaw, Mamaw's husband who died many years ago, and that she may be thinking of him. That didn't surprise me. I remembered a couple of years ago when Mamaw came to hear me preach and almost ran to me when the service was over. She grabbed me and told me that she loved me and was very proud of me. I thought that was just about the best compliment I could have ever received from someone I really respected! As I turned around to shake hands with a few other people, Mamaw reached out her hand and promptly patted me on my left butt cheek! When we got home I told Kimy what Mamaw did and she said that Mamaw had called me Richard a few times earlier that morning. Richard was my Grandfather's name.

Being identified as my Papaw was quite possibly the second best compliment I could get from someone I really respected. You see, Papaw was a Christian, too! Both he and Mamaw loved and served the same Jesus that do today. They set the greatest example of Jesus I could have ever had. I think my life is a living legacy to who they were and who Jesus is. I miss my Papaw and I will miss my Mamaw,too, but I have a tangible, real hope that I will see them again. If you would like to know more about the hope that we have in Jesus, just comment and ask me to share more. I will never get tiered of telling the same old stories that my Grandparents have told to me!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

How did you spend Halloween?

We at Willow Community Church offered our community the first ever Trunk or Treat! I had never heard of that, so this was a new experience for me, too. We asked our Willow family to decorate the trunks of their cars and fill them with candy and goodies for the kids that would be tricker' treatin' in our neighborhood. We then had them park with their trunks exposed to the sidewalk. As families walked by, they took a piece of candy from each trunk. It was a blast! We saw well over 100 families walk by and most of them received some information about the church. This was an awesome time to reach out to our immediate community.

I personally didn't dress up or anything, but several people did. My mom, for instance, had a pair of angel wings and a halo over her winter coat (I really do hope to have a picture of that up sometime in the immediate future!). I saw a lot of older kids and several adults who were in festive garb, too. And you know what? I didn't notice anyone worshipping satan or attempting to sacrifice humans anywhere near the church (Kim, my wife, said I should have taken this line out.?.). But I did notice many, many people having a wonderful time in fellowship! Even a few guys I know that are not yet Christians seemed to have a good time. In fact, several of them asked about service times and children ministries.

Did you dress up? If so, what did you dress up as? If not, why?

Did you give out candy? If not, why?

Did you go to a party? If so, what kind of party was it?

Did you ignore the holiday all together? If so, why?

As you can tell, this topic fascinates me in some ways. Please comment on this blog and answer some of the above questions.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Idols, Sex, and Evil

I can't believe it's almost Halloween. Didn't we just celebrate Easter? I know it must be close to All Hallows Eve, because I'm hearing a lot of Christians spout the evils of this holiday. I know, Halloween started as a pagan day to worship satan and sacrifice humans. I know that American culture is fascinated with the macabre. I know that Christians aren't suppose to glorify witches and vampires. But do we Christians really need to spend so much time telling other Christians how evil something is that we already know is really, really evil? I mean, think about it... Have you ever heard Bob and Tom in the morning talk seriously about how awful society is for reveling in one night of unabashed horror? I would truly be shocked to hear Oprah share her feelings of how truly evil this day of the year is and how it started and how so illinformed we are and... For some reason, Christians talk to other Christians about this stuff.

I have been reading the book "Seismic Shifts" by Rev. Kevin Harney. The book covers a bunch of stuff that will help Christians make little changes that make big differences in their lives. He uses the image of a fault-line moving just a few inches causing an earthquake that makes an impact for miles in every direction.

In chapter 10, I read a series of Bible verses from 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 that completely blew me away! Here's what I read; 6)Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7)Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."
8)We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9)We should not test the Lord, as some of them did and were killed by snakes. 10)And do not grumble, as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel.

11)These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12)So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13)No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Check it out - Paul uses Old Testament examples to help Christians see what evil is. Verses 6, 7, & 8 deal with idolatry and sexual imorality. Those things are clearly evil and no one, Christian or not, would argue that those things should be done by Christians. But look at verses 9 & 10. These verses deal with complaining and grumbling. Complaining is stating out loud that you disagree with the current situation you have no control over (if you had control you would change the situation to better suit your disposition, wouldn't you?). Grumbling, on the other hand is under the radar, in the shadows, in secret murmuring. You know, the meeting after the meeting in the parking-lot or the under their breath comment just loud enough for the immediate area to hear or the "Don't you think that was a stupid decision the boss/pastor made..." discussion around the water cooler at the office or the drinking fountain at church. What did Paul have in mind when he put grumbling and complaining in the same passage with idolatry and sexual immorality? Well, he is equating those things to evil, the same evil as idolatry and sexual immorality! WOW!

Let me make this point clear. If we see a golden idol in the front lobby of our churches we would throw the thing out and burn it on the spot it landed. If we see some kind of sexual immorality taking place in the front lobby of our churches we would kick the perpetrators out and pray that they would turn to Jesus and repent and be saved. But what about the grumbling and complaining that takes place in the front lobby of our churches??!!?? If idolatry and immoral sex is evil and we would do something about those things with out much thought if any, shouldn't we do something about complaining and grumbling, too?

Yes, there are certainly aspects of Halloween that are evil and Christians shouldn't rejoice in them, but why do we spend so much time explaining that kind of evil to Christians who already know that it's obviously evil instead of what the Apostle Paul calls evil?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What can be done?!?!?

The "Low Ink" light has been blinking on my desktop printer for over a week. I don't particularly like it blinking and blinking and blinking. Maybe if I wait long enough it will just stop blinking. If it doesn't stop blinking soon, maybe someone else will make it stop blinking. I can't print anything because the light is blinking. I have to send everything I want to print out to the network printer in the other office or send stuff by e-mail to my home computer printer because the light is blinking. Oh, yeah, the light that is blinking is in the shape of an exclamation point! Why would a manufacturer of a printer put a light that is in the shape of an exclamation point, that continues to blink, in such a place that I see it every time I look at the printer which just happens to sit right next to the computer monitor I use everyday for hours on end everyday?

I really need to talk to somebody about that blinking light. I really need to talk to someone about how frustrated that little blinking exclamation point shaped light is making me. I really need somebody to come over to my office and see for themselves how the light keeps blinking and blinking. I really need to find somebody who is going to tell me that everything is OK and that they understand what I'm feeling and that they are going to pray for the blinking light.

Does anyone out there have any idea of what I'm going through? Does anyone out there have any words of wisdom or advice that can help me deal with this blinking exclamation shaped light? I would welcome anything you have to offer about this situation.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Where should we go to church?

Things have been going extremely well at Willow Community Church! We have seen God move in very real and effective ways (or is that affective? Bekk, let me know) over the last two months. You can look back through the last few posts on this blog and what people are doing for God and His Kingdom. You can even check out the Brothers of Willow blog and see even more about people listening to God and acting out His will in their lives and His Kingdom.

But... unfortunately, Willow is not for everybody. Just recently I have had conversations with people who think that we should include, change, or be more like what they think a church should be. I listen, but that's about all I do. Willow is a wonderful place to meet other believers and worship the Creator and maybe even learn about Biblical principles that just might enhance someone's life, but to think that we can meet every person's image of what a "good church" should be is entirely impossible. I've heard everything from "I'll give you money if you put in a library," to "I think you need to trash this program or that program because I've seen it work better at such and such a place." I listen, but that's about all I do, actually, that's about all I can do. I truly embrace a free exchange of ideas and thoughts and want as much input as is shared, but we can only be who God wants us to be.

We do the best we can given the volunteer base and financial feasibility of our programming. I will always listen to new ideas, especially concerning outreach to our community. I also understand that we can always do better in just about every area of our influence, but I'm surprised when people want us to change our theological stance or question our written statement of faith given to us from the Wesleyan Church. You see, Willow Community Church is a Wesleyan Church and we adhere to doctrine laid out by our denomination. I am not at all ashamed of that. In fact, I embrace it! I don't think all the "rules and regulations" are necessary, but the theology is solid. That's why I align my personal views with this denomination. I have been on a life journey of discovery and so for me, the Wesleyan Church is the closest to my views and Biblical interpretation than any other denomination or church I have experienced. That's why I'm here. There are a lot of other churches and denominations that adhere to all sorts of doctrine and dogma that I don't think is accurate or that I just don't understand, and that is why I don't go to any of them. I also know that there are many, many churches and denominations that are solid in what they believe and teach, but interpret the Bible differently than I do.

That is why we are free in Christ Jesus our Lord to choose those places of worship that reflect our own sense of doctrine and interpretation. Not many churches are going to emphatically state that they have an absolute understanding of the Bible and God's Word, that is why we must diligently seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and have some idea of our own personal response to the Bible when looking for a church home. Keith Drury, a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University wrote a wonderful article on this whole topic I hope you will take the time to read it. He says that we must look at our individual view of Scripture, the local church view of Scripture, the denominations view of scripture, the entirety of the current Christian movement and the early church father's traditional view of Scripture in order to define what the church is, but I think you could use his thoughts to determine where God wants you to go to church. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Little Boys

This had been an incredibly hard week. This last Saturday we received an e-mail from the West Michigan District of the Wesleyan Church with news that the youth Pastor's wife at Burnips Wesleyan Church, near Grand Rapids, had been in an horrible accident that claimed the life of their 15 month old little boy. I have developed an accountability relationship with the Senior Pastor at Burnips and knowing how he must be hurting is very overwhelming. This last Sunday we discovered that little Hawk, a 4 year old little boy who attended Faith Church, lost the battle with leukemia. I have had the opportunity to hang out with Hawk's father and knowing how badly he must be feeling is again, overwhelming.

Needless to say, my heart is woefully sorrowful. But... As we discovered this last Sunday at Willow Community Church, "in land that is plentiful.. in the way marked with suffering.. Blessed Be Your Name!!" Believe it or not, I am beginning to understand that. I love Jesus and I completely trust Him in the plans that He has for those who love Him, even if I don't understand what those plans are or why they seem difficult.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sunday Morning Worship!

Willow Community Church is an awesome place to experience God! He has revealed Himself in ways we just haven't seen before. I think one of the biggest factors is that Pastor Dave has stepped into the role of Lead Worshipper and is doing a genuine and authentic job of leading our congregation to the very throne of God where He then draws us to Himself. I love that! I truly feel like I have worshipped the Creator when we are being led by Pastor Dave. He is an open book for God to write His will in and seeing Dave respond to that is just amazing! Dave is a very gifted speaker and preacher of the truth and has developed a love of pulpit ministry, so his new position as Lead Worshipper is new. Please pray for Dave that he will continue to follow God's plan for His life as a vital member of Willow Community Church and the Kingdom of God! As a side note, Pastor Dave is going to be ordained as a Reverend in the Wesleyan Church this coming Sunday @6:00pm at Holland Central Wesleyan Church.

There has also been an awesome sense of God's presence in the spoken portions of our Sunday Morning Worship experience. God has used Kimy, Pastor Dave and me in ways that we can only attribute to His Spirit's guiding. I encourage all of you to check out the Willow Community Church website and download any of the sermons and discover for yourself what God is doing. By overwhelming requests, I have included in this blog an awesome list of names given to Jesus in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you can hear this list recited in this message.

Please visit us if you do not already have church that call home. We are not far from the Lansing Mall in Lansing, Michigan go to the website for service times, phone numbers and a map of our location!.

He Is
By Aaron Jeffrey

In Genesis, He's the breath of life
In Exodus, the Passover Lamb
In Leviticus, He's our High Priest
Numbers, The fire by night
Deuteronomy, He's Moses' voice
In Joshua, He is salvation's choice
Judges, law giver
In Ruth, the kinsmen-redeemer
First and second Samuel, our trusted prophet
In Kings and Chronicles, He's sovereign

Ezra, true and faithful scribe
Nehemiah, He's the rebuilder of broken walls and lives
In Esther, He's Mordecai's courage
In Job, the timeless redeemer
In Psalms, He is our morning song

In Proverbs, wisdom's cry
Ecclesiastes, the time and season
In the Song of Solomon, He is the lover's dream

He is, He is, HE IS!

In Isaiah, He's Prince of Peace
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet
In Lamentations, the cry for Israel
Ezekiel, He's the call from sin
In Daniel, the stranger in the fire

In Hosea, He is forever faithful
In Joel, He's the Spirits power
In Amos, the arms that carry us
In Obadiah, He's the Lord our Savior
In Jonah, He's the great missionary

In Micah, the promise of peace
In Nahum, He is our strength and our shield
In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He's pleading for revival
In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage
In Zechariah, our fountain

In Malachi, He is the son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings

He is, He is, HE IS!

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He is God, Man, Messiah
In the book of Acts, He is fire from heaven
In Romans, He's the grace of God
In Corinthians, the power of love
In Galatians, He is freedom from the curse of sin

Ephesians, our glorious treasure
Philippians, the servants heart
In Colossians, He's the Godhead Trinity
Thessalonians, our coming King
In Timothy, Titus, Philemon He's our mediator and our faithful Pastor

In Hebrews, the everlasting covenant
In James, the one who heals the sick.
In First and Second Peter, he is our Shepherd
In John and in Jude, He is the lover coming for His bride
In the Revelation, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords

He is, He is, HE IS!

The prince of peace
The Son of man
The Lamb of God
The great I AM

He's the alpha and omega
Our God and our Savior
He is Jesus Christ the Lord
and when time is no more
He is, HE IS!

Tumult!

Tumult:

Function: noun
1 a : disorderly agitation or milling about of a crowd usually with
uproar and confusion of voices, b : a turbulent uprising
2 a : violent agitation of mind or feelings, b : a violent outburst

OK... We're in the new house!! All of my e-mail & Internet connectivity is all hooked up and I even think I'm going to have some time to keep up with my e-mail responses and this blog!

Things have definitely been in an uproar over the last two weeks. I have really enjoyed a lot of interaction with a lot of people! I love that! Getting to work side by side with other lovers of Jesus Christ is such a wonderful and growing experience! I have had the opportunity to get to know people who stepped up in our time of need just because they care about us and wanted to show us love and support. I have, however, found myself a wee bit overwhelmed. When there is so much going on in my life, I begin to forget things that I normally never have a problem remembering. I'm not talking about trying to find my socks buried in a box the first Sunday after we moved; I'm talking about appointments and commitments that I had made before we decided to pack-up and move in just 7 days. If you are a victim of my forgetfulness or inconsideration (is that a word?), please forgive me.
I would like to throw out a couple of thanks-yous. There have been so many people who have pitched in and helped us in one of the major transitions of life, but there is no way I'm going to remember all of them. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a start:
First, let me thank the Lord my God; with out Him, Kimy and I would have never gone from totally unpacked to moved-in in only 7 days! Dave and Annie Kallenbach have been awesome in this time of change. They purchased a home and moved out of the church owned house which enabled Kimy, the Girls and I to move in the first place. With out their support and help we couldn't have done any of this (you guys rock!). Jack Kann installed a new counter, sink, dishwasher and painted the entire kitchen in only three days (I still haven't found the lost roller?!)! Did I mention that Jack is a paintin' maniac? Jack had help from Steve Weatherby who, in his own right, is a jack of all trades (the 5.1 Surround sounds awesome!). Sheree Ritchie spent a lot of time painting Cassie's room, the living room , and she also "cut-in" a couple of rooms that yours-truly just couldn't do right (you are truly an wonderful friend to our family!) Did I mention the Sheree is a paintin' maniacette? Kyle and Heather Glasshouer painted Bailey's room in one day which gave us the joy of hangin' out with little baby Emma! Needless to say, Cass and B didn't help with much of anything that day! And last but far, far from least, I want to thank my parents Bill and Saundra Lawson. They have chipped right in and done those little things that just need to be done (you guys are the best role model a kid could ever have!). You are all very special to us and saying thank-you just doesn't seem to be enough.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

It's Moving Day!

Hey everybody!

Tomorrow is Moving Day! I have been so busy with things at the church (averaging around 80 every Sunday now!) and packing to move into our new home just off of West Willow in Lansing. We are actually moving into the church owned home adjacent to the churches parking lot.

Some of you might know that Dave and Annie bought a home just a few miles south of the church and moved out of the church home into their new home last Saturday. Actually, the home they bought was owned by a couple from Faith church that recently had to move to Ohio.

I'll try to upload some pics of the house and the interior work we have had done soon.

We have had all kinds of trouble with the church's e-mail and Internet access and now I'm about to shut down my home PC to get it packed So if you respond by commenting or e-mail in the next few days, it could be while before you hear from me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wifespeak - Husbandspeak

To listen to the message where I originally read this list click here.

WIFESPEAK (What she really means)

I'll be ready in a minute = Kick off your shoes and find a good game on TV.

You know what we need? = Do you know what I really, really I want.

Do you like this recipe? = It's really easy to make, so you'd better get used to it.

This kitchen is so inconvenient = I want a new house.

I heard a noise = I noticed you were almost asleep, but I really need to talk.

You're so manly = You need a shave and you sweat a lot.

How much do you love me? = I did something today you're really not going to like.

Does this dress make my butt look fat? = Tell me I'm beautiful.

I'm not upset = Of course I'm upset; you just told me I'm fat.

Do you like it? = Look at my hair not my dress.

No =No. Maybe = No. Yes = Right Now!

It's your decision = The correct decision should be blatantly obvious by now.

We need to talk = You did something really stupid and I'm not as mad now as I was when I found out you did something really stupid so now is a good time to tell you how stupid that really was!

You have to learn to communicate = Just agree with me.

I'm not yelling! = I'’m only going to get louder if we don't resolve this issue soon!

HUSBANDSPEAK (What he really means)

Take a break, honey, you're working too hard. = I can't hear the race over the vacuum cleaner.

Oh, don't fuss. I just cut myself, it's no big deal. = I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit it hurts.

Have you lost weight? = I've just spent our last $30 on a cordless drill.

That's women's work. = It's a difficult, dirty and thankless job; there is no way I'm doing that!

Honey, we don't need material things to prove our love. = I forgot our anniversary, again.

You know how bad my memory is. = I remember the theme song to '‘Gilligan's Island', the phone number of my first girlfriend and the Vehicle Identification Numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday.

Of course I like it, honey, you look beautiful. = Is that a new dress or did you do something to your hair?

Does your butt look fat in that dress? = Give me a minute while weigh out my options.

You look terrific. = Can we just go now.

That's interesting, dear. = Are you still talking?

I heard you." = I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it long enough so that you don't know I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said!

A Biblical Study
on the Dynamics of RELATIONSHIPS
A four-part series dealing with: Friendship, Love & Romance, Marriage and Family is currently being offered at Willow Community Church. To hear the first three messages in this series please click here.

...dependence...

Jesus Christ is the most beautiful person I have ever had a relationship with! He has done so much for me and has given me so much to be thankful for. In fact, He has given me the second most beautiful person I have ever had a relationship with in Kim, my wife (My Kimy!). The Bible speaks a lot about having an abundant and fulfilling life, and the longer He allows Kimy in my life, the more I understand abundance and fulfillment.

Kimy and I have been together for over 20 years and have been married for over 19 of them. We have had a lot of trauma and difficult situations in our marriage, but I must admit that we have never had a relationship threatening issue ever come up. Hard financial times? You bet. Times of difficulty in communicating? More than I would like to admit. Times when outside influences dictate how much time we get to spend together? Absolutely; we're in the Ministry! But at no time have I ever felt like hanging it all up and walking away.

I'm not sure I can fully describe why we have stayed in love (and lust!) with each other for so long. I think a lot of it has to do with the timing of events in our life as a married couple. It seems that when ever I am in a deep moral or extended family drama, Kimy has been strong and faithful to the Biblical standards we set as the foundation of our relationship way back in 1987. The same is true of me towards her. We have always been able to separate what is happening inside our interdependent relationship with what is happening outside our home.

Notice that I mentioned "interdependent" and not "codependent" relationship. Codependence means dependence on the needs of or control by another person. I truly believe that I am in a codependent relationship with the One who created me. Both Kimy and I give the place of the "need provider" and "life controller" to God because of our belief in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (comment on that last statement and I'll elaborate more). By interdependent, I mean that Kimy and I are mutually responsible to each other not for each other. At the end of our lives, in the presence of God the Judge, we will have to give an account for our own actions and reactions. Therefore, we have agreed to take an active part in the wellbeing of the other by praying and asking God to provide for the others needs (and even a few of their wants!). We have worked very hard to help the other grow in their own understanding of God's will for their life. We have not, on the other hand, tried to determine what God's will is as we see it for the other person.

The idea that my Kimy is praying for me, on my behalf to the Creator of the Universe, is one of the most awesome thoughts I have ever had. She loves me so much that she is asking God to reveal Himself to me for His good purpose, which in turn will be for my own good. There is absolutely nothing more attractive than a man's best friend and life mate taking time out of her day to lift him up before God! Now that is true beauty and the basis for an abundant and fulfilling relationship.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

How long has it been?

Since my last post over a month ago, things in my life have gotten really busy. I don't think there has been any one thing that has kept me from my PC. Actually, I think there has been several reasons, but the most obvious is the time I've been spending in prayer and contemplation.

As most of you know, I became the senior pastor at a small Wesleyan church in Lansing, Michigan back in January. I truly love this job! I am more fulfilled than I ever could have imagined. I have loved every position I have had since I made the decision to enter full-time ministry, but there is something about Willow Community Church that makes me smile and expand my chest cavity just a little bit more than anywhere I have ever ministered.

I have never worked this hard in my entire life and I love it! It's only been seven months, but I still wake up in the morning very excited to get to work. The load is big, but the burden is light. There are dozens of people that call on Willow Community Church for everything from food & money to counseling & spiritual advice. There are times I don't get to do those things that I think need to be getting done when I think they need to be getting done, but I always seem to get them done anyways. In fact, most of the time I don't really feel like I'm working at all.

There has been a bit of a learning curve... Time Management. The things I have been involved in at other churches were very fulfilling and fruitful, but the schedules and events were pretty much planned for me. In this situation, I have to plan my day on my own. When I say "plan my day" I really mean the whole day. I have to be very particular how much time I spend at the "office" and how much time I spend at coffee with people and how much time I spend with my family. I love doing it all, but there is still only 24 hours in a day and I need to spend a few of those sleeping.

The other thing I'm learning is... Role Management. I'm trying to figure out when I'm Pastor Bill, Brother Billy, Son William, Honey-Babe or Daddy. Again, I love everything about each of those roles, but I'm finding out that I get the placement of those roles wrong a little too often.

That leads me to the opening statement of this blog, "the time I've been spending in prayer and contemplation". I have a drive that I can not control, a drive to seek clarity and definition in my life. I just recently discovered that I don't know as much as I thought I did. In fact, I discovered that I really don't know that much at all. Therefore, I take God at His word and ask Him for guidance and understanding. My life Bible verse (the passage of Scripture I apply to every aspect of my life) is Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Followed closely by James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." I believe that it is often very difficult to discern God's will. I think that we as a culture find it very difficult to find the time to be still and quiet. But in order to know God's will and plan for our everyday life, we must find the time to seek God and He has chosen to speak to us a still, small voice. I know that I need to spend time with people especially my family, but I can not give them or anyone else for that matter, what I can until I have given time to God; still, quiet time.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Splash!







Here it is!! My New Tattoo!!!!






I can't believe how beautiful it is! As you can see, its a cross of nails with an ICHTHUS hung over the crossmember. The characters around the bottom are a reference to Matthew 4:19 in the Bible which says, "'Come Follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.'" The letters in the reference are Greek letters Mu, Alpha, Theta, Theta.

My wife, Kimy, my Mom and Dad (can you believe it?), and a very good, already inked friend Rod came along for emotional support.




This is my Dad and Rod making sure my artist does everything right!




My artist is a pretty cool guy. His name is (now get this...) Mikey Vigilanti. Yep, that's his real name. He was great at explaining all that was going to happen. He is also very, very talented. He took my idea and really captured the image I've had running around my head for the last five years or so. I even had the chance to drop the Gospel of Jesus Christ on him. I figured that I was paying for his time and getting a permanent Christian symbol drawn onto my arm, so I started my evangelism technique with him. Please pray that Mikey will muster up the courage to visit us at Willow Community Church this week!





That's Mikey!




I would highly recommend Splash of Color in East Lansing, Michigan for any of your tattooing needs. The place is very clean and the people are awesome, desperately in need of the Savior, but awesome.

This morning, my Dad and I went fishing. At the doc, a guy about my age struck up a conversation about something that led to a discussion about Birthdays. I mentioned that I got a tattoo yesterday with money I got from my last birthday and he asked to see, so I showed him. Think about it, not even 24 hours after I get inked, I get the opportunity to witness with my new tattoo! I explained what the symbolism meant, and he said, "yeah, I need to get back to church." I gave him my business card and invited him to Willow!

It is finished!

I got my tattoo last night! It really didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it was going too. It doesn't even hurt that much this morning after two hours of fishing with my dad. Kimy got some great pics of the event, so I'll post them up onto my blog later this afternoon!

Friday, July 7, 2006

It's tattoo time!

Hey Every Body!

I'm on my way to Splash of Color in East Lansing, MI to get my first Tattoo! I'll upload some picture in next day or two.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Truth, Justice and the Politically Correct Way!?!


NEWS FLASH: Superman Returns to old girlfriends, old acquaintances, old villains and old world-ending threats, but not to the good old United States of America!

Some of you might know that I am a huge superhero comic book fan. I really loved collecting them when I was a kid and I really love what Hollywood has been turning out lately based on some of my favorite characters. Now that I'm grown up (please don't tell anybody I said that!), I've started collecting superhero DVD's, but I try to see every new movie the way it should be seen on the Silver Screen! Spider-man 1&2 tie with Batman Begins as possibly my favorite movies of all time. The X-men movies (all three of them) are quite possibly the best adaptation of comic book characters ever portrayed (yes, even Kelsey Grammer as Beast!). Fantastic Four was just plain fun and I'm really looking forward to the sequel. Even though Daredevil starred Ben Affleck, the DVD has the best sound editing for Dolby 5.1 Surround I have ever heard! Even Hulk had some very good special effects and the story was actually somewhat close to the Stan Lee original story. I heard that Punisher and the Blade movies were OK, but gratuitously bloody movies aren't really my thing. Catwoman and Elekrta didn't have any "super" powers so they don't count, besides isn't superheroine an illegal narcotic?

And then there's Superman Returns. If you haven't seen the movie you may not want to read any further. I'll try not to give too much away, but there is just too much to comment on to keep it all a secret.

First, I think what I liked about the newer superhero movies is the fact the writers recreated the comic book characters. Unlike the first Superman and Batman films and the Hulk TV series that reinvented them, the new era projects stay pretty close to actual characters you will see in the comics. Bryan Singer, who wrote Superman Returns, did a fantastic job when he wrote X-Men & X2, but didn't show any of the new era flare this time. The blockbuster is beautiful and the flying effects are stunning, but the film just seemed flat due to so much time being spent making the audience feel like they are watching Superman 3. Brandon Roth, the big guy in blue tights in this rendition, looks just like Christopher Reeve! I don't mean that he looked like Superman, I mean he looked just like Christopher Reeve. Even Kevin Spacey and Parker Posey, who I had all kinds of expectations, felt way too much like Gene Hackman and that bimbo that played his girlfriend/cheap comic relief. I also didn't understand why Singer spent time replaying old Marlon Brando footage from the 1978 project.

Second, every Superman comic book written since 1938 very clearly states that Supes stands for "Truth, Justice and the AMERICAN Way", but not Singer's hero. His invulnerable alien doesn't consider the U.S. his home at all and shows no patriotism whatsoever, but spends a lot of time globetrotting. I'm not sure why there was such an obvious nod toward political correctness in one of America's longest running traditions.

Third, the continued references to Supes being the one and only son sent to save a dying world just about drove me crazy! The connection that many people have made between Superman and Jesus Christ is nothing new, but thinking that Superman could have had an illicit physical relationship certainly is. I don't want to give away too much, but if Superman is suppose to be the embodiment of morality then shouldn't he be moral in everything he does? No matter what Dan Brown says, there is absolutely no evidence that Jesus Christ had a physical relationship with anybody, but if He did, He wouldn't have done it illicitly because He would have obeyed the laws of the Jewish people which means that if He had children He would have been married because He is the embodiment of morality.

I know it sounds like I didn't like this experience, but I did. It really is beautiful and Brandon Roth did a wonderful (if not copycat) job as the invincible Man of Steel. I just think that even something as wholesome and All American as Superman has finally been corrupted by Hollywood.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hey everybody!

It's been a while since my last post, but I'm still around, just very busy!

I'll be back in a day or two with a new post about something spiritually deep, like pictures of my tattoo or a rant about church discipline (it could go either way!). I haven't actually gotten a tattoo yet, but I plan to within the next week. My girls and I are planning to take week long vacation in St. Louis to visit Kimy's aging Grand Parents next week, so I'll try to get something in before we leave.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

The Older I Get...

So, today is June 1st. No big deal, really. It's just that I am going to be 40 in 12 days. Yeah, I know I look young for my age, but still...

Actually, I'm not sure why it's so bad to get old. Think about it. Would you really want to be back in high school? I wouldn't! I felt awkward and my self esteem was pretty much nonexistent. I was somewhat popular, but I seem to remember working really hard at it. I had girlfriends and best friends. I had enemies and bullies. I had a full set of hair and a face full of pimples. I was fat and I was skinny (it's amazing what Mono can to do a person between 8th grade and 9th grade!). I could sing but only I knew church music. I was musical but played a trumpet. I really liked marching band and became the drum major (but before the rumors could start about my orientation, I started dating the very hot drum majorette!).

What about college age? All my friends went to MSU,
Ferris State, Central and Western Michigan Universities and spread their wings and learned about "life". I went to a private Christian college with all kinds of rules and regulations. I always felt kinda' weird coming home to stories of wild parties and huge rock concerts when all I could tell were stories of breaking curfew and sneaking a kiss from my girlfriend. I was in my twenties most of those years and did a lot of growing up. I found out that my family (nuclear and extended) were human and had problems of their own. I found out that I am the only person responsible for the choices I made; financial and otherwise. At the time, I really hated that!

I wouldn't change any thing, but I definitely wouldn't go back. Oh, sure, there were times I felt at peace and even comfortable, but living up to other peoples expectations and demands always overpowered those feelings. In those formidable years, I was looking for significance in a lot of different and often unhealthy places. I did find the most wonderful person ever to walk the earth besides Jesus Himself at college, so not everything was horrible, but it was hard and awkward.

In my late twenties, I found that even my wife couldn't give me the value and worth that my soul was crying out for. It wasn't until I rediscovered Jesus that I began to feel at ease with myself and the people around me. I found that I had always made people the essence of my existence. I placed a very high value on what my family and friends thought about me.
I expected my friends to except me for what I did, not for who I was. I expected my teachers to give me everything I needed to make it in this world. I expected my dad to give me the esteem I thought I needed to be a real man.

I have to tell ya', it was not fair to my
family or my friends or to God to hold people responsible for my self-worth. I think I had to grow in my understanding of my relationship with God in order to fully understand who I am. Because I held those people responsible for my life, I felt sad and often angry when they didn't prop me up the way I thought I needed. But now, breathing down neck of 40 years old, I look to Jesus Christ as my source of value and esteem and even life itself. He is the only person who truly accepts me (acne scars and all) and that produces an incredible sense of peace which in turn produces an incredible amount of joy.

I love what the Apostle Paul wrote:
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and ...He gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' " (Acts 17:24-28).

From the very beginning of Creation, God has wanted His Created to look to Him. I'm not sure that we are able to truly do that the first or fiftieth time we hear that. But as I have grown older, I guess I have grown wiser. Now that I have found my value to God, I live my life for Him. I am also discovering that if I seek His favor, the relationships I once looked for favor in are much more rich and enjoyable, because I accept them for who they are because I am accepted for who I am.

If you attend Willow Community Church, look for this to become a sermon in the very near future. If you are looking for a good church to explore your faith or if you are looking to find peace and contentment, then stop by and check us out this Sunday at 11:00am. If you would like answers to some of life's questions or if you would like to respond to anything in this blog please don't be afraid to do so.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Cross and the Vampire


I had a little free time last Saturday evening so I did a little research on what other Christians thought about tattoos. I found 70's hippy turned Christian women's author, Barbara Curtis, who put tattoos on her body a long time ago. I thought she was very interesting.

When I finished reading a small article, I looked up her "links". There was one pointing to Anne Rice. I found that odd. So I clicked on the link and discovered that Anne has become a Christian and has written a new book called, "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt." This book is obviously fiction, and appears to be written from the perspective of Jesus when he was 6 or 7 years old living in Egypt. The reviews I read mentions that there are several liberties taken with the story since there isn't anything in the Bible that addresses those years in the Messiah's life, but that it does not take away from the historical Jesus we read about in the New Testament. I admit that I have not read this book, so I'm repeating what I read from others who have.

OK, now it's time for a reality check! Anne Rice wrote some of the most popular books in America. She started a whole new fascination with vampires and witches. In Fact, one of her books became a Hollywood blockbuster (Interview with a Vampire, starring Tom Cruise). Now somebody tell me that there is no such thing as the life changing power of Jesus Christ!!! First Mel Gibson and now Anne Rice! Think about, even if you don't think she should be writing a "fictional" account of Jesus Christ, you have to be impressed that she is turning her talent toward the Risen Savior instead of an undead Lastat.

I was so impressed with her website that I sent her an e-mail telling her so. And get this... She wrote me back! She told me that she is overwhelmed by the outpouring and love from her new Christian family. She said that she has gotten a few negative comments from church leaders and Pastors, but most of the responses are people telling her that they are praying for her growth and understanding. Her website states that Anne will read every e-mail that is sent to her, but that there is no possible way to answer them all. But if you would like to e-mail her anyway (like I did!), check out her website.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Is that Tattoo or Taboo?

OK, awright, here's the deal... I'm gettin' a tattoo.

I know, I know... Shocking!

I'm a conservative religious leader.

I know, I know... It's taboo.

Christians, let alone Pastors, shouldn't get tattoos.

I know, I know... It's rebellious.

The Pastors & religious leaders you know have tattoos from before they went into the ministries they currently run. And... they have them in places no one will ever see. And... they would remove them if they could, but...

I know, I know... There are big health issues.

People have gotten nasty infections.

I know, I know... I'm too old.

Correct. People do get old and the artwork starts to look awful.

I know, I know... It isn't Biblical.

STOP RIGHT THERE!!!

It isn't Biblical? What does that mean?

The one place in the Bible that says anything about "tattooing" is found in the Old Testament book of Leviticus 19:28; 'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.' That's from the NIV. The KJV doesn't even mention tattoo but it does say, "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I [am] the LORD." The word "tattoo" is translated from the Hebrew word nathan meaning to set, give, or put. and the word marks in the Hebrew is qa`aqa`, meaning incision. If you pay close attention to the whole verse, you see that Moses is referring to a pagan practice honoring dead people. Since I am born of Light and choose to honor the living Sacrifice, Jesus Christ, with my whole being, the thought of honoring the dead is ludicrous. Besides, if you look at the entire chapter, you might be surprised to see a lot of other stuff Christians aren't supposed to do. Things like men not cutting certain parts of their hair and none of us are suppose to wear two (2) types of cloth at the same time. Don't just take my word for it, look it up in Leviticus 19.


So why are these things mentioned in the Old Testament in the first place? It's because God wanted the Hebrew children to be separate from all other people on the globe at the time Moses wrote the Law. The rules and regulations were needed to please God and to keep them from falling into pagan practices. In fact, one of the ways that everyone knew who was an Israelite was the lack of any markings on their bodies, the other was circumcision.


Paul mentions in Philippians 3 that the Jews were circumcised in order to be recognized as separated from the world in which they lived. He goes on to say in 3:3, "For it is we (the Believer) who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh..." In other words, Christians do not need to be physically circumcised as a sign of being separated to God from the world. It is by virtue of knowing Jesus as Savior, worshipping in Spirit and in Truth, and not relying on "doing" that separates us from the world in which we live. That is why we don't have to worry about the letter of the Law as much as we need to adhere to the spirit of the Law. That is why we dress modestly by the standards of our culture and we never even consider not wearing two(2) different types of fabric's. That is why I don't ask my barber to avoid cutting the corners of my hair but I keep what I do have neat and presentable. That is why I trim my beard the way I like it (in fact most Christians I know don't even have beards to trim!?!) That is why I eat meat.


I believe that I may offend some Christians with my tattoo. I'm not sure why. I think some of them may see it as anit-Biblical which is why I wrote the above argument. I think some see it as a form of rebellion.
I do understand that at some point in our American history, tattoos represented angry young people with something to prove. I know there are a lot of men and women who identified with motorcycle gangs in the 70's that got tattoos. But think about this: the World War eras (I & II) saw a lot of young men getting tattooed. I think both of my grandfathers had tattoos. Our family didn't consider them rebellious at all. But today, tattoos' are a culturally accepted form of expression. I know, I know, just because culture accepts certain things doesn't mean Christians should. But in the case of my personal choice to permanently mark my body with a symbol representing my relationship with Jesus Christ is accepted by the culture I'm trying to reach. I truly don't understand why some Christians believe it is good to wear T-shirts with Christian symbolism and religious messages on them, but then look down on a person who chooses to permanently wear the same symbols.


I would love as much feed back as I can get in order to become more informed with way others feel about this issue!



Saturday, May 6, 2006

Check this big guy out! This is Barney, my new best friend! He is a 5 year old Golden Retriever. We heard about him through a friend of Pastor Dave's. An older couple has retired and would like to travel without a big dog to take of. Apparently, there were a few people who called about taking Barney home, but the owner didn't feel they met the proper requirements. When I called and told him about the connection with Pastor Dave, he told me to come over and take a look. I called Kim and told her that we have an opportunity to have her dream dog breed for free with a months worth of dog food and she said we could go "just to see him." We picked up the kids early from school and away we went.

When we arrived, Barney met us at the door. I think it was love at first sight! We all felt an instant connection to each other, but weren't sure that should take him away from his owner. After a few moments of talking with his owner, we realized that Barney had been this man's best friend for five years. Kimy and I both felt a little awkward at first because the older gentleman truly loves this dog. Somewhere during our visit, the gentleman began to shed a few tears and then mentioned that he had been waiting for a family like ours to give Barney a good life. That did it! Kimy, Cassie, Bailey and I couldn't keep our own tears back. We loaded Barney and all his paraphernalia into my car and headed home.

Some of you might know that we already have a little terrier mix dog that we love. You might also know that we have been talking for a while now about giving her to a family with plenty of room and children for Sydney to run and play with. We really do love her, but she needs more room than we can give her. I'll upload a picture of her soon, but in the mean time, if you or someone you know would be interested hearing more about her being a part of your family, please let me know.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

I'm So Skeered

Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Things have been a little crazy since my trip to Jamaica. I messed up my back (which really slowed me down for over a week!) and things have been busy at the church getting ready for summer! Check out Pastor Dave's Blog for an update on what we've been up to at Willow Community Church.

Over the next 6 (six) Thursdays, I will be teaching "How To Share Your Faith Without Fear" (not to be confused with the "Share Jesus Without Fear" by Bill Fay). This is a curriculum I wrote for teens way back in 1999, but I have adapted it for use with all ages at the same time. "...Share..." is quite possibly my favorite class to teach.

The class opens with a clip from "Indiana Jones and Last Crusade" (quite possibly my favorite movie!). During the climax of the film, Indy must save his father from a bullet wound. He goes through all kinds of traps and mechanisms that test his courage and his patients in order to get to the one thing that might just save his father's life. Eventually, though, he overcomes every obstacle because the fear of losing his father out-weighed his fear of losing his own life. Now That'll Preach!

I have found that most Christians really want to tell people about their experience with Jesus. I have also found that most Christians don't feel equipped to it. Most people are intimidated to witness to people about their faith for a number of different reasons, but the most common is simply fear. In this class, we are going to take a close look at all the areas that strike fear in the hearts of Christians all over the world. The fear of saying the right thing, the fear of embarrassment and the fear of rejection are just a few of the things we will deal with. We will also learn how to tell our stories in five (5) minutes or less (most non-believers really want to know your story, but not necessarily your entire biography!).

Once we get the essence of our faith story established, we will discuss some of the ways that we can start up conversations with the people we want to see in Heaven. If you are reading this and plan to attend this class, please come prepared write down three names of people you would like to approach about their spiritual state. I also believe that there are numerous clues in each person's life that invites us to approach a spiritual conversation. Things like the Gold Cross around a young ladies neck behind the counter at Burger King, a crucifix on the dashboard of your neighbor's car, a T-shirt with an expletive on the front worn by a kid at the park or a pentagram tattooed on the arm of a biker dude at the coffee shop are all invitations to talk about spiritual stuff. Sounds intimidating, doesn't it? But Christians must be afraid of not sharing what they believe instead of being afraid to share what they believe! Check out the Willow web site to get directions to the church. Hope to see you there!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm Back!














Hey, Hey, Hey! Cassie and I are back from our mission trip to Whitehouse, Jamaica. We had an awesome time. Cassie made a few new friends and I got a sunburn! Over all, things went very well.

We went with a team of six people with the anticipation of doing whatever the missionary family needed us to do as far as upkeep and cleaning of the huge children's home they run. There are 26 children from 18 months to 18 years old. The team really enjoyed getting to know all the children and by the end of our time there, we started remembering most of their names! The home has a few hired staff members and a couple of interns that help with everything from teaching school to serving breakfast to getting everyone ready for church and bed.


<-This is me and my cool little friend, Joshua!






Whitehouse is a small fishing village on the southeast shore of the island. We were able to spend a little time at the docks watching the fishermen prepare for an outing that would last five nights with five to six adult men on quite small row boats with 40 horse outboard motors!














I'll write more about our adventures in a few days. In the mean time check out the Kingdom Builders Ministries web site!

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Jamaica Me Happy!

Here we go! My 13 year old daughter Cassie and I are heading to Westmoreland, Jamaica in about 10 minutes. We are going down to work with an orphanage that needs some interior/exterior repair and we think we will get to lead a VBS and I might even get to preach. We want to thank everybody who has helped us with prayer and finances!! We will update you with pictures and stories as soon as we can. You can still e-mail us throughout this week: cas_E11@yahoo.com and bill@willowcommunity.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm Stymied?!?

Hey! We now have the Willow Community Church website completed! You can click on just about anything and it will be linked to another page or website. Join me in thanking Scott Ferguson from Faith Church for doing all the ground work! Oh, and don't forget to check out Dave K's new blog.

I'm stymied.

I know I'm not supposed to lean on my own understanding, so I'm asking God to show me what I'm missing.

I was at a conference with several other pastors and the subject of habitual sin came up and someone posed the question of how to have victory over that kind of stuff. The person asking the question asked me for my opinion. I mentioned that all sin must be confessed, and the process of renewal must begin by transformation of the mind. Before I could get another word out I was blasted by this; "That just sounds like a Sunday school answer!" Needless to say, I stopped talking. Then, a few days later someone stated that they couldn't put two certain people together on the same team for an outreach event because they don't like each other. I asked if these two people were Christians and was told yes. After I forced my wide open jaw shut, I said that there is absolutely no room in the Kingdom of God for two Saints to be at odds with each other, especially when they are preparing to do outreach ministry together. Again, I was blasted. I was told, "that may be all well and fine in theory, but..."

OK, so here's what I'm struggling with: Christians should live by the teaching of Jesus; the teachings of Jesus are found in the Bible; if the Bible is the teaching of Jesus, then shouldn't Christians live by the Bible?

If so, when did Christians start thinking that the Sunday school lessons they have heard were not meant to help them understand what the Bible says about problems in life? Wasn't that the whole point of Sunday school? When did Christians begin to consider the Bible only theory? Was it only theory that saved us from the penalty of sin?

I love the Bible and everything it says. I use it for everyday life and sustenance. It's a huge part of who I am and who I am becoming. If you spend any time with me at all, you will know that I talk about the Bible like it is something I use and read every day. It's not to show what I know, it's a part of me. I have seen it's power in my life and I want everybody to know that they too can have the same victory and hope and peace that I have. I'm still trying to figure out a lot of stuff, but there is one thing I do know, the Bible has the answer's in any person's life. How do I know? The Bible says so!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What's Up With That? (part 2)

A very good friend of mine sent me a response to the blog I wrote on March 8th. I thought she asked a good question. This is my response:

My first thought for writing the blog you responded to was to get people thinking about politics and the Christian culture. I like Gov. Granholm, but I think she was playing to a group of people for their votes. The second thought for writing that blog was to see if anybody had a problem with the lack of integrity politicians have when it comes to standing for anything. It seems to me that most politicians don't go around displaying their personal beliefs because of obvious backlash from the media. In the case of Jennifer Granholm, nobody seemed to think it was out of line for an abortion rights Governor to be identifying herself with an openly pro-life religion. Although it wasn't what I had in mind, I like the question you asked! I'm not sure I can give you a pat answer to it, though. Yes, there are way too many Christians who believe that there is more than one path to God and that means there is a huge amount of them that buy into the whole "relativism" philosophy. You are absolutely correct in not holding the unsaved population to the standards of the Bible (God will deal with them as He sees fit), but holding Christians to those standards is our duty and responsibility. How we go about that is not so clear. I love what Jesus said in John 1:30, “I and my Father are one.” That means that they are the same being, the same spirit. So when Jesus says in John 14:6, “… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”, we know that there is only one way to God. When a person gave in to the love and conviction of Jesus Christ for salvation from their sin and transgression they did so only through the blood that washed away that sin and transgression . If, therefore, they are born again, they should know with out a doubt that they were brought into the Kingdom of Heaven as a result of the absolute truth that Jesus is God and is the only way to God. Any other thought should make a Christian pause and consider if they truly believe that not only is Jesus their own personal Savior, but is Jesus the Savior of the world? The one thing that we have to remember is that not every Christian is mature enough or isn’t under enough good teaching to grasp what truly happened when they became a Christian. Paul said that we need to be very careful not to look down on our weaker brothers and sisters, but to teach them the way of truth. Peter says kind of the same thing in 1 Peter 3:15, “… always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the joy that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” So, to make a long answer even longer(!!), yes, it is very frustrating to me that so many Christians don’t get the absolute truth of salvation coming only through Jesus, but I must also remember that Jesus is still working things out in their lives and I must be very aware of the truth so that I can be used by God to help those people “get it”. I hope this helped to answer your question.

Talk to you l8ter!

Bill

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

What's Up With That?

Hey every body! I know it's been a while since my last blog. Hope I still have some readers out there.

Last week I saw a news report on a local TV station about Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm. That may not seem like a big deal to some of you, because she is on TV a lot. But this particular story took place on Ash Wednesday. Again, so what? Well, Governor Granholm had a black mark right in the middle of her forehead. I know that many, many Catholics and many Protestants place ashes on their foreheads to symbolize their own remorse for sin and transgression they have committed against Jesus and the church. I also know that the persons having the ashes apply do so to show their devotion to their religion and consider it a duty to identify with Jesus and His suffering during the season of Lent. I did a little research and found that Jennifer Granholm claims to be a devout Catholic. Again, who cares? I'm not sure that anybody does. It just seemed very odd to me to see a political figure identify with a religion, let alone one they are in blatant disagreement with. You see, Governor Granholm is "pro choice" in matters of women's reproductive rights. I will admit that I have a very conservative view in all things politics, but I'm not making a political statement, I'm making a logical observation. I will also admit that I do not know or understand much of the Catholic point of view on reproductive rights, but I do know that the Catholic church has a very strong stand against abortion and considers it an evil act. It doesn't seem to add up to me: Jennifer Granholm states very clearly that she is pro choice and that she is a member of the Catholic church. How does the Catholic church feel about our state's top leader misrepresenting their religion? How do you feel about our top leader contradicting the leaders of her church? Do you see any integrity issues in this case? I would love to see some feed back about what you think. To read a letter and interview on the pro choice platform from Gov. Granholm herself, click here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

New Willow Website!

Check it out! The Willow Community Church website is now updated! The site is still under construction, so be aware that some of the links don't work quite right yet. Infact, when you log onto the homepage you will not be able to surf to any of the other parts of the site. I know, that isn't cool, but you can TYPE /about.html behind www.willowcommunity.org (www.willowcommunity.org/about.html) and that will give you access to the rest of the pages. Once there you can click any of the other links on the left to surf to them normally. Please keep in mind that if you find yourself back at the homepage you will have to retype the web address including /about.html.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

I've got the fever!

I woke up this morning feeling kinda' odd. Even now I have this butterfly feeling in the bottom of my belly. I don't think I'm gonna hurl or anything. In fact, there is a deep, high energy emotion that is not at all unpleasant. The weird thing is: I'm pretty sure this feeling is gonna last a little over two weeks. Yep, I got Olympic Fever!

I love everything about the Olympics (except, maybe, that they began as a pagan festival in Greece in honor of the gods of mythology, but other than that...). I can't wait to watch the Opening Ceremonies and see all the different nations come together in one place and march into the arena with pride and dignity. It is so cool to see the array of flags from countries I can't even pronounce being lifted high. They represent to the world the best that that country has to offer. It truly overwhelms me to see our own country enter the stadium waving Old Glory in the one place on earth where it is still the expected thing for us to do without a talking head apologizing for it. I just can't wait to wallow in our very own National Pride!

There is also something awe inspiring seeing that huge Olympic flag rolled out over the heads of every person participating in the games. As a Christian, I don't subscribe to good luck rituals, but it has always moved me to watch the athletes from every country reach up and touch the underside of the five rings of peace.

Watching individual stories of teams and athletes who we have never heard of before this time become common household names is always fun! I didn't know anything about Picabo Street, Scott Hamilton, Alberto Tomba, Mike Eruzione and the 1980 US Hockey Team, the Jamaica Bobsled Team or Eddy "the Eagle" Edwards before they took center stage on the world platform of the Winter Games.

Yep, I got it bad! Let me know if you've caught it, too.