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We need rain to grow …

I have always liked the rain.  I like listening to it rain, I like thunderstorms, I like the smell after it rains.   I have jumped in puddles after a rain (yes, even as an adult).  I like watching a garden and crops grow.  I like rain.  We need rain to grow… “The world was better without umbrellas.  I don’t know when or where it became a necessity for us to shield ourselves from the rain, to block downward movement.  I hear dozens of mother and father figures reminding me that without my umbrella I could catch a cold.  I know, I know.  But the little boy in me still wants to run free and uncovered, with rain falling down onto my head and with water splashing up from the puddles that I absolutely must jump into. Rain is different than ponds and rivers and oceans.  Rain can fly.  And we can too. We can fly.  We can fly, but we cannot become the Rain.  We can only become one drop sent from the Great Cloud above down to the earth to make things grow.  To fill up ponds and ... Read More »

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

We have a choice. Pastor Bud I could see the angelic, pale face looking down upon me. She looked sad and I could see fear in her eyes. I should have taken it as a warning… All of a sudden, I got hit from behind and it jolted me so hard I thought I was broken in half. Then someone hit me from the right side and I could see stars. Thoughts raced through my head… would I survive? My life passed before my eyes. The next shot I saw coming and I tried to avoid it but to no avail. My whole body shook. I no longer had control. I could not turn, I could not back up, I could not go forward. I could not steer my way out of this so, I raised my hands, pulled the red flag and surrendered. Lori and I had gone home to Thorp for the 4th of July and went to the Demolition Derby. We walked into the pits to see my brother who had prepared a couple of cars for the Derby. He saw me coming and came up and ... Read More »

A few observations, meanderings, thoughts, ponderings, etc. …

This article came about because I got smacked.  Not just a tap, but a body shaking smack. I am tired.  I am exhausted, maybe even a little overwhelmed.  Life is not supposed to be like this.  I recently officiated a graveside for a precious child who was with us for just a short time.  So hard and you ask why?  I am tired of people yelling at each other and being rude to each other.  Whatever happened to respect?  Patience?  Care?  Compassion? Kindness?  Why is there so much hatred?  People are so lonely, that is something we are seeing a lot of.  Folks are finding out that they are more social than they thought they were.  People need contact with people that are outside the home. We must be honest; we are a social people!  Hugs, handshakes, face to face conversations – that is who we are.  I know it is a frustrating time but remember there is always hope.  There is always hope. I remember this excerpt from Soul Fuel: “How difficult our situations may be – however much trouble we are facing in life – there can always ... Read More »

“I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me…”

I enjoy visiting our older daughter and son-in-law in Washington, DC (however, this Country Boy would not want to live there).  There is always so much to see and do and so much history.  We have ridden the Metro (subway) a lot because it is a very affordable and efficient way to get around the area (trying to find a parking space in DC is nerve-wracking).  There are some very long escalators to ride to take you down to and up from the Metro and the tunnels are hollow sounding and, for the most part, quiet.  Thus, I created something to do while riding the escalators.  One day, on a whim, I started singing (not that loud I thought): “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me” (Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody).  It was louder than I thought, and people were staring at me and my wife and daughters moved up on the escalator because they were so embarrassed, which made it even better!  I did this several different times during visits and then one time I sang it: “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me…”  And it happened.  Someone on ... Read More »

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia …”

“The devil went down to Georgia (Wisconsin, North Carolina, wherever you are), he was looking for a soul to steal…”  A line from one of my favorite Charlie Daniels songs and one of my top songs ever.  In addition, a couple of my favorite Charlie Daniels quotes are:  “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ… if I can’t take him with me, I don’t want to go” and “I don’t want to go anywhere where Jesus can’t go.” Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for the opening session in my ‘Theology of Faith’ class.  That was the first day I saw Tommy.  He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.  I know what’s in your head, not on it, that counts; but at that time, I was unprepared for Tommy and wrote him off as strange – very strange.  Tommy turned out to the atheist in residence in my course.  He constantly objected to or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God.  We lived in relative peace for one semester, although at ... Read More »

A Message from Pastor Bud:

I do not remember her name.  I remember she was a nurse in training at the hospital.  I do remember what she said.  I have not forgotten that.  The doctor had come in to take off the bandages from my right hand and made the comment: “Let’s see if the hand is like new!”  It wasn’t!  Gangrene had set in.  My hand smelled, looked terrible and two of my fingers hadn’t took hold from being sewn back on.  It was a mess and I was in shock and tears and pain.  The doctor and nurse cleaned up my hand, rebandaged it and the doctor left.  As the nurse was leaving, she looked at me and said: “Just because your hand won’t be like new doesn’t mean that you can’t be like new!” Wow, so profound. She saw something in me that I was not yet able to see. “With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on the anvil.  His keen eye examines the glowing piece.  He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants ... Read More »

A Message from Pastor Bud:

One of my fondest memories is hunting with my Grandpa Starks, his friends, and a few relatives.  It was, for me, one of the greatest events in my life when I became of age and was invited to deer hunting camp.  Hunting camp was set up on Friday before hunting season and we would camp until the end of hunting season, usually tearing down Sunday night or Monday morning.  Deer hunting rifle season started the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ended the following Sunday.  We would set up a large military tent and would have cots, a stove, a table and chairs, and it was so great to be included.  It really was not about the hunting but about the camaraderie and coming of age. This being my first year, I was observing, paying attention, and learning what was right to do and wrong to do.  I pretty much stayed quiet.  Our schedule was to get up early, hunt for a while, come in and have brunch, take a nap or play cards, go back out and hunt, come in and eat, play cards, and go to bed.  It was the life 😊!  I thought the food was awesome.  There ... Read More »

A Message from Pastor Bud

I thought I was going to die. No, I mean it, I thought I was going to die. I had just woke up and looked over at the person next to me and she had a barf bag and was as white as a ghost. The person next to her was praying and the gentlemen next to me was excited and mumbling and saying something to me and I could not understand a word, but he was panicked. I looked out the window and … we are all going to die! Ok, let’s step back. A friend of mine asked if I would like to go on a mission trip to Haiti (1996). I said yes, I would. We flew into Port-aPrince, spent the night, and the next morning went back to the airport to take a cargo plane to Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti. All the cargo was being weighed, including the passengers. Another team member and I were next up to be weighed and suddenly two Haitian men grabbed our arms excitedly and said that we needed to come with them. Yes, we were going to have First Class ... Read More »

Take Courage!

I would like to share a couple of observations from an experience I had a few years back… and yes, this is true! I was black powder (muzzleloader) deer hunting with friends. Well, one of us shot at a buck and it went down, and he knew he had some meat for the freezer. However, after a little while, this buck got up and walked away. It was now the end of shooting light, so I went to where my friend was, and he told me the story and that we needed to track the deer. Our other friend arrived, the story was shared, and we began tracking this buck. We walked and walked and walked and finally we saw the buck lying by a tree just off a field. We stopped and got our bearings and one friend said well I will go back and get the UTV and “Bud, you stay here by this wood line so I can see you when I come back.” He left and our other friend went over by the deer to drag it out to the field. Understand that at this point ... Read More »

“The Seven-Mile Miracle”

“The Seven-Mile Miracle” If you ever want to bring fear to our girls and hear them scream in agony, just say to them: “I understand your Dad is taking a short cut!” Even now, as they are older, they still panic and wonder if they will ever see civilization again. Who needs directions? We will find our way back… eventually! Now we have this wise one telling us directions. “Make a U-turn and continue to the route,” Lori’s smartphone insisted. The GPS was angry with me because we’d pulled off the freeway to get gas. I guess I appreciate the electronic map, but often our GPS misses the point. The GPS does not understand that we cannot drive and drive without stopping. To reach our destination, we need to stop for gas, food, and bathroom breaks. We may also pause to take in beautiful scenery and enjoy the journey. Yet the mechanical voice scolds nonstop, trying to steer us to the target. Many times, I have told Lori to hush that thing because it was getting on my nerves. Plus, it just does NOT like short cuts. My dependable source ... Read More »

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