Sunday, August 16, 2015

True Heroes!

Dear Readers,

There has been some talk about heroes, or role models recently. Charles Barkley had the famous line a number of years back that is listed in the picture below. He emphatically stated, “I’m not a role model”, or in essence a hero. He then said, "Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."
Also, there was a recent news article that went viral where one soldier declared that Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner, a past great Olympic champion in the decathlon, was a “hero” at the Espys for coming out as a female.
Lebron James is doing a great amount of philanthropy work in his hometown of Akron, giving large amounts of money for education. He is a hero in many eyes. I, myself, watch like a hawk about anything “Lebron James” and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’m a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan, who like so many others, are waiting for the first Cleveland sports title since the 1964 Browns.
There are many other people that many consider their heroes and they look to as role models to emulate. They are sports stars, movie actors, singing sensations, etc.

But, the Bible has a different take on who we, or our children, should consider heroes. David proclaimed in Psalm 16:3 (NLT): “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!”

See you next time,

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Spirit of Jesus

Dear Readers,

Don’t you wish you had easy answers to difficult questions? I know sometimes I face challenges that seem overwhelming and I don’t know how I’m going to resolve them.

I think I pray hard enough (or do I?) but the answers seem very elusive.

I’ve read many verses about the leading of the Holy Spirit and how He will lead me “into all truth”. But then I get into the quandary of defining truth, and for a concrete thinker like me the answers can seem endless what truth looks like.

I read a couple Bible verses recently that caught my attention. It made me wonder if I was making things too difficult. The verses were located in Acts 16:6-8 (NLT). They go like this: “Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia,but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.

Pay attention to verse 7 where it talks about the “Spirit of Jesus” that did not allow them to a specific place.

What would it take for you and I to be so in tune to God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, to have such specific direction given to us…and for us to discern it?

I pray and long for a day when I am so in tune with God’s will that I can directly tap into it to deal with difficult questions and challenges. How about you?

See you next time,


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Will Cleveland Winning a Championship Bring Happiness?

Dear Readers,

The last couple weeks the Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing in the NBA championship finals. Much has been made of the fact that Cleveland has not had a sports championship for 51 years. The Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship in 1964, three years before the beginning of the Super Bowl era.

All will be right in the northern Ohio world if Lebron and his cohorts bring home the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy…or will it?

I will be one of the most excited fans around if the Cavs bring home the trophy. My excitement will almost border on euphoria. But I question if it will bring me true happiness.

I give as an example Ohio State Buckeyes winning the NCAA championship. It was very much fun to see the underdog pull out the last two games over much higher touted opponents. But how do I feel about that now?

I doubt that the championship itself brought anyone closer to the Lord. And what do you think about the high paid athletes in pro sports? Do winning championships make them think about how meaningless their millions really are?

I will be a happy camper when a Cleveland sports team brings home the gold. But my highest amount of happiness will be when my family and friends give their hearts to the Lord!

"Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord." Psalm 89:15

See you next time,


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Is It OK to Mourn?

Dear Readers, 

Tonight I went on a rant with my wife. I was not angry and my rant was not focused on her. I think I was a little bit melancholy. You see, I sometimes get into a state of questioning and in a sense “mourning”. During these times I usually think about the past, the present, and the future. I’m a sentimentalist at heart, although some people might disagree. And I have a degree of mourning about things. 

Sometimes I mourn when I wonder about the past. I wonder why I was born into my particular family and heritage. I wonder why I was raised in my Amish-Mennonite community. I wonder about the circumstances I encountered in my childhood, most of them good, but not necessarily extraordinary. My childhood church is now a huge church with large outreach in Holmes County, Ohio, and I wonder why it waited until I left to grow and thrive. I even wonder why my school sports teams waited until I left to become perennial state powerhouses that I can only experience from a distance. 

Sometimes I mourn when I wonder about the present. I wonder what my purpose is at this point in time. I wonder about my impact as a husband and a dad. I wonder about my vocation and what impact I’m having as a job developer in a community mental health center. I wonder about my tiny church and what impact we are having in the Mansfield, Ohio area. I wonder about Ohio, American, and world events and the impact they will have on the future. I wonder what it would take for government leaders and citizens to only worry about pleasing God and not worry about pleasing their respective political parties. I wonder what it takes to be a productive and discerning citizen. 
Lastly, sometimes I mourn when I wonder about the future. I wonder if I will have an enduring legacy that will be looked upon with respect and draw people toward God. I wonder about my wife and where her writing will take her, and what lasting impact it will have. I wonder about my son, and what it will take for him to reach his great potential. I wonder what it will take for family members and friends both nearby and far away, to change, and to perhaps wonder along with me what wonderful things God has in store for us. I wonder where my church can go, and what it can become in our community. Can it grow both spiritually and in numbers that I can experience it first hand, instead of later after I have moved on. I wonder if our government leaders can follow God’s leading rather than their political party. Also, I wonder if the worst of all people like ISIS individuals can have an awakening. 

I think it can be good to mourn about things, but perhaps to not go on a rant or to be melancholy about it. 
See you next time, 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Night That Donny Yoder of Hiland High School Was “In A Zone”

Dear Readers,  

Donny Yoder was in a zone that night. Hiland High School was playing at Riverview High School back in 1971. Donny had a night to remember.

It was a cold, snowy night outside, but inside that Riverview gym Donny was hot. Donny was not a ball hog by any means, but he was draining long range jumpers one after another. (Note: This was long before Ohio high school basketball had the 3-pointer.) He had over 40 points, a school record at that time. Everyone marveled at the feat. He simply said, “I was in a zone.”

What does being “in a zone” mean. Donny was a steady double figure scorer, but why did he never score that many points before that night, and why not after that night?

Why do people sometimes get “in a zone”? My wife is a writer and she states that sometimes she gets to the point where words and ideas just flow from her mind to the page. She in a sense is in a writing “zone”.

Inventors try unsuccessfully hundreds of times to develop a product. Then one day they hit on something that’s successful. They become almost obsessed until they perfect their product, hoping that it will change the lives of people. You might say they are in an inventor’s “zone”.

We can come up with many other examples of people, like musicians, professionals, computer geeks, etc. who get “in a zone” until they produce wonderful music, business deals, and technological advances.

Jesus, in Acts 1:8 talked about people getting in a “zone”, if you will. It was a spiritual “zone” that would enable His followers to spread the news about His saving power around the world.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” Acts 1:8 (NLT)


I'm not sure if Donny is still in the Hiland High School record books. I hope he is, because I got to see someone in person that cold, snowy night that was "in a zone"!

See you next time,