Friday, July 29, 2011

The Parable of the Seacoast


A story to connect with Saving the Lost...Keeping the Saved...

A paraphrase of a story in Heaven Bound Living as originally told by Thomas Wedel goes like this -- On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a little life-saving station. The building was primitive, and there was just one boat, but the members of the life-saving station were committed and kept a constant watch over the sea. When a ship went down, they unselfishly went out day or night to save the lost. Because so many lives were saved by that station, it became famous. Consequently, many people wanted to be associated with the station to give their time, talent, and money to support its important work. New boats were bought, new crews were recruited, and a formal training session was offered. As the membership in the life-saving station grew, some of the members became unhappy that the building was so primitive and that the equipment was so outdated. They wanted a better place to welcome the survivors pulled from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged and newly decorated building.

As the years passed, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a place to meet regularly for fellowship, for committee meetings, and for special training sessions about their mission, but few went out to the people lost at sea. The struggling people were no longer welcomed in that new life-saving station. So another life-saving station was founded further down the coast. History continued to repeat itself. If you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of adequate meeting places with ample parking and plush carpeting. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people don’t survive.

Food for thought...

Blessings, Don

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Terrific Two Weeks, Pt.2

Friends, has been nearly two weeks since I started a "Terrific Two Weeks", but VBS and other activities, ministry have intervened. Today, I will try to finish what I started...

We really enjoyed our vacation time with our friends, the Forrester family. I have told many folks, it may have been the best vacation we have had from the standpoint of just having some family time to play together. We had planned to get going on our way to Branson early Sunday morning, and our friends were going to be some hours ahead of us. An amazing thing happened just outside of Sherman when we connected with them on the road, much to our surprise. Whodathunk...what were the odds? Astronomical, I am certain. We were both behind schedule that day, but is worked out well, as we were able to travel together on to our destination.

We stayed in a beautiful resort in Branson called the Holiday Hills Resort. Once we figured out our way around the construction, things went pretty smoothly. There was a pool on the property that were able to enjoy...and we all took advantage of it nearly every day. We spent a day and a half at Silver Dollar City, the amusement park connected to Branson. I have never been to a large park that you cannot see until you are actually on the doorstep, but such as is it, because of the hills and the trees that surround it. We visited many shops, including the Christmas store, which seemed to be a favorite for all of us. We also had some special jerky, including "cajun gator"...not sure I would buy a bunch of it, but it was good. The roller coasters were a highlight, particularly the Wildfire, which is probably my all-time favorite with its two-three minutes of hills, drops, loops and corkscrews (think "Batman" at Six Flags, but twice as long and twice as good). The Powderkeg is hidden from view...and for good reason. Those in line said -- boring. Not a chance! I shoots you out at 70 mph up and over a hill...quite exciting. The biggest shock was actually "Thunderation" which we figured was like the Mine Train ride at Six Flags. Once again...we were wrong. It was much faster and more intense...a fun ride. The Great Amercian Country show was enjoyable, especially given the fact that the last quarter of their program was Christian contemporary/Gospel music. I am certain that it was a surprise to some, but quite pleasing for our families.

My favorite part of the trip was Wednesday when we went to the downtown mini-mall. So many great stores...a Thomas Kincaid gallery, another Christmas store, a Sports store and a savory store of wonderful treats where we tasted some good chips, dips (much like A Matter of Taste in Leavenworth, WA -- in fact, one of the reasons the Branson experience was so fun was that it is a tourist trap much like Leavenworth). The best part of the mall (and of the whole trip for me) was Mel's Hard Luck Diner where we went to eat dinner. I had the best red beans and rice soup I have ever had there...highly recommend it. But, the singing waiters and waitresses were terrific. We were serenaded by John Sager, who did a great job...and even embarrassed Emily a bit by singing to her. :-) Jason Yeager is a waiter there -- he was an Americal Idol top 24 finalist in 2007...another superb voice. The specialty store connected to the diner was also a fun place to buy some souvenirs.

We went to a show one evening call "The Cat's Pajamas," an acapella group, that was very entertaining. They really involved the audience and were personable as they sang a variety of music, but mostly from the 50s and 60s. They are going to be in the competition "Sing Off" this Fall, so look for them. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Alyssa had her little "Perry the Platypus" critter from Phineas and Ferb with us, who had his picture taken with one of the "Cats"...and he also appeared in many, many other pictures...just one more bit of entertainment of all of us. We really had fun that evening with the Forresters -- we just thoroughly enjoyed our special time to visit with our Forrester friends during the entire was a wonderful time for our families. Hope you have a blessed day!


Monday, July 4, 2011

A Terrific Two Weeks, Pt. 1


Week One -- was my first time at Lake Cisco Christian Camp, the Cisco Senior Session (after two years at Junior sessions). First, I was thankful to be at camp with my daughter, Emily, and my son, Ian...this was important and special to me. They enjoyed themselves, and so this was a blessing to me. I also had the privilege of being with the senior guys (21 of them) along with Jason H. and Chris M. Thankfully for Jason and myself, Chris was a former marine, so we knew who could be "bad cop" (getting them up in the morning, etc.)...and boy, did that work out well. ;-) Chris had them pretty well whipped into shape...until someone took his Honey Buns, then there were issues -- it was comical. We had a good week. I very much enjoyed getting to know our guys and many of the other campers throughout the course of the week.

A special opportunity presented itself when Jason's dad, John H. was able to come to camp and be with us. John and I have been friends for nearly 25 years, and I had not had the opportunity to spend any significant time with him in a long time. I was grateful to be able to spend some important time talking, sharing, praying together with John over the course of the was a great blessing for our friendship.

There were other good friends at camp and new friends to be made. Saint Carl H. and I were up to our typical camp antics, dressing up Hawaiian, and in Christmas usual, it was a great time. I particularly enjoyed sitting in Carl's Bible class two times. My young friend Kyle R. had some important things to share during class, and I am so proud of how much he has grown in the Lord since his baptism last summer. It was great to meet Carl's mom, Carla, and sister, Anna, who were also at camp. Jordan T. and Lee L. did a good job directing the was a blessing to get to know them better. It was great to see and work with Blan, Sarah, Callie, Karyn, Becky, Jason Ha, LaDara, Ragan and others whom I have known for a few years now. I met so many other terrific people -- Joel, Joy, Sandy, Vale, Rob, Lacreta, Lindsay, Dale, John, Wil, Darla and many others. Each blessed my life in some special way, and I am thankful that to have gained new friends.

I was thankful to have the opportunity to speak during the Thursday evening worship time concerning, "Who is My Neighbor?" from Luke 10. It was an important message concerning how we need to be purposeful in our love for others. It led to a couple of significant highlights of the week for me. My young friend, Cody C., asked me to baptize him following the message, which was such an honor. I am very proud of Cody for his decision. Then, Friday evening a great thing happened, as a young lady, Emily A., asked me to baptize her. I did not know her, but once I had the opportunity to go visit with her and baptize her, we became fast friends...that was a special and humbling time, a tremendous blessing. It is always wonderful when people come to the Lord and give their lives to him...there is nothing more important than this!

I am thankful for special camp experiences that help us and bless us in our walk with the Lord, and I was forever changed because of my connection with the young people and adults at LCCC this summer.

Blessings, Don