Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Surreal Moment

I was reminded this week how quickly life can change. Monday was a normal day of doing normal stuff. That night I went to a leadership team meeting and about 7:30 I began having some minor discomfort in my chest and by 9:30 I was on my way to the emergency room experiencing severe chest pains. After several hours of tests, doctors came and told us that they thought I might be having a heart attack and
called life flight to transport me to Akron City Hospital.

In the moments following the news that I was being life flighted I had time to reflect on my life. As the helicopter lifted off and headed toward Akron my first thought was, what if the Lord was choosing to take me from this earth at this moment ? What would my first glimpse of eternity be like? What would I experience when I passed through from this life to my eternal reward? What would it be like to see Jesus face to face? What was I about to experience? I was excited, afraid and anxious all at the same time.

My thoughts moved to Verda and the children. Had I been a godly husband? Had I been kind of husband that Verda deserved? What about my children? Did I live my life in such a way that would impact their lives in a positive way? Did I give them a good foundation for them to build their faith? How would my family remember me? Yea a truly surreal moment.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning while sitting in the CCU unit I reflected on my experience a day earlier. I found it interesting that I never thought about material things like IRA's nice cars or a bigger house. I didn't think about ballgames, vacations, or work, no only the "most" important things came to mind on Tuesday morning.

Now as I looked forward I realize there need to be some changes made.I have to spend more time focusing on the "most" important things in my everyday life? I can't get so caught up in important things that I overlook the "most" important things like my Lord, my wife, and my children.and my friends. My heart needs work in more than one way.

Don't wait for a surreal moment to remember the most important things in your life. Begin today focusing more of your time and energy on the most important people in your life.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The power of cardboard

WOW! It is amazing how a piece of cardboard with a few words on it can be so powerful. Sunday I experienced the power of cardboard. Sometimes 2 words told a powerful story. As believers in Christ we all have a story to tell. Our journey toward Christ and walk with Him is the story. We are called to tell our story because it challenges and encourages others to walk with Him. Sunday we experienced the impact our story has on people. It gave someone the little nudge they needed to go to the alter and ask Jesus Christ to become their Savior, it gave hope to a hurting marriage and a desire to rededicate a life to Christ. Yes your testimony is powerful but only if you share it.
The testimonies were powerful in part because of the the of thought that went into the 2 or 3 words scribbled on the cardboard. Thinking through your journey with Christ is something that every believer should do several times a year. Take time this week to write out your "story" it will be one of the most impactful things you will ever do.

Ephesians 5:19-20 ( TEV ) 19 Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. 20In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Refreshing Still Waters

When was the last time you were completely still before the Lord? No music,TV, or cell phone. When was the last time you heard nothing but chirping birds or peaceful splashing of a flowing fountain. A place where you could hear God. The bible says Be still and know that I am God. We need a place where we can quiet our minds from the busyness of life and focus on getting to know Him. David wrote in Pslam 23 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. Just as David's soul was restored, ours can to, if we take time to lie down in green pastures and sit by the still waters. Each of us needs to find that special place to quiet our hearts and hear God.

I find that place on our deck in the back yard of our home. It is my oasis, a place with beautiful flowers, flowing fountain, chirping birds, and most of all serenity. When I take time to go there and be still, God speaks. It is there that God encourages me through His word and still small voice. That is where I go to have my soul refreshed and restored. I quiet my mind and allow Him to speak to me. It is by the refreshing quiet water that I "stand still and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14) When I do my soul is refreshed. Try it! I guarantee it will refresh your soul.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Be Contagious

Last week I visited a friend in the hospital. Before I was allowed to go into his room I had to put on a lovely yellow gown and latex gloves in to protect myself from getting what he had. He was highly contagious and I didn't want what he had. (nothing personal)

As I was driving home I began to think about being contagious. As Christians we're contagious. The question is do people want what we've got? Or will they do what I did before I walked into that hospital room and takes steps to protect themselves from being exposed to us?

Jesus was contagious, people wanted what He had. They were attracted to Him because of the way he lived His life and love people from all walks of life. When we have an intimate relationship with Christ we will become more like Him. We love people the way he loved them, as a result people will want what we have, rather than go to great measures to protect themselves from getting what we've got. Be like Jesus! Be contagious!

Ephesians 5:15-17 ( NLT ) 15So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keeping your soul weed free

I really enjoy the challenge of keeping my yard green and weed free. It's sort of a hobby of mine. (I know I need to get a life) So last week I took a walk on the church property to check out our yard. From my office the yard looked farely green. But after a closer look I realized that the newly planted areas were being overtaken by weeds and the grass was sparse at best.

What happened, the landscape company came cultivated, fertilized and planted grass shouldn't it just grow? I was sort of disappointed, because I like lush green lawns. Then I thought about how much TLC I put into my yard, I have to constantly be working on it to make it look good. I have to thatch (rake out the dead grass) and aerate (poke holes to allow it to breathe) which makes it look really bad for a few days. I also fertilize and regularly check it for uninvited weeds that pop up. Keeping my yard healthy is an ongoing process.

It made me think about my spiritual life, I am like a yard. I must constantly be feeding my soul, thatching out the dead unnecessary stuff so that the grass that is alive can thrive. I always have to be on the lookout for the cares of this world that grow up in my soul that will choke me to death if I don't keep them plucked out. It is hard work but, God rewards our faithfulness.

Like our church lawn we as Christians can sometimes look good from a distance but when you get up close there are lot of weeds choking the growth that God desires. It takes a lot of commitment to have a keep our spiritual lives vibrant and growing, but the end result is a productive and exciting relationship with Jesus Christ that will be attractive to the people that we encounter on a daily basis.

Matthew 13:7-8 ( NLT )
7Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thanks Troyer Family

On March 14, 2009 we received a phone call from Arlin Troyer that his mother Laura had been in a very serious motorcycle accident in Morgantown WV. As Laura lay clinging to life we began hearing stories of how the first people on the scene, a nurse and a preacher ministered to Laura and how God miraculously spared her life.
In the days and weeks that followed it was amazing to see the outpouring of love from the church and community as family and friends did whatever they could to help the family. People all over this community, and the world were praying for Laura's recovery.

Over the next four months we saw God begin to do an incredible work in Laura and her family. We saw their faith in God increase, there love for each other and their family reach new heights. The faith they displayed has challenged everyone.

On Sunday evening July 19, 2009 many of us (approx. 500) witnessed the reunion of the three people who were brought together one Saturday afternoon on HWY68 in Morgantown WV. Their lives forever intertwined and changed by this providential meeting. What an amazing evening we experienced. We witnessed God using a tragedy to bring people to Himself, as a result of the powerful testimonies of John, Laura and Eric Clark.

John, Laura, Arlin, Brendon, and Amber we will never be able to thank you enough for the way you have challenged us as we have watch you grow in your faith for God and love for each other during this season in your life.

To hear John and Luara's testimony go to

I would be interested in hearing how you have been impacted by Laura's story. Leave a comment and I will forward your response to John and Laura.

3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Giving up "Stuff"

While on vacation I read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and was I EVER challenged. It's made me think about my commitment to Christ. Is He everything? Am I willing to give up stuff so that I can love Him on a more intimate level? What if he asks me to give up stuff that means sacrificing things I like?
Over the last month the Lord has been asking Verda and I to give up something that would mean sacrificing "stuff." God and I have had a few wresting matches over it, I think we're okay with it. Why is sacrificing stuff so hard when we know it is what He desires? Paul reminds us in Philippians that if we want to experience an intimate relationship with Him it will require sacrifice, suffering and possibly death. The beautiful thing is that we will one day experience the resurrection and eternal life with Him. Yes giving up stuff is well worth the sacrifice, that is what radical obiedence is all about.

Philippians 3:10 ( TMSG ) I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fool for Christ

I came across this blog post by Mark Batterson that is challenging. Am I willing to be a fool for Christ?

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The most important thing about you

What comes into our minds when we think about God in the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high and low thoughts about God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. - A.W. Tozer

What is your view of God? How does shape who you are?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Answer the Door

Do I really love Jesus more than anything in the world? My response is always, well absolutely! But do I really? Think about it. What is the first thing you do in the morning when you get up, meet with Jesus or the morning news? What is the last thing I do at night? take time to talk with Him or let the TV put me to sleep? If I spend 5 min a day with Him do I really love more than anything else? If I can't find time everyday to spend with Him do I really love more than anything? Or is He not important enough to spend time with? He wants all of me or none of me!

Read Rev. 3:15 - 16
15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

The good news is that He is always waiting for us to allow Him to come in and spend time with Him. Today when you hear Him knocking , stop put everything down allow Him to come in and nourish your soul.

19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time for some R&R

Were off to Florida for two weeks!!! This year were taking a different approach to our vacation, rest and relaxation begins when we leave our driveway not when we reach our final destination. Were actually stopping twice on the way down, a new record for us, beating the old one by two stops. We're spending a night in Harrisonburg VA and a night in Moorsville NC before arriving in Sarasota Friday evening.
In life we often are so driven by destinations that we forget to enjoy the journey to our desired destination. So today take some time to enjoy life. Life is what happens when you are planning your future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

John's Audience

New Christians and searching non-Christians.John does not reveal his audience directly, but several characteristics of the book provide insight into the people he was trying to reach.

1. The Gospel of John differs greatly from the other three Gospels in content and approach. Matthew, Mark, and Luke present much historical data with few explanations or interpretations. John, however, selected key events and took time to explain and apply them. (
In addition, John chose to write about a few important, miraculous signs (20:30-31) in order to give a clear picture of the person of Christ.

2. John illustrates the tension between faith and unbelief and emphasizes the importance of responding to Christ. He states this fact at the very beginning and carries it throughout the book—“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12 niv).

3. John uses simple vocabulary but chooses special words and loads them with meaning—for example, word, truth, light, darkness, life, and love.

4. John repeats four main points: the true identity of Jesus, the necessity of responding to Christ in faith, the gift of eternal life, and the church’s mission to the world.

5. John explains his purpose clearly: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31 niv).

Written almost as an evangelistic tract, John presents the evidence for Jesus as the God-man and the Savior of the world, and he challenges readers to follow his Lord. So we can conclude that John wrote to unbelieving Asian Jews and Gentiles.But John also wrote to Christians, to help strengthen their faith. John was the last surviving apostle and one of the few still living who had seen Jesus in the flesh. It would be easy for young believers—removed from Christ’s life, death, and resurrection by a generation and surrounded by a hostile government and unbelieving neighbors—to have doubts and second thoughts about their faith. Remember, this is the late eighties, after the terrible persecutions by Nero (a.d. 54–68) and the total destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70). The church had flourished under persecution, but believers needed reassurance of the truth of Christianity. John, the venerable eyewitness to all that Jesus had done and faithful follower of his Lord, would give that assurance through his personal account of the gospel story.


Written between a.d. 85–90 from Ephesus, after the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) and before John’s exile to the island of PatmosThe Gospel of John contains no references concerning where it was written. But according to the earliest traditions of the church, John wrote his Gospel from Ephesus.
That church is described in Revelation 2:1-7.We don’t know how old John was when Jesus called him. But assuming that John was a little younger than Jesus, John would have been in his eighties when writing this Gospel, quite old for a time when the life expectancy was much shorter. And considering the fact that all the other apostles had died as martyrs, John was indeed the church’s elder statesman. We can imagine him teaching and counseling the Christians in this well-established church, as well as doing some writing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who was John

As we begin this journey through the book of John I hope you will challenged and inspired by the study. When studying a book it is always good to know some of the background info. I hope it will be helpful.

Author: John the Apostle, son of Zebedee and Salome, and younger brother of James. John was following in his father Zebedee’s footsteps as a fisherman when Jesus called him His mother was Salome . His brother, James, was also one of the Twelve and the first apostle to be martyred. They fished on the Sea of Galilee with Peter and Andrew.One might predict that someone with a personality like John’s would self-destruct. Certainly this person would die in a fight or in a clash with the Roman government. At the very least, he would be discarded by the church as self-seeking and power-hungry.But such was not the case. Instead, John was transformed into someone who was strong but gentle, straightforward but loving, courageous but humble. There is no dramatic event to account for John’s transformation—it must have come from being with Jesus, being accepted, loved, and affirmed by the Lord, and then being filled with the Holy Spirit. So overwhelmed was John by Jesus that he did not mention himself by name in the Gospel that bears his name. Instead, he wrote of himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” . What a humble change for one who, at first, had wanted power and recognition.John stands as a great example of Christ’s power to transform lives. Christ can change anyone—no one is beyond hope. Jesus accepted John as he was, a Son of Thunder, and changed him into what he would become, the apostle of love.r of James. (QuickVerse)