Potato Candy Recipe

I recently stumbled upon a potato candy recipe. I have never made it before and have perhaps tasted it once or twice in my life. Potato candy does not sound appealing. I know those words have already elevated the blood pressure of the potato candy lovers. However, after seeing the recipe I am less opposed to the idea of potato candy. Why, you ask? Well, it turns out potato candy has a meager 1/2 cup of a mashed up potato compared to 6 cups of powdered sugar! In a way it seems wrong to call it potato candy because there is so little potato in it. The white part of the potato candy is 7.7% potato and 92.3% powdered sugar. It makes me think of the old phrase, “What’s in a name?”

Concerning that phrase, the online free dictionary web site says, “What someone or something is called or labeled is arbitrary compared to their or its intrinsic qualities.” I like the idea that what something or someone is called is less important than the intrinsic value, or what someone or something is. This idea of intrinsic value, or what something has within, is more important than ever in our society as it seems like words have no longer have shared meanings. Rational people go about their lives pretending that things are what they are not, so as not to be called names, called out as hateful, or upset people. At the risk of alienating some readers, which in itself proves my point, I will give you just a few examples examples: baby, woman, man, Christian.

As ones who proclaims truth in love as best I can to a society that has gone haywire, sometimes I cannot remain quiet. I also try to resist fighting every fight. In the middle of Matthew chapter 7 there is a warning that some people who say they speak the Word of God are liars. I do not want to be a liar. How do others know? Matthew says in 7:16 – “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.” I remember Paul Washer saying the only question you have to ask yourself when he said something people found objectionable was, “Is this man a false prophet?” If he is, then be wary of anything he said. But if he was not, then be wary of ignoring what he said.

I know this post got deep, but for those still curious:

For the recipe: https://12tomatoes.com/old-fashioned-potato-candy/#recipe

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The author of confusion

Over the last 12 years I have written over 1,700 innocuous posts about how an earthly thing reminds me of a heavenly, Kingdom of God thing. Of course, “innocuous” means unlikely to provoke an adverse reaction. This may or may not be one of those.

I read a lengthy Billy Graham sermon in the last couple of days describing good and evil, and specifically, of how it comes so naturally for sinful societies to confuse good and bad – to call what is bad good and what is good bad. It was a remarkable sermon that society would have received without much argument at the time. When the Bible says that God is not the author of confusion, we know who is. Causing us to conflate and confuse good and bad is among the devil’s most used weapons. It started in the Garden of Eden with a tree and a piece of fruit and that old serpent is just as cunning today as he was then.

One of the worst things about a society unhitched from any truth differentiating between right or wrong, good or bad, holy or unholy, is that it just keeps devolving. When, what was once considered undesirable is now accepted as good or normal, the devil always has a new undesirable or unaccepted confusion waiting in the chamber to fire into the society. This new “flare” fired into the crowd begins as unacceptable by the society, but will soon be seen as discriminated against until it becomes accepted and eventually demands the rest of society’s celebrating.

You know what I am saying is true. You see it happening. Somewhere, God’s people are going to have to speak truth in love to a lost and dying society that is being led astray by the devil’s destructive confusion. Will the majority turn to God? Probably not. Will someone? Certainly. Is it worth being despised by many to speak God’s truth to see one saved? Absolutely.

How can we get our values straightened out? How can our warped judgment be brought into line? How can we stop calling evil good?
Some tell us that education is the answer to these questions. Others say that science is the answer.
But the Bible, which has withstood the ravages of time, tells us a different story. It says that we possess a nature that wars against us, that seeks to destroy us. Evil is present in us disguising itself as good, controlling us and deceiving us. That is why some people love evil and hate that which is good—they are still in their sins. For them, life’s values are confused. Sin is why the atonement was necessary. Jesus died on the cross to make us one with Him—dead to sin and alive to (His) righteousness. ~ Billy Graham

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For one’s benefit or destruction?

This morning I was texting with someone about ambulance coverage for the day and the conversation spilled over into a little philosophy. They said they hated to see me stay home from the mission today in case we get an ambulance call because they know how much the mission means to me. I told the person that getting the ambulance out does, too. I told them that I remember reading in a book that it is often easier choosing between good and bad than choosing between two good things. I think that was Barbara Brown Taylor in her book Leaving Church. The person said they usually try to break things down to “will this serve for someone’s benefit or destruction”. That’s my paraphrase and is pretty sage advice from a 21 year old. I immediately texted back that her words gave me idea about a blog post, so here it is.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, who believes that the Bible teaches that people are destined for hell apart from being spared from it through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. I believe it with all my being. I believe the Bible when it says sin separates us from God and the only way to be made right with Him is through confessing our sin, accepting God’s gift of Jesus paying for our sin, and doing everything within our power to turn from sin. Do we stumble along the way? Of course we do. And we mourn it and try again. Do you think I write and say that for someone’s benefit or destruction? I believe it is for the benefit of anyone who reads it or hears it from me. Can telling people that hurt their feelings? Absolutely.

However, if you see someone on their way to destruction, do you not agree that feelings become secondary? If you tell someone with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling that they need to turn from that, or if you tell a friend ready to cheat on their spouse that they are going down a path that will cost them way more than they want to pay, is that loving or unloving? What is the most loving thing you could do? It is for their benefit that you tell them to seek help – counseling, AA, NA, or something. It is unloving to tell them “I hope you slay those machines tonight”. It is terrible to tell someone, “Make sure you do not get caught”. That is destructive.

This is where I find myself in our society today. While society is encouraging peoples’ destruction through things like gambling on one’s phone, abortion, talk of legalizing drugs and prostitution, and many other means, I am called by the God of Creation to stand in the face of it all and call people to life. It is not an envious position, but there is no greater calling.

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A Bible Story

A couple of days ago I went to pick up a new chair that someone gave to us. We still have some furniture that is 36 years old from when we got married, including a sleeper sofa. However, in general, we are always looking to upgrade if something is available. The friend who was giving us the chair was not home. She told me the chair was in the garage and two pillows for it were in her home, both of which were unlocked. When I went in the house to get the pillows I saw a Bible on the table. It was a month earlier that she told me we could have the chair, so I know she had not set the Bible out to make her pastor think she was reading it. Going to get the chair was a last minute decision. She had obviously been reading it.

I want to tell you a Bible story. The Bible has the name, “Carol Browning” printed on the front of it. It is no longer Carol Browning’s Bible. When I was the pastor back at Mason UMC (I left there in 2013), Carol gave me the Bible. I do not remember how she came to have it extra, but she did. It was a study Bible and she gave it to me. I used it some, but it was not my main Bible. I write in my main Bible and had not written in this one. Seven or eight years ago this friend who goes to Wesley Chapel here in Short Gap mentioned wanting a nice study Bible. I said, “I happen to have one if you do not mind the name of one of the saints of the church I have met along my journey on the front of it.” This friend said she would be honored to have the Bible with Carol’s name on it. So since 2014-2015, this Bible has been helping to form this Believer who is now the next generation of Saints.

It did my heart good to see that Bible on the table. It reminds me that God has a purpose for everything. There is nothing He does not have a purpose for. When Carol gave me that Bible in Mason County, God knew He was going to send it to Mineral County on a U-Haul. He knows what He is going to do with every pain, every dry season, every loss, every apparent defeat… everything. This is a good word for all of us who have felt like we have been wandering in the desert for the last couple of years through Covid, or for whatever it is that you are going through. God has a plan and He is doing something to fulfill His plan, for His glory and for our good. Amen.

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An open letter to Wesley Chapel UMC Short Gap

This is one of those of those long posts that will not appeal to everyone, but is meant to be an informational post regarding my own understanding on the United Methodist Church, another postponement of General Conference, and the recent announcement that the fledgling Global Methodist Church will officially be founded May 1, 2022. (I can already hear those who love me cringe that I wade into these waters.) This is certainly not an all encompassing post as it would have been way too long. I pray that you from Wesley Chapel and others like you will find this foundational information helpful.

My wife and I have been attending a United Methodist Church since 1985. We chose Sistersville First United Methodist Church because of the people, not the theology. Honestly, I was 23 years old and did not know the difference between the Church of Christ, the Baptists, the Mormons, or the Methodists. Fast forward 15 years and I got saved and a few years later the church was telling me I was being called to the ministry. By this time I knew the difference between the Mormons and the Methodists, but was still pretty ignorant of all the national and international affairs of the UMC. It really was not until 2007 that I began to see “how the sausage was made”. That was that year I attended local pastor’s licensing school, was appointed full time to a church, received my bachelor’s degree, and began seminary at United Theological Seminary. Like picking out a church, my seminary choice had less to do with their theological leanings than it did that it was a fit – this time for my location and schedule. I went to United because they had a weekend program on Fridays and Saturdays and was a 3 hour drive from my pastoral appointment. In 2010 I graduated with my Master’s of Divinity and became a commissioned elder in the UMC. In 2013 I became fully ordained as an elder in the UMC. Obviously, along the way I learned a lot more about the UMC, allowing me the perspective to write for you who feel like I used to feel. Even though it lengthens this post, that is why I gave you my background.

The UMC is a global church, meaning that all United Methodists around the world have a say in what we say we believe… our doctrine. This happens every four years in a setting called General Conference. Elected representatives called delegates gather from around the world here in the United States to set our beliefs, procedures, etc. This is the only group of people who make policy for the UMC. The membership of General Conference is based on church membership. Because the church in the Philippines and Africa is exploding, almost as in the early days of the church, and the American UMC is shrinking, the American representation of the UMC does not have the votes to change official UMC beliefs as America changes. Because the vote is taken from representation from around the world, the official stance on marriage, abortion, and historical church teachings about Jesus have remained pretty much the same since the UMC was formed in 1968. The adherence to the teachings, however, has not weathered the change in America as well.

One of the main acts of disobedience in the church today comes as the result of the UMC stance on marriage. All people are welcome in the church and loved by God, but we believe the Bible teaches that sexual intimacy is a gift of God to be shared exclusively between a man and a woman and only in marriage. Therefore, the official teaching of the UMC does not permit same sex weddings in their churches and does not allow gay pastors, unless they agree to remain celibate. The same prohibition would keep either member of an unmarried man/woman couple who were in an intimate relationship from being a pastor. The reason gay persons in sexual relations are mentioned specifically in our beliefs as not being qualified to become a pastor is because at the time the language was inserted, nobody was advocating for heterosexual persons in sexual relationships outside of marriage to be permitted to be pastors. Even that has likely changed in the American church, but not in the UMC official beliefs.

Maintaining the status quo means the General Conferences of the foreseeable future are only going to strengthen the consequences for disobedience to our agreed upon teachings, including the centrality of historical Biblical teachings such as the virgin birth, Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the view of historic Christianity affirming God’s plan for biological male/female monogamous marriages. This is because those who believe our current teaching is Biblical are an expanding majority in the worldwide UMC and are supportive of the current teachings of the church. On the other hand, there is a vast swath of the American church (certainly not all of any category including pastors, UMC leaders, and/or bishops) that disagrees with the official stance on various issues and believe that our current teaching is discriminatory and hurtful. Those who agree with the current beliefs find it logical for those who cannot abide by the teachings to depart the UMC to join or begin a new/another denomination. But the progressive American United Methodists have drawn the line in the sand. With few exceptions, they are not leaving the UMC. Instead, with their frustration building with each passing conference, they believe disobedience is required to fight what they view as injustices, particularly to the LGBTQ community. This began to impact the church in irreversible ways in 2016 when, against our rules, the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC elected a married gay bishop. The UMC Judicial Council (our version of the US Supreme Court) ruled that was in violation of our agreed upon rules. Like the Supreme Court, those making the ruling were not in charge of enforcement of their ruling. The other bishops in the Western Jurisdiction are the ones in charge of the enforcement. Rather than abide by the Judicial Council decision, they instead disregarded the ruling. There is nothing anyone can do. Little by little, the flood gates have been opening and more and more gay pastors are being sent on to become pastors in the UMC. While all pastors have taken a vow to uphold church teaching, the bishops are given the responsibility of enforcing our doctrine and holding those in violation accountable. The rest of the church can only watch as the official church teachings and Judicial Council rulings are ignored and disregarded by many bishops and boards.

Most parties had hoped the 2020 General Conference would bring a solution as the traditionalists were willing to leave the denomination since the progressives were not. A compromise had been reached by an unofficial diverse group working with Kenneth Feinberg, the mediator who had been the Special Master of the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He volunteered his time to help us come to the agreement. Most believed the proposal to allow the parting of the traditionalists would be passed and an amicable separation would occur in 2020. Had the conference been held and the agreement passed, the traditional denomination would have received $25 Million to begin their denomination and churches would have received the UMC’s blessing to leave with their church property. Enter Covid. Now, after three cancelled General Conferences, we have learned the next General Conference will not be held until 2024. Unwilling to wait two more years, the leaders of the traditionalists who organized seven years ago and have been waiting patiently for a peaceful resolution, even encouraging traditional churches to wait, finally announced they were launching the new Global Methodist Church on May 1.

This brings us up to date on the crisis in a nutshell. The headlines in the media the last few days read, “Conservative group to split off from UMC over LGBTQ rights.” If you have read this far, I hope I have adequately, and as briefly as possible, helped you to understand this is not true. The denomination is in turmoil and the splintering off is taking place because of the anarchy, the lack of obedience and accountability to our rules. As many attempt to remain faithful to UMC doctrine, others feel justified in disobedience to our agreed upon teaching. This will undoubtedly go on for at least two more years. Kicking the conference can down the road may or may not lead to a mass exodus of either traditional or progressive UMC churches. Obviously, if nothing changes the odds very good that it will be difficult for the American progressives to pass their agenda in 2024. And if nothing changes and the traditionalist voices take the day, we have already seen how little that means. However, there seems to be significant interest in the Global Methodist Church. The bishops have even asked for a ruling as to whether an entire annual conference can leave without General Conference approval. There is only one reason to ask for this ruling – there must be rumblings. The disaffiliation of many traditionalists to the GMC, to another denomination, or to become independent would naturally increase the odds of the progressive agenda finally passing UMC General Conference.

All churches, traditional and progressive, have a difficult choice to make. One option is to hang in there two more years and see what happens, continuing in the status quo, financing the UMC, and either tolerating disobedience or cheering it. Another option is for churches to work within the current framework to seek their bishop’s and conference’s blessing to buy their way out of the UMC. This is necessary for multiple reasons, including benefits owed to pastors from 35 years ago (that the money is not there for) and the UMC Trust Clause which says that the church belongs not to the local congregation, but to the UMC as a whole. The buyout would pay the local church share of what the older pastors are owed, and would give the local church the deed transferring ownership to each local congregation, free to follow their own callings and chart their own futures.

As I said when I began, this barely scratches the surface on what you need to know. I have written this to inform/remind you of some basics and to point out that Wesley Chapel Short Gap has a rapidly approaching choice coming over the horizon. Wesley Chapel is not being caught unaware. Our church has had a lay leadership group meeting for about a year that has been following this closely and will be able to help advise the congregation. Please be in prayer about the future of the UMC, the GMC, and Wesley Chapel Short Gap.

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Jehovah Jireh – The God who provides

Someone graciously left a bunch of Ty Beanie Babies at the church for the church’s shoebox ministry. We are one of 3,200 churches across the country that work with Samaritan’s Purse by sending shoeboxes filled with stuffed animals, shoes, toothbrushes, soap, wash cloths, coloring books, crayons, cups, and whatever else you think kids in need could use. Samaritan’s Purse distributes them around the world as an avenue to open doors to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. They have been collecting about 10 million a year the last few years. Yesterday it was announced that 660,000 Operation Christmas Child boxes will be going to Ukraine and Ukrainian border areas. You can click the gold “give” tab in the upper right hand corner of the page on their OCC web site to financially support the shoe box ministry or here to support their work in Ukraine as they provide hospitals with supplies and prepare to take a field hospital.

The Beanie Babies in shoe boxes always make me smile. I remember as a young parent buying them for our kids. I remember everyone saving them because the Ty company had convinced people they were going to be worth a lot of money one day. Boy howdy, did people buy them and save them. Things do not accumulate value just because people say they will. As a matter of fact it only makes sense that they are not making anyone rich today because the value is partially based on scarcity and they are not scarce, but are instead plentiful. However, the value to the kids in war-torn Ukraine who receive a small stuffed animal will be priceless.

Now, think about this: The God of whom the children and families will hear when they receive a box is the same God who knew the purpose for the Beanie Babies in our shoebox room when they were purchased 30 years ago. The person who donated them had no idea when they were purchased that they would indeed be of value, but not in the way they intended. Rest assured, God knew. And He knows the little hands that will hold them one day. He will also use them to draw people to Himself.

Our God is amazing.

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God alone knows

There is a window ledge outside my office. Sometimes, as happened a few moments ago, a bird will come perch on the ledge and then run back and forth chirping and chirping. When they do this, they are often facing the office. I do not know for sure what they are doing, but as it is happening I always wonder if they see all the plants inside the window. The plants would certainly be appealing in the winter when the trees outside stand bare.

I know there is a good word from the Lord in this. However, to be honest, this morning I feel like the disciples when they ask Jesus what the parable means. What is the word, Lord? What is the lesson? This is not uncommon for me. While I have posted over 1,700 posts throughout the years just like this one, giving the reader an earthly situation with a heavenly lesson, I also have had dozens that I felt contained heavenly lessons that were not so obvious to me. Usually I just let them go, but today I felt the prompting to share. Perhaps it is to make you think of what God would say to you through it? And there I go trying to make sense of it. When God asked Ezekiel if the dry bones could live, Ezekiel said, “You know, Lord.” Today I am reminded that God knows things I do not know and sometimes that has to be enough for me.

“He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’”

Ezekiel 37:3
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Freedom provided by God and currently allowed by America

What do you think of when you think of “remaining faithful”? The first thing that comes to my mind when I ponder that question is my own relationship with Jesus. Even as a pastor, I am concerned first and foremost about my own relationship with my Savior. There is no magic formula for pastors. We, or at least I, must still focus on that relationship in order to remain faithful to that to which I am called. Otherwise, I can get off track. Sometimes remaining faithful is awkward. As best my memory serves me, I remember Monty Brown in his book Free Us for Joyful Obedience wrote of a parishioner questioning why God allowed her mother to suffer at the end of her life. Brown said he would have to get back to her and when he did he told her that the Holy Spirit wanted him to tell her that she could have ended her mother’s suffering. She could have placed a pillow over her face at any moment they were alone. The woman was aghast. Then a day or so later the woman told him that he was right and that she let her mother’s last months run its course because she trusted God. Brown said if the Spirit tells you to say something like that, you had better be sure it is of the Spirit of God.

After many months of posting nothing but my blogs and sermons on Facebook, I hope you will read this to allow me to explain my recent posts. I know I am being called to speak out freely as a citizen of the United States. Much as Paul claimed his rights as a citizen late in Acts 16, I have rights as an American. As were his, mine are secondary to my rights and obligations as a follower of Jesus. However, being a citizen of the Kingdom of God does not mean that I do not exercise my rights as an American. One of the ways I feel led to do so is to speak about the importance of a strong America in the world. It is obvious to me that the devil is trying to take down America. While the United States has never been and is not today perfect, there is no better place to live. Freedom is why everyone in the world wants to come to America. And freedom is a gift of God. He gives each person on earth the freedom to choose Him or reject Him. He has given me the freedom to proclaim the Gospel, contrary to the situation of most Christians in the world. And if I want the next generation to be free to proclaim the Gospel, I must not stand by and watch the erosion of the freedom of speech. We must stand against those who would seek to silence us. I feel so strongly about my call, I would be disobedient as a follower of Jesus to not speak out. If you agree or disagree with me, or if I agree or disagree with you, I pray we can at least agree to speak freely as we feel led by God.

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Brenda Long Eulogy

These are the words I spoke at the funeral home on behalf of the Short Gap Volunteer Fire Department. For the glory of God and in thankfulness to Him for Brenda Long, I share this with you – and for the family to keep.

In August of 2015 I had been the chaplain at the Short Gap VFC for two years when 53 year old Steve Baker died. At the time I was not a member. I did not know the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic. Basically, I opened their meetings by saying a prayer. I did not know much else. Or as I like to call those times, “The good ‘ol days”.  I did not really know Steve Baker. There are really not a lot of people active in the department now who were involved with the department then. But I remember how it rocked the department. His loss was so devastating because it was so sudden. I know many still mourn that loss. Yet as it does, time marched on. A little while later I vividly remember the meeting where it was announced that Brenda Long had passed her EMT test.  At the time I did not know what a big deal that was. It was not long before she was integral in getting the ambulance out.  I was still oblivious to it all. Somewhere along the way, I got off track – got off the social distance train and joined and got involved. And for a couple solid years, Brenda was Batman and I was Robin. We ran nearly all the daytime and overnight calls. As her driver she taught me things that would help her and the patient – things like changing batteries on the Lifepak, how to use the Lucas, transmitting a 12 lead, and the list goes on.  Then in late summer of 2019 it was a miracle when I felt led to take EMT classes myself. Brenda continued to teach me on the calls and would meet me at the station to go over airways or whatever else I was studying in my class.

When Covid hit, our class had just finished, but we were not able to take our hands on practical test which would allow us to take our written test due to Covid. Several months later in the summer of 2020 we finally got to take our test and I took my EMT National Registry test the day after Brenda had her first surgery. She was out a little while and then came back to help me get signed off to run as an EMT on my own. And most of you know how it has gone the last year and a half. She would run when she felt well enough, often times feeling worse than the person we were transporting. But the department and the patients loved having her back. I remember one home that we went to a lot and Brenda contacted me to see if she could round up some baby formula for them. Another one food. Another one kid’s clothes. On a call for Barb Swan who went to our church and passed away this past fall, I was the EMT and Brenda was the driver. I said something about Brenda when we got to the hospital and Barb said, “Is that Brenda Long?” Barb’s eyesight was not good and we were wearing masks, and I said yes it is. And Barb told Brenda “Brenda, I pray for you ever day”. When we took Barb in to the ER and got her settled in the room, I had prayer for Barb and Brenda and we were all three filled with tears. I hope Barb was on Brenda’s welcoming committee in heaven.

I also hope Gideon was on that committee. Gideon was a person we read about in the Bible. He had a lowly job threshing wheat and was doing that when an angel came and called him a “mighty man of valor.” Gideon surely thought the angel must have gotten him confused with someone else. Gideon said, “I am of the least of the tribes and I am the least of my tribe.” And God saw something in Gideon that Gideon did not see in himself. He indeed had within himself the mighty man of valor of which the angel spoke. Gideon saved Israel from the Midianites and for 40 years they had peace under his leadership until his death. Gideon had these lowly beginnings, but God used him to accomplish great things. After what some would see as squandering his youth, Gideon found his purpose and all of Israel was blessed. Do you see why I felt like God wanted me to share this insight into Gideon?

Likewise, I believe I can testify to you today that Brenda Long found her purpose and between running with Short Gap and helping out in Wiley Ford, all of the upper end of Mineral County was blessed.

Brenda would always say that God had a sense of humor putting the two of us together. I agree. But He also had a purpose. It was for her to help me and for me to help her. Renee Douthitt and I were running a call the other day and this person would just not pull over to let us go by. When that happens, our protocol is that the person in the passenger seat is obliged to gawk out the side window staring at the driver like they are an inconsiderate fool. When we went by I told Renee, “When I was driving Brenda, I would always say at that moment, “Don’t give them the finger””. I’m not kidding. So she would instead hit the air horn to express her displeasure.

I could easily go on, but I tell you that as a way of closing this evening. God was working on Brenda right up to the very end, just as He is continually working on me and you. I sat at Brenda’s kitchen table a couple of months ago with her and her sister and I had a heart to heart with Brenda. You see, the heavenly welcome committee did not welcome Brenda because she found her purpose and ran so many ambulance calls or because she was such a caring, do anything for the family mom. They would welcome her because she cast herself at the mercy of the judge. Brenda fell short of the glory of God. So do I and so do you. But the Bible says if we will confess that and believe that Jesus did indeed pay for our sins on the cross, He will surely forgive us and welcome us when our work on earth is done. The fact that her work is done is going to be tough on Short Gap and Wiley Ford EMS. It is going to be tough on her family. But her work is done. And tonight, on behalf of the SGVFC, we thank God and thank you her family and friends for sharing her with us for a season.

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The Fiddle-dee-dee Factor and the Challenge of Profound Change

For those who like my blog, you will enjoy this post comparing the UMC to the cows unwilling to leave the burning barn. “The forthcoming division of the denomination is a certainty.”

People Need Jesus

by Bob Phillips

My wife was raised on a dairy farm in rural northern Pennsylvania. The other day she shared a memory from her youth. The barn housing the cows caught fire, most likely an electrical short. Everyone scrambled to get the cows out of the barn before the roof collapsed. The cows didn’t want to leave. When pulled out of the barn, many of them tried to go back into the barn, even as it was being fully engulfed in flames. Knowing memory can be tricky, my wife called her brother, a past president of the Holstein Association, USA. He confirmed both her memories of that night and the disposition of cattle to be fixed on home, unwilling to change their setting even if it is crashing in flames.

When I heard that story, shared in another context, I immediately thought of the travails of many laity and clergy…

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