AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Terri And The Pope DATE: 3/31/2005 08:36:00 PM ----- BODY: 2 big news stories tday -- the death of Terri Schiavo and the worsening condition of Pope John Paul II.

While these stories are different, they are similar in that both Terri Schiavo and the Pope have become important figures in the lives of many people -- but for different reasons. They seem to represent what can be the best in us -- and the worst.

The Pope represents the best in us -- even though many feel him to be very conservative John Paul II has become an icon for a religious and spiritual life. I have heard many say over the years: "He looks like a Pope should look" -- a father figure for Catholics and Protestants alike -- an icon of peace and spirituality in a world of hatred and violence.

Terri Shiavo, on the other hand, has become a symbol of a battle that rages in our world on many fronts. The sad thing is that Terri never chose to be that symbol -- never chose to be something to battle over. The Terri Shiavo case has polarized our country and our churches. Politicians have postured, lawyers have argued, preachers have preached, the President has grabbed the spotlight, and the courts have ruled. And why? So Terri could be given the best treatment possible -- or so her wishes could be granted -- or so the particular position of the particular person talking at the particular time could be advanced?

These are hard questions -- and I am afraid the answers lie more in our will to push our own agenda than concern for Terri.

For me, the bottom line in the Terri Schiavo case is not the right to die -- or the right to make our own decisions about quality of life. Terri was not able to make her own decision. For me, the bottom line here is:

"How do we care for those who can not make decisions for themselves"?

This is a deeply moral, reiligious, and ethical question.

Can we, as a society, try to do what is best for those who can not do for themselves?

Can we, as a society, make decisions that are in the best interest of those who can not make the decisions for themselves?

Only if we try to look at what is best for the person involved -- whether we would want it for ourselves or not -- can we begin to decide what is best for those who can not make those decisions for themselves.

Only when we begin to ask "What would they want done?" instead of saying "This is what I want done" can we begin to truly make decisions that would be for the benefit of the person whose life -- and the quality of their life -- is at stake.

This is not an easy task.

We all need to pray for the wisdom to listen to God and listen to each other with respect as the battle over Terri Shiavo and others like her rages on.

Too bad the Pope can not lead us in these prayers.

So -- what do you think?

Please comment -- I would like to know how others feel.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate:Thursday DATE: 3/31/2005 08:04:00 PM ----- BODY:

I've been blogging about my nephew Rob, his wife Patricia, and the Budapest MinistryNet conference. They left today -- but won't get to Budapest until Friday. Keep them in your prayers.

Tuesday Rob blogged about requesting prayers for visas for the participants to the conference. At that point they needed 11 -- but read the post for today:

UPDATE #4 (31 Mar): 1 more visa granted. 1 potential attendee stopped pursuing it since doing so would require travel from the Philippines to Indonesia (then Hungary) with no guarantees of getting past Indonesia.
** 2 remaining ** - These two individuals are now in transit from Mali and Ghana, hoping to receive visas in Paris and London respectively. Pray for these remaining two!!

Read his post here.

God is indeed at work! Continue to join me in prayer for this coference -- the attendees -- and the impact God would have them to have through Internet Evangelism.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate DATE: 3/30/2005 08:32:00 AM ----- BODY:

My nephew Rob and his wife Patricia leave for the MinistryNet conference in Budapest tomorrow. They are certainly in our prayers -- not only for safe travel but for a successful conference.

Rob shared some specific prayer requests on the MinistryNet blog site for visas for conference attendees. Here's his post from yesterday:

We told you about a prayer request for some potential conference attendees were having trouble getting their visas to come to Budapest.

Here is the latest update:

* We originally had 11 needing visas
* 3 received theirs
* We still have 8 needing a visa to attend

Will you please pray for these 8 people? Please pray they will be able to get their visa and travel arrangements in time.

UPDATE: 1 visa came through! Please pray for the remaining 7.

Keep them in your prayers! I plan to blog about the conference as I get updates -- so stay tuned -- or stay tuned to the MinistryNet site.

Until next time - Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Happy Birthday, "Old Gull" DATE: 3/30/2005 07:44:00 AM ----- BODY:
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday Olivia
Happy Birthday to you!

Today is my sister Oldlivia (oops -- just a slip of the finger there!) Olivia's birthday. Olivia is my oldest sister. I won't say how old she is -- but I she is 7 years older than I am and I'll turn 50 in August -- so you do the math!

I have 2 older sisters -- and when I was little I couldn't say "girls" so I called them "gulls". That's where the "old gull" comes from!

I have many "Olivia stories" -- but one of my favorites involves Olivia, me, and a friend of mine when I was a kid -- his name was Jeff. One day Olivia was watching Jeff and me at home while Mom was at the grocery store. We dedided we wanted an apple -- but Olivia decided we couldn't have it. (I don't remember why!) Anyway -- Jeff and I grabbed the apple and ran outside -- Olivia chasing us and yelling all the way. We got to our tree house -- and Jeff and I climbed the ladder -- then pushed it down so Olivia couldn't climb up after us. With Olivia stalking at the bottom of the tree we decided that -- instead of eating the apple -- we would throw it at her. So there we were -- up the tree -- without the apple -- but laughing and thinking the whole thing was hillarious! You may be wondering why she didn't just put the ladder back up and come and get us. Well, Olivia knew Mom would be home soon -- and that she had us right where she wanted us. Trapped up the tree. When Jeff and I saw Mom's car pull up and Olivia run to the car -- we knew we were in trouble. And we were. Anyway -- we paid the price for the escapade -- but I am sure there were many other times like it!

Anyway -- happy birthday, "old gull!"

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Internet Evangelism DATE: 3/29/2005 10:12:00 AM ----- BODY:

If you have read my blog before, you probably know some things about my nephew, Rob Williams. Rob and his wife Patricia work for Campus Crusade for Christ. (Rob is also my technical expert when it comes to my blog. My blog is evolving and looking much better thanks to him!)

Rob works with Internet Evangelism for Campus Crusade. It's so good to know that God is using talented folks to get the word out on the Internet! They are planning -- and will help lead -- a conference in Budapest, Hungary next week. I'll be praying for them and all those attending from throughout the world.

Won't you join me in praying for this exciting ministry?

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: He Lives! DATE: 3/27/2005 10:20:00 AM ----- BODY: Easter Morning 2005

Rejoice, rejoice O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!
He walsk with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives! He llives! Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives -- He lives within my heart!
"I Serve A Risen Savior" by Alfred H. Ackley

The final chapter in the Holy Week drama is complete -- and the last word is not that Christ died on the cross -- but that He rose again from the dead! In my Church we celebrated Easter with a short Sunrise Service at 6:30 AM around the cross of flowers -- then had a worship service with the choir's Easter Cantata and the Sacrament of Communion -- concluding with a breakfast and time of fellowship. It all added to the celebration of the day -- and the new life we have in Christ.

One of our favorite hymns for Easter is "I Serve A Risen Savior" by Alfred H. Ackley. The story goes that Ackley was preaching about the risen Christ on night -- and one in the congregation told him later

"I don't see how you can get so excited about a dead Jew!"

Ackley replied:

"But, my firend, Jesus lives!"

He then wrote the stirring hymn loved by so many.

On this Easter day, let the joy that Christ lives fill your heart with joy!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: An Easter Sermon DATE: 3/26/2005 02:29:00 PM ----- BODY: I finished writing my sermon for tomorrow this morning. I have created a "sermon blog" where I will post my sermons. I will give little bits of them on this -- my main blog -- and link to the sermon post on my sermon blog.

Many thanks to my nephew Rob for helping me with most of the technical things on this blog -- and suggesting having a seperate blog to post sermons -- then linking to that blog from this one! I am so glad he is a Williams -- he and his Dad are so good at computers and other technical things -- us Hayes' are not good at this stuff at all. My sister Olivia (who, by the way, has a birthday coming up on March 30) did real well when she married Bob! (I think his birthday is soon, too! )

Tomorrow's sermon -- based on Jeremiah 31:1-6, Colossians 3:1-4, and John 20:1-18 focuses on Mary's message to the disciples: "I have seen the Lord!" -- and asks the question -- Can You See The Lord?

One illustration is use is from Dr. Paul Willis of The Cathedral Of His Glory in Greensboro, NC.:

Paul Willis, pastor of The Cathedral Of His Glory in Greensboro, tells a story of sailing with his grandfather off the coast of North Carolina when he was a young boy. One day as they were sailing the wind stopped -- the sea became a dead calm -- and their sailboat began floating aimlessly in the water. Try as they might, they couldn’t get the ship to head in the direction of home -- and it was getting dark. Young Paul panicked -- and did not know what to do. He knew they couldn’t swim to shore -- they were much too far out.

What were they going to do?

His grandfather knew that all they could do was wait -- and -- being an experienced sailor and fisherman -- he knew the wind would begin blowing again.

Darkness fell -- and still no wind.

Young Paul knew they were doomed.

Grandfather knew that the wind would come back in time.

Finally -- late into the night -- grandfather woke Paul and told him to trim the sails. Paul did not understand why -- the wind was still not blowing -- but off in the distance he heard a faint sound. The sound became stronger and stronger until finally he could feel the wind. With the sails trimmed, the boat made its way home.

Willis likens the unexpected -- to him -- wind to the new life God offers us.

Just when we think things are at their worst --
there is the wind -- the Spirit -- of God -- giving us new life --
new hope -- for our lives.

Read the sermon here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: 3 Great Days DATE: 3/26/2005 02:12:00 PM ----- BODY: Saturday of Holy Week
Holy Saturday

Today is Holy Saturday -- the third day of the Great 3 Days -- or the Great Triduum. In many churches services are held on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday to remember the death of Christ for our sins -- and the resurrection of Christ which gives us the victory over sin and death. Taken together, these services provide a powerful witness to our hope and new life we have because of what Christ has done for us.

Read It Takes A Church to get another perspective on Great Triduum
and Holy Saturday.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Is It Really Good? DATE: 3/25/2005 08:20:00 AM ----- BODY: Friday morning of Holy Week
Good Friday

Today is Good Friday -- another of the most holy days in the Christian year.On this day we somberly reflect upon the death of Christ on the cross for our sins -- and how we can follow him and give of ourselves for him as he has for us. This is not an easy task -- and many find it almost impossible to ponder the events of Good Friday without moving quikly to the glory of Easter. But we need to stay focused on Good Friday -- the death of Christ -- the ordeal of Christ -- so that we can truly understand what happened -- what it means for us -- and how it can instruct us for living lives of Christian commitment and discipleship.

Not easy tasks -- but necessary.

The post for today on the Goshen College Lenten Devotional Blog is taken from Matthew's version for the curcifixon -- Matthew 27:11-54.

Here are parts of the devotional:

Today we are invited to embrace the mystery of the cross by recalling the events of Christ’s physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual agony. Grace beckons us to an assent of absolute faith that Christ suffered and died. As Paul reminds us, “If Christ had not died and risen, our faith is worthless!” Our own continual dying to sin, a process that unfolds over the course of our lives, enables us by His grace to ever more fully realize the potential of Christian charity in our daily living.

You can read the entire devotional here.

Take time today to reflect upon the death of Christ for your sins -- and how you can be more devoted to living for Christ!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Commanded To Love DATE: 3/24/2005 06:36:00 AM ----- BODY: Thursday morning of Holy Week
Maundy Thursday

Today is one of the most holy days in the Christian year -- Maundy Thursday. This is the day that Christ ate his last meal with his disciples before he was crucified. He was celebrating the Hebrew Passover Seder meal -- celebrating God delivering the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt -- but he gave new meaning to the traditional bread and wine -- explaining that for his followers they would now represent his body broken and his blood shed so their sins would be forgiven. We remember this in the Sacrament of Communion.

The name Maundy Thursday is taken from something else that Jesus did at that meal. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus washed the disciples feet -- then commanded the disciples to follow his example of love and service. It is the Latin word for commandment mandatium (which is where we get the word mandate) -- that gives us the word Maundy.

This is the day we not only remember the body broken and blood shed -- but also the commandment to love. I guess the question for today -- and every day -- is how well do we love? To what lengths are we willing to go to show God's love to all people? Jesus was not making a suggestion that we love -- he made a commandment!

On this Maundy Thursday -- this Mandate Thursday -- this Commandment Thursday -- think about how well you love -- and pray that God will help you love -- better!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: What's On Your Mind? DATE: 3/23/2005 06:48:00 AM ----- BODY: Wednesday morning of Holy Week.

The devotional reading on the Goshen College Lenten Devotionals bog site is taken from Philippians 2:5-11. This, by the way, is the traditional Epistle Lectionary reading for Palm Sunday.It's also considered to be one of the first creeds -- or statements of faith -- of the early church.

Here's snippits of the devotional reading:

Most of us have been asked the very simple question, “what’s on your mind?” As I was reading today’s lectionary scriptures, I imagined God asking the same question of Jesus, as they talked about the salvation plan for all humankind ...

Jesus, bearing the power and equality with God, chose self-sacrificing, humility and love as the way of bringing salvation to people in the world.

In today’s world of convenience, comfortableness, busyness and tensions, are we willing to walk in steps of humility and selflessness?

You can read the entire devotional here.

Indeed, how many people are willing to "walk in steps of humility and selflessness"?
In looking at my life can see I have a lot of work to do! Actually, God has a lot of work to do on me! But God can do the work -- if I let him!

The devotional ends with this statement:

May our life reflect the mind of Christ, by serving God and other people humbly with love, and obeying the word of God.

Sounds like a prayer I need to make for myself.
How about you?

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: L O V E Is My ID DATE: 3/22/2005 09:20:00 PM ----- BODY: Tuesday of Holy Week.
I attended mid day services in Reidsville today. A friend, Bishop Elijah Williams, brought a very moving message about Christian unity. He talked about how the PIN (Personal ID Number) for every Christian should be LOVE -- and got us to say after him L O V E is my ID.
You might ask what this has to do with Holy Week.Well -- I think it has everything to do with Holy Week -- the week we focus on the love of God that we see most clearly in Christ on the cross.
Christian unity and love are important topics -- especially during Holy Week. We tend to separate ourselves from others instead of coming together in Christ.The Goshen College Lenten Devotional Web Log focused on Psalms 31:9-16 today. We all know what brokeness is all about. So did Jesus.

This is part of what the Goshen College devotional has to say today;

When his eyes grew weak with sorrow, his soul and body with grief; when anguish consumed him and affliction took his strength, Jesus called out from this psalm (v 5). Broken like pottery by his enemies (v 12), forgotten in his dying, Jesus delivered his life into the hands of God, His Father.

You can read the entire devotional here.

God listend to Jesus' prayers for healing and wholeness. He will listen to ours, also. This Holy Week, try to focus on our unity in Christ, let L O V E be your ID --
, and do things that show your unity with others.
Again today, It Takes A Church has a wonderful post on Holy Week.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A Holy Week DATE: 3/21/2005 07:33:00 PM ----- BODY: This week is Holy Week -- the week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday.

It's the most important week of the year for Christians as we reflect upon the sacrafice of Christ for our sins. Many communities have worship services every day -- culminating in the services of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Many churches also observe an Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.

I find that observing Holy Week in some speical fashion -- whether it be attending special services, having special prayer times,fasting, or a combination several things, helps us put our Christian lives into perspective -- helps us remember what it means to be a Christian -- and makes our Easter celebration much more joyous and meaningful.

I'll spend Holy Week attending noontime servies at various churches in Reidsville, taking part in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, visiting and taking Communion to our homebound members, and keeping up with my other obligations. I'll try to blog about these experiences as the week goes on.

For more thougts on Holy Week see It Takes A Church.

So -- how are you going to spend your Holy Week?

Until next time -- Peace! Bill
-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Can I Let Them Pull Out My Beard? DATE: 3/21/2005 07:16:00 AM ----- BODY: Today's post on the Goshen College Lenten Devotial web blog is a refletion on Isaiah 50:4-9(a) -- the Old Testament reading for Palm Sunday for those who follow the Revised Common Lectionary. The devotional deals with handling trials in a way that can show God to others.
Here are some of the obersvations:

Throughout the day we should face the trials head on because we know that God is giving us the strength.

Take the opportunity today to smile and talk to that person who is challenging you so that you might show them God’s love!

Read the entire post here.

I find it hard to handle trials -- or challanges -- in a graciious, Godly manner. I would find it particuarly difficult to offer:

my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard (Isaiah 50:6(b))

For someone who has a beard -- I know how that could hurt! Ouch!
I need to pray for patience -- and the ability be be more Godly when facing trials and challanges.
Until next time -- Peace! Bill

-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: It's Madness! DATE: 3/20/2005 08:17:00 PM ----- BODY: "When is this game going to end so we can go to sleep?"
That's what Sally, my wife, kept asking me last night as I watched Wake Forest get upset by West Virginia in a double overtime thriller last night!
I know now why they call it "March Madness."
The teams I picked to win did really well at first -- so well I was tied for 1st place in the pick'em game I am a part of -- but after today I am in 8th place! Ugh!

Here's who I picked to advance to the "sweet 16":
Boston College
Oklahoma State
Georgia Tec
Wake Forest
North Carlina

8 of those I picked made it to the "sweet 16" -- and 3 of the ones I picked to go to the "elite 8" teams are out -- and 1 of the teams I picked to be in the Title Game (Wake Forest!) is now out of it!
O well -- it's fun!
Even if it is madness!
Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: More Hoopsla DATE: 3/18/2005 07:18:00 AM ----- BODY: In case you missed it, yesterday was the first day of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. I'm in a pick'em game(where you try to choose who will win all the games). I'm tied with 7 others for the number one spot right now -- we all missed 2 picks yesterday. Mine were the Texas / Nevada game -- I had picked Texas and Nevada won 61 - 57 -- and the Alabama / Wisonconsin - Milwaukee game -- I had picked Alabama and Wisonconsin - Milwaukee won 83 - 73!
O well -- at least everybody else missed 2 games -- even Rob! But I can't gloat too much -- the weekend is still young! Much more basketball to go today -- tomorrow -- and Sunday -- then for 2 more weekends before the finals on Monday, April 4! I will probably be begging for the "seond chance" game before it's all over with!
My favorite games so far?
I enjoy (but don't usually pick) upsets - so the Alabama / Wisonconsin - Milwaukee game was good - and I found myself pulling for Chattanooga to beat Wake Forest -- which was a close game in the first half until Wake Forest pulled away -- and I got really excited when Winthrop -- from my hometown of Rock Hill, SC -- almost beat Gonzaga! Gonzaga finally won 74 - 64 -- but it was a great game!
So -- can I stay on top?
Stay tuned and find out!
Until next time -- Peace! Bill
-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: The Fuss About Patrick DATE: 3/17/2005 07:09:00 PM ----- BODY: March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day!
A day for being Irish -- wearing green -- and eating corned beef and cabbage (just make sure you cook it right -- or you'll end up with a purple St. Patrick's Day meal!)
Even people who are not Irish claim to be on St. Patrick's Day!
Well -- just who was St. Patrick -- and what's the big fuss about him?
I'll let WikiPedia give you the details of his life.
I believe he is important because he returned to Ireland after escaping from slavery -- and worked to bring Christianity to the people who had been his captors. Not many people would go back after escaping from slavery to try to convert the people who had captured them! Proclaiming Christ -- even when it meant risking his life -- was more important to him than his physical freedom -- and to me that is something to celebrate.
Later, the faith of the Irish people helped save Europe during the Dark Ages -- as Thomas Cahill documents in his book How The Irish Saved Civilization. The work of St. Patrick helped make this possible!
I love the following prayer attributed to St. Patrick:

I take for my sureties:
The power of God to guide me,
The might of God to uphold me,
The wisdom of God to teach me,
The eye of God to watch over me,
The ear of God to hear me,
The word of God to give me speech,
The hand of God to protect me,
The way of God to go before me,
The shield of God to shelter me....

Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

A great prayer from a man of legendary faith!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Get Your Party On DATE: 3/15/2005 06:52:00 AM ----- BODY: Today's post to the Goshen College Lenten Devotional Blog is still a reflection on Palm Sunday, but from two different perspectives -- closing with a question of which perspective more closely resembles ours.
The first perspective is one of celebration -- the celebration of those Jesus helped, healed, and who His words emposerd.
Then -- there is the perspective of those in power -- who were threatened by Jesus.
Here's how the post describes their perspective:

We had names for a man like this: anarchist, liar, thief. He went around talking about bringing down the government, saying he was the “king,” like it was a funny joke. And that donkey he was riding on? He had his followers steal it for him in broad daylight. The happy bring-down-the-system party had to stop. The people shouting “Hosanna!” and parading about in the streets had to get back to work. The only way to stop the hullabaloo was to give him a death sentence.

Read the devotional here. The question is still important for each of us to answer.
Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Humble -- And Riding On A Donkey DATE: 3/14/2005 07:31:00 AM ----- BODY: Holy week begins with Passion / Palm Sunday next Sunday -- but it's not too early to think about the humillity of Christ -- and how Christ comes to us sometimes in very humble, quiet ways.

The devotional readling for today from the Goshen College Devotional Blog is entitled On A Donkey Again.

Here's a part of it:

In our world of noise and distractions, it seems that what makes the biggest splash gets the attention. As followers of Christ, we are called to be in this world, but not of it. How can I, especially during this season of Lent, learn to see more deeply? Do I recognize Jesus in the ordinary moments? Can I see his presence in every creature, especially in the poor and powerless? When I do, how can I then share and promote this new awareness?

Read the entire doevotional here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Hoopsla DATE: 3/13/2005 09:11:00 PM ----- BODY: OK -- it's time for some serious basketball -- the men's NCAA Tournament. Living in NC I have learned that basketball is serious business.

Congrats to Duke on winning this year's ACC tournament. Now -- 5 ACC teams (Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, NC State, and Georgia Tec) are going to the NCAA tournament. Some feel the picks were not fair -- but isn't "discussing" these things what makes sports fun?

Well, here's my picks for the final four --


Wake Forest

UNC will beat Duke -- Wake Forest will beat Illinois.

The winner of the championship game?


What do you think?

O -- if you want in a fun NCAA Final Four pick'em game visit Rob's blog -- it will be fun!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: RLP -- Cowboy and Preacher DATE: 3/13/2005 06:34:00 AM ----- BODY: One of my favorite writers, Gordon Atkinson, the Real Live Preacher, has had another ne of his articles posted at the Christian Century website. It's called "Said The Cowboy To His People."
Here's a part of it:

Week by week, month by month, from one Advent to the next, and now 12 years have passed us by. I don’t know where we are going with this. A part of me wishes every Sunday were my last, and another part of me lives in fear that one day someone will grab my elbow and say, “That’s enough, Cowboy. Turn in your spurs and hand over your saddle. Let’s give someone else a turn at this.”

And indeed, the day will come when this weary cowboy will pack it in and return to the pew from which he came. But today is not that day.

Another honest look at the joys and struggles of the calling that is ministry!
Read the entire article here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A New Look DATE: 3/12/2005 04:29:00 PM ----- BODY: I've been "playing with" the look of my blog the last few days. Those of you who have read my blog before may remember how it looked -- basically white without much in the sidebar. Well, I've made some changes. I'll probably make a few more changes -- like link to more blogs and add some more sites I read a lot - - but I like the way it looks.
It really tells a lot about me -- who I am -- and what is important to me.
The Bible at the top -- other news -- things that help me learn and appreicate the world around me -- and friends and other people I find interesting. A good combination.
As usual, I owe a great deal to Rob for helping me with adding things. O -- and I really did not intentionally make my blog look like his -- I just liked the template!
Let me know what you think.
Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Chocolate --- yes! Moderation -- maybe. DATE: 3/10/2005 06:36:00 AM ----- BODY: I knew they'd discover some day that chocolate is good for you! The only thing is the guidelines that are suggested:

* If you eat chocolate, only eat dark chocolate.
* Only eat chocolate if you're healthy.
* Consume it in moderation.

I have no problem with the first 2 -- but I wonder if a whole bag of Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses can be considered "in moderation"? Maybe I'll cut back to 1/2 a bag at at time -- you know -- eat 1/2 a bag then the other 1/2 30 minutes later.
O -- a tip of the hat to nephew Rob for his post and alerting me to this news!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Which Cross? DATE: 3/07/2005 08:46:00 PM ----- BODY: Today's daily devotoinal from Bruderhoff.Com raises an interesting question -- do we bear the cross of Christ or the cross of the world?

Here's a part of the devotional taken from The Immitation of Christ by Thomas A'Kempis:

There will always be many who love Christ's heavenly kingdom, but few who will bear his cross. Jesus has many who desire consolation, but few who care for adversity. He finds many to share his table, but few who will join him in fasting. Many are eager to be happy with him; few wish to suffer anything for him. Many will follow him as far as the breaking of bread, but few will remain to drink from his passion. Many are awed by his miracles, few accept the shame of his cross.

Read the entire devtional here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Journey To The Cross DATE: 3/05/2005 09:49:00 PM ----- BODY: I discovered a web site called "Journey To The Cross" -- a site with scripture readings, devotions, and prayers for every day in Lent. It has music and great graphics -- and you can click on the different parts of the devotional when you are ready for them.

Here's a part of the devotion section for today:

servanthood is the other side of love. In Jesus we witness the creative suffering of God.

Check it out!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Lost Your Soul? DATE: 3/04/2005 09:03:00 PM ----- BODY: I read a devotional this morning fromRick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life web site about "going too fast for our souls" -- and needing to slow down -- spend time with God -- and "find your soul" again. Here's part of it:

There is a story I came across recently, reportedly from the writings of Rabbi Kushner, about a group of tourists who went on a safari in Africa and hired several native porters to carry their supplies for them. After three days, the porters announced they would have to stop and rest for a day. When the tourists inquired as to why (they did not appear to be tired) the porters confirmed that fatigue was not the reason: “…but we have walked too far too fast and now we must wait for our souls to catch up to us."

I found it to be a great reminder -- especially during the Season of Lent -- of our need to spend tme with God! Read the whole devotional here.
-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: God makes a convenant -- not a contract DATE: 3/03/2005 06:55:00 AM ----- BODY: I read a devotional from the writings of Henri Nouwen this morning about how God does not make a contract with us, but a covenant. This covenant was made with Abraham and extends us.
So -- what's the difference between this covenant and a contract?
Maybe I should let Nowen explain it:

"When God makes a covenant with us, God says: "I will love youwith an everlasting love. I will be faithful to you, even when you run away from me, reject me, or betray me."
In our society we don't
speak much about covenants; we speak about contracts.
When we make a contract with a person, we say:
'I will fulfill my part as long as you fulfill yours.
When you don't live up to your promises,
I no longer have to live up to mine.'

Contracts are often broken because the partners are unwilling or unable to be faithful to their terms.

But God didn't make a contract with us; God made a covenantwith us, and God wants our relationships with one another toreflect that covenant. That's why marriage, friendship,life in community are all ways to give visibility to God's faithfulness in our lives together."

I am thankful God made a covenenat with me -- and not a contract!
Until next time -- Shalom! Bill

-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Do you know where you are going? DATE: 3/01/2005 08:31:00 PM ----- BODY: A friend of mine e-mailed me the following story about Billy Graham:

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don't expect a major address.
Just come and let us honor you." So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said:

"I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century."

"Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his other pocket. It wasn't there, so he
looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Th! en he looked in the seat by him. He couldn't find it."

"The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively."

"The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry. I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'"

"Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'"

Having said that Billy Graham continued:
"See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion."

"You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am, I also know where I'm going."

Until next time -- Peace! Bill