Senior Hymn

Senior Hymn

Verse 1:

I give you tribute. I give you praise. Lord if I’m able, my hands I’ll raise. My heart says thank you for staying near. Even when I’m weary, one thing is clear.


You have been faithful. You have been true. You’ve taken old things, and made them new. You’ve stood beside me, and been my friend. I know your love, will never end.

Verse 2:

Lord, you are worthy. Lord, you are strong. That’s why I’m trying to sing this song. At work within me, my strength, my rest. Though I’m sometimes troubled, I still am blessed.


You have been faithful. You have been true. You’ve taken old things, and made them new. You’ve stood beside me, and been my friend. I know your love, will never end.

Lord, you have seen me through. Amen.

Delay vs. Denial

Sometimes our timing and God’s timing are completely different. He has a lot bigger puzzle to solve than we do. Here are two scriptures to look at in regards to waiting for prayers to be answered:

Hab. 2:3 –“This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

Rom. 8:24-26 – “For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words…”

Grandpa Showed Me Love

NEW SONG – Grandpa Showed Me Love

Verse 1 – Grandpa, Grandpa, you’re so good to me. You take me to the ballgame, buy me candy and ice cream. Things are always fun with you. You make me laugh and play. I wish I could be with you, each and every day.

Vs. 2 – I was raised by Grandpa. He took care of me. He cooked for me and kept me fed. I never went hungry. He’d even read me stories, and tucked me in to bed. And when I asked him why he loved me, this is what he said:

I love you ’cause God loves me. Sent His son to die for me. Said He’d always be my friend. He’ll stay with me to the end. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

Vs. 3 – Grandpa, Grandpa, does He love me too? Will He be that good to me, like He is to you? Will He take me as I am, and take me as His friend? Will He take me home to Heaven, where I can stay with Him?

Yes, He’ll be that good to you. He is faithful. He is true. If you ask Him, He’ll come in. He’ll forever be your friend. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves you. He will love you to the end.”

Jesus, you love me. Now I know. You’ll be with me as I go. Grandpa told me, and its true. You love me and I love you.

(Spoken) – “Thank you Jesus. Talk to you soon. I love you.

What to Do When You are Broken

When a bone breaks, it can usually be fixed with a cast, splint, or pins. If the mind breaks, there is medication, therapy, and counseling. These things help when there is something broken in the mind. Emotionally, we can be broken as well. Long term stress or trauma can break our spirits, and we can lose hope. As we reflect on that, we realize that God is our refuge, our strength, our protector. We know that He will bring us through. All of us have been broken, or will be. We don’t want it. We don’t like it. We want God to remove that burden from us.

But what do we do when we are broken, when we are shattered into a million pieces. This can happen to any of us, and it can seem like it will last forever. When it does, we question why. One way to look at it is that God is refining us to get rid of impurities, to get us to the point where He can completely transform us. He is getting us back to dust. A painful process, but part of transformation.

But dust is valuable. We were created from dust, yet God calls us valuable.
“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NIV). In John 9:5-6, Jesus uses dust to restore a man’s sight. “… After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.” Then the man could see. All because God used something common to make something beautiful and to restore that which was broken.

Finally, dust, when mixed with water, becomes clay. And in the potter’s hands, clay can become something beautiful, new, and fresh – and useful again. Our brokeness can bring us down and defeat us (which the enemy of our soul would love), or we can put it all in God’s hands and let Him make it into something valuable, useful, and productive. God sees the beauty and the value within us, and He wants to refine us through our brokenness, in order to bring that beauty out. He knows what we are going through, and He will continually see us through. Brokenness is a common thing, and God can use that for good.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18 – NIV).

This writing’s content is inspired by the writing of Lisa Terkurest, from her upboming book, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way”, and from the article, “Shattered Beyond Repair” (link below)

Trauma – Part 4 of 4 – Trauma of the Soul

This may be the most important writing I have ever done, not because my writing ability or style, but because of the subject matter. The implications of trauma to the soul are literally eternal, and will affect believers and unbelievers as well. Please read on.

What we are talking about here is your eternal soul, the one that will stand before Jesus one day, either with His arms open wide, joyfully giving rewards to you, or a “sorry, I never knew you.” That last one is for unbelievers, for those that don’t know Jesus, the ones that thought all along that they were good enough to make it to Heaven, or that just wanted to try to “do things their own way”, the souls that chose themselves over Jesus. Dear reader, that’s not going to work. We need Jesus to help us with our body, our mind, our emotions, and our eternal soul. Jesus came to bring wholeness to all of us and to give us eternal life. Have you received it? That’s one trauma that can be avoided. Just ask. Submit your soul, and your cares, to Jesus, because He cares for you.

“A Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun.” That’s the saying I’ve heard many times. But “gain” Heaven implies it is something we grasp, something that we take hold of, an accomplishment, a goal, a measure of success to achieve. The problem there is that it puts the focus on us, and not Jesus. It’s not about our ability or our success in “acheiving” Heaven, but about Jesus’ availability to us in all of our needs – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, eternal. It’s about what we do with the free gift that Jesus offers. Heaven is a gift, not a goal.

In Heaven, there is no trauma. No more night, no more darkness, no more pain, no more tears, no more “drama”, no more restless nights, anxiety, depression. One day all these will be gone for the believer. We would like them gone now, but we do live in a sin-soaked world. “In this world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, we can receive victory over sin, death, and Hell. This victory is a wonderful gift of grace, brought to you by the blood of Jesus.

But in Hell … In Hell, there is no end of trauma, pain, suffering, darkness. It is not a place where can just do whatever you want and party on. You will not have any choices there, no joy, no purpose, no peace, no life, only death, destruction, pain, and loneliness. Totally alone. Isolated. That’s bad enough in this life, but for eternity? No thank you! I choose Jesus. Do you? Have you?

If you are in Christ, your days of trauma will be over, and He is there with us on the journey. If not – well, I guess all I can say is “may God have mercy on your soul.” That mercy is available NOW through Jesus. What are you waiting for. Just ask. Admit your need. Believe in Jesus’ sin-payment. Receive the gift.

Trauma! (Part 3 of 4 – The Emotions)

As discussed in previous writings, trauma is unexpected, unplanned for, and can’t always be prepared for. Sometimes it is possible to prevent disaster by staying out of dangerous situations. Though we don’t have control over all things – only God has control over everything – we can still choose our attitudes, actions, and words. But there’s one thing we can’t do. – we can’t control the words, actions, or attitudes of other people. Sometimes what others say and do can have traumatic effects on us. That is what this piece is about – trauma of the emotions. Another way to say this is trauma of the spirit.

We are told to build up one another and encourage one another. That includes our emotions. When people are attacked in body, mind, and/or emotions, they need support. They need to be built up. They need encouragement. You can’t tear people down and build them up at the same time Be kind. Emotional trauma tries to stop us in our tracks, and often does – but it does not have to. We definitely need Jesus to help to get us through these traumatic experiences and I pray that we at least have someone to talk to when we are hurting. I am here. Others are too. Don’t keep it bottled inside. Let others build you up and encourage you. Then pass it on to others. 

In First Thessalonians 4:18, we read, “Therefore encourage one another with these words”. The second one is Second Thessalonians 1:4 – ” … “He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us… ”

As a pastor, I always want to include practical ways to apply these instructions to comfort and encourage each other. I would like to suggest three steps each of us can take when the emotions are assaulted by the pressures of life or by the attacks of others.  I will close with these steps and a prayer.

  1. Admit that you have been hurt and that you need emotional support and encouragement. While you don’t want to dwell on the hurt, you also don’t want to deny it. That just presses it down into the soul, and hurts yourself and others.

  2. Ask the Lord to send you to someone to comfort and encourage who has been through, or is going through similar situations. It’s good to know we are not alone.

  3. Release the hurt to Jesus. Pour it on him. He already knows. Just let it out.

“Father God, you tell us to encourage each other and comfort each other. Help us to seek Your comfort and to pass it on to others well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Trauma! (Part 2 of 4 – The Mind)

As I think about how trauma affects the mind, two causes come to mind. (No pun intended!) One cause would be physical trauma – traumatic brain injury. This is not uncommon with soldiers, accident victims, or those who have suffered abuse. The mind affects everything in the body, so it is very important to deal with. I am not qualified to write about that except to say God bless those that have to deal with this kind of assult to the brain.

But there’s another type of trauma of the mind – when we have too many thoughts coming at us at once. Does anyone out there relate? Sometimes our mind gets on overload, and it is very frustrating. As mentioned in the last piece, trauma is sudden. It is unexpected. There is no way to plan for it. When multiple thoughts come at us all at once and we have to make decisions quickly, it can be very difficult to function, especially if those decisions affect our loved ones. Our processors are not designed to work at warp speed. At least for me, I can only think of one thing at a time. When I have competing thoughts, its like they all knock each other out and I don’t know which one to revive, pick up, or even which one to look at. I’m glad I have a great memory aid in my wife, who hands me a piece to look at – “Did you remember to take your pills?” Very helpful.

How do we deal with this trauma, this overload? What does the Bible have to say about this? We need God’s wisdom and peace to ease and manage our mind. Proverbs 23:7 says “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” When thoughts come too fast, we need a way to deal with them. We need wisdom.

The Bible talks about wisdom in James 1:5 which says “If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it will be given him.” Sometimes we just need to take a breath and say “Lord, please sort out these thoughts. What is the most important thing to think about right now? I need wisdom on how to proceed.” Practically, it may help to write the thoughts down too. Looking at them on paper may help you see them more clearly. Also, though it may be hard, it is best to choose one thought and lay others aside. Stop. Breathe. Reflect. Calm down. Ask God to help you narrow your focus. Relax. God’s got this, even if you make the wrong decison.

When our thoughts are anxious, we can remember Phil. 4:6 – “Do not be anxious for anything, but by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Literally, that means God’s peace marches around your heart and protects it.

Trauma of the mind can be released to Jesus, into His hands, His heart, and His control. Keep talking to Him. He will help you through it. God bless all who read these words. – Pastor John

Trauma! (Part 1 of 4)

(part one of four – the body)

Today’s piece begins a four part series about trauma that may happen in our lives and how to deal with it. Those that go through traumatic experiences may take a long time to get over, or rather to get through it. Today, we will deal with trauma to the body. In the following weeks, we will cover trauma to the mind, emotions (spirit), and soul. A traumatic experience can affect any or all of these areas, and they all affect each other.

Trauma is sudden. It is unexpected. It is unplanned for. In some cases, it can be prevented, which would be the best scenario. (If you can avoid being in the most dangerous part of town, alone, and at night, then by all means do. If you are an alcoholic, staying away from the liquor store would prevent the tragedy of falling off the wagon. The resulting trauma could be prevented.) But we don’t always have a choice. Life comes at us full force and may blindside us. Then we have to deal with it. Trauma can bring us to a halt, and we often don’t know what to do. How can we? We didn’t have time to think it through. We couldn’t process it ahead of time, because we didn’t expect it.

When an assult happens on the body, whatever the cause, it needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. We may need medical attention, or practical help getting things done. We may also need financial help, because physical trauma can be expensive to fix. Of course, when the body is traumatized, this consumes our mind and suppresses our spirit. Trauma is overwhelming.

When we are overwhelmed, we need to remember that we do have a God, the one true God, our creator, who is available and ready to listen to our cries. We can pour our heart out to Him. This is one way to vent, to get the stress out of the body, mind, and spirit. When trauma is stuffed down into our soul, we need to start to let it out. It is so easy to get stuck, to think there is nothing we can do about anything – but we do have a choice. We can make the decision to call on God and ask for His help. At least that’s a step.

I know there are times when even that is not possible. Our mind can’t function enough to find words that will say how we feel. At that point, I believe we still have two choices. One is to simply take a slow, deep breath, let it out, and speak the name of Jesus. Maybe even repeat this process. Getting our mind on Jesus can help us gain the strength to deal with the trauma. Barring that, just open your mouth and look up to Heaven. I say that based on Ps. 81:10 – “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (ESV)

A prayer for the reader: “Lord Jesus, come. Please heal broken bodies, minds, and spirits. In Your name. Amen.”

Assault on the mind can come from within, with struggles over thoughts, doubts, obsessions, compulsions, or it can come from others. As kids, others sometimes ) remind us of what we can’t do mentally. I was told in high school that I was not allowed to take algebra, since I would flunk it. Nice. Of course, Beethoven was once told by one of his teachers that he would never amount to anything. I think they got that wrong. Mental struggles, over time especially, can be very traumatic and stressful. The enemy of our soul, Satan, wants to bring us down in every way possible. Jesus wants to build us up and strengthen us.

We are told to build one and encourage one another up emotionally too. When people are attacked physically, mentally, or spiritually, they need built up. They need encouraged. Telling people they are no good, they will never learn, that they should be more like their brother or sister. This type of trauma tries to stop us in our tracks, and often does – but it does not have to. We definitely need Jesus to help to get us through these traumatic experiences and I pray that we at least have someone to talk to when we are hurting. I am here. Others are too.

There is a fourth trauma that I mentioned earlier, and here it is. It is a trauma of the soul. That’s right. I’m talking about your eternal soul, the one that will stand before Jesus one day, either with His open arms and rewards for you, or a “sorry, I never knew you.” That one is for unbelievers, for those that don’t know Jesus, that have thought all along that they were good enough to make it to Heaven, or that just wanted to try to do things their own way. Good people, that’s not going to work. We need Jesus to help us with our body, our mind, our emotions, and our eternal soul. Jesus came to bring wholeness to all of us and to give us eternal life. Have you received it? That’s one trauma that can be avoided. Just ask. Submit your soul, and your cares, to Jesus, because He cares for you.



Ps. 27:8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”

Meet Moose. Moose is my cat. Karen’s cat’s name is Iggy. They are both sweet, funny, weird, fascinating, and very loving – and sometimes get in trouble, but we still love them. I picked Moose out of the litter because he was the only one of the bunch that was looking up at me. I also chose him because when I picked him up out of the cage, he immediately curled up in my arms. Now how can you beat that? Both Moose and Iggy greet us at the door when we come home. We are glad to see each other.

Moose does the sweetest thing. He wants to be close to me. He wants me to love on him, so when I walk by the dining room table, he’ll get up in the chair, put his paws on the top of it, meow, and look up at me, as if to say “come love on me.” He wants me to notice him and he wants to look up to my face.

And that is the point of this writing. When we have a relationship with someone, we look them in the face. We don’t talk to their toes or their fingers or their ears. We look at their face, and they look at ours. We see the expression of who they are and what they are feeling by looking at their face. When we don’t look, we miss a lot of context clues and expression. (Guys, we can do better at this.)

King David wanted a closer relationship with God. He just finished saying in verse one – “The Lord is my light, and my salvation. Whom then shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom then shall I be afraid?” His confidence, his hope, his security could only be found in a relationship with God. It could only be found by seeking God’s face.

So too with us. I want to challenge us all to look at God’s face. To look in His eyes and see His love. To see His expressions of tenderness, to see the depths of His love, compassion, and forgiveness. We can look up at any time and say “Papa. Can we spend some time together? Come here. Let me look at you.” And He is saying the same thing. This is not a religious obligation or checklist. It is an opportunity to grow in His love. It’s time to seek His face. Spend some “face time” with Him today. You, and He, will be glad you did.

Until next time,

Pastor John

The Tale of Our Two Cats

                                                      The Tale of Our Two Cats

Yesterday, our two six month old cats, Moose and Iggy, went to the “Fix Clinic”, to get fixed. And they didn’t even know they were “broken”. I don’t know why they call it that. Regardless, this is the adventure my wife and I – and our cats – went through the past couple of days, and some insights and lessons we can learn.

Neither Karen nor I wanted to do this to our boys (we think of them as our kids, and they act that way sometimes!), but we knew it was the right thing to do. Still, it was tough. Parents, I can’t imagine how hard it is for you to make decisions for your child or children that you know will be hard for them, but still has to be done. Bless your hearts. Sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do. (Forgive me, grammarians!)

The day of the procedure, we managed to get both of them into the carrier and carry them out to the car and to the clinic. We were both anxious the whole day. Just to let you know the cats are fine and now fully recovered. Thank you to all who prayed for Moose and Iggy’s surgery and recovery. They were answered well.

Now for some insight. Both Karen and I were doing a lot of praying and reflecting that day. At one point, I was sitting in a room and thinking “one or both of them are always in here, making themselves known, and vying for my attention. I found myself praying “I miss my cats. I just want them home!” Then it hit me. That’s what the Lord must say when we go astray, when we miss the mark, intentionally or accidentally.

Child of God, are you close to Him? Do you know Him? As surprising as it is, He knows you and wants a relationship with you. It is an awesome thing to have a relationship with the living God, our creator, our father, our God, who sent Jesus to die for us, so we could be with Him forever.

When we find ourselves feeling alone or hopeless and helpless, there is a Father who longs to hear our heart and to spend time with you – as you and I need to spend that time with Him. He is listening. He is waiting. He is there. Give Him a shout, and He’ll give you His ear.

Blessings to all who read these words.