He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Example...Explained

I pray that you will forgive me this post in which I focused on the suffering of one person. While thousands of miles away destruction and suffering on a grand scale has occurred. I will address the ravages of Katrina...but for some time now have felt compelled to try and put into words the impactful example of seeing my Pastor Chuck Obremski, in the midst of his ride on the "cancer coaster".

What I wanted to do is try to put into words, what the last two and half years have been like. Going from the heights of seeing God's hand in starting our church, Kindred Community Church, to the depths and desperation we've seen and experienced as cancer has unrelentingly ravaged Chuck's body.

I think the true miracle is that while Chuck is suffering physically and his body is being devastated by cancer...his spirit has remained steady, strong and unwavering. Repeatedly during this time...we've heard and seen a faith, trust and committment to Jesus Christ lived out, not dependent on answered prayer. Or should I say prayer answered in the manner of which we prayed.

I can honestly say...I've never heard, "Why God?". But instead, "What?" What are you going to do through this cancer Lord? How will you use this to further your kingdom? What would you have me to do next Lord? And most importantly, "Not my will, but thine be done Lord.".

Seeing this example lived out in the midst of great personal suffering has impacted many people deeply. As such...God is able to use this cancer to reach out to those who are lost in their sin...and bring them to a saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Praise God!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Favorites


Favorite book...the Bible
Favorite book of the Bible...Romans
Favorite chapter of Romans...Chapter 8
Favorite verse of Romans 8...Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I trust, hope and cling to the truth and promise in this verse. It has brought me much comfort and enabled me to trust God during times of adversity...and see God's hand and Him bringing good out of bad.

What's your favorite book of the Bible and verse? Feel free to post your answer by clicking on Comments. What's your favorite verse and why?

Coveting Your Prayers


"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." - Daniel 3:17-18


Your prayers for my beloved Pastor, Chuck Obremski, his wife Linda and their family are much appreciated and coveted.

Today Chuck was not able to be at church. During the night...Chuck was admitted to the hospital because of intense abdominal pain he was experiencing. Tonight he is resting more comfortably and has received more units of blood. Also of concern is Chuck's blood levels. His platelets are low...and need to come up higher before they can proceed with the chemo treatments. On Monday the doctor will be running a CT scan due to concerns of a mass in his abdomen that appears to be the cause of the intense pain Chuck is experiencing.

Even in the midst of great pain...Chuck's desire was to be at church and preaching the message that God had laid upon his heart, "Thinking Like a Genuine Servant". Lord willing and by His power Chuck will be able to do that.

We thank God for providing his willing and obedient servant Dave Dunn and a timely message on adversity.

Dear Father we lift up our beloved Pastor Chuck to you. We ask for your hand to be upon him, Linda and their entire family. We ask for you to ease Chuck's pain...and increase his platelet levels so his is able to receive the chemo treatments. We ask for you to give the doctors great wisdom and discernment in finding the cause his pain and the best treatment. We ask you to help Chuck bear that which has come upon him. Bring peace and comfort that can only come from you. Give Chuck and Linda great wisdom...may your grace and mercy be poured out upon them. Continue to reach out to the unsaved through Chuck's suffering...and bring many more into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

We know that you are able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine...even healing your servant. Yet we humbly submit to your will and plan...for Chuck and our church. Thank you dear Father, in your Son's blessed name we pray.

Please be sure to click on the link to
Kindred Community Church...so you can download and hear Chuck's recent sermons.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Defeating Real Evil

To those people on the left...or as it's now called the progressives. To those who think evil is the person cutting down trees in the forest, or persons driving SUV's. To those who fight the killing of baby seals...but defend a woman's right to kill her baby up until birth. To the Cindy Sheehan's of this world and those who stand with her...who think real evil is our President taking our battle with the terrorists to the middle east, drawing them to a centralized place and defeating them over there, instead of on our own shores. To those who call President Bush a murderer and terrorist...and say that America has killed millions of people and is not worth dying for. To those who "want to understand" the people that slaughter living human beings created in God's image...like NIck Berg and countless others.

To those who have trivialize rape by defining it as rape when a women regrets the sex she had the night before. To those can't see the racism in thinking that people of color are unable to meet certain standards...so you lower the standards. To those who are left over from the 60's and 70's...who can't see or acknowledge that you just plain got it wrong. You've made the world a worse place, not better. Your naivety can't be excused when it permits evil to continue to flourish.

Please read the words of my friend Dan Horowitz. He's one who get's it...he understand what real evil is.

"While I have been self described as to the right of Atilla the Hun, perhaps in my old age I have become more tolerant of some things which I previously have condemned. But one thing that I have learned in my life is that evil is best fought with the barrel of a gun. You do not defeat tyrants with words, resolutions,self doubt, offers of therapy, you defeat tyrants by standing up to them, refusing to be cowed and when all else fails, military action. How many of my relatives would still be alive if during the beginnings of world war two the British and French tried using force versus appeasement? Peace in our time as said by Neville Chamberlain resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent people."


"Will people never learn that the price of freedom is paid in blood, not speeches! I’ll get off my soapbox now."

Thank you Dan for so eloquently putting into words how to fight evil in this world. Please...don't get off your soap box...it's a message much needed by a naive people.

You Don't Know Me


You give your hand to me
And then you say, "Hello."
And I can hardly speak,
My heart is beating so.
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well.
Well, you don't know me.

No you don't know the one
Who dreams of you at night;
And longs to kiss your lips
And longs to hold you tight
Oh I'm just a friend.
That's all I've ever been.
Cause you don't know me.

For I never knew the art of making love,
Though my heart aches with love for you.A
fraid and shy, I let my chance go by.
A chance that you might love me too.

You give your hand to me,
And then you say, "Goodbye."
I watched you walk away,
Beside the lucky guy
Oh, you'll never ever know
The one who loved you so.
Well, you don't know me

For I never knew the art of making love,
Though my heart aches with love for you.
Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by.
A chance that you might love me too.

Oh, you give your hand to me,
And then you say, "Goodbye."
I watched you walk away,
Beside the lucky guy
Oh, you'll never ever know
The one who loved you so.
Well, you don't know me

Music and Lyrics by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker
Ray Charles...with his voice of velvet...this album is pure magic. Be sure to give it a listen...Ray Charles "Genius Loves Company".
For My Sam!

Point...Counterpoint!

My friend Dan Horowitz sent the following response, via e-mail, about my early posting on Hugo Chavez:

"I was quite amused by the remarks of Pat Robertson coming from a man of god, I was a bit surprised. While I absolutely despise hugo chavez (not worth capitalizing his name), perhaps Pat's comments will mobilize the opposition in Venezuela. I have two good friends who live there and their lives are being ruined by chavez. If you do not support him or vote for him, you are unable to get a passport to leave the country. Both of my friends voted against him and now when they tried to renew their passports, they were told they cannot get one. So now they are stuck in the country with this tyrant."

"Perhaps since he is already paranoid, this will drive him over the edge. I don't really care what the Venezuelans think of our country, as to be honest, they are but a speck of dust on the map. The only importance they have is their oil. I'm sure chavez will continue to boast that his troops will defeat the USA in case of a invasion. (Perhaps if we only sent two Marines, his army might have a chance to defeat us.) But since that is not going to happen, he will continue his slide towards fidel castro and ruin the lives of the citizens of Venezuela."

To Dan's comments...I must say I second them. Chavez is a tyrant...and must be disposed. He is slip sliding his way towards Communism and totalitarianism. He is evil and wicked...and must be removed from power. Amen, preach it brother!

Unlike the Hollywood left who are enchanted with the likes Castro...I have nothing but distain for him and look forward to that day I wake up to the news that he is dead. Like Dennis Prager frequently points out the left goes around singing the praises of Castro and saying that in Cuba there is a 100% literacy rate. But what they leave out is that they are not free to read what they want. Better to be uneducated, illiterate and free. You can get educated and become literate...but the freedom thing is a little harder to achieve...just ask a few Iraqi's.


I hate all bullies...and think they need to be opposed and removed from power...from the school yard to those running a country.

While I agree with Dan's comments and even understand Pat Robertson's comments, I'm looking at them from standpoint of coming from a Christian leader. I'm not setting myself up as a paragon of virtue...goodness knows I've said worse about leaders whom I oppose. Yet...I also know there is a bigger picture than this world. As a Christian leader Pat is called to a higher standard.

Thank you Dan for your perspective. Dan, for as long as I've known him has been a passionate conservative...and speaks the truth. I love that and respect that about Dan. In a world filled with people being politically correct or burring their head the sand...it is refreshing to have the truth spoken so clearly. I always remember Dan describing himself as "being to the right of Attila the Hun". I've adopted that description too.

Dan just recently had a couple of job interviews...and is waiting to hear back. He is an excellent investigator...and I'm selfishly hoping he get the job based in California. It's been too many years since I've seen Dan or talked to him. Please join me in lifting Dan in prayer as waits to hear back about his recent job interviews.

Thanks Daniel...please feel free to comment any time. I greatly respect your very conservative and proud American and Jewish perspective. Dan...you need to get back to California...into Prager territory. We need more good conservatives in this very liberal state.

Pat...one last thing!

Pat...one last thing. And it's a poor reflection on me as a Christian that this was not my first point to you.

As a Christian and Christian leader, entrusted with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, you have been called to pray for the repentance and salvation of Hugo Chavez.

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

"Everyone"...includes Hugo Chavez!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Pat...What were you thinking?

You know...it's been a really long week...and I'm tired. But before the week is up I feel compelled to speak out against Pat Robertson's comments on Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.

One of my biggest criticism of Muslims is that they remain silent when fellow Muslims commit evil acts of terror in the name of their god. I want to make sure that I don't turn a blind eye or act complacent when a fellow Christian errs...especially so publicly.

So Pat...let's take a look at what you said: "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on his Christian Broadcasting Network. "We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

What you said was patently wrong...from beginning to end. So where do I start? Well first and foremost what you said brings reproach on the name of Christ. To have a Christian advocating the assassination of a leader goes against the very Book that you believe in and hold dearly.

May I remind you that in
1 Samuel 24, that David purposely decided that he would not kill King Saul even when presented with an easy opportunity to do so. This after numerous attempts by Saul to kill David. Saul hated him and wanted him dead. Yet David took the higher road and trusted God and His timing and plan to remove Saul from power.

1 Samuel 24:10 "This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, 'I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD's anointed."

Vs. 12 & 13 - "May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,' so my hand will not touch you."

Pat, that is quite different from your comments. A Christian should never be a tool or instrument to bring harm or evil upon another.

Your comments brought reproach upon fellow Christians. In a world that already hates us or is suspicious of Christians and believes that we are filled with hate and intolerant...you just confirmed their suspicions.

Tell me...do you think it more likely that unbelievers will be attracted to Jesus or less likely after hearing your comments?

You are giving unbelievers, who are already dead in their sins, a reason to remain there...since they have seen a very ugly side of a Christian. Trust me...Satan will use this to keep more people from coming to a saving faith in Christ.

Your comments brought reproach upon our beloved country, the United States of America and our President. President Chavez was already paranoid and thought that the US was out to get him...and now he has it from the lips of a famous American whose voice is heard around the world. Just lovely!

By the way...we tired this back in 1961...it was a dismal failure. You might have heard of it...it was called the Bay of Pigs. When someone thought it would be a peachy keen idea to take Castro out of the game. Bottom line...it didn't work. It was a big fat failure and brought much embarrassment to the US.

Pat...no matter which way you examine your statement it was wrong and hurt in ways you can't begin to count. So what is a Christian leader to do when they see evil and a power hungry leader inching his way towards totalitarianism? You are to speak out and speak the truth and tell of what he is doing and why it's wrong. Inspire and encourage those who have the will to oppose him, his own people, to rise up and regain power. Not through assassination or murder but by ousting him...and putting someone his place that will uphold the rights and freedom it's citizens.

Your comments have brought to light the fact that there is opposition to Hugo Chavez. Your inappropriate comments may in fact have effectively killed or put on hold a successful deposing of this man. So in the end...you comments back fired and caused harm, not good. Let me leave you with this verses from
Titus 3:8:

"This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. "

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blessed to Overflowing

Emma and Destinee...Miracles from God


In my earlier post I wrote about Emma and Destinee's mom...Theresa. I told about what a wonderful and loving mother she is. And there is no better evidence of this sacrificial love than her girls. You see both Destinee and Emma were premature. Destinee about a month early and Emma a whopping three months early. Obviously their birth and subsequent good health are a work and miracle from a loving God. It is also a result of the sacrificial love from their mom.

To ensure that Emma had enough womb time and increase her chances to be born healthy...Theresa had a lengthy hospital stay. Then Miss Emma could wait no longer and made her grand entrance a breathtaking 3 months early. Both mom and dad...big sister Destinee made the hospital their home away from home until their daughter could join them at home. A little over three years later brother Abraham would join this loving family.

I want you think for a moment...Miss Emma was three months premature. A stage in the womb in which many states would still permit someone to have an abortion. While very tiny, Emma was in every way fully human, deserving of life...and loved by her parents, sister and Creator. Not only was Emma a blessing to her family...God blessed her abundantly with wonderful, devoted, loving parents. Parents willing to obey God and sacrifice for their children. God has and continues to bless this precious family.

Theresa, Hector, Destinee, Emma and Abraham...I love you very much!

The above picture is of Emma and Destinee. They have been chosen to be part of ad campaigns for the Red Cross. This picture will be seen all around...promoting the importance blood donations and the difference that you can make in the life of another person.

Blessings from God

Abraham..."Mommy's Little Jelly Bean"


Mom Theresa writes the following about her baby boy, Abraham.

"I must tell you the story of Abraham, now I am sure you have heard the one in the Bible. But mine is a bit different version. "

"There once was a boy named Abraham who had two sisters who love him very much. Well they thought he was so cute that when they notice a onsie that he was wearing said "Mommy's Little Jelly Bean", they decided that they would call him Bean. Now there are two reasons why that name fits him. When he came home from the hospital he was on the little side...kinda like a little bean. He was also a bit on the gassy side too. So the name just stuck and my poor boy will need therapy to figure that one out. Since he has been given the name Bean we now fly through the house and yell "Super Bean" and then Abraham gets that look on his face that you see in the picture. He really enjoys flying and we have fun watching the expressions. "

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the ways in which God has blessed me greatly is by bring extraordinary people into my life...who are disguised leading ordinary lives.

I know Theresa from work...and while greatly sadden when she decided to leave work...I was confident that she was making the right decision. Following God's leading, she quit so she could be a full time, stay at home mom...to raise her two girls Destinee and Emma.

There are two people in my life of whom I consider among the best moms. If I were ever to have children...and not be able to be home with them...I'd want these two ladies to watch them. Because I know without a doubt...they'd be loved and given the best of care. One is my friend Nancy...and the other Theresa. They are both incredible moms...and it would be a dream come true if they were your mom.

Abraham is Theresa and Hector's third child. I think they should go for an even dozen...since they are awesome parents. But I do believe they have their hands full as is.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Ten Commandments...Cajun Style

1. God is number one...and that's all.

2. Don't pray to nothing or no one...just God.

3. Don't cuss nobody...especially the good Lord.

4. It's Sunday...why don't you pass yourself by God's house.

5. Your folks done did it all...listen to them.

6. Killing ducks and fish, that's okay...people no.

7. God gave you a wife...sleep with just her.

8. Don't take nobody's boat...or nothing else.

9. Stop lying...your tongue is gonna fall out.

10. Don't go around wanting some body's stuff.


Yesterday I left my I-pod at work...so I wasn't able to download Dennis Prager's show for my morning walk. So out came the good old Walkman...while I fished around for a Bible study tape from Chuck. I selected one from 11/17/02, called Fulfill You Ministry Part 2 (2 Timothy 4:2).

We've all had those times where God brings just the right message to you, at just the right time. Well this was one of those times. In the middle of the tape...was "The Ten Commandments...Cajun Style". Using a New Orleans accent Chuck rattled them off and as he always does...making things clear, plain and simple.

It was great listening from almost three years ago. It was pre Chuck's cancer, it was pre our starting Kindred Community Church...we were still a Bible study back then. It was after the Angel's had won the World Series...and post 9/11. So a lot of memories poured forth while listening to this tape as Chuck referenced these events.

It would have been about six weeks before our church had it's first official Sunday as a church. It was an exciting and scary time...but one filled with expectation to see what God would do.

Back then Chuck had a lot of energy that he put into his studying and preaching...and he had a bit of an edge too. Chuck always has a passion for God's word....and speaks the truth in a straightforward and direct manner. While his passion and drive remain...Chuck has softened a bit...and God continues to transform him into the one whom I refer to as my beloved Pastor.

This was really wonderful reflecting back on all the God has done over the past...almost three years now. Praise God...and my great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To Post or Not to Post...That is the Question!

Well I have come into possession of a terrifically wonderful photo....that can surely be classified as "it just doesn't get better than this file".

It's a picture of an individual...who at this time shall remain nameless...dancing on a table, during a meeting no less. Now the folks that know him...would be hard pressed to imagine him doing this even in an inebriated state. But this boy was stone cold sober and dancing in front of over 200 people. (I guess we can cross shy off his list character traits?)

Alright...so maybe he's a bit competitive...and was spurred on by the enthusiastic cheers of his people. Perhaps he wanted to see his competitor buried in the dust by his skillful dancing reminiscent of Fred Astaire...or is that Michael Jackson? (Actually he reminded me a bit more of Zorba the Greek.)

And now I'm left with this dilemma...to post the photo or not? So...what do I do? I have no doubt that if the situation was reversed...it would have been posted within seconds of it being snapped. And goodness knows this individual is always quick on the draw with a cleaver and pithy comment whenever the opportunity strikes. (However I did advise him recently...that he really needs to work on clear and direct comments. Especially when communicating with folks over 40...whose brain function is somewhat impaired...even on a good day.)

Now I truly must be getting soft and weak willed in my old age. Heck...I'm just plain loosing it...because my first instinct is to give this gent a break...and be charitable.

So reluctantly...for the moment...I am going to resist temptation to post this photo. Keeping in mind that if the spirit moves me...I may reevaluate this decision.

Even now as I'm walking away from the computer...I'm shaking my head and muttering...I'm loosing it. Next thing you know...I'll be campaigning for Hillary. Okay...let's not go that far. Perish that thought. Hummm...what do I do?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Forgiveness

Courtesy of Merriam Webster's website...here is the definition of forgiveness:

Function: verb

Middle English, from Old English forgifan, from for- + gifan to givetransitive senses

1 a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
b : to grant relief from payment of

2 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) :
PARDON intransitive senses :
to grant forgiveness
synonym see EXCUSE

Sunday, August 21, 2005

All Glory Be Given to Jesus Christ!

1 Peter 4:11 - "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

Today, my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski was able to preach...as the verse above states...he did so with the strength God provided.

We give Jesus Christ praise, honor and glory for the work that he is doing in and through Chuck. We thank him for continuing to touch people's lives and transform them with the powerful and mighty Word of God.

Today's message was a continuation, follow up to last week's sermon..."A Genuine Servant Forgives and Forgets!" It was a most excellent sermon...both challenging and convicting. I'll be transcribing my notes within the next day or two. I would encourage you to please visit
Kindred Community Church's website...where you will find messages available to listen on line or download.

You ongoing prayers for this beloved man of God are much appreciated...as he continues to yield himself and his life to God.

A Genuine Servant Forgives

Notes from Chuck Obremski's sermon 8/14/05
Mark 10:45

1. The Two Possibilities
A. The Offender
B. The Offended

2. The Offender (
Matthew 5:23-24)
A. Stop
B. Go
C. Reconcile
D. Return

3. The Offended (
Matthew 18:21-35)
A. Recognize - that we will have an unlimited number of opportunities to forgive others. (
Matthew 18:21-22)

B. Realized - that forgiving is possible only as a response to the grace of God. (
Matthew 18:27)

C. Resist - the temptation to be hypocritical. (
Matthew 18:28-30)

D. Refusal - to forgive will have severe consequences . (
Matthew 18:34-35)

Not difficult to offend. Francis Schaeffer said that people naturally want to boss others around. One does not automatically abandon this mentality when he becomes a Christian. Our greatest battle is not one with God...Jesus took care of that. But our greatest battle is with each other.

Mark 10:45 - "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

This will change your life if you understand the principal.

Forgiveness is not optional for Christians. What is the number one way to resolve conflict? Forgiveness. Both to give and receive it. Misunderstanding or miscommunication...sometimes it is unknown by us that we have hurt someone, that we caused offense. We don't recognize it or realize it. Communication is so important, listening to words and what was said.

Inability to forgive destroys any relationship. It will effect the body of Christ. We will hurt one another intentionally or unintentionally. Don't assess motives to one another. Forgiveness is the oil of relationships. It reduces friction. Horizontal forgiveness between people. God's forgiveness of us makes it possible for us to forgive others.

Ephesians 4:29-32 - No unwholesome words...only that which is edifying.

Two possibilities:
1) The Offender - sometimes on purpose
2) The Offended

Sometimes we may not be aware of how we offended. When offended, we may reply, "if you don't know by now...I'm not going to tell you."

God's word brings clarity when we are confused.
Matthew 5:23-24

Offender - what are we suppose to do when we realize it? Stop everything we are doing...stop pretending. Take a good hard look at what God is tugging at to get our attention. Stop pretending that it will go away. You are to go and take care of it.

We should not be like Peter when he questioned about John, "What about that guy?" Don't be concerned about him...be concerned about yourself. Be concerned about God. Differences should be addressed face to face, if possible. Don't e-mail...leave out the confusion of misinterpretation. No matter what, just go!

Be reconciled. Do not be angry. It brings about a change of heart. The goal...is peace among the brethren. It's important to be able to disagree, agreeably.

Return...come again to serve the Lords, present your offering. Nothing will hold us like unfinished business.

Servant - requires humility. It also requires humility to forgive. I'm responsible to that which is right before God. You are then freed up to move forward with the Lord once you take those actions. Certain injuries take a while to heal up.

What if you've been offended?
Matthew 18:21-35

When you've been offended...there are times when you just need to get over it. Stop whining and crying...get over it. Remember...the world doesn't revolved around us. It's not all about you...there's a bigger picture. What is it that is in the best interest of everyone? We are to consider one another as more important than ourselves. Have the best interest of others at heart. Do I have to have my way all the time? Do I have the attitude that it's all about me?

The Offended...there are an unlimited number of times we will have for forgive one another. Peter asked the question...how many times do I have to forgive? We are always looking for an out. We have an unlimited number of times to forgive because you have an unlimited number of times you will cause offense.

Colossians 2:13-14 - Our transgressions were nailed to the cross. Without that vertical forgiveness...we would not have the ability to forgive others. Have you been broken yet? We are able to forgive others only as a response to the grace of God. Resist the temptation to be a hypocrite. The reason we don't forgive is because we are unwilling. We have the capacity to forgive. We don't because we are unwilling.

Relationships that you thought were dead can be mended...made alive again. When you don't forgive...you pay a heavy price. Unforgiveness is like self strangulation.

Chuck then told the story about Johnny and Sally...playing in the barn yard. Johnny killed the duck accidentally with the sling shot...and Sally saw it. She held it over his head repeatedly, manipulating Johnny into doing all sorts of work for her. Until one day when Johnny could stand it no longer, he confessed to killing the duck to his grandma. Grandma told Johnny that she had seen him kill the duck when it happened. She wanted to know how long he would let Sally hold it over his head before he asked for forgiveness. She had forgiven him the day it happened. But he didn't take hold of that forgiveness until he confessed and asked for forgiveness.

How long will let you your Sally, AKA unforgiveness, make you a slave?

God too has been standing at the window and saw it all...and forgiven.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

And God Said No


We prayed for healing and wholeness,
and God said, "No, I have another plan".

We cried out to remove this pain,
and God said, "No, I will help you bear it."

We prayed that he would remain a while longer,
and God said, "No, trust me."

We cried out for strength to bear our burdens,
and God said, "I am your strength and shield."

We prayed for peace,
and God said, "My peace I give you."

We cried out with praise for our great God and Savior,
and God said, "Come, I will give you rest."

by Susan Bunts 8/20/05

I Need a Sam


Like Frodo of old,
I need a Sam,
A friend by my side,
For all life's adventures.

A friend ever faithful,
A friend so true,
Through thick and through thin,
Even to the end, he's always my friend.

My Sam...where are you?
by Susan Bunts - 8/19/05

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself Standing in the Son
I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

I awaken to this song "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me , every morning by CD. I never grow tired of it...in fact in some weird way...I don't mind that alarm clock going off because I know I will awaken to something that touches my spirit and sparks my imagination...to something more than just this world. Praise God!

How's Your Fruit Growing?

But the fruit of the Spirit is...
love,
joy,
peace,
patience,
kindness,
goodness,
faithfulness,
gentleness
and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, August 19, 2005

A True Delight

Be sure to click on the above link...and explore Bonnie Lehigh's blog at God's Most Wanted. The posting that caught my attention is one called "No Other Name But Son"...it's beautiful and deep.

Bonnie's site has some fun and whimsical postings...and some that will challenge Christians in their walk...or lead others to Christ.

Thanks Bonnie...your blog is a true delight
!

Adopt a Roberts' Box

I'm on a vacation day...and listening to one of my favorite radio guys...Hugh Hewitt. Today, Hugh lead off his show with announcement that the Reagan Library had released boxes of documents with John Roberts work at the White House Councils office. Hugh offered to let bloggers "adopt a box"...for the purpose of reviewing the contents and reporting back on what it contained. Took a break from cleaning...and here's what I found in my adopted box.

Contents of this box is are two memo's with John Robert's review and approval of a Press Statement and Presidential Remarks about results from a Joint Study on Acid Rain commissioned by Canada and the US. Also included are the tracking and routing sheets that accompanied the drafts of the press statement and Presidential remarks.

1) Memo dated 3/17/86

To: David Chew - Staff Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President
From: John Roberts
What: A review, response and approval of a Press Statement about a joint study with Canada and the US on Acid Rain.

Tracking sheet showing the routing of the statement
Sheet showing persons the statement was sent to for action (reading and providing any comments by 4:00 PM that same day) and FYI copies as well.

Draft of a White House Press Statement: Brief overview...the President and Prime Minister Mulroney had commissioned Drew Lewis and William Davis in Quebec City to conduct a thorough study on acid rain and to report their findings by 1/8/86.

After reviewing their report the President fully endorsed the Joint Report of the Special Envoys. The report states that acid rain is a serious environmental problem in both the US and Canada.

US had pioneered air pollution controls and since 1970 had spent approx. $75 billion dollars since the passage of the Clean Air Act to limit emissions of pollutants (precursors of acid rain). By 1990, estimate that $100 billion will have been spent. As a result the emissions have declined significantly.

Joint report notes that more needs to be done. Administration has already provided substantial supports. From 1981 to 1985, $2.2 billion has been allocated for research for clean coal utilization.

Administration will continue to pursue a program to develop innovative control technologies. 1986, $700 million dollars have been earmarked for clean coal research between 1986 and 1991. Additionally $800 million in join industry and government program to develop clean ways to burn coal. Will seek to provide future funding.

Departments and agencies to take following steps to implement recommendations:
Identify and assess cost effective, innovative approaches to reduce emissions leading to acid rain.

  • Strengthen bilateral consultation and information exchanges with Canada.
  • Conduct interagency review of relevant research. (Reviews actions already taken.)
  • Concludes...that acid rain will be a continuing item on future summit meetings.

2) Memo dated 3/18/86

To: Ben Elliott - Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriter
From: John Roberts
What: A review, response and approval of Presidential remarks about a joint study with Canada and the US on Acid Rain.

Tracking sheet showing the routing of the statement
Sheet showing persons the statement was sent to for action (reading and providing any comments ASAP that same day) and FYI copies as well. Directed to give comments directly to Ben Elliott and copy correspondent Chew.

Brief Presidential statement on 3/18/86, at 3:00 PM (NBC/Elliott)

Similar to the above press release...only briefer...and not as detailed. The President speaking with Bill Davis and Drew Lewis present. The President gives a brief overview on the joint commissioned study. Acknowledges Davis and Lewis' presence and commends them for their work and expresses appreciation for their balanced report.

Endorses the report and tells a press release will be forth coming shortly.

Acknowledges that acid rain will continue to be on the agenda. That scientific and economic problems remain to be resolved. Continued cooperation and good will between Canada and the US on this common problem will benefit future generations in both countries.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Living Grace


We all sing about grace, talk about it, and have heard sermons on it and even done Bible studies on grace. Many of us have heard the definition of grace as God extending unmerited favor towards us. While accurate and giving a multifaceted look at grace...I have found these to be wholly inadequate to understanding grace and experiencing it.

The place where I've found grace...is in the things that I probably wouldn't have signed up for. Things like my mom having Alzheimer’s...and dealing with all the "stuff" that surrounds it. Or still being single at the age of 46...enduring the loss of loved ones...or going through times when friends and family are scarce. But it's been precisely those times when God has revealed to me and supplied me with a living grace.

Sometimes that grace is in the form of a growing wisdom and understanding that comes from experiences, making mistakes and learning. Sometimes is comes in seeing God's grace lived out in the lives of people before you...such as my beloved Pastor Chuck and his wife Linda. Sometimes it comes from seeing fear of death evaporate in a man drawing close to his Lord and Savior, as with my friend Hugo when he faced a seemly early death... (early from human perspective). Sometimes it comes when reflecting upon the death of a friend like Neil...and seeing the blessings of that person with new eyes. And vowing not to take for granted those currently in your life...and not wanting to miss anymore opportunities.

Sometime God presents those grace opportunities to you when he allows you to offer a kind word or dead to a hurting person. And God in turn pours out His grace to you...through the people and experiences he brings into your life. It may be a timely word of encouragement when you are discouraged and just plain having a bad day. Sometimes it's a song on the radio that lifts your spirits...and stays with you throughout the day. It may be a Bible verse that you read...that you see with new eyes and an open heart.

Anyway...while I wouldn't have signed up for these experiences they have taught me, shown me and proven to me God's living grace...I am ever so grateful to have it. And frankly...I wouldn't trade who and what I am now...and what I've learned...to be a little less bruised by life. Now don't get me wrong...there is not a day that goes by in which I don't pray for God to move his hand and remove or change these situations which have burdened my heart and soul.

But...in the midst I have found a living grace. A grace from God...that is more than adequate for all that I encounter.

Before I conclude...I must challenge myself and any readers...to make sure that we don't miss those opportunities that God will lay before us...to extend God's living grace to others we encounter. A living grace that helps us to bear the stormy seas that want to swamp and ultimately sink our tiny boat called life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Much Appreciated!

Thank you Maverick in Malaysia and Bonnie in Florida for visiting Susan's Blog. Thanks for taking the time to read some postings...and especially for taking the time to comment. I greatly appreciate the feedback and getting to know people that are stopping by.

May God bless you this week...and you continue to be a blessing to others as well.


Be well...Susan


Monday, August 15, 2005

Who Is the Happiest Person You Know?


My favorite radio program...is Dennis Prager's show. It is exceptional. Frequently Dennis will refer to his show as "Prager University"...and in some respects it truly is. Actually the wisdom and truth that comes on this show exceeds that which is found in most universities today.

My favorite hour of each week is the Happiness Hour. Topics vary from week to week...but they always center around some theme or topic having to do with happiness. Attitude...can things or experiences help contribute to your happiness...how others can impact your happiness...choosing to be happy, etc.

Last Friday's show was particularly good. The topic was Who Is the Happiest Person You Know and Why? I didn't have to think too long and hard to figure out that answer...and found myself chomping at the bit to send Dennis an e-mail in response to his questions. Below is the e-mail I sent Dennis in response.

Dear Dennis,

My favorite hour of the week is always...The Happiness Hour. This last weeks show in particular really touched me. Who is the happiest person you know and why?

Two people immediately came to mind...both of whom I know through work.

The first one is Dan Quinn. Dan knows that happiness is a choice...not that he's lived a cushy life with no problems. But instead he chooses to be happy and everyday make a difference for good in the lives of people he encounters. He knows how much as an individual we can impact people...and he makes every effort to treat people like he'd want to be treated...and even better. He always has a good word or is doing a special deed to help someone. He has a great appreciation and is most grateful for the good people and things in his life that he has been blessed with.

Deanna Peterson is the second person who comes to mind. Deanna is so very special...and has a true joy for life. It's somewhat part of her natural disposition. She's always bright and cheery...and brightens peoples days. It's hard to have a bad day around Deanna. She is always seeking to do special things to brighten someone's day...and make them happy. She does so without expecting something back. When something bad happens...she chooses not to dwell on it...but lets it go and moves on to the next surprise that life has to offer. She rejoices in the beauty of every day and the blessings that it brings...if only you look at it with the right eyes.

I consider it a privilege to know both Dan and Deanna...they are exceptional people. Thank you Dennis for this show...it helped me to see happiness in a more personal way...in the people I know.


If you are not acquainted with Dennis...I encourage you to visit his website, listen to his radio show and read his articles. You will be challenged and grow in your thinking, reason and clarity.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Servant as a Giver

Notes from Chuck Obremski's sermon 8/7/05

The Servant as a Giver
Mark 10:45

Mark 10:45 - "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

1. Genuine servants should give anonymously. (
Matt 6:1-4)
2. Genuine servants should giver generously. (
2 Tim 1:15-18, and 2 Cor 8:1-4)
3. Genuine servants should give voluntarily. (
2 Cor 8:3-4, 9:7 and 1 Peter 5:2-7)
4. Genuine servants should give personally. (
2 Tim 1:16-18 and 2 Cor 8:1-5)

We are always looking for an out...a way not to give...because we are selfish.

In
Philippians 2:1-4, we learn that we are to put others first, ahead of ourselves. Do nothing out of selfish ambition...or empty conceit. Don't let these control what you do. It can be counteracted by what we learn from the word of God. If we know we are prone to these things - selfishness, conceit and pride we need to come up with counter measures. We also need to understand our tendency...and then take action.

Chuck then used a number of sports analogies...most of which were baseball or football related...and went right over this girls head. However one point he made I did understand...we can't get behind in the count. Instead we need to replace these tendencies with humility of mind. This is how we counteract selfishness and end conceit.

How? By regarding others as more important than yourself. If we do this, we will not fall prey to our selfish and prideful tendencies.

Do you look for ways to support, encourage and build others up? Humility is in the mind...an attitude...a preset attitude. Today I am going to care more about those around me. Put others first. With the Holy Spirit...living through us we learn to live out what is unnatural. Today...put others first.

Romans 12:10-13, 1 Cor 2:3-5, 2 Cor 3:5...don't worry about judging the motives of others based on what they say. Why? Because when we do we are way off base. We are projecting. Changes our heart, causes us to be bitter. Instead we need to let God judge and deal with it.

Gal 5:13 - Serve one another in love. 1 these 2:7-8 & 5:11, encourage one another. Do people like being around you? Do people feel like something is missing when you are not around? Do you always have something good to say? Yet not compromising the truth...but instead speaking the truth in love. Are you missed? Do you contribute something positive and towards others? To their growth and walk with the Lord?

Where do you turn when you need God's truth and help? Will people look to you as someone with that wisdom?

Do you encourage and build up others? Yet...you want to also be balanced. Must not come from a place in which you feel inferior. Not be intimidated by any man. Even now we can come boldly because we know God...Christ and Him crucified. Not inferior. It's all about Jesus...and to Him alone will I bow.

Who is your hero? Is it Jesus? As a Christian...how could it not be Jesus?

How should a servant give? With anonymity...
Matt 6:1-4. Let no one know what you are doing. No bragging, fanfare or recognition. We serve a mighty God. Give and He will reward at the proper time.

A former President commented about choosing cabinet appointees. I chose people who had a passion for anonymity. They want to come in and get the work done. Don't care about recognition.

When we give and want to be recognized by men, we have already received our reward. Does it even compare to God's reward? What he sees in secrete he will reward openly. A reflection of the hearts of men if they only get recognition. Ask yourself why do you give?

2 Cor 8:9...talks about giving. Every financial decision is a spiritual decision. 2 Cor 8:1-5...practice the art of unselfish giving. Seek to remain anonymous.

2 Tim 1:15-18. Onesiphorus was continually looking out for Paul in the prison systems...so he could give and minister to his needs. Searched hard...and was likely abused in the process. God will not forget him.

Give to others in the midst of our own needs. That is awesome and godly...what a servant is all about. God will keep working on us to conform us not the image of Christ.

2 Cor 8:3-4...gave freely of their own accord...looking out for the needs of one another. Don't hall your baggage to this church. Let it go...let's start fresh. Let's trust that God will do a mighty work. Work if we are obedient, servant and willing giver. 2 Cor 9:7...thoughtful and cheerful giver.

How many people speak out when they are hurting? They don't speak out...until we reach out to them and say I care about you. We are to bear one another's burdens. Ministry is personal.

2 Cor 8:1-5...give yourself first to the Lord. First we need a heart transplant...be transformed.

We are never more like God than when we give
.


Be sure to check out the online sermons...at Kindred Community Church. Available for download.

What a Mighty God We Serve

Psalm 68:35 - You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

We give praise to our great God and Savior for His sustaining power and strength that he has bestowed upon Chuck and Linda. This past week Chuck underwent 5 days of heavy duty chemo. Through it all, it was his desire to be obedient to God and preach His Word to a hungry congregation and a needy, dying world.

We thank God for enabling Chuck to continue to preach despite the heavy assault to his body from cancer and the equally taxing treatments. We are thankful to be witnesses to the continuous miracles God is doing in and through Chuck.

We are also thankful, give praise and are humbled by our Pastor, Chuck Obremski's continued willingness and obedience to heed the call from his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Glorious Splendor

5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Oh my...I found this incredible, awe inspiring picture on David Fisher's blog at Pilgrim Scribblings. David says this photo is of the Carrizo plain in the Trembler Range, 50 miles west of Bakersfield, CA.

My eyes are transfixed on this magnificent beauty of God's handiwork. At once it takes my breath away...and fills me with songs of praise for my Creator and Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Deceived or Deceiver?

It is not my intent with this posting to be ugly or vulgar. But just as God has given me words of inspiration lately summarizing my beloved Pastor’s living example and God’s wonderful plan…so too I feel as if I am bubbling forth with words to describe an experience with an individual I’ve met. This time with an unfavorable impression.


Deceived or Deceiver?

Arrogant
Narcissistic
Know It All

Yet Talented
Skillful
And a hard worker too

Player
User
There’s no one but you

Deceiver
No trust is bestowed upon you
No respect is due you

Empty
Disgusting
“Son of a”…yeah one of those too

Example to no one
Except to all
On what not to be

Friends
So called,
They see through you too

Deceived
Alone
And Facing the End

Will you get it, realize you erred
Or harden your heart
And face a fiery end

By Susan Bunts 8/12/05

Well arighty…I know this one is rather dark. Don’t mean to bring you down. One thing that I thank God for is gift discernment. I am very grateful for it…and I’m sure God has used it to spare me some pain over the years

As revolting as I found this individual to be…I know as a Christian that God can even reach out and touch this person and change him. That while I was repulsed…God still loves him. So I guess I’ll conclude this posting with a prayer God will reach out, touch this man’s heart…and bring him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That I’ll be able to stand back and see God do a great and mighty work in the life of a sinful man.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Who is this boy?

Peter C...age 3
AKA...Rico Suave

This precious picture is of Peter Coutsoumbos...also known as Peter C...mostly because folks struggle with pronouncing his very Greek name.

Now Peter C...is still one handsome dude...albeit a little less hair on his head these days. He's also a heartbreaker...no time more so than when he married his beautiful bride Tami last fall.

For a very long time...Peter seemed like a confirm bachelor. But God had other plans and brought Tami into his life. Now it took a few years for Peter to work up the courage and take the plunge. I remember quite clearly a number of times when Peter would talk about when he first met Tami...he knew that she would be his bride.

When Peter married Tami...he became father to Mandalyn. What a terrifically fun dad Peter is. He's never lost that child's spirit within...and was made an even better dad from having many sisters to help buff out those rough edges.

Peter and Tami are expecting their baby daughter Zoe...who is due on 9/12/05. Her grand entrance is much anticipated.

I've known Peter for probably about 10 years now. I first met him when he came out for a visit to So Cal...as our Loss Prevention program was evolving.

Peter has always been a terrific guy...I can honestly say he's a delight to know. I had the best laugh of my life on a boo boo that Peter made. Even now...it brings a chuckle when I remember it. We'll save that story for another day.

Make no mistake...Peter was great guy. But "that guy" pales in comparison to the man he is and is becoming. I can honestly say...it has been a honor to know Peter...and see him grow before my very eyes into a wonderful husband, father and man.

I envy you greatly Peter and Tami...but I think you already know that. I can't wait till baby Zoe is born...and I can hold that little one in my arms. Just the thought makes me cry.

Peter...baby Zoe already has you wrapped around her little finger...she will be most fortunate to have you as her daddy. I pray God's blessing upon you, Tami, Mandalyn and baby Zoe. May God protect you, watch over you, and guide and direct each step.

Monday, August 08, 2005

JOY
Our hearts filled with joy,
Singing praise and thanksgiving
Loudly proclaiming the glories of our God

Each moment a treasure
A precious gift from above
Given to His own, from the Savior with love

One heart,
One mind,
One body in Christ

One Father,
One Savior,
One Spirit indwelling

Laughter and joy and peace fill this place
As He endlessly pours out
His marvelous grace


Yesterday's service was so wonderful...a true gift from God. I think all who attended were filled to overflowing with joy and peace from our Savior. What a delight. Yet...we remain ever cognizant that each moment is a gift...we are not promised even the next minute.

Trust in God, our faith and praise must not be based in our outward circumstances. Our eyes must be focused on God and Him alone. God alone is our Foundation, our Rock...He alone will never change. Circumstances will change, our health will decline and people will fail us. If our focus is not on Jesus Christ...we will be like that wave tossed to and fro on the windy sea of life.


Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

By the Power of God


Jeremiah 10:6
No one is like you, O LORD;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power


We give praise and thanksgiving to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. For His mercy and grace and for his sustaining strength and power poured out in abundance up our beloved Pastor, Chuck Obremksi.

God continues to open doors to Chuck and Linda...allowing them to proclaim the gospel message all who will listen. Chuck and Linda are walking obediently and selflessly...and choosing to serve God and praise him...even in the midst of their personal challenges.

God has answered our prayers in amazing ways...for which we are grateful. And we continue to keep our eyes fully trained Jesus...the author and perfecter of our faith. Our eyes on our Savior...not our circumstances.

Jesus...we give all praise, glory and honor to you!

To Serve with Love!

Notes from Chuck Obremski's sermon on 7/31/05. My apologies for the tardiness in transcribing my notes. I personally found this sermon to be very convicting. I had the opportunity to re-listen to it this afternoon after today's service. Just a reminder...for those who want to listen online or download the sermon...please go to Kindred Community Church's website...and avail yourself of the abundance of materials.

To Serve with Love - Mark 10:45
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."


1. To serve with love requires transparent humanity. (1 Cor 2:1-3)

  • Weakness, Fear, Trembling

2. To serve with love requires genuine humility. (1 Cor 2:4-6)

  • But, Demonstration, God's Power

3. To serve with love requires absolute honesty. (2 Cor 4:1-2)

  • Renounce, Truth

This teaching is in direct conflict with our natural desires. For even the Son of Man, Jesus, Son of God, our Savior...did not come to be served, but to given his life a ransom for many.

Servants and givers...this is Chuck's desire for us as a church. Why is this rare? Because we are selfish. We come into the world a sinner, with a sin nature, we come into the world wanting to be served. Not too many givers. (Romans 8:28-29) God's will for His people is that we will be conformed to the image of His Son. We are to become more and more like Jesus...become servants and givers.

The self test is to ask ourselves...what would Jesus do or say? How many of you have ever thought that it would be easier to walk like Jesus if you had lived when Jesus did?

Matthew 20:20-21 is the earlier version of the parents who want to elevate their children...for example today in sports. Matt 20:24...the others became indignant. Indignant ...used here means an increasing willingness to come to physical blows. Matt 20:22-23...you don't know what you are asking. God's systems contradicts the world...it works different in God's kingdom. Jesus responded..."This is not so among you." You want greatness...serve!

Col 1:15-17...Jesus is first...first place in everything...Creator, Savior, He is the Head...Jesus alone. 3 John 1:9...is a picture of someone who loves to be first. You can't love and be a servant if you want to be first.

Even in leadership you must have a servant's heart and to be a giver. Lead by Biblical example.

Paul was a in a leadership position. Anyone that loved Jesus...he ran them over. He stood in hearty approval of the stoning of Stephen. He had the attitude that if you don't see it my way...I'll help you to see it my way. So what happened? Jesus happened.

After Jesus...he had a new nature. Saw the resurrected Savior and came to faith in Him. A servants heart. A bond servant...the lowest man on the totem pole. Knocked off his donkey and and knocked to the ground...looked up and saw Jesus. He realized this is the safest position to be in.

Some of us think more highly of ourselves than we out to ...and it effecting our relationships. Chuck challenged each of us to be servants and not celebrities, givers...not takers, be gentle and humble...and not run people over to get what we want.

We need to be transparent humanity. Real, open and transparent, what you see is what you get. Chuck reminded us that it's not about us...but all about Jesus. Come in weakness, knowing we are not perfect, and accepting our weakness and humanity.

Chuck desires that people see Jesus and His strength...in his own weakness and illness. He desires that all the credit goes to Jesus. He doesn't want any credit that is due Christ.

Are your eyes on Jesus? Do you see and receive strength and power through Him? Are your eyes on Jesus...and Him alone?

We can see a demonstration of the power of God. Our faith must rest on God alone and His power. Why? Because man can not save anyone. John 13:1-14...we should be humble before God. He alone has the power to raise the dead, to forgive sin.

Know your place in the universe. Know that He is God...and you are not.

Quote from James Irwin...former astronaut. "I am a servant and not a celebrity. As I return to earth, I realize I am a servant, to share with others what I experienced, so that others might know the glory of God."

We are to be absolutely honest with those with whom we share. We are to renounce those things that are not of God. We want to know...but don't know all the answers. Chuck acknowledged that he doesn't know all the reasons God has allowed him to have cancer. He knows that God has a purpose and a plan behind it. He doesn't know...but he does accept it.

We are to be servants and givers. Real, open, honest and transparent.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Quote of the Week...Just Like a Broken Clock

"We have to respect that any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters, which are either before the court or very likely to be before the court. This has been a procedure which has been followed in the past and is one which I think is based upon sound legal precedent."

Ted Kennedy - 1967...commenting during the Thurgood Marshall Supreme Court Nomination

For those know me personally...you could have safely bet that I would never have a quote from Ted Kennedy that I agreed with...and won yourself a boat load of money. But just like a broken clock is right twice a day...Mr. Kennedy gets it right every now and again. Now I did have to go back 38 years ago to find one...but by golly Mr. Kennedy got this one right.

Ted...I'd encourage you to stick with your philosophy from 1967 during the upcoming John Roberts' nomination. You got that one right...and you can once again.

He Finished the Race...

Neil Edward Parker
Entered into Life 8/29/33
Entered into Eternal Life 7/31/05
One of LA's finest...
Neil Edward Parker
The Few, the Proud, the Marines...

Oh Baby!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Celebrating a Life


Today I attended the funeral of my friend, Neil Parker. My boss, my mentor and friend...of about 17 years.

When I heard about Neil's death...I knew that his funeral would be one of celebration. One of remembering and sharing about this lovely man of whom we were privileged to know. A wonderful Christian, husband, father, grandfather, brother, American, Marine, officer, boss and friend who touched many, many lives.

Neil was a man of extraordinary character...who was able to live an ordinary life...and yet make every day special. He knew how to treat people right...and chose to do so, with each person he met. From a seemingly insignificant person...to one who received much acclaim...each one was important and worthy in Neil's eyes. That's because he looked at people through the eyes of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

So today we celebrated a wonderful man whom God gave to us for 71 years. We celebrated, rejoiced and were comforted that Neil had been called home and was united with Jesus his Savior.

Through our tears and grief we are able to rejoice, give praise to our God and loudly proclaim "It is well with my soul.".

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Neil Parker...Thanks for believing in me!

On the eve of your funeral Neil...I wanted to say goodbye.

I do so with deep sadness...and almost disbelief that you aren't here anymore. While your phone calls in recent years were not frequent...I treasured them...and it was always a treat to hear from you. I looked forward to your Christmas letter and note...filling me in on what happened to you in the year gone by.

Not sure that I can put into words...how much I loved you and what you meant to me.

I don't remember the exact day I met you. Not sure if it was when you came in to audit the store I worked in as bookkeeper? Or maybe it was to investigate some cash variance or other area of concern? But I do remember when you really made an impression on me. It was when I worked at the Outlet store. That store was something else. There was always an issue at hand that had you in the store almost daily conducting a Loss Prevention investigation. When you needed information or help on the bookkeeping end...you asked me for some help.

That's when the Loss Prevention bug bit this girl. I loved it from the get go...and it changed my life. I continued on with bookkeeping for about another year or so...and then got up the courage to call you and ask for an LP job. You were game...and I was interviewed for the job of Loss Prevention Agent. After the interview...which I think took place at McDonald's...I had a polygraph. I was nervous...but passed and was given an LP job.

I trained as an Agent in the Hollywood store. Oh my gosh...that sure was a different place. Glad it wasn't a permanent location for me. I worked in multiple locations...and you were my boss. While I didn't do a terrible job at catching shoplifters...it sure wasn't my strong suit. But you were patient with me...and about a year later...moved forward with the idea of a Loss Prevention Office Coordinator. It was a new position that was being created and defined at that time. So I joined Eva in that role. She had LA North...and I had LA West which was in your area.

What fun we had. It was something brand new...and we figured it out as we went along. I loved our travels to different stores...and digging in to the reports and finding out what was going on. Each day had something new and challenging. We did some good stuff Neil...and had some fun along the way.

I loved hearing your tales...whether from your LA PD days...or interesting investigations that you had handled over the years. The love and passion you had came through when you talked about those times.

Things changed and we moved on...you worked in a different area and I changed jobs. For a while...we didn't talk a lot...things were a bit bumpy. But fortunately...that changed too. Now all these years later...I'd be hard pressed to remember what caused our falling out. It didn't last...and you were gracious...and our friendship resumed.

All too soon you were announcing your retirement. It seemed unreal...after all you had been the backbone, heart and soul of our department. How in the world would we get along without Neil Parker. But the time was right for you and your family to make that move.

You didn't stay retired for long. You ended up back in law enforcement...working at the federal court houses. I'd hear from folks now again about seeing you at the court house when they were on jury duty or responding to a subpoena.

I was most blessed that you did keep in touch. A phone call every now and then keeping me up to date on what was going on in your life. I think we even squeezed in lunch, now and again.

Neil...you believed in me and gave me a chance. You believed in me when no one else did. I thank you from the depths of my heart.


You made a difference in my life...a difference for good. You were giving, encouraging, gracious and forgiving. You unabashedly spoke of your faith in your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Neil...I love and I miss you. I know with absolute confidence that you are in heaven with your Savior. You have entered into your rest...and have heard those much prized word, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I know that when I die I will join you...and I look forward to that day. I will see my Savior Jesus Christ face to face...and join those who proceeded me to heaven.

So while I am sad and will miss you...I look forward to our reunion one day. What a lovely day that will be. Neil...say "Hi!" to Hugo for me...and I'll catch you on the flip side. See you kid!