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“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 »

“In the End, Love Always Wins”

I have always loved to read.  I love reading history, especially Christian history, medieval history, French Revolution and Napoleonic history, the Crusades and the Knights Templar, piracy, the Civil War, the Old West…  well, you get it, I like to read.  A few of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Henry Nouwen, Joseph Girzone, Louis L’Amour, Victoria Houston, Bernard Cornwell, Tony Hillerman, John Case, William Kent Krueger and, most recently, C.J. Box (discovered his works while out in Wyoming this past summer). I get a lot of insight and wisdom and guidance from these authors even though many I read just for pleasure.  One of those insights came recently from Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger: “This is not a time for heavy hearts,” the Mide said.  “Death was our shadow, but that shadow is gone.  Justice?  We will pray this comes with the light of day.  In this moment, here and now, we celebrate the spirit of what is good in each of us and in those friends who stood with us in the dark and chased away death’s shadow.”  He lifted his eyes to the night ... Read More »

“It Would Be a Merrier World”

Some thoughts… Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…  Ahhh, peace and quiet.  So nice… When you read this, Christmas will be less than a month away and the hustle and bustle will be going on, things to do and things to buy and people to see.  As I write this, Thanksgiving is not even here yet but Christmas lights are already up and Christmas decorations have been for sale in the store since July… well, maybe not THAT early! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I pray that Christmas this year will be more relaxed for everyone.  And a reminder, Christmas is not about getting presents but it IS about giving and kindness and love. “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” The Hobbit, Chapter 18  The Bible repeatedly urges us to keep material possessions in proper perspective, simply because we can’t take them with us when we leave this life.  As the apostle Paul wrote, “For we brought nothing into this world, ... Read More »

“What Am I Leaving Behind?”

I was having one of those nights where I could not sleep because I had so many thoughts going through my head. Read for a little bit but that didn’t help so I got up and turned the television on and there was a movie I had never seen, “The Accountant.” It had already started but I watched it and it was an intriguing plot which I will not share because I do not want to spoil it if you have not seen the movie. Anyway, at the end of the movie was a song that I had never heard, but after hearing it I could not get the lyrics out of my head. The song was called “To Leave Something Behind” sung by Sean Rowe. I googled it and found the lyrics and also stumbled across this meditation by Jake Owensby, a Louisiana Bishop in the Episcopal Church: Oh wisdom is lost in the trees somewhere You’re not going to find it in some mental gray hair It’s locked up from those who hurry ahead And it’s time to leave something behind I was just trying to leave something ... Read More »

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