Sunday, April 30, 2006

All Us Folks!

None of us is seen from the surface, or even by carefully examining all of the sides. We, like the picture of this iceburg forwarded in from Canada, only reveal a very minute portion of ourselves to those around us. God, on the other hand, knows us and sees us through and through. Perhaps that is another reason getting close to God makes folks somewhat uneasy. I can't imagine the size of the pictured burg, but if one was only looking at it from the surface perspective think of all you are missing. So it is for the people with whom we come in contact each day of our lives. We only see a teeny tiny bit of them, and that, for most of us is hidden as best we can. There is one part of us that we cannot hide when we're with another person one on one, though.
The eyes are the mirrors of the soul, and as such they reveal much more than the outward appearance that is often taken for granted. I suppose this, too, could be overlooked, but if you really want to know who a person it is, it is necessary to get inside their eyes. If they will allow you to do that. Many people hide their eyes and try very hard to not let you see inside them. Books on criminology teach us that a person's truthfullness can be observed through the careful observation of the movements of the eyes. Spiritual leaders from all walks of life can share with us the truth of the "spirit" that shines through. In the circles I frequent that terminology goes something like, "I could just see the Christ shining through his\her eyes!" It's true! There is something about the believer that changes how their eyes shine in respect to their willingness to share the light behind them with others. Also, I might add from years of having worked behind the walls of the South Dakota State Penitentiary, one can see evil, insanity, and a host of other human ailments by simply looking into the eyes of the person.
Out here on the Great American Desert we don't ever get iceburgs like we have pictured here. An occasional pileup of ice on a river or lake, and once in awhile in the spring as the lakes are showing the first signs of "black ice" and large chunks separate from the main body of flow we see a distant mini-scale cousin of the iceburg. I'd like to visit one of these sometime. That way I could prove out one of those old axioms, "There's more to it than meets the eye."
As we roll the road of life that lies ahead it might be a very good thing to remember that "What you see" is not always, "What you get!" Usually what we get is much better than we deserve if we are riding the highway to heaven with the Lord running point and watching our six. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

How Do We Get The Lid Back On The Box?

I've been wondering. Do you suppose that if farmers out here on the Great American Desert had not become corporate entities that life could be better? I'm not doing one of those, "I remember when," things. I'm just continuing to postulate over gas prices. 60 years ago there was a farm about every quarter to a half a mile out on the praire. If they had the electricity that we enjoy today the landscape at night would have been a vision of tiny universes, each showing the location of a family that worked hard. The Pledge of Allegiance was shared in every school every morning by every individual present. Prayers were offered at every school function, and everyone bowed their head.
That was one end of the teeter totter of life. How soon will we push ourselves up from the bottom end to recover what we have lost? Your guess is as good as mine, but I know for certain it is not going to happen until we start pushing together.
In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Giving credit where credit is due is so often very hard for the individual. We all would like to be in the spotlight! A long time ago when I was 12, one of my cousins became a hero to me. The man was phenomenal! He was a football star, All-American, great at baseball, track, and one of the few people I had encountered at that early age who truly had a "philosophy" for living. His every word I hung on and listened with intense pride that he would bestow upon me the wisdom of his life. One of the most famous of his "sayings," was, "Never pass up the chance to be the hero." I quickly adapted this as a part of my own persona and continue to this day to live the echo of those words.
I began driving(tractors, pickups, and grain haulers)at the age of 9. That was common on the farms where I grew up, and none of us ever gave much thought to the cost of the fuel that went into the equipment. We pulled up by a 500 gallon tank and pulled down the hose and filled up. Today I was at the local convenience store and it was time for a fill-up. $46 later I was calculating the most recent mileage figures and being more than thankful that I can range upwards of 30 mpg. I do better on my Harleys out here on the Great American Desert. They can do 50+ mpg!
The thought has struck me that the leaders of America are missing a wonderful opportunity to "be the heros." Instead of letting gas prices soar to the outer limits of the public's ability to pay, they have the opportunity to set precedents and become, for all intents and purposes, the "hero" for the American people. I don't pretend to understand the inner working of politics. I do know that we help everyone in the world with everything they need as much as we can supply. Why is it, then, that we have to pay through the nose for everything we get from the world? Is it out of loving kindness? Is it out of some sense of guilt because life is so good in the United States? I don't think so. Putting everything in perspective economically we are paying the same prices for everything that we did in 1960. That may come as a shock to you, and I know it does to me, but things are relatively the same as they have always been with fluctuations in what the dollar is worth and what it can get you.
What has this got to do with God in my life? That is a good question. Think to the truth that lies within you. God's business is not man' business, and vice versa. God may not choose to change how things are in people's lives, but He can make a difference in how we deal with the workaday world that we live in. He calls us to be the people that we strive to be. Believers in every sense of the word, and ready to "be the hero" every day by how we live our lives and commit ourselves to His Son's teachings.
Noone said it would ever be easy, but quite often we make it harder than it has to be. Look to the Lord and you, also, shall find the answers for dealing with life in the 21st century. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Seeking The Peace Of Understanding

There are times when I feel as though I've got a "handle" on the peace thing, but more often than not I'm wrong. Oh, don't misunderstand me, it's there, for sure! When I'm sitting at the piano working through the movement of God's Spirit dwelling within my being I am at peace. Give me a long winding highway with some distant mountains to conquer aboard one of my favorite HDs and I'm at peace. Sleeping in a tent next to the water, or high in the mountains, is pure peace for the soul in my book. Even amid the raucous clamor of camp in Sturgis during the rally I find a great peace. I believe the common thread that runs through all of this is the closeness that I feel to my Creator. Out here on the Great American Desert we seem to have a little more time to work through the issues of life than folks in urban areas. Maybe that is why when I have the opportunity to do anything I want, I make the choices that I do as a result of the desire to truly be at peace with myself and the world I live in. Wives are wonderful for pointing out those times when we get overly stressed. I give great thanks for the wife I have. She has got to be the most understanding woman on the face of this planet! We've come through some really difficult times lately. The one thing I know for certain is the ever-deepening power of prayer that sustains us in our day to day lives. You see, for us it is not so much how rough things get, it's how much better we can make them by continually solidifying our personal relationship through the excercise of prayer. It really is excercise, ya know. We build our spiritual muscles through our daily walk of faith lived! No matter what the situation we(By The Grace Of God)will persevere. Now, one might ask, do we only do this together? No! We do it individually, as a couple, in concert with our Body of Christ, and with the people we come in contact with in our greater parish, the world!
Prayer is the greatest of all equalizers(although Colonel Colt had a good handle on equalization in the west), and it is the one place we need to go often, be things going great or not so great. God calls each of us into relationship with Himself constantly. The problem becomes one of how well we are willing to listen. One of my favorite hymns is "Trust And Obey," and in that I will close for tonight, praying that each of you out there has a reason to pray every day. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, April 21, 2006

No Pictures Tonight!

Everyone seems to have an image in their mind of what our Savior must look like. During the course of the past few years I have encountered a number of pictures that are purported to carry the "exact," "definitive," and "decidedly" perfect amalgamation of characteristics that make up what must have been the "image" of my Savior. Whoosh! I cannot begin to understand where this comes from other than a personal need for some to put a "face" on the image of "grace." We don't know what Jesus looked like, people!
We have not got a clue! Paintings and statues, carvings and renditions, cannot give us an accurate point of reference from which to discern what my Savior looked like walking around healing folks. Even the photographs(this is a pun)do not really do justice to His persona.
I'm not upset, and I don't have a bone to pick or any thing else, I just want to set some of the record straight. We don't know! And we will never know until He returns, and even that leaves us wondering because when He comes again we shall be like Him. God forbid that my Savior should ever look like me or any one else that I know personally. The thing is, we all have an image in our minds that is wrong(as in we have all fallen short), but it is ours. So, if you have that picture in your mind and it helps you to be more like He would have you be throughout your walk in life, hold on to it. The greatest artists of the last few thousand years have sought to render Christ on canvas so that we might all know Him as He was. Here comes the rub....."Know Him as He is Today!!! The risen Christ cannot be portrayed on the "big" screen, or placed on a poster. There are no snap shots available, and nobody has any idea what He really looked like. Who He is in your life and in your heart is the important part of living and understanding that unfolds within us as we follow the teachings that He gave us.
I like to think of Christ as a simple fellow with a beard and long hair, but you don't have to see Him as I see Him. See Him as you see him within. Look within yourself to find the truth of the Savior that was sent to us in the image of all humankind. The innocent babe that was born in a lowly place to ascend to His Father in heaven and in the process free us from our sins. In other words, "A Hero" beyond our wildest imaginings! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Love That Surpasses Any Other!

This is the love that God offers each of us in the gift of a Savior for all humankind. In Christ's Love, Preacher.


These are just rambling thoughts surrounding the images that one of the folks sent me today. I have this feeling that I'm on to something that has to do with the greater truth that is found in knowing God. What you see in the pictures are the works of(from what I can tell looking at them)two ladies with an abundance of creativity in their spirits. What they are in the process of doing is bringing a new life into the waste of our world. Driftwood is fascinating in and of itself. A commodity I seek often when I'm around water, be it river, lake, or ocean. Something happens within the wood when it has been subjected to the harshness of decay and elements of an earthly sphere. Sometimes subtle, other times dramatic, but the rigors of time shine through the original, bursting forth with the image of so much more. Now, take a gifted person and hand these pieces of flotsam and jetsam over to their imaginations and what we have is "art" in a form I must admit, brings a certain sense of awe! My mother loved horses, I still love them and everything that they give to us. There is a freedom in becoming one with the animal that probably lies at the root of my love for motorcycles. The underlying message in theses pictures, though, is the wonderful way in which God has created each of us. We are all different, and unique, and what one of us cannot imagine another can! We don't all see the same things when we look at a work of art. We don't all see the same things when we look at another person. Thank God that we know He sees us as individuals each with their own gift to give. It has nothing to do with how the gift is received(as any artist can tell you), it is in the creating that we become one with the Creator, and thus our goals are realized, when we know without a doubt that we have done what we were designed to do. I'm not going to go into the details of my theological stances in relation to how this adds up in terms of good and evil. I will say that all good is of God and that the antithesis to it is from the other side. There are times when all that is necessary is for us to realize that we are doing what we have been created to do and in knowing that it is good needs no acclaim from the world, only our personal thanks to the One who has given us the gift we are allowed to share with others.
I told you I was rambling. Maybe now you will believe me when I say, "I don't have the answers, but I do have a clue!" The first clue comes in belief in the Creator and then in His Son and then in the infilling, indwelling power that is found in "The Holy Spirit" He has sent to guide each and every one of us. It is enough to know that when we step back from our labors and gaze at them in unbelief that we were able to do something so great....and then humbly acknowledge our thanks to the One who gave us the gift to do is enough to know that God our our grand children...and this is what life is all about. Each of us marches to the beat of the drum. Not every beat is the same, but when we march with God, realized to the fullest of potentials in Christ Jesus, we are getting closer to the same page. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bearly Time To Have Everything Ready!

So many years we have rushed to put all of the proper pieces in place for the celebration of Christ's rebirth. That is the human side of us doing what we do, get ready! Easter eggs decorated perfectly(well as good as they can get when you're three, and there were a few kids older than me, too), baskets prepared, candies gotten ready for joyful consumption, succulent young turkeys basted and prepared for baking(some folks do ham, but I know for certain my Savior was a Jew and I'm not sure He would like that), and in the most traditional ways of doing things we would be eating lamb, still, on the morrow. I watched the bears in our house watching us as we scurried about preparing stuff. Finally I broke down in tears(that was because of the onions, I'm sure)and that is not unusual this time of year. My heart beats with an anticipation that knows no bounds as I recall the events of the very first Easter morn when the tomb was found to be empty and my sure, personal redemption had been claimed in full.
Easter bonnets, and wonderful dresses will accompany my female counterparts as they "skirt" off to church on what is going to be a beautiful day out here on the Great American Desert. I love that about the girls! I have been praying for days now for the lost and divided souls that we only see a few times a year(Christmas & Easter)with the thought in mind that perhaps this morning, in but a few short hours, we might convey to them the essence of sheer overpowering joy that accompanies the celebration of this "High Holy Day." Okay, we only have an hour or so of their limited time, but, can't we do something that will wake them from their spiritual drowsiness? Maybe there is something we aren't doing, or something we aren't saying.
I would rather believe it is something they aren't hearing or are unwilling to truly hear, that stops the ears to the cause of the commotion! In the studio tonight I was talking with the lead guitar player about Brian Adams and his "WAKING UP THE NEIGHBORS" album from many years ago. I guess if the bears could hear me now they would hear me saying, "That's what I want to do, wake up the neighbors!" And who are your neighbors? Well, Jesus said that was everybody!
As we celebrate this morning my only prayer would be that someone out there who has not heard, would hear and find the wonderful truth of belief in Christ. HE IS RISEN!
Thanks Be To God! No, that is not my only prayer, I digress, because there are so many, but that one is very high on my list. Sons & daughters, brothers & sisters, grandpas & grandmas, and parents everywhere, look through the eyes of your children and know that God is good! So good that He wants each of us to accompany Him to His home and be with Him forever! Happy Easter 2006! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pieces Of Peace

Most of the pieces of our personal "peace" space are presently broken! I'm going to take some pictures later to better remember what days like this were all about. Out here on the Great American Desert it is construction season, and it will not end until the snows fall. Today, by the way, is Maundy Thursday! We are headed into the Easter weekend of 2006. This evening there will be a service held in many of the area churches. Folks will be reminded of the night that proceeded the taking of our Savior. Before His taking, though, there was this beautiful time that He spent in an upper room with His followers sharing the Passover meal. The neighbor just south of us is cutting down trees and building a garage\workshop. To the west of us the street which fronts our property is being reconstructed(what this means for our lives is a period of anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks without any way in or out other than hoofing it from a half block away). The north is detour city, and the east border is showing all the signs of female spring fever. The college girls that live next door partied until about 3 in the morning. That is the one side that is quiet today!
Such is life! My mind returns to that beautiful evening in the upper room where the Disciples ate and shared the Passover(sader feast)and Holy Communion. That is one piece of peace that cannot be disrupted no matter how much absolute bedlam surrounds our lives. You and I have that opportunity to walk in the peace of our Lord each day of our lives if we so choose. It won't always be easy! Two nights ago my lovely wife and I sat on the yard swing feeling the gentle breeze of spring and watching the nearly full moon glide soundlessly across a cloud strewn sky. God smiled on us, and as we prayed together and cuddled it was a perfect night. Perhaps it is the memories of such perfection that sustain us when all around seems to be coming apart. As you attend the services of this Easter Tide try to bring the peace away with you as a tiny treasure in your mind of the peace our Savior gives to those who are faithful. The peace that surpasses all understanding and gives back to our lives the beauty of an unconditional love that Christ prepared this night to bestow on us. It is in His love that I write to you. God bless, Preacher.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ahead By A Nose!

Having had my nose broken four times in the past 40 years has left me with some interesting breathing problems, not to mention an extremely enlarged proboscis(did I spell that right?)! I never give it too much thought, it's just out there in front of me most of the time and it's great for inserting into other people's business(that's one of the reasons it got broke), but the past few years the pressure from not having my "drain" thing working right has given me some cause for concern. I suppose we all have our physical things we would like to get fixed one way or another. That's what gave rise to these thoughts today! How easy it is to focus entirely on what we see on the outside of people instead of looking where it really matters, on the inside! That's one of the great things about God! He doesn't worry about how we are on the exterior, He likes the inside of us to be straight with Him even when our noses aren't. The skull news piece was on Yahoo today and I couldn't resist looking and reading simply because I do think about my nose problem at times. Thankfully I submit that after reading the article I feel greatly relieved, looking in the mirror, that there may be some way to fix the "thing" without major surgery to correct all of the flaws. It's that way in our lives, too. God can look at us in an instant and see the minor defects that we have and correct them immediately through the insertion of grace into our beings and belief in His Son, my Savior, Christ. As Easter approaches I would encourage each of us to look at our insides and see if there are flaws that we might be able to correct with the simple insertion and infusing of the Holy Spirit in our day to day lives. In essence, we might allow God to fill us up and drain off some of that excess baggage we carry with us everywhere we go. At any rate, I love the imagery. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Monday, April 10, 2006

All Gone Astray?

It was reported by the Associated Press that last July, near the town of Gavas, eastern Turkey, one sheep among a large flock walked to the edge of a cliff and jumped to its death. A second sheep quickly imitated the first, also leaping off the cliff to its death. Then a third sheep followed. Then a fourth. Then a fifth.
"There is no such thing as a sheep that possesses leadership qualities-all are born followers." I'm quoting David Kirkwood, and although I doubt deeply that he has ever spent any time with sheep, has shared some interesting insights concerning people. I was "farm" raised. Growing up one of my duties was to tend the sheep. That was before I was given the free rein of a horse and cattle to watch over. It's a thing you deal with knowing that more responsibility will be given you when you have "grown up" a little more.
David is right about much. When it comes to sheep they are flat out stupid! Did I mention that he was writing about people? Much of the "christian" world is in the same pasture as the shepherds were as they watched their flock go over the cliff, one at a time! Quoting Mr. Kirkwood again he goes on to say, "Sadly, we'll follow just about anyone who appears to know what he is talking about." Have we by default of some sort, or excuse making, given over our reason to people who have not a clue as to where we're going? Somehow I would like for this to not be the "fact of matters" but am beginning to become convinced that people do not really want to see the cliff, or hear the implications that come with jumping off it! (1,499 sheep can't be wrong, can they?)
Our world today is filled with folks that want to share their truth with us. People! It is not their truth you need to concern yourself with. It is yours! You and I need to work through our salvation with all of our strength, all of our intellect, and every resource that is available to enlighten us as to where it is we are going.
I have to quote David one more time, "Sheep are dumb, and I mean d-u-m, dumb. They are easily misled and so are we. As hard as it may be to admit, we generally tend to be followers who let others do our thinking for us. Sadly, we'll follow just about anyone who appears to know what he is talking about." Did you hear that last part? Yup, I reapeated it because that is what has us acting like sheep. Instead of searching for the truth we let others do it for us, and then repeat it as though it were our own. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, follow every path, act, move, made by someone else or on behalf of someone else. Seek first for what God has called you to do, be, say, give, live, believe, and all the rest that goes with it. Then, and only then can you be certain that you are following the true "Lamb of God!" In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Readin' & Ridin' & Rythmatic

Did I get the "Three Rs" spelled rite? I pray so! This is so cool! They've got a ride coming up that I need to be on but life is attacking our home in so many ways it is unbelievable. My wife is on a heart monitor right now, she had severe difficulties as a result of a new health product that she wanted to believe in. That's my personal spin on how things are today, and other opinions may vary depending on who writes them.
The thing about the ride is real. With tongue in cheek(the entire HD family is predominantly christian to the core depending on how you view walkin' the walk)have brought us, via the HOG(Harley Owners Group)an opportunity to visit some fantastic landscape. Not to mention the fellowship and camraderie that accompanies every venture into the unknowns of life. I've covered most of the routes they are going to ride and have to agree it is spectacular! Most of all I would like to agree with the use of titling. "Saints to Sinners" is the label stuck to this one. How appropo that it runs from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada. I'm still laughing over this conjecture of oxymorons. I'm not knocking the territory, I'm enjoying it. Reriding in my mind the highways and cities as they were the last time I was there. In addition to that I'm enjoying the company of the folks that are brothers and sisters spread all over the place. One of my buddies(now quite successful)started a church in his home in Las Vegas after retiring from the ministry at an early age due to theological differences with his denominational affiliations. The guy(Jerry)is not pleasant to look at! He fits better in the biker circles than in the ecumenical libraries, but his life is in Christ. I've got to E this one to him, so he can be ready. Back when all we had was snail mail and the occasional conversation on the phone(land line), I shared with him the agony of birth. Little did we know 25 years ago that Las Vegas would be the most fertile of fields in which to begin planting the seeds of salvation. My hat is off to the HOG heads. You came up with a good one and I will be sharing this with everyone. "Saints to Sinners!" Puts me in mind of Paul when he moved to Rome. Write it as a title and it becomes a book written to help others. Write it as it is being promoted and it should be a cause for common celebration during this wonderful Easter Tide. How? Why, of course, we are all "Sinners to Saints" in the eyes of He who holds the future. He even knows what we will become. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

It's Great To Get Away

This shot was sent "tongue in cheek" from Canada this past week. It seems that some experiences of church camp are not what they're cracked up to be. The blessing isn't shown in the picture. There was no body home! This occurred during breakfast. The most amusing thing about the photo were the accompanying anecdotes and descriptions of people's thoughts on why things happen as they do. We never really know why things happen when they come from the "accidental" realm of our human existence. That is, unless we have a persistent tendency toward the spiritual unseen world that surrounds us at all times. I used to get a kick out of people that were always making something out of nothing. I do know now that there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to little things that just seem to happen in people's lives. Can you imagine the distress the angel holding that particular tree would have been in if the folks in the tent had decided to sleep late? Protection is afforded us in so many ways, and yet we don't really see it as such. Perhaps that has something to do with the need to avoid any pretense of superstitious leanings. We pick them up so quickly that we are really not aware of the baggage they bring into our lives that must accompany us for years. The thing about not walking under a ladder, or black cats crossing one's path, and heaven forbid I should ever break a mirror and be subjected to 7 years worth of misfortune. And it swings the other way, also. We ate out at a casino last evening for the simple reason that it was convenient(half way between us & them)for us to gather there for the absolutely wonderful quisine and the interesting atmosphere. Talk about a place where "luck" is in everyone's back pocket or carried on a key chain. I watched many of the games with a sense of wonder. In particular I was impressed with the manner in which one young man of about 24 years became irritated with a machine that he was feeding $20 bills into. It didn't want to take them all. I thought he was going to say something to the dealer who was an onscreen image, but he refrained. Amazing to watch! All in all it was a wonderful gathering and an opportunity to see a side of humanity that I don't get around much anymore. They're still the same, though. Just as willing as always to rid their pockets and purses of undesirable cash. Ya know, it makes me wonder if I'm not safer sticking to campgrounds! It's a pretty good bet that the tent will be safe from trees falling. Certainly a better way to bet than on a screen similar to this one where the odds of getting three trees in a row is astronomical. Maybe that's why folks refer to it as gambling. How about that eternal bet? I would wager that many folks have no clue if their tent is going to be secure in the next world, that one not made with human hands but existing eternally. The best way to do it is place your faith in the Lord you can know and trust, with your life. He will not desert you, or abandon you, or cause calamity to strike in your life. He is there only to help and preserve that which has been His since He created all of it. In Christ's Love(don't take any wooden nickels), Preacher