Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The AL's All Star Catcher, Tiger's Alex Avila blasts a 2-run homer
Major League Baseball heads into its home stretch this week.  Most teams have 27-28 games left to capture their spot in post-season play.  My beloved Tigers made a surge in the last two weeks (including a sweep of the Indians) and hold a 5 game lead in the American League's Central Division.  It will be a close race becasue both White Sox and Indians have double-digit elimination numbers (13 and 13.5).  Texas has a slimmer lead against the Angels - 3 1/2 games and an elimination number of 24.  The Red Sox and Yankees go neck and neck (and brushback pitch vs. brushback) very much down to the wire.  They will both likely make the playoffs because on the Tampa Bay Rays in their division still has a wild card chance, and that is almost gone.

In the National League, the Phillies have the best record in baseball and a 7 1/2 game lead over Atlanta.  Only a collapse of that awesome Phillies pitching staff give the Braves a prayer, but they appear to have the wild card wrapped up.  The Brewers are putting the Cardinals in their rear view mirror.  My childhood favorite Reds are pretty much gone from the race.  Arizona is surprisingly in front of the Giants after going 8-2 in their last ten starts.

So here's my prediction one month from the end of the regular season: AL East - Red Sox AL Central - Tigers AL West - Rangers Wold Card - Yankees; NL East - Phillies NL Central - Brewers NL West - Diamondbacks Wild Card - Braves.

The Phillie's Cy Young Pitcher Roy Halladay
I confess, I am holding my breath on the Tigers.  Verlander cannot win it alone and the team with the most .300 plus hitters - Cabrera, Martinez, Peralta, Avila - need to hit when the other starters are in action.  If they don't, the White Sox could slide past them.  The Giants could still pull past Arizona but the D-Backs have an awesome defense and Kirk Gibson is an inspired manager (ex-Tiger, by the way).  I don't think it will happen.

So let's have a little fun - what are your predictions?  I will have a prize for the one who first posts the correct six.

While we're at it - my 18-4 Landisville Sluggers in Fantasy Baseball are one game away from clinching their division title, which will be the second year in a row one of my teams ran away with their division). My other teams won't finish above 3rd.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I am blessed by a very special friend named Lynn Byers who is in Haiti on a short-term medical assignment that ends September 7.  Lynn wrote a post this week whose honesty touched my heart as she talked about calling, expectations, and perspectives on culture and poverty.  Lynn writes ...

by Lynn Byers

It's funny how we term missionary work as going overseas, but really it is the call of all Christians as we don't belong to this world so technically we are strangers everywhere. Therefore, every Chrisitan is called to be a missionary. Some stay in their home country, others are called oveseas for a short time, and others for a lifetime. For me, I'm not sure yet if I'm meant to be overseas for a lifetime. This year here has been a huge learning experience for me serving in Haiti for almost a year so far. It will be a year on September 7!

I volunteered 3 places, but most of the time has been spent at Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti as the orthopedic nurse coordinator (as my job formed itself that title). I have seen and done so many things as a nurse that in America I would never get to without 3 plus months training in some departments (like helping with 3 terrible head trauma patients...literally transporting the one guy in the back of his family's car with a trunk that didn't shut; having the security guard ask to me to assess a premature baby born 2 months early because there was no Peds doctor available; having to learn to work in recovery room & train other nurses when I've never worked in recovery room myself, etc etc). Trying to make things work as a nurse when I don't have all (actually many of) the resources I need. I have had to tackle less than desirable living conditions (like not so good hospital food- kind of just kidding) and work conditions, but still nothing compared to what a lot of people endure. I have learned a 2nd language in order to communicate. I have endured some interesting car rides. I have met wonderful people, especially my children patients and actually made lots of connections to Americans. I have gotten to tour the beautiful island and enjoy the wonderful fruits it has to offer. I got to meet (and will get to meet again) the compassion girl I've been sponsporing for 4 years and nothing could beat speaking to her in her own language. I've also been soaking up wonderful aspects of their cultures- their endurance and making things work when it doesn't really appear there is anything you can do; just singing to praise God sporadically; the smiles & happiness on kids who live on dirt floors; joining a young adult Haitian choir; the joy Haitians give in giving you a gift (if you do something for them, they will repay you somehow); The greeting of a kiss on the cheek (going to have to remember not to do that in the U.S.); And living in a community of other Christians long term volunteers (like a college dorm again!)

I always saw myself as fitting in better with non-American cultures, but after being here awhile I realize the aspects of this culture that are equally frustrating to what I deal with in the states. I'm in a spot that I love Haiti and the people, but their work ethic and other little things can be difficult to understand coming from an American perspective. In general, they move very slow and work becomes more like a social hour. They often neglect basic care and provide unsafe care at times. And work items get stolen or misplaced (if not carefully watched or monitored, usually by foreigners). Basically there appears to not be much accountability nor ownership of their jobs. I'm not sure the causes or reasons. Some of it is probably lack of education and unorganization (in general, life is unorganized here but somehow functions). And many times the foreigners are called to do many things, and you start to wonder what they do when we are not here. I never saw myself as saying Americans are better than other countries, and I still don't think we are but without a little support from outside help, a lot of hospitals don't function as well. Every country has its own problems, but every country also has its own beauty!

Read more at BYERS

As I prepare this post I am on vacation and have taken steps not to work during this vocation.  It isn't easy, but it is necessary.  From the blog FORWARD PROGRESS comes some excellent material for reflection:

One Helpful Way to Fight the Idolatry of Work

by Michael Kelley

If you have a job, then there’s a good chance you have at one time, are currently, or eventually will construct an idol out of your work. You want to do well, achieve, and be recognized for your work. Nothing wrong with that – God is honored in our hard work and excellence. But the idol slowly starts to take shape when you begin to find your fulfillment in your work alone. You self-worth in the praise of your boss. You validation in the number of appointments on your calendar.

Work can be an idol – just like anything else. And just like anything else, the idol needs to come down. But how does that deconstruction happen? If your idol is pornography, then you need to seriously think about getting rid of your computer. But you can’t get rid of your work. Your family needs you to work. You need to work. It makes the deconstruction of this idol very, very tricky, but here is one practical way to start ripping it down:

Get a personal cell phone.

And make that phone the simplest, cheapest, least cool model you can so that you can barely send a text message on it. This practical step combats one of the ways that more and more of us are becoming worshipers of work – through our devices.

At a men’s retreat this past weekend, a guy in my small group shared his own struggles with this. He had his life on his Blackberry. It was his calendar, his email, and his personal cell phone. Because it was his personal phone, he kept it with him even when he got home. But then the little red light would start blinking at the top.
What’s this? An email? Yes! Somebody needs me! Somebody thinks I’m important! I am validated because I am so integral that I am contacted at any hour!

And when that alluring red light goes on, it’s so easy to just click over and see what’s going on. Even if you’re talking with your wife. Or listening to your kids. So every easy…

So this guy made the tough choice. Even though he had a stipend for his Blackberry, he took on the additional expense of getting a personal cell phone. A not cool one. One that doesn’t play Angry Birds or send emails. Now, when he gets home, the Blackberry goes in the drawer. The Zach Morris phone goes in the pocket.

Work stays at work. Home is central at home. Idol demolished.  Read more from this blog

Friday, August 26, 2011


 by Stephen L. Dunn

I am on vacation as you receive this post but it is Thursday morning as I compose it.  This past week many things have grabbed the headlines: an up and down market, the collapse of the regime of Kaddafi in Libya, the battle for starting quarterback positions in the NFL, the resignation of Steve Jobs from Apple, an unexpected earthquake in the Middle Atlantic region.  Thursday morning, however, Irene has grabbed the nation’s attention.  The growing monster has already grown to a Category 3 storm with winds of 115 miles per hour. Landfall may now be the Delmar Peninsula and it will likely affect 55 millions Americans. “Tornadoes and torrential winds, downed trees and major flooding” is Al Roker’s warning.  Mandatory evacuations have already begun in the Outer Banks and other coastal areas.

Such events are a disturbing reminder to many people of how much humanity does not control its environment or its life.  Disturbing because many of us believe the myth that human kind ultimately can save itself.  We persist in trying to depend upon ourselves to be the arbiter on what is right and wrong, what values we will live by and what values we will ignore.

God is the Designer of the Universe.  It is He who has created Nature and its Laws.  Contrary to the opinion of the Pat Robertsons of the world, He does not routinely suspend those Laws to punish particular individuals or communities while ignoring the collateral damage to others.  Contrary to the opinion of those looking for an excuse to ignore God, His permitting of those Laws to continue in force are also not a measure of His lack of love or untrustworthiness.

By the time you read this, Irene will probably be down to Tropical Storm status making life a mess in upstate New York and New England, and those for whom the storm has been replaced with sunshine over the debris will begin to return to their state of operating as if they themselves are sovereign in this world. And for those of us who love humanity as God loves us, that fact is disturbing.

Monday, August 22, 2011


It is a rainy evening in the Susquehanna Valley as I prepare this post. I had a delightful Sunday morning with my congregation at the Church of God of Landisville, hearing their God stories, baptizing a young teenager named Hannah, sharing a message on how God's grace can transform us if we allow God's love to live in us. Most pastors thrive when they have these kinds of Sundays. After lunch at Chili's with some precious friends and a nap on the couch, I returned to my pastoral role to share three counseling sessions - one in my office, one over Facebook, and one in my second office at Silver Spring Family Restaurant. The rain, interestingly, is a wonderful benediction on such a day. Rain has a cleansing effect. The steady pounding on the roof is a gentle massage of peacefulness. The fresh life this rain will produce with the morning sun will be a hope-filled greeting tomorrow. Thank You, Lord, for the blessing of this Sunday and for the rainy staccato of your grace.

Gas prices came down this week - almost ten cents.  A step in the right direction.  Too bad the market doesn't give us the same encouragement.  The internet has become a life-line and a lifestyle for many; but this week Verizon seemed to have a lot of trouble keeping it working properly in my community.  It created a  lot of aggravation for those who have grown dependent on its availability.  Just a reminder that life is filled with hassles, and life being so "daily" makes those hassles an ever-present reality. I believe that's why Paul counseled the Philippians: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (4:6-7)  In the uncertainties of the world, I find great peace in the knowledge that God has my back.    
Facebook has allowed me a regular entry into the life of my wonderful granddaughter, Natalie, who lives more than 500 miles from Landisville.  It has also allowed me to "hear" her heart.  Just a few minutes ago she warmed my heart with this observation:  'I don't understand this: first we complain about not growing up fast enough, about time being too slow; then when we realize how much time we've wasted, life suddenly moves too fast. So yeah, something exciting is going to happen tomorrow; it doesn't mean that today can't be just as great. Don't worry about time going too slow; be more concerned with the minutes that you waste waiting for the next one."  Natalie reminds me to celebrate the moment instead of worshiping the past or allowing the future to keep me from savoring the moment.

Have a great week! - Steve

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Thanks to USA Today for some disturbing political commentary this past week.  These make me want to cry not laugh. Maybe even scream a little.


Sunday, August 14, 2011


One of the blogs I periodically read is called Alan’s Corner.  Several months ago he posted an article by the title, “Where Have I Seen Jesus Lately?”  He opened his post with these lyrics:
Some day you’ll come, darkness will cease.
True light will dawn, everyone will then see.
Everything new, we’ll finally see you.
Awaiting that day, searching for more.
While all along you are
found with the poor.
Help me to see that you’re all around me…

Our praises arise.
As we come to recognize.
Jesus is near.
Glory is here.
Glory is Here”, Michael Gungor Band
As a Christian, I believe Jesus is near.  Nearer, in fact, than most of us think.  Already his glory is reflected in many ways. So, where have I seen Jesus lately?
I have seen Jesus in the heart and the worship of my wife Dianne.  She so very much loves Jesus. Worship is part of her heartbeat and when she leads worship, she helps others know clearly that Jesus is near, glory is here.
That love of Jesus that is evident when she worships has a powerful way of overflowing into the lives of others, especially when Dianne is worshiping by serving Jesus.  She is a teacher with a particular heart for special needs children. Many a child who is at risk or requires early intervention or deals with autism or behaviorial issues has found an advocate and a friend in Dianne. Many of the regular staff members she comes alongside of have found that love of Jesus translated into a love and heart for them.
I have seen Jesus in a friend named Lynda, who simply has a heart that people give their hearts and lives to Christ. A woman of great artistic creativity, who has know many personal challenges in her life has long ago set aside her agenda just to be a willing worker for God. More than once I have observed her go the second mile, step out of her comfort zone, risk being hurt even because she just wants people to find the peace of Jesus Christ.
I have seen Jesus in two of the willing workers of the church I serve, Dave and Donna. My first real encounter was when I asked Donna to help with refreshments for a conference and discovered Dave was the menu planner. Early each Sunday they are on duty at the church to greet people as they arrive (and that’s after they’ve made sure the church is ready and any last minute detail for Pastor Steve has been cared for).  From watching over senior citizens, to getting down on the ground playing crazy games with the children at Vacation Bible School, to know becoming caring adult friends of the little preschoolers in our Sunday School, making the church a safe and welcoming place for those little lives.  That’s where I have seen Jesus lately.
This is fun!  There are whole lot more evidences.  I will continue this post in future posts.
In the mean time, I would love your comments about where you have seen Jesus lately. – Steve

Monday, August 8, 2011


There are a handful of Christian thinkers who have inspired and shaped my Christian identity.  They have particularly provided clarity to the biblical witness that I believe is foundational to a faithful and fruitful Christian life.  On of those men died a week ago. His name was John R.W. Stott. 

John Stott was an English theologian and evangelist, a champion of world missions, and a passionate and intellectually powerful defender of the Faith.  I first encountered Dr. Stott as a keynote speaker at Urbana 78, a student world missions conference sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.  I was covering the conference for two denominational publications and arrived there scrambling into my seat in a cavernous field house in Bloomington just as Stott was introduced.  I was so mesmerized by his eloquence and understanding that I barely wrote a note. I didn't want to miss a word from his lips.

Later I found great wisdom and understanding as a writer, teacher, evangelist and pastor in such works as Basic Christianity, The Cross of Christ, and Christian Mission in the Modern World.  Even to this day, those tomes hold an honored place on the shelves in my study,

Stott had made many powerful observations that kept the Christian church grounded in authentic faith and invited the world at large to take a more honest approach in its pursuit of truth.  Here are some of those quotes that particularly shaped me.

"If you find it hard to believe in God, I strongly advise you to begin your search not with philosophical questions about the existence and being of God, but with Jesus of Nazareth. … If you read again the story of Jesus, and read it as an honest and humble seeker, Jesus Christ is able to reveal himself to you, and thus make God. … real to you." - I Believe in God

"The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales." - Christian Mission in the Modern World

"God's Word is designed to make us Christians, not scientists, and to lead us to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. It was not God's intention to reveal in Scripture what human beings could discover by their own investigations and experiments." - Christian Basics 

"His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice."

"I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross......In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statute of Buddha - - his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agony of the world. But each time, after awhile, I have had to turn away. And in imagination, I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross -- nails through his hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me ! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross, which symbolizes divine suffering. The cross of Christ is God's only self justification in such a world as ours".

"Our God is often too small because he is too religious. We imagine that he is chiefly interested in religion - in religious buildings (churches and chapels), religious activities (worship and ritual), and religious books (Bibles and prayer books). Of course he is concerned about these things, but only if they are related to the whole of life. According to the Old Testament prophets and the teaching of Jesus, God is very critical of 'religion," if by that is meant religious services divorced from real life, loving service and the moral obedience of the heart."

Stott has left an indelible stamp upon the character of the Christian faith.  We mourn his passing.

For an excellent post on Stott  go to Kemp

Friday, August 5, 2011


In checking the statistics of this blog, I have found that the most viewed post I have written (911 times in 16 months to be exact) has been FANTASY BASEBALL.  I wrote this post as my second season of pursuing this pastime was about to begin. I had rapidly expanded my previous one team in a MLB.Com league to six teams (the MLB maximum of five and one is CBS Sports). Then earlier this year I wrote of my joy that had arisen as I began season three.  (By the way, I had a second season champion - DUNNS TIGER CATS).  In that post I shared this reflection:

"Over the years I have coached many real teams in baseball and softball (as well as basketball and soccer).  I think there’s a sports managerial gene in my DNA that compels to do so.  Fantasy baseball, however, doesn’t require me to match schedules with a roster of real players with real jobs, or to endure the elements, or to endure parents of players who think their little darling deserves more playing time."

As season three has progressed, I have learned some tricks of the trade.

(1) Pay careful attention to INJURY REPORTS so that you don't get surprised by an assignment to the Disabled List that costs you production in a particular line-up spot,  (That has happened to me with Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, and Rickie Weeks so far this year.  Weeks removal and my inattention cost my league leading Landisville Sluggers an unexpected second loss in a row.)

(2) Check the scheduled opponents for your pitching staffs and know how they usually match up against that team.  Your preferred starting team may have a great ERA and record, but against that particular team they may be abysmal.

(3) Big-names may be a bust - Ichiro comes to mind.  I haven't dropped him but he has been on the bench all season.

(4) Watch the emerging rookies.  Not all managers note them and if you get them early, even if you put them on the bench, they're on your roster when they hit their stride.

(5) Don't be afraid to add and drop players, but especially with pitching staffs - don't be in a hurry.


This post originally appeared in another blog of mine called EASTER PEOPLE.

I once had a church with a very small senior high Sunday School Class. Small, but extraordinary.  They came from two high schools, and the valedictorian of each school was in the class. One other was in the top five of their class. The other two in the top 5%.  All were headed to college, basically on merit scholarships.  One of them was under appointment to the US Naval Academy.

Their teacher was a single mom who was an R.N.  A cancer survivor, she had been abandoned by her husband following her recovery for a trophy wife.  She first worked as a pediatric ICU nurse and when that got to be too much, switched to geriatrics.  A passionate and caring Christian, she was a superb life mentor but by her own admission, outmatched intellectually by her “Mensa Sunday School Class.”

Jan was the teacher’s name.  She believed firmly that Christianity was not about knowledge but application.  Love was not a concept. It was a lifestyle. So she urged her students to adopt a grandfather.

The grandfather was a man named Tom in a nursing home that our church provided ministry.  He had been married but they had no children.  He had outlived his wife and any family he had had.  Tom was very much alone in the world.  And he was quiet, sometimes crochety, not an easy man to like.

The kids were undeterred and regularly visited him after school, or sometimes during the Sunday School hour.  They brought him out of his shell.  He didn’t become a motor mouth, but he did begin to talk a little.  They learned he liked chocolate milk shakes.  So when they would visit, they would bring him a shake.  The cool offering warmed him up.

Tom contracted an illness and after a while was hospitalized.  The hospital was not as convenient as the nursing home, but the kids continue to visit him–sometimes one-on-one, often armed with a milk shake.  As he grew sicker, he grew quieter. Yet Jan and her Mensa Sunday School Class moved beyond the awkwardness to walk through that valley with Tom.

Tom died.  And the nursing home contacted me to do the funeral.  “He has no family,” they said, “but he deserves a decent burial.  His only religious contact is with these kids and you’re their pastor.  Will you do his funeral?”

I agreed.

The funeral was actually held in the chapel of the mausoleum where his remains would be laid to rest.  A cold room, decorated in somber colors, illuminated almost too subtly other than to suggest death.  A couch was placed before Tom’s closed casket, and as his family, the kids crowded with Jan on this oversized piece of upholstered furniture.

As I entered the room, I saw the kids squeezed awkwardly onto that couch. Uncertain about what was happening or what they thought. At the back of the room was someone from the nursing home, standing next to the undertaker.  A sad scene, inviting sadness.

But then God spoke to me, and this is what He prompted me to say.  “Kids, you all know Tom had no family.  No one in this world to love or to be loved by.  And if you kids had not entered into his life there would only be three of us in this room right now–myself, the undertaker, and the lady from the nursing home.  And we are paid to be here.

“But because you entered his life, you became his family.  You are the people who brought love and happiness to his last days.  You are the people that he still mattered to God and that someone cared whether he lived or died.

“Your love and attention for a lonely old man was the best gift he ever received, because you put God’s love into action.

“So on his behalf and in the name of God, thank you. Thank you for being God’s people and Tom’s family.”
As I reflect, I simply ask – is there someone lost and forgotten, abandoned or uncared for, who needs to encounter the love of God with flesh on?  Are you that person?

(C) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I suppose if I were a vegetarian, this might be a reason for rejoicing; but as true meat and potatoes man whose diabetes has forced him to reassess so many things - this is just over the edge.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


They're not going to win.  By America's Got Talent standards they are too young. Only Jackie Evancho overcame that, but I love Avery and the Calico Hearts.


Marriage's often succeed or fail in two areas - communication and clearly communicated expectations. I may have to add this video to my Preparation for Marriage counseling.

Monday, August 1, 2011


The most interesting thing I read on the blogs this week came via Scot McKnight's JESUS CREED.  His is an eclectic blend of theology, book reviews, social commentary, ecclesiastical critiques and political analysis. Here is what McKnight posted.  He called it Apples and Oranges, But ...

From Business Insider:
According to the latest daily statement from the U.S. Treasury, the government had an operating cash balance of $73.8 billion at the end of the day yesterday.
Apple’s last earnings report (PDF here) showed that the company had $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of June.
In other words, the world’s largest tech company has more cash than the world’s largest sovereign government.
That’s because Apple collects more money than it spends, while the U.S. government does not.
 The government cannot operate at this point without a certain amount of debt, or at least not at this point in history.  Multiple generations political desires and both parties policies have elevated that debt to astronomical levels.  There is more than enough blame to go around.

Now we need to do something, yet know one agrees on what or has the political will to bring it about.  The one person last week to make areal attempt, Speaker of House John Boehner, was roundly shot down by zealots from both parties.  And so now we have the specter of having to officially raise the debt ceiling of this nation or go into bankruptcy.  It's one thing for a person to declare bankruptcy, but when a nation does it there are far reaching consequences.  And since our nation has yet to do it, we only have an inkling of what that might mean to both the total economy and the financial solvency of its citizenry.  Do we really want the country to declare bankruptcy?  As much as I hate thought of deeper debt, I fear the greater risks of bankruptcy.

Raising the debt ceiling cannot be an excuse from stepping away from the mission to balance the budget and reduce our out-of-control and too often whimsical spending.  But bankruptcy at this time I believe will only hurt the little guy.  And the little guys is already reeling.


I started this morning's post wrestling with the budget and debt crisis in our country, and the general frustration most of us feel with a political system that seems more broken each day.  But then I was reminded of the words of the apostle Paul, words that have often given me a new focus and a fresh attitude for living as a Christian in the world.  Quoting Philippians 4:8-9:

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

My friend, Kayla
Freed of those dark shadows, my mind went to more pleasant scenes and encouraging thoughts.  First there was Kayla Forry.
Not quite two years ago Kayla's mom gave birth to her in the 26th week of pregnancy.  Kayla spent a long time in the hospital. Her first two winters she had to be guarded carefully against the illnesses and infections public settings bring.  But this Saturday I went to a part at her parent's farm and watched this lively, life-filled little girl at play like all other children.  Her parents, Dwight and Kelly, call he a miracle baby, and so she is.  But it is precisely the miracles of God that make us glad that we are not alone in the universe and that God is not confined to the natural order of things.

Hailey Brae Sarver
Then my thoughts went to another child, a newborn named Hailey Brae Sarver.  Her parents Brook and Sarah are church planters from Indiana who committed ten years of their life (for a start) to help establish a shining witness for Jesus Christ in Thailand.  Yet they haven't put their life on hold.  Because theirs is a calling, not a temporary passion, they have chosen to start their family where they intend to invest their lives. I have enjoyed all the Facebook posts about the pregnancy and birth,  Now I look forward to watching them (from afar) raise this child of promise for their lives.

Dianne tells a story that helps change lives
Then there's my lovely wife Dianne, one of my congregation's Master Teachers.  She gave a week of her summer to go to the Navajo Reservation to teach the children about Jesus. When given a God story to tell, she invests herself with such passion and creativity that she makes things come alive, capturing people's imaginations and opening their minds.  A whole lot of children in Tsaile AZ are going to remember an incredible God because they met an incredible teacher.

Maybe our lives would be a little brighter if today we took our eyes off Washington and pushed the economy out of our minds and let our eyes be wide open to the mercies of God.  I encourage you to start this Monday this way.  It may make all the difference in how you live in the week to come.