Sunday, February 24, 2008


"There is a sweet anointing in this sanctuary.
There is a stillness in the atmosphere.
Oh, come lay down the burdens you have carried,
for in this sanctuary, God is here."

When I entered the large worship center alone during the first song, I immediately felt the difference. There was the calm, healing presence of God. I was one among one thousand, but it really was just me and my Lord. As the next song started I stood silently letting the words of praise wash away the stresses of the past week. It was as though I had been holding my breath and now was able to exhale, and with it came the tears.
Tears of praise for who God is.
Tears of thanksgiving for how He has been healing Mom.
Tears of joy as I stood before my God.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You - I, whom you have redeemed Ps. 71:23

I am home in Your presence!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day is Done

Dad handed her the small box while she sat up in her hospital bed. "I have something for you", he said. He helped her open the box and showed her a beautiful necklace. It was silver with a pink stone surrounded by wire in the shape of the breast cancer ribbon symbol. His voice broke as he showed her the angel. It has a front clasp so that women who have gone through this surgery can fasten it themselves.
"Oh, it's beautiful", Mom said. A tender kiss from my father to his bride of 56 years. It is so hard to see someone you love be in so much pain.
It was a long day - at the hospital before 7 a.m. waiting in the pre-surgery area, a painful nuclear medicine procedure to follow dye into the lymph nodes to look for more cancer, more waiting, more drugs, up for surgery and Dad & I wait for the calls. The hospital gives you a cell phone so they can quickly contact you with what's happening. After one hour the 1st dr. called - all went well- lymph nodes look clear, we'll know for sure in 2 weeks. 1 1/2 hour later the 2nd dr. calls- all went well, - wait for call from recovery. One more hour and we get the last call - she's out of recovery we can go to her room.

Later, when one of the doctors came to her room, I thanked him and told him that there were a lot of people praying for him that day. He seemed a little surprised and said, "Well, it couldn't hurt."

As Dad and I went back home there was a neighbor watching and waiting. With a heavy Polish accent, Helena asked how it had gone. She and many others have been praying. Today once home with Mom, I talked with Helena again. I barely know her yet as we talked she showed a loving spirit- a "kindred heart" as she talked of her prayers. It was so awesome to share a verse with her from Psalms about God being our "portion". She said that He wants us to call on Him always, not just when there's problems. With tears in her eyes she spoke of her husband who doesn't believe. I love my parents and would do anything to help them, but how much more the burden and pain when your loved one doesn't know the one who gave His all on the cross for them.

Mom is healing, although today she has a lot of physical pain. But we rejoice in the God of our Salvation, He alone is worthy of all our praise.

God is good - all the time
All the time - God is good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

From Here to There

Today I‘m heading to FL to be with my mom for when she has her breast cancer surgery on Wed. It has been quite the winter here. There has been more snow and cold than I can remember ever having before. This picture of Lake Michigan which Dale took last Sunday when I don’t think it got above 0 degrees. When the lake is steaming like a hot tub, you know it’s cold!

I’m going to a place that right now is 74 degrees. I can’t wait. This picture is of me and Mom last year when Dale and I were down there. This time of the year I always get cabin fever. So even though I wish mom was closer for the surgery, the good news is that I get to go for a short time where it is warmer.

Please be in prayer for Mom and Dad. God has blessed them in so many ways and helped them through health issues before. Always remember, God is good.

“Cast your care on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Ps 55:22

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Unforgettable" Memories

The lit tree and park bench let the banquet attendees know which entrance to use.

As the handsome young doormen held the doors open for them, they were brought into an outdoor park setting filled with lit trees, park benches, ice pond and street lights. A duet of violin and flute from two of our youth filled the foyer with beautiful music. After checking their coats they went to the “studio” to have their picture taken and by the end of the evening most had a 5 x 7 photo to take home as a memory.

Once in the main room, the sounds of Zach Vinson on the grand piano filled the room with soft, beautiful music. The evening was a formal theme of Black & White. The tables were simply, but elegantly set around that theme.

There were several different kinds of hors’douvrs to taste along with sparkling grape juice. Once seated, everyone enjoyed a lettuce salad with candied pecans, gorgonzola,craisens and raspberry vinaigrette served with style by the youth. The main meal was white garlic lasagna along with fresh green beans and rolls with herb butter. The desserts – oh, the desserts – were two types of cheesecakes. One was New York style with strawberries and a chocolate heart on it, while the other was a turtle cheesecake, all this under the direction of Nikki MacDonald.

The program, which the youth have been working on since October, consisted of classic love songs and short humorous skits about marriage. They did such an awesome job! We were so proud of them. As Lyn and I watched from the front, we were excited for them as they “nailed” each part.
They sang: Love is Here to Stay, L-O-V-E, The Way You Look Tonight, Unforgettable (of course), For Once in My Life and Through the Years.
But more important than doing well, was the goal of the evening. It was an outreach event, giving people a reason to invite friends and neighbors to a romantic evening and provide an open door to share about Christ. They heard about God’s desire for their marriages from a short devotional from Pastor Jon. Couples that don’t know God, heard of His perfect love for them. It gave some an opportunity to later share the gospel of salvation with friends that they had brought. That is what the evening was about.

I love working with these teens. They are a joy to work with and serve with. Even though the snow day threw us off schedule wise, the kids readjusted their time and came to help set up and practice. I never once them complain, rather I’d heard. “What else do you need done?”

As always, Lyn, Nikki and I decide on the theme for next year before we left Saturday night. We are already planning for that.

The nights went by too quickly. It is now an “Unforgettable” memory.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sweetheart Set-up

Although the first night of the banquets is behind us, right now I'm just going to post a few pictures of some of the set up. I often think of taking pictures after the fact - so there aren't a lot of them. The snow storm that dumped 12"+ and closed everything rearranged our week for us but it all came together in time.

There was the large multi purpose room with the stage to set up, piano to move from the sanctuary to the room, pillars to move which we ended up not using, lattice to decorate and decorating the foyer to make it look like a park in the winter.

Take a look at the picture of Lyn and myself with the trees. If you enlarge the picture you'll be able to see 2 of our youth hiding amount the set-up.

You've heard of "tree huggers"? How about "pillar hugger" by our fearless leader, Pastor Jon MacDonald.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

An "Unforgettable" Week

I am heading into what is the busiest week of the year for me. It is the week of our church's Sweetheart Banquet put on each year by the youth. It is an outreach event and a night to be an encouragement in our marriages and relationship with the one we love. It is a themed event with this year titled, "Unforgettable". It is a dressy evening in black and white.
Since the end of October, 25 of our youth have been rehearsing music and skits to be performed for their parents and many others. The songs this year are classic love songs such as Unforgettable. They have been doing such a wonderful job and working so hard on the songs and choreography even though they haven't known many of these songs before.
So, tomorrow night we start with some of the decorations. For the first time we are using and decorating the main foyer along with the main dining area. The foyer will be an outdoor scene with snow, trees with lights, park benches, street lights and a trio of musicians playing.

My check list is long:
* bring: tree, lights, spots, candles, sheets, bench, cords, power strips, candle lighters, vases, twigs painted white, 2 x 4's, tape, pins, etc...
* get final sign up for servers, find black cloth, poles, sheets, assign small group tasks, get hole punch, etc...
* be there Mon. night, Tues. night, Wed. night, ... oh, well... all week.

There are still a lot of little details to be taken care of. Lyn, Nikki and I love doing this and each year it seems we learn more about how to do it better. We also learn to leave things in God's hands when details doesn't go as we had anticipated.

Here are a few pictures from the last two years.

I'll post more pictures after the event. In the mean time, I try to sleep and not be anxious about those details. Our goal is that God would be honored and that people will have an opportunity to hear of His love for them and for their marriages to be strengthened.