Sunday, September 25, 2005

And The Story Was Told


















And the story was told,
of a man who lived his life well.

Started out life,
on the tough streets of Pittsburgh, PA.

School of hard knocks,
a reality, not just a phrase.

Then the real education began,
at an eternal and holy school.

Humbled before a Holy, Righteous God,
acknowledged his own sinful soul.

Received forgiveness,
Jesus Christ, the atonement for sin.

Learning life's lessons,
from the very Word of God.

Changed, transformed,
reflecting the light of our Lord.

Always found time,

to counsel a hurting, needful soul.

Wisdom, not his own,
but from the Holy Father above.

Direct from the pulpit,
a steady and penetrating gaze.

Proclaiming the gospel,
always, only, continually his aim.

Suffering and death,
a tool of salvation in the hands of a loving Father.

God, whose desire, His will,
that none should perish, but all come to repentance.

And the story was told,
of a man who live his life well.


Loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength,
like unto it, he loved his fellow man.


by Susan Bunts 9/27/05

Celebrating a Life - Charles David Obremski

This weekend I had the privilege of attending two services that celebrated the life of my beloved Pastor, Chuck Obremski.

One was the memorial service for Chuck held at Anaheim Stadium.
David Fisher at Pilgrim Scribblings posted the recap of the services from the Kindred Prayer Team "You Finished Strong". It fully captures the services...and I encourage you to click on the above link. It will give you a picture of the man that so many people loved, mourn at his passing...and celebrate that he is home with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today at Kindred we had a service as a church family to remember and celebrate our very own dear Pastor. We had the opportunity to have fellow members of Kindred get up and share how Chuck had touched theirs lives and what they remembered about him. It was very touching...and amidst tears...I jotted down some notes as people spoke. My apologies to fellow Kindred members...but I didn't get each person's name. So...instead on some I'll record their words, sans name. Words paying tribute and respect our our Pastor in a life lived to bring glory to God.


On the Tuesday before Chuck died, he said, "I feel like I'm being crushed".

When selecting our sound technician Mike Farrel, he commented to him, "It's not about me, it's about the Word." That was always Chuck's primary focus.

Chuck had a great and sometimes irreverent sense of humor. So while some of these notes on the more humorous references may make you pause...trust me, his jokes and daily comments were great...and helped bring some humor and perspective to life. Mike had long hair for many years...always pulled back in a pony tail. When Chuck was loosing his hair due to chemo...many of the Kindred guys stood in unity with him and shaved their heads. Mike too shaved his head. When Mike visited Chuck towards the end...Chuck comment, "Mike, I love you. I love you so much more, since you've cut your hair." You've got to love it...it's totally Chuck.

Lloyd Cotton shared a funny story. Chuck was always pretty well composed...but Lloyd liked to sneak up and get him. While over at the Elk's Club in Santa Ana, after service Chuck and Linda would greet people as they left. Lloyd loved to sneak up behind Chuck and tickle his butt. One day he told Chuck, I just love sneaking up on you and tickling your butt and giving Linda a big hug. Chuck commented, "Lloyd, I'm counting on you keep those two things straight."


Les Nesbitt shared that he had known Chuck for 18 years. As a doctor he was able to be with Chuck during some of his surgeries. When awakening from surgery one time, true to the Chuck we know and love he said to Les, "I know it's not heaven, because Les is here."

"You see God shining through Chuck. He was God's tool." When Chuck was preaching he had a way about him of looking out at you and catching your eye during key points of his sermon. It was always very convicting. When bringing a friend to church to hear Chuck preach...the friend commented afterwards, he didn't keep with the customary 5 second rule of looking at you...but it seemed more like 15 seconds.

Chuck and the Kindred family have always been there behind me and my family.

Chuck always shared the plan of salvation. Hebrews 12:2 - "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." This person when on to say that Chuck endured the "cancer coaster" in his desire to share the gospel message to the very end.

One of the Ram's wives commented that the football players would hear Chuck's stories and sermons. That he really came across to the players...and brought many players to the Word of God.

A gentleman shared the scripture, Galatians 6:9 - "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." He further stated that following a difficult situation he felt he was at the end, but he knew who he could call for help and direction. Chuck challenged us to live a life worthy of the calling. Each of us is challenged each day and we have a choice. We can walk a life worthy of our calling...we can make right choices. We can go with our heart or go with the Word of God.

Ruth Stingley from Kindred's Prayer Team shared that Chuck opened up the Word of God for her. He ministered through his entire family with love and care for all. She encouraged the Obremski family that God would continue to use them greatly.

A gentleman commented that he was looking for a Pastor that didn't put him to sleep when preaching. The first time he heard Chuck...he knew he had found the right place. He further shared that he was motivated by what Chuck taught.

One Kindred member commented that when listening to Chuck preach she didn't look at her watch.

Victoria said that she called Chuck many times a week. He always made time to talk to her...that he always had the time for everyone of us.

David Garrett from Kindred's Praise Team shared that he visited Chuck during his last week...and Chuck finished strong. He liked people. Chuck studied the Bible for hours each day and practiced it. It was never about what Chuck thought, it was always about what the Bible said. David had the chance to bring his guitar and sing songs with Chuck on his last visit. Even while in such a weakened condition, Chuck still tried to sing along and was taping his foot under the sheet.

A young lady at Kindred said that she had been hearing Chuck preach for about a year and a half. That she wanted very much to attend "big church" and would ask her parents to attend this service and not the services for younger members. She also said that she was really nervous about getting up to speak but she recalled Chuck's admonition, "Don't just keep talking, do it!".

One member shared that she had called Chuck when she needed advise about spending the holidays with family and wanting to share the Word of God. Chuck guided her to book that would help her and during the holidays, she was able to share the Bible with her family.

A young gentleman shared that when he first heard Chuck...he just loved the jokes. But before long...what brought him back time and time again was hearing the Word of God. He also said that Chuck treated him like an adult, not a child. He also shared that at one of the prayer meetings for Chuck, Chuck in turned prayed for him and the rest of Kindred members.

One young lady shared that she had grown up with Chuck and the Obremski family. How much can you do when you really love well? Because of Chuck's influence, when she talks to people now, it's about what really matters. Chuck was the one person who was able to make fun of her...but she still felt loved. Some of the things she learned from Chuck: Don't loose heart, look at the difference that one person can make when they live a life sold out to Jesus Christ. Make people feel important...even if it's something simple like a smile or a hello. Love deeply and make people feel like they are important and matter. You can only feel a great loss when you have a great love for someone.

Charlotte said that Chuck was faithful to his promise. She was thankful to God for a Pastor who taught us the Word of God and lived it. He lived victorious life and shared the way to make victorious choices. He always made her feel that he had the whole day to talk to her. She encouraged us that we too need to finish strong.

Bob shared that Chuck lived the Word of God. That he brought life and meaning to the Word of God.

A young lady shared that she too had grown up with Chuck and the Obremski family. Chuck's greatest gift was that he was encourager. Even in his last week, he encouraged those that came to the hospital to visit him. She then share the following scripture - Psalm 73:23-28

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

Jack Grogger, Chuck's son-in-law, encouraged us that after Jesus death and resurrection, the disciples went on to teach the Good Word. We are not to quit...but finish strong.

Dave Dunn finished up with some final observations. Chuck was a true example...faith in action. He got the Word of God out...and never lost an opportunity to share the gospel. He loved people and wanted everyone to hear the gospel. He focus was always with the gospel...he never lost his focus. As Chuck finished his leg of the race, he encouraged us, "Don't drop the baton!". We have tears of a temporary parting. Chuck was an ambassador of the gospel called home.

2 Timothy 4:6 - For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Don't Drop the Baton


In some respects I feel like I'm emerging from a fog that I've been in for some time. For over two years...we as a church were focused in prayer for our Pastor, Chuck Obremski. We prayed that if it be the Lord's will, he might be healed. With his recent passing...I want to make sure that we as a church and as individuals...keep our focus.

Mike and Jo Paddison at Kindred shared a perspective that they had. It comes from
2 Samuel 12:15-23. It's the story about David and Bathsheba's baby...who after birth became very sick and eventually died. While the child was deathly ill, David fasted and prayed that his child would be healed. When the child died, servants were fearful of telling David the news since he was so desperate. When David was told the news of the child's death he got up, washed, put on new clothes and went into the House of the Lord to worship. When asked why, this was his reply:

2 Samuel 12:22-23 - He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

Like David...we need to keep our focus on the Lord and worship and praise Him for who He is. We need to remember our aim and focus as a church. What is that aim, what is that focus? That focus is "Reaching the World with the Word". The Word of God, Jesus Christ and the gospel message. There is a world of people who are lost and dying in their sins. We need to keep our focus on getting the Word of God to the people who are perishing.

One of Chuck's admonitions...was to not drop the baton as we take the next leg of the race. We have been handed that baton...and must keep our focus...so that one day, when we are called home, our Savior Jesus Christ will welcome us with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

And joining us will be the many who received that gospel message, salvation and forgiveness from their sins.

"Don't drop the baton." Let run our leg of the race well!

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.


For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Words by Elvina M. Hall - Music by John T. Grape - 1865

Overview of Romans

At Kindred's Wednesday night study...last week we started in the book of Romans. Tonight Elder, Dave Dunn continued on with his Introduction.

Below are some key verses that give a chapter by chapter overview of this book known as the Magna Carta of the Bible:

Romans 1:18 - The Immoral Man
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

Romans 2:1 - The Self-Righteous Man
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Romans 3:20 - The Religious Man
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Romans 4:3 - Old Testament
What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Romans 5:8 - New Testament
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:6 - The Godly Process
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

Romans 7:19 - The Inner Struggle
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing.

The Hinge Verse...Romans 8:1 - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:5 - TheBelieverss Walk
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 9:8 - The Flaw
In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

Romans 10:3 - The Failure
Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

Romans 11:11 - The Solution
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

Romans 12:2 - The Benchmark
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 13:14 - ThBelievers's Responsibility
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Romans 14:19 - Legalism and Grace
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 15:13 - Maturity
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:25 - Faithfulness
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past.

The Roman Road

Ever hear of "The Roman Road"?

The Roman Road is various scriptures within the book of Romans that spell out the gospel message, from the need of salvation because of our sinful state to the way to salvation through Jesus Christ.

It's a wonderful tool when you want to share the gospel message. So write it in your Bible or keep it available on a note card.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13
For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:1
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Wanted...Prayer Warriors

David over a Pilgrim Scribblings posted the following about his daughter Tracy. Please lift up Tracy and her parents Carol and David in prayer...during this very difficult and trying time.

"On Monday Carol and I learned that our daughter Tracy Gregoire (37) has uterine cancer. Tracy already has cerebral palsy and this added burden for her has been frightening to say the least. She will undergo a complete hysterectomy on Monday, October 3rd in Toronto. Following that she will find out if the cancer has spread and whether chemotherapy will be necessary. Tracy's dream has always been to marry and have children but this will not be possible now and she is devastated. We will keep you posted as we learn more."

"Please pray for Tracy and please keep Carol in your prayers as well. She has enough on her plate without this latest bombshell but we know that "as for God, His way is perfect". Thank you so much for standing with us."

Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 27:13 - I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

To Defend or Not to Defend?

Okay...so I'm going to have re-evaluate whether or not I should defend Duane Patterson anymore.

Duane...is also known as Generalissimo ...the producer of the Hugh Hewitt show. Hugh frequently rags on this poor boy...eliciting a maternal reaction from me...wanting to make Hugh to knock it off and stop being a bully.

Now I've got to rethink my stand. You see...I've seen a whole new side of Duane. In exchanging a couple e-mails back and forth...now the truth can be told. Our very own Generalissimo is positively incorrigible.

Not sure if Duane's reply reflects the "ugly American" or the "ugly baseball fan". In response to mentioning David Fisher at Pilgrim Scribbling and him being Chaplain for the Toronto Blue Jays...here's Duane's first response:

the blue jays??? boy, he's into serious ministry. do they still play baseball in canada???...dp

Of course I had to come to the defense of one of my favorite bloggers...and here an unrepentant Duane's response.

I'm glad to hear that there is a conservative in canada who likes baseball. I just pray he gets a chance at the major leagues someday...dp

So okay...I don't think it's an ugly American thing...I think it's more baseball related. Bottom line...Duane is one cocky son of a gun.

And Hugh, Hugh...he's just as incorrigible and cocky as Duane.

So where does this leave me? Should I defend Duane anymore when Hugh is picking on him? Or should I cheer Hugh on?

Better yet...I'm turning on Prager instead and be done with it!

ARRRGGG!


While on vacation this week I'm engaging in all manner of evil...among which is listening to the Hugh Hewitt show. Hugh's show can be very educational...and even a wee bit entertaining, on occasion. I'm in need of a good laugh this week...and stumbled across one.

Now for those of you not in the know...September 19th was
International Talk Like a Pirate Day. About the only pirate word I know is "Arrrggg". Now that's a darn good word. And I'm most likely to utter that word in on Monday...as the week quickly spirals out of control by 9 AM.

But to celebrate the day...I just had to find out my pirate name...Susan Bunts translates into Wench Grainne O'Malley in Piratease. Not only am I ready for next year's celebration...but I am well equipped to ride Pirates of the Caribbean.

So watch out...next time I utter the word "Arrrggg"...you don't know what other ill mannered pirate behavior I might have adopted.

Be sure to click on the link for
FroggyNet...to find our your true pirate name. Get to know the real you.

Arrrggg!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Don't Get Stuck on Stupid...Positively Refreshing

On Hugh Hewitt's show...they played a clip from a press conference today in which Lt. General Russel Honore was responding to reporters rather inane questions. That in itself is not unusual...but what was unusual was Honore's response. It was on of those lines...that you wish you had uttered...and will be sure to keep handy for future use.

Some callers contributed additional lines...that were pretty darn good too. "Life is hard, it's harder when you're stupid." "Ain't no fixin stupid."

Below is the posting from Radio Blogger...that has the transcript from the Lt. General's exchange with a not so bright reporter. Right on Lt. General Honore...you are my hero!

Don't Get Stuck on Stupid

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin held a press conference a little bit ago, and started losing control to a media pool assembled that was showing signs of panic, due to the previous incompetence in the region by the local and state government. Lt. Gen. Russel Honore stepped in and literally took over. Here's what he had to say:

Honore: And Mr. Mayor, let's go back, because I can see right now, we're setting this up as he said, he said, we said. All right? We are not going to go, by order of the mayor and the governor, and open the convention center for people to come in. There are buses there. Is that clear to you? Buses parked. There are 4,000 troops there. People come, they get on a bus, they get on a truck, they move on. Is that clear? Is that clear to the public?

Female reporter: Where do they move on...

Honore: That's not your business.

Male reporter: But General, that didn't work the first time...

Honore: Wait a minute. It didn't work the first time. This ain't the first time. Okay? If...we don't control Rita, you understand? So there are a lot of pieces of it that's going to be worked out. You got good public servants working through it. Let's get a little trust here, because you're starting to act like this is your problem. You are carrying the message, okay? What we're going to do is have the buses staged. The initial place is at the convention center. We're not going to announce other places at this time, until we get a plan set, and we'll let people know where those locations are, through the government, and through public announcements. Right now, to handle the number of people that want to leave, we've got the capacity. You will come to the convention center. There are soldiers there from the 82nd Airborne, and from the Louisiana National Guard. People will be told to get on the bus, and we will take care of them. And where they go will be dependent on the capacity in this state. We've got our communications up. And we'll tell them where to go. And when they get there, they'll be able to get a chance, an opportunity to get registered, and so they can let their families know where they are. But don't start panic here. Okay? We've got a location. It is in the front of the convention center, and that's where we will use to migrate people from it, into the system.

Male reporter: General Honore, we were told that Berman Stadium on the west bank would be another staging area...

Honore: Not to my knowledge. Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center. Once we complete the plan with the mayor, and is approved by the governor, then we'll start that in the next 12-24 hours. And we understand that there's a problem in getting communications out. That's where we need your help. But let's not confuse the questions with the answers. Buses at the convention center will move our citizens, for whom we have sworn that we will support and defend...and we'll move them on. Let's not get stuck on the last storm. You're asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight. And if you don't understand, maybe you'll confuse it to the people. That's why we like follow-up questions. But right now, it's the convention center, and move on.

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we've got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let's talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.
I think the General just started a movement, and he may not even realize it. Every time a reporter, in any situation, starts spinning, or completely misses the point, they need to be peppered with, "Don't get stuck on stupid."


I'd pay money to see David Gregory in the White House Press Corps foaming at the mouth over something trivial Scott McClellan said, and have McClellan say, "David, you're stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that."

I'd have fallen out of my chair if John Roberts would have listened to Joe Biden ramble on, and said, "Don't get stuck on stupid, Senator."

I can see the bumper stickers now. I can even see those stupid rubber wristbands with DGSOS etched in them.

I love General Honore.

My Rainbow...I Will Remember


"And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

I Hear the Rolling Thunder



Photo from the Orange County Register by Daniel Anderson


Last night...Orange County, California had tremendous thunder storm. The lightning and thunder were simply awe inspiring. To make the moment even more dramatic...while in class at Bible Study Fellowship...just as we started to sing the hymn "How Great Thou Art"...the lighting was flashing and the thunder rolling. It was a great picture of our Awesome God and the universe that he made.

Romans 1:20
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."



HOW GREAT THOU ART

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

words & music by Carl G. Boberg and R.J. Hughes

Byrd Pitches With Heavy Heart


David Fisher at Pilgrim Scribblings posted excerpts from an article by Mark Thoma on the Angel's website. Just as Pitcher Paul Byrd held it together during this game...I know that Chuck would challenge each of us to do the same. Even in our grief...we need to keep our eyes on Jesus, turn to God...and know that He has a good plan that will come to fruition in His perfect time.

During the game, he learns team chaplain dies of cancer
By Mark Thoma / MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Just before throwing his first pitch Sunday afternoon, Angels starter Paul Byrd turned toward center field and raised his arms over his head to form an "O," so Chuck Obremski would see on his TV that Byrd had the ailing team chaplain in his thoughts.

Obremski had been battling terminal cancer all season long, but after visiting him in the hospital Saturday night, Byrd decided he would make a public show of support before every inning Sunday. His timing couldn't have been more appropriate.

Obremski succumbed at 1:05 p.m. PT -- the exact moment that Byrd took the field -- something Byrd wouldn't learn until the fifth inning. When he found out, though, Byrd heeded the chaplain's advice to "finish strong," remaining sharp on the mound in his final innings and earning his 12th win in the Angels' 5-3 win over the Tigers.

As he walked off the field to a standing ovation, Byrd offered one last "O," dedicating the win and his perseverant performance to the man who helped keep his spirits up as Byrd's first year as an Angel got off to a rocky start.

"I had a real tough first outing of the year. ... He called me and said, 'Hey, you're gonna come back from this. We're gonna fight together, and we're gonna win together,' " Byrd said after the game. "He was encouraging me, and I should've been encouraging him."

"These guys know we have to grind every game, every out," Scioscia said, "and we did a good job of holding on today."

And Byrd did, under difficult circumstances, with his thoughts on Obremski.

"We'll miss him. We're sad for us, but it was time," Byrd said. "He was ready, his family was ready. ... It was a good time."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

God's Comfort...a Window of Insight

In today's sermon..."Facing God's Will" Dave Dunn shared some insights into something that was hard to understand. Pastor Chuck was suffering so greatly...that towards the end, many were praying that God would just let him pass and be home with his Lord.

While we didn't understand why Chuck continued to live in great pain and suffering...we made the choice to trust God and know that he was bring good, even from Chuck's suffering.

Dave shared the story that while visiting Chuck at the hospital, he exited his room and stopped by the nurse's station. He exchanged a hello with one of the nurses present. Dave asked him what his thoughts were. The gentleman stated that he had been a nurse for a number of years...prior to working at St. Joseph's where he had been for about 6 months. He said in all his time as a nurse he had never seen such love exhibited through the love and care poured out from so many for Chuck, Linda and the Obremski family.

So even in Chuck's great suffering at the end of his life...God was able to use this time as a witness to others on His great love for us, poured out through his servants to one in great need.

One other insight that was shared with me today was from Doreen at church. In reflecting on all that God has done during this time...one message that she took comfort in and shared with others is that God loves us all equally. He doesn't spare his favorites from difficult times and sickness...and only sends it to those whom he hates and are evil. It brought to mind the scripture from
Matthew 5:45 - "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.".

2 Peter 3:9 - "He is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance." What a merciful God we serve.

Reflections on Keeping the Faith

Thank you to my dear friend Dan...sending his condolences on Chuck's death. Dan...I greatly appreciate you kind words and reflections on "keeping the faith". You are very eloquent...and have some keen insight...that seems to have increased with your years. Thank you Daniel...and by the way congratulations on your new job...and good to have you back in California! Susan


I was sorry to hear about the passing of Pastor Chuck. While I did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, from what I have read about this man on your blog, we were indeed fortunate to have a man such as him.

Reading the notice of his passing, I was struck by the following words, "he fought the good fight, he kept the faith" Truly that is something to aspire to and to have that said of one at their passing. Keeping the faith is so difficult at times as life brings us many challenges, but to keep your faith in spite of all is something to be proud of. To fight the good fight, to do what is right, to not take the easy way out, but to struggle and persevere is something that many call old fashioned in these times, but as I age, the words have more and more meaning and more and more focus in my life.

My sincere condolences to his family and his congregation.

Dan H.

Grateful to God


Today's Kindred Update brought the news that our beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski has made it home...and is resting in the arms of his loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

He finished the race at 1:05 PM on Sunday, September 18, 2005...game time for the Angels as it so happens. In reflecting upon his death...his passing into eternal life...my lips pour forth praise and thanksgiving for so much.

I thank God for leading me to this wonderful pastor...who so boldly preached the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I am thankful for his open and transparent life.

I am thankful for his open and teachable spirit...and willingness to let God continue to mold him and transform him into the man that God would have him to be.

I am thankful for Chuck's straightforward, no nonsense style of preaching...my kick-butt Pastor....as I lovingly refer to him as.

I'm thankful for Chuck and Linda's willingness to step out into the unknown...and start our church, Kindred Community Church.

I am thankful that Chuck, Linda and Kindred Community Church elders...have been so committed to spreading the gospel message that they give away the CD's and tapes from the sermon messages.

I am thankful...that Chuck and Linda were so open and transparent through the whole experience of his ride on the "Cancer Coaster". Willing to let God use it...what Chuck went through, Linda and the family...and in turn our church family. They didn't hide it...but instead turned it over to God to let Him use it to get the gospel message out there and bring many to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

I am grateful for the example I saw lived out in the life of man that reflects Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that God let Chuck remain with us for two years after his diagnosis of cancer.

I am thankful for the life I saw lived out in the example of Chuck...of not quitting...and not resting until Jesus called him home.

I am thankful that Chuck and Linda have remained committed and faithful to their Lord and Savior in spite of and in the midst of great pain, suffering and loss.

I am thankful that there was no bitterness or anger or hatred towards God for this wretched disease.

I am grateful, thankful and most blessed to have seen a living example of someone so committed and sure of God's love that even when dealt the hand of terminal cancer at such a young age, there were no questions as to why, only what. What God are you going to do through this?

I am most thankful for my beloved church family...the members of Kindred Community Church.

I am thankful that God has unified us with strong bonds of love...with roots that have grown very deep over the past two and a half years.

I am thankful and eager that when I get to heaven...I will get to hear Chuck preach the message that he was unable to preach on 9/11/05, The Influence of the Genuine Servant.

I am grateful and humbled to know that I too will one day go to heaven and meet face to face my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am thankful...that there too welcoming me to heaven will be Chuck and my friends Hugo and Neil who recently passed away.

I am thankful that God used the time from Chuck's diagnosis of cancer until He took him home...to allow us time, give us His grace and enable us to trust Him and accept His will.

I am thankful that today...even this very day, in which my heart is breaking...my lips sing forth praise for my great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that I have a hope, joy and peace...that nothing and no one can ever take away...not even the death of a loved one.

I am thankful that Chuck is no longer suffering.

I am thankful to know that God continued to use Chuck...even in these days when his life was wanning...to witness to others about Jesus Christ.

I am thankful...that I will not taste the bitterness of death and hell...since I have received Jesus Christ...who paid my sin debt that I might be forgiven and join him in heaven.


So...even as I wipe tears from my eyes...and I am most grateful to God and sing forth is praise loudly.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Waiting











Waiting

From unimaginable,
To Lord, if that's Your will,
To please Lord, don't let him suffer.

Waiting for news,
Prayerful and silent,
Hearts and minds focused on St. Joe's 391.

A glimmer,
A flicker,
A hope passes by.

He's able,
Not willing,
We know not why.

We wait,
We pray,
We look to our Lord.

He strengthens,
He comforts,
And each step He guides.

No breath,
No word,
We bow before our Lord.

We surrender,
We are humbled,
All trust in our Lord.


By Susan Bunts 9/17/05

As we await word on our beloved Pastor, Chuck Obremski...I find throughout the day...my mind, heart, thoughts and prayers are focused on Saint Joseph's Hospital and what God is doing there. Each e-mail that comes I tremble when I open it and read slowly to take it in.

I hold my breath, focus...and look to Jesus...and make a decision to trust Him in and through all things.


Thursday, September 15, 2005


"Lord, help us in this time. Amen!"

The Kindred Prayer Update reported that the above prayer was uttered today by Chuck Obremski as he is looking towards the finish line of this race. Please keep this precious man of God in your prayers as he is suffering greatly. His family is also in need of your prayers too. An exhausting time...and they are sustained, strengthened and comforted by their Lord and Savior. They are touched by the outpouring of love and prayers from so many. Daughter Dana reports the nights are especially tough...so keep those prayers coming.

"Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you."

Hebrews 11:5

Cross In the Rubble


Do you have a cross in the rubble of your life? In those times of tragedy, loss and death? When your world is turned upside down...when that which you could never have imagined is upon you? In those times when all have deserted you...and you are alone?

To Whom do you turn?

Let's Roll


We've all heard the story about Todd Beamer and other passengers on United Airlines Flight 93...who in a heroic fashion upon being informed of the high jackers true motivation and plans...attempted to regain control of the plane.

Who among us...when imagining themselves in a similar situation...doesn't hope and pray for the courage to do likewise. The story of Todd and his fellow passengers really captured an American spirit...and helped bring courage to others in wake of September 11th.

Below are excerpts from an article found on Focus on the Family's website. To read the full article...please click on the above link. Also to note...Lisa Beamer is carrying her husband's example and has started a foundation to help children effected by tragedy, Heroic Choices.

Airfone Operator, Lisa Jefferson recounted how in a calm and businesslike voice, Todd told her the details: three hijackers, two with knives; 10 passengers in first class, 27 in coach, five flight attendants. The passengers were discussing ways to overpower the hijackers. "It’s what we have to do," Todd had said.

The hijackers, in an apparent effort to thwart these plans, sent the plane diving and swerving to try to knock the passengers off their feet. For a moment Todd’s voice showed fear. "Jesus, we’re going down," he said. Then he steadied. "We’re coming back up."

Jefferson told Lisa that Todd had talked about his family, and he asked her to call his wife if he did not make it home. "I don’t think we’re going to get out of this thing," he told Jefferson. "I’m going to have to go out on faith."

Todd asked Jefferson to pray with him, and together over the phone they recited the Lord’s Prayer. "Our Father, who art in heaven . . ." He then recited the 23rd Psalm. "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want . . ."

"Jesus, help me," Todd said.

Then Jefferson heard him say: "Are you guys ready? Let’s roll"—a phrase he used often with his boys. Sounds of struggle, then nothing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pray Like Never Before


"I just heard that!! NOW it has really impacted me. Barbara Olsen was a bright face with the words of truth and logic. She will be missed. Somehow, when you put a face to this horrible event, it humanizes it. We must continue to lift up all the people who are now suffering loss. Pray for our leader's like never before. I know American's will all band together...today will go down in infamy like never before. Another reminder that every day counts. Another chance to do the right thing. God ...bless our land."

The above quote was taken from the Free Republic website from one of their contributors called Neeneh...posted on 9/11/01 at 12:28 PM.

Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General, Ted Olson. She was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Crown of Righteousness

"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." - 2 Timothy 4:6-8

This picture was taken on the first day, we as a church moved into our church home, Kindred Community Church in Anaheim, California. It was snapped as Chuck was welcoming everyone. As it so happened, it was also our second anniversary as a church.

It was a time of excitement, anticipation and expectation as to what our God would do in and through our church, it's members...and how He would continue to use this man of God whom He had raised up to preach His Word to a weary and dying world. We had already seen Him move His hand and bring forth miracles...and spread the gospel message through the life and suffering of His humble, willing and obedient servant.

Until we get to heaven...we won't fully comprehend why God is choosing to take His servant home from assignment so early. We won't be aware of all the people whom God has touched through the faithful teaching of His word. We won't have the full picture on how we've all been changed, not only through some awesome preaching...but also as witnesses to a man fully committed to his Lord and Savior...and finishing the race strong.

Please join our church was we pray for our Pastor Chuck, wife lovely wife Linda, the entire Obremski family...including his mother Pat and their children Dana, Ryan and Krista. Chuck is in the hospital...and struggling to breath and is not always coherent. His family is by his bedside.

Dear Heavenly Father...please touch our precious Pastor, Linda and the Obremski family. Shower Your peace upon them, comfort them...and reveal Your love for them. Please still any pain that Chuck is having...and ease his breathing. Let him have clarity during his remaining moments with his family this side of heaven. May You give him visions of the joy and beauty that he will be entering into. May it bring him peace and joy. We thank You for giving us this lovely man and letting him be a part of our lives. We ask that even now...that You will continue to be honored and glorified through the life of our Pastor.

Liberty!

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Ask, Seek and Knock

Luke 11:9-10
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Philippians 4:5-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Father...you tell us in your word that we are to be anxious about nothing...but instead come to you with praise and thanksgiving and lay before you our prayer requests.

Tonight...we do just that. Jesus...just as the friends of paralyzed man tore through the roof to lower their friend before you for your healing touch...so too we lay our beloved Pastor before you tonight.

We give you thanks that the doctors were able to disgnosis what caused Chuck's fever and shaking. We thank you that a possible blood match with the needed antibodies may soon be available. We thank you that the swelling has gone down. Most importantly we thank you for your presence, peace and strength sustaining your much loved servant.

Father we pray that your hand would be upon Chuck that you would enable him to breath without pain. That you would keep the swelling down and that you would remove the infection from his blood. We pray that you would allow him to start receiving nutrition and that it would cause no ill effects. We pray that you would guide the doctors...give them great wisdom in their treatment plans. That you would allow the chemo treatment at just the proper time...and that it would do that which it is designed to do.

May your hand of comfort rest upon Chuck and Linda...and may you help them to bear that which has come upon them. May their faith remain strong and solid...and may the enemy be defeated soundly and swiftly.

We thank you for the salvation that you have offered through your precious Son Jesus Christ. We pray that you will continue to use this to reach out and bring others to a saving faith in Christ. We pray in the precious name of your Son. Amen and amen.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11th...On a Personal Note

Some reflections on September 11th...from a personal standpoint.

Prior to September 11, 2001...I use to think I'd really like to know what's going to happen in the future. That it would be a good thing know what's coming down the pike.

And now...in fact shortly after that day...I realized I'm glad I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Heck, some days...it's a challenge just getting through the day. God knows what the coming days and future holds...I just need to hold tight to Him. I need to live my life...and let God be God and trust him. Trust Him based on His character...and who He's revealed Himself to be in and through His Word.

My love for my country...the United States of America grew exponentially. While we do have our flaws...we have a strong foundation to build on and grow on. One that allows individuals to achieve that which they focus on and work towards.

I was conservative in my politics prior to 9/11...but took a hard turn to the right. Any naivete left over from my liberal past died on that day. I was wide awake and aware of what real evil was and what the perpetrators were capable of doing.

The sight of a fireman, police officer or military personnel kind of gets me choked up. My heart swells with love and appreciation for their hard work and service to protect and defend our country and it's citizens. When I see a member of our military...I want to give them a hug, shake their hand and thank them for their service.

Seeing an American flag...makes me tear up or cry. I can't sing our National Anthem or God Bless America or say the pledge of allegiance without wanting to bawl like a baby. And sometimes I do just that.

Each night...I turn on a light in my window that highlights the small flag nearby.

I have a real tender spot in my heart for family and friends that have touched my life. I appreciate as never before good people. Not perfect...but just good.

I don't avoid painful feelings or subjects. They are part of life. And pain and hurt doesn't make life bad...it may make the moment bad...but that moment changes...and good returns once again.


I love truth and clarity.

Ever since September 11th...I've had the hardest time reading books or even magazine articles. I love to read...and feel like that love was robbed from me that day. And I'm not sure why. My ability to focus and concentrate on a book is short lived...and I loose interest. It took me a year before I picked up the book I was reading on September 11th and finished it. I hope I get this love of reading back again...I miss it. Oh don't get me wrong I do read...but nothing equivalent to before.

I've seen only a handful of movies at the theater since that day. I have a hard time sitting in a theater and watching a movie for two hours. I feel anxious...and would rather be doing any one of a number of other things. Oh I do watch movies...mostly at home on DVD now. And I'm a lot more choosy on what I watch. I have a zero tolerance for stars that denigrate our country...and I won't see their work.

And mostly...dying and heaven seem like a pretty good thing some days. With each time I receive word of friend dying...or someone whom I respected passing away...the world seems a little more cold and a lot less desirable. I'm not afraid to die...and do look forward to going to my heavenly rewards...and leaving behind a world filled with too much evil, pain, death, and destruction.

September 11th is a day I hold near and dear to my heart. I thank God for the good that has come from that day.

Two Hours That Changed Our World


Below is a timeline from September 11, 2001. That fateful day that changed America and united Americans...if only for brief period of time. Now four years later...in some respects we are more divided. But there was a day...in which we stood shoulder to shoulder, set aside our differences and united as Americans while we sang God Bless America.

While the stats below tell the cold hard facts on what happened...that day remains incomprehensible in many respects.

8:46 a.m. - American Flight 11 from Boston crashes into the North Tower at the World Trade Center.

9:03 a.m. - United Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the South Tower at the World Trade Center.

9:45 a.m. - American Flight 77 crashes into The Pentagon.

10:05 a.m. - The South Tower at the World Trade Center collapses.

10:10 a.m. - United Flight 93 crashes in a wooded area in Pennsylvania, after passengers confront hijackers.

10:28 a.m. - The North Tower at the World Trade Center collapses.

Number of Fatalities:
WTC -- 2819 NYC Medical Examiner

Pentagon -- 189

United Airlines Flight 93 / Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- 44

NYC Firefighters -- 343

Port Authority Of New York And New Jersey Police -- 37

NYC Police -- 23

Total -- 3052

Trusting In His Unfailing Love


Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.


Today my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski was not able to be at church...even though his desire and preparation was to be there. During the night...Chuck was taken to the hospital with a high fever and shaking.

This evenings Kindred Prayer Update brought news that the doctor's initial diagnosis is a blood infection and they've started Chuck on some strong antibiotics. It's unknown yet if Chuck will be able to start on a new course of chemo tomorrow as originally planned.

Your continued prayers for this beloved man of God and his lovely family are very much appreciated. We know our God is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine...and pray that he will do just that.

God provided for the feeding of His word to His people...through His humble and willing servant, church Elder Dave Dunn. Dave did a follow up to his sermon from a couple of weeks ago with a message about Uncertainty.

An appropriate message given on the 4th anniversary of September 11th and following the overwhelming tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. And on a more personal note...the uncertainty with our own Pastor Chuck's health and not knowing what God has planned and what He will do.

While uncertain on what the immediate future holds, we are certain in what our eternal future holds. Because both Chuck and Linda have faced their difficulties with trust in God and not their outward circumstances...they have had the effect of helping solidify our congregation's faith in God...even when the circumstances seem quit dire and uncertain.

He is our Rock. He is our Salvation. He is our Hope.
In Him, will we trust.

I will praise You!

Psalm 63:2-4

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

Happy Birthday Doug!

My boss Doug has honor of being born on a date that would become most hallowed in our country...September 11th.

I didn't know Doug on that fateful date...but met him a couple of years later. I was most intrigued when hearing him tell what September 11, 2001 was like for him...being that it was also his birthday.

Some of the elements that we are privileged to see in his his leadership of our department were reflected in one of my earlier posts "Reflections on Leadership".

Happy Birthday Doug!

May every one of your birthdays for the rest of your life be uneventful...and even a wee bit boring!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Old Glory...Anew

c) 2001 The Record, (Bergen County, NJ)
Thomas E. Franklin, Staff Photographer


From the Ground Zero Spirit website...I learned the following about this famous photo. Please click on the above link to learn additional details.

Sept. 11, 2001 -- the end of the world as we knew it. But in the chaos and rubble where the World Trade Center no longer stood, Record photographer Thomas E. Franklin captured an unforgettable image of hope -- three firefighters raising the American flag.

Standing defiantly against the gray and white landscape of devastation, these dust-covered men and the vivid red, white, and blue of Old Glory instantly became a symbol of American patriotism.


The Record's photo of these three heroic rescuers - Brooklyn-based firefighters George Johnson of Rockaway Beach, Dan McWilliams of Long Island (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2) - also became a global message that life, and America, would go on.

The photo, which appeared Sept. 12 in The Record, has since graced the pages of many other newspapers as well as national newsmagazines. Network television has repeatedly displayed the photo during its round-the-clock disaster coverage, comparing it to the famous image of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

Franklin, an eight-year veteran of The Record, took the photo late in the afternoon of Sept. 11, after spending hours at the scene. He was walking toward the debris of the World Trade Center when he spotted the firefighters.

"The shot immediately felt important to me," Franklin said. "It said something to me about the strength of the American people and about the courage of all the firefighters who, in the face of this horrible disaster, had a job to do in battling the unimaginable."

This photo is forever among my favorites. It so captures the goodness of America...the spirit within us as American's. May God Bless...my beloved country.

911 A Film

9/11 A Film...by Jules and Gedeon Naudet and James Hanlon

This DVD is quite extraordinary...and I recommend it highly. I like to view this 9/11 DVD, as painful as it is, at least once a year. I want to make sure that I never let the images from that awful day fade from my memory.

You know, it's funny...but the media frequently brings awful images before us...and repeats them time and time and time again. They inundate our senses with that which they think we should focus on. Just think how many times you saw the video from the Rodney King beating. Whether it's a man made tragedy or that caused by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the main stream media seems to revel in focusing on these images.

The one notable exception are the images from 9/11. I know in some respects the media may have good intentions in deciding to not air that video anymore. But I can't help but think that because those images were yanked from the TV screens shortly after 9/11, the impact of that day will continue to decline. And it shouldn't.

9/11 was a day in which the undeniable evidence of true evil and it's impact on innocent human beings was made visible in such a way that no one could deny it. My fear and concern is that when we stop seeing evil for what it is and loose our ability to speak the truth about evil, we will also loose our desire to fight and defeat it.

An example of that attitude is the people who go around and what to understand why the terrorists hate us. They care more about why the terrorists feel that way than they do about defeating them. They think the terrorists must have come from impoverished backgrounds and were spurred on to commit acts of terrorism as a result.

Call me naive, but I'm a black and white thinker. The only value in understanding why terrorists commit these acts, is if it gives us a tactical advantage in defeating them.

For as long as I live...I want to always remember what happened on 9/11. I want to remember what happened to my fellow American citizens and people from other nations who happened to be on one of four planes or working in three those buildings. Or those men going into burning buildings in the belief that human life is precious and when threatened every attempt should be made to rescue those victims. What a contrast to the views of the terrorists on human life...especially that of American and Israeli life.

That's why I want to remember...and will make time this weekend to view this 9/11 video. You can order it yourself on Amazon by clicking on the above link.

Friday, September 09, 2005


America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,Melody by Samuel Ward

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's September...and BSF is Coming!

Fall is one of my very favorite times of the year. One of the primary reasons is because that means Bible Study Fellowship will be starting up again...the second week in September.

I started in
Bible Study Fellowship...otherwise known as BSF back in January 1998. I went at the invitation of Nadine...a friend at work. Nadine was always known as a very godly woman...who loves the Lord. She was always serious and deeply involved and committed to Bible study. Nadine had previously invited me...but I declined...the time never seemed right.
But Nadine persisted and would periodically extend the invitation again. 1998 was a transitional time in my life...and suddenly I realized...I needed to get serious about being a Christian...and studying God's word.

I had recently moved...and was involved in a relationship with a deeply troubled guy. I had lost a good friendship with a friend who was angry at me over my bad choices. My mom and step dad lived a distance away...and I felt all alone. So God was working on my heart...and I decided to step out give BSF a try. I can say without reservation...it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

I had been a Christian for for about 7 years and had attended several great churches. I had been privileged to sit under some great Bible teaching...but had never really seriously studied the Bible. Oh I had read the Bible...and loved church and group Bible studies...but they didn't demand commitment or an investment in time.

But BSF was different...and that's where I really started to grow as a Christian. Each week you attend a class about two hours long. The first 10 minutes the full class meets as a group for opening hymns and prayer. Following that the class breaks up into smaller groups of up to 15 people. In the small groups...class members take turns sharing their answers to the questions completed on the current week's lesson. The lessons have about 30 questions that cover the passage that BSF is studying that particular week. Sometimes the questions are pretty challenging...and other times easier. The thing that's nice about everyone sharing their answers is that you get to hear someone else's take or understanding on questions. So the work you've done is enriched by hearing other's responses. You are in the group for about 45 minutes.

Following your discussion group...the entire class meets together again...and hears a lecture from the Teaching Leader. The lecture is also covering the passage you had studied during the week and had just discussed with fellow class members. So the weeks Bible passage and lesson is really reinforced in multiple ways. It's very rich and rewarding.

When you leave class each member get their new lesson for the week. It includes several pages of notes from passage just studied...and questions for the new week.

It's great having both new Christians in the class as well as older Christians with a lot of Bible study experience. If someone's answers a question inaccurately, someone else may have a more accurate answer according to scriptures. Frequently, the questions you were uncertain how to best answer are covered in the lecture for the week.

On an average week...I'd say I spend probably 2 to 2 1/2 hour studying. Maybe a little longer if you're detail oriented. That may sound like a lot...but not if you go according to plan maybe about 20 minutes or so each day. Everyone uses only the Bible for studying...no outside sources. So everyone is on an even footing with regards to resources.

All the people involved in your local classes from the Teaching Leader to Discussion Leaders are volunteers. They put a lot work and a lot of prayer into doing that which God has called them to do.

So if BSF sounds at all intriguing...I recommend you give it a try. It will help you to grow by leaps and bounds. I went from someone just sitting in church and hearing a message to some studying the Bible. I went from someone who had some knowledge to someone who is more discerning and can spot when I hear a message that is not in keeping with God's word...and know why or where it's wrong.

This will be my seventh year...I stopped for one year...but started back up again last January. Didn't realize how much I needed it and missed it, until I returned.

This years study is in the book of Genesis. It's an excellent study...that I loved when going through it many years ago. Look forward to covering it again. While I will be studying with the Santa Ana women's evening class...people in Bible Study Fellowship all around the world will also be studying the same passage.

Don't be intimidated by the time investment...it's well worth it. You will grow in wisdom and knowledge of God's word. Hope to see you there!

I Cry Out!

Blame Amid the Tragedy by Bob Williams

Have you ever heard the saying "when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs...the one that barks the loudest is the one that got hit"? I think that saying can be applied to the circus, the very tragic circus with deadly consequences that has occurred in Louisiana in the past week and a half.

Ask yourself...who has been barking the loudest in the group? Two of the loudest are Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. The demagoguery coming from their mouths appears to be a smoke screen intended to cover their actions...or should I more accurately state, their lack of appropriate and timely action.

I believe that as the facts become know about the preparation and planning for hurricanes that would potentially hit New Orleans, and their failure to execute those plans, it will be revealed that Ms. Blanco and Mr. Nagin are key people responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of Louisiana citizens.

This is not an attempt to gloss over or excuse the federal governments painfully slow and inadequate response to persons, in some instances literally dying, as they awaited help from their government. I do want answers as to what caused the fed's delay. The responses thus far from the Bush Administration, FEMA and Homeland Security are woefully inadequate. I do hope that this situation will be more fully examined so we as citizen, states and a nation can more adequately prepare for disaster...natural or man made.

Below are excerpts from an article by Bob Williams explaining some of what went wrong. To view the entire article, please click on the above link.

As the devastation of Hurricane Katrina continues to shock and sadden the nation, the question on many lips is, Who is to blame for the inadequate response?

But what isn't fair is to dump on the federal officials and avoid those most responsible--local and state officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain fact is, lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city's mayor, Ray Nagin.

The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters.

The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city.

In 1998, during a threat by Hurricane George, 14,000 people were sent to the Superdome and theft and vandalism were rampant due to inadequate security. Again, these problems were not corrected.


Mayor Nagin was responsible for giving the order for mandatory evacuation and supervising the actual evacuation: Mayor Nagin had to be encouraged by the governor to contact the National Hurricane Center before he finally, belatedly, issued the order for mandatory evacuation. And sadly, it apparently took a personal call from the president to urge the governor to order the mandatory evacuation.

But even though the city has enough school and transit buses to evacuate 12,000 citizens per fleet run, the mayor did not use them. Instead of evacuating the people, the mayor ordered the refugees to the Superdome and Convention Center without adequate security and no provisions for food, water and sanitary conditions.

Mayor Nagin failed in his responsibility to provide public safety and to manage the orderly evacuation of the citizens of New Orleans.


The federal government does not have the authority to intervene in a state emergency without the request of a governor.

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