After The Storm…

August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina may prove to be the costliest storm ever in recorded history in the U.S.; even now, the day after, the toll continues to climb.

Sixty-eight confirmed dead thus far, but that number will no doubt climb into the hundreds, perhaps even passing a thousand when all is said and done. Whole towns and cities were inundated by the floodwaters and storm surge; there are still places inaccessible to rescue teams until the waters subside. The horrors that await them can well be imagined.

Many may ask, “Where is God in all of this? Why did He allow this to happen?” And, of course, there are no easy answers. The shock of the December 26th tsunami, and now this, leaves us with many questions.

Yet, no matter what happens in the world around us, God is there. Though people do not follow God’s ways, God is able to take the most horrible of circumstances and bring about His plan anyway. God is ultimately in control over world events, whether we like to acknowledge that or not. If you are God’s, then you can rest on this promise: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

That doesn’t mean that those who know God will escape difficult times. They won’t. When disaster strikes, it causes great suffering and death, and those who know God will be involved in that suffering also. But there is a peace and a strength that God’s presence gives. One follower of Jesus Christ put it this way: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Reality tells us that we will experience problems in life. However, if we go through them while knowing and having God in our hearts and minds, we can react to them with a different perspective and with a strength that is not our own. No problem has the capacity to be insurmountable to God. He is bigger than all the problems that can hit us, and we are not left alone to deal with them.

He is there. And He cares.

I pray that these words, along with the Holy Spirit, bring comfort and encouragement to those who are suffering through this tragedy right now.


A CLOSE call

August 29, 2005

New Orleans escaped the wrath of Hurricane Katrina; Gulfport, MS didn’t.

First pictures and video from the Mississippi scene are devastating; reminiscient of massive earthquake and/or flood damage. Even towns 200 miles away like Fort Walton Beach (where Jeannie and I honeymooned at last year) were adversely ffected.

So far, few fatalities are reported. But the winds and rain haven’t stopped yet. And Katrina continues her maddening slow trek northward.

Gulfport lies under 10-12 feet of floodwaters; New Orleans has 6 feet in some places.

Stay tuned. More yet to come on this horrific disaster.


Our thoughts and prayers…

August 29, 2005

are with those in New Orleans who stayed behind, in shelters or out of foolishness for not heeding the evacuation call.

Hurricane Katrina, packing 150 mph winds, waves as high as 47 feet, and a storm surge predicted at 28 feet, has come ashore as of this writing, perhaps wobbling eastward enough to diminish the impact upon the Big Easy. They will still undergo massive flooding, with the possibility of 28 feet of water inundating they city in a toxic stew of chemicals, sewage, and death. Hundreds if not thousands may perish in this disaster.

They have dodged a bullet for many years; today will be their day of reckoning.

Special thoughts go out to the families of loved ones riding the storm out, and to all the emergency workers who will quickly band together to search for survivors. Be safe; be careful; and come back home safely.

And our prayer is that they will find not death, but life among the ruins.


Whew…What a Sunday!

August 29, 2005

I can only imagine how those called into full-time ministry must feel.

I am exhausted; spent; need the ol’ spiritual batteries recharged after spending two hours leading services at Zion and Siloam United Methodist Churches south of Brookfield; plus driving the countryside back to Marceline to change clothes and then go back to our home church, Trinity UMC, to finish up the Sunday evening praise and worship service on the projector system, before heading to an American Legion organizational meeting at the Jones’ home and then back to church to take the kids to youth group and prepare for Sunday evening.

Wow. It was fun, exhilarating, packed with the highs and lows of raw emotion…Jeannie says I put everything that I am into preaching God’s Word. It is probably why I am drained and feel like a zombie afterwards.

All in all, God’s Word was proclaimed, songs were sung in earnest, and He is once again proclaimed as Lord. As it should be always!

Thanks be to God for the wonders of His Love and Goodness.


Sunday Worship Awaits!

August 27, 2005

The message is ready; meditation and prayer time were done this afternoon and evening, part of it while mowing the yard. Had a nice talk with God above the din; the neighbors probably think I’m going nuts as I was seen talking to myself. 🙂

Various emotions are running through me…I am excited; nervous; apprehensive; joyful; etc. Many thoughts run through my head but one thing is loud and clear: God’s will be done. I needs to step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit take control; I am merely a mouthpiece for God’s message, and I need to empty myself and let the Lord use me to deliver the message to His people.

All I can say is, “Wow.”

I have anticipated this day for many years, and God has been faithful and true to His calling for my life.

Please pray for me!!

And thank you so much, Father. I pray that I will make You proud tomorrow.

P.S. If you’re in the area and know where Zion and Siloam United Methodist Churches are (south of Brookfield), come join us for worship in the morning. Zion starts at 9:30AM and Siloam at 11:00AM.


Getting a killer deal at Wal-Mart…

August 25, 2005

Literally.

Whoa.

As of Thursday evening, three people have been killed in Wal-Marts in the western U.S.; two when a man opened fire in the parking lot at a Wal-Mart in a Phoenix suburb (both were employees who were collecting shopping carts); and today, several witnesses told Albuquerque, New Mexico tv stations that they saw a man stabbing a woman inside the store when another man shot him. No other details were immediately available, according to media outlets.

Wal-Mart sure ain’t the saving place any more…they should carry caskets and start using the slogan, “You stab ’em, we slab ’em.”

I know, I know…it’s in bad taste.

But so is murdering people in cold blood when they’re trying to shop or work.


Microsoft Winblows 95 turns 10

August 24, 2005

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? The old clunker of an OS turned 10 years old today…ah, how time flies when you have to reboot your computer multiple times (thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see the light of a better computer company called Apple).

Back then, people waited in line–for hours–to plunk down $90 for a copy of Windows 95 back on Aug. 24, 1995. I was one of those people, believe it or not…until I got smart and bought a Mac.

King Kong couldn’t stand up to the behemoth of a marketing campaign from Redmond…Microsoft doled out over $300 million on the rollout party, and that included millions more to license the Rolling Stone’s “Start Me Up”, and a cameo appearance by Jay Leno at Microsoft headquarters.

The over-hyped, underperforming operating system promised many things and delivered on few. And, ten years later, we’re still waiting on the promise of a simple-to-use OS from Microsoft. As of this writing, the latest charade is called Windows Vista, aka Longhorn, whch they promise will be out sometime by 2007. Hopefully. It’s been in development in some form or another since the beginning of the decade.

Will you be one of those who wait in line for a copy of Vista when it finally rolls out? I certainly won’t be, and I’ve talked to MANY others who won’t be, either. Seems that they’ve gotten tired of a Windows platform that asks for mega-system hardware requirements and delivers rip-offs of Apple technologies.

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer told CNET News.com in June, “It’s going to be a big thing, but I don’t think we should have expectations that we will have people lined up at midnight to buy a copy, necessarily, despite the fact that Longhorn is a huge deal. I think it’s bigger than anything else we’ve ever done–except Win95.”

Pretty sad whenever Microsoft’s own head honcho (except for the BIG dude, Bill Gates) downplays their latest and greatest flagship product.