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On the Road Again in 2011

Articles are sorted with the most recently posted at the top.

Magi on the Road
Posted December 8, 2011

by Jim Browder

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Magi from the east followed a star in an attempt to find the recently born Jesus. You've probably heard about this.

A few years ago, I followed a Rick Steves four-star guidebook in Germany to the Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral to view the ornate resting place of the bones of the Magi.

Now, there may be a flaw or two in each of these stories.

According to astrologists, "stars" don't move, thus they cannot be followed. So, one theory has the Magi following a slow-moving planet which could have been mistaken for a star, since telescopes and GPS had not yet been invented. I don't know. What if the planet they were following was Pluto? Today we'd be hanging dog ornaments on our Christmas trees instead of stars. I like stars better.

Perhaps it would be best to leave the heavy theological stuff to Terry.

Moving on: Did I really view the final resting place of the Magi bones?

The bones of the Three Wise Men reputedly were discovered by Saint Helena on a pilgrimage to Palestine and the Holy Lands. She took the remains to a church in Constantinople. Later they were moved to Milan, then to Cologne.

And there's the story of Marco Polo claiming that he was shown the three tombs of Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar in the Persian city of Saba. The tombs reportedly were large, beautiful monuments, side by side.

What I viewed in Cologne Cathedral was a large tomb which looked like real gold.

They didn't let us look inside.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

What Do I Say???
Posted December 1, 2011

by Linda Turner

When your oldest daughter e-mails and says come visit – spend time with your grandkids, we'll go someplace fun (the big Junior League event), I'll pay all your expenses, DC is beautiful this time of year, what do I say, what do I say? OK so I am busy at home, I'll have to miss a really special party I have been invited to, but what an opportunity!

Her oldest lost her first tooth last week, the second daughter is into her first semester of kindergarten and the almost three-year-old is a total delight. They have been talking about my other name besides Grandmother. It's a big joke for the kids to call me Linda Sue (my original name – what family members call me). You always know it's a relative if you answer the phone and someone asks for Linda Sue. Elliott is now calling me Linda Soup and telling everyone how to make Linda Soup (he is a delight!!!!).

Well, I said yes and I will miss part of the White Bluff Christmas season to visit the big city. I might even get to go on a White House tour (the last time I did, Bill & Hillary lived there). My daughter is a Democrat – what can I say???

Please remember all the special Christmas events to be held at White Bluff Chapel and how very blessed we are to be able to worship on Christmas Day! Enjoy!

23 Trips on the Dusty Roads of Africa
Posted November 22, 2011

by Jack Horn, Kenya

Since 1979, I've made 23 trips to Africa, but one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in all those trips happened this year. We spent the last day of this trip to Kenya with the Widows and Orphans that White Bluff Chapel helps support. While we were there, a young man who had recently graduated from a two-year business school came from Kisumu to spend the day with us.

It turned out that this young man was an orphan who had begun in our program when he was only six or seven years old. He now has a good job as an accountant with a company in Kisumu. He was so grateful that he had had the opportunity to go to school and get a good education that he wanted to come let us know how he felt about the opportunities we are providing for young African orphans.

This young man is a very strong Christian and is already doing ministry part-time. I believe he will continue to work for three or four years, and then he will go into full-time ministry. He made all those years I've spent on the dusty roads of Africa well worthwhile for me.

I'm Sure God Loves Hippies
Posted November 10, 2011

by Jim Browder

I suppose you noticed the old VW Hippie Bus that appears at the top of each "On the Road Again" story. You may have owned one. Probably with a "Peace" symbol painted on the side.

Even today there are persons who call themselves "hippies" and continue to lead that lifestyle. But the original hippies of yesteryear are more likely to be riding around in motorized wheelchairs these days.

A couple of years ago while traveling through the vast nothingness of Nevada, we spotted one of the old hippie buses, miles and miles from civilization. I had to stop for a photograph.

Image Enlarged

Then I wondered:

Did the bus run out of gas and the hippies just decided to make this home?

Maybe the "hippie era" suddenly ended and they were stranded here.

Perhaps they just enjoyed the view.

Whatever the reason, I'm sure God loves hippies...otherwise he wouldn't have invented the Volkswagen bus.

From Generation to Generation
Posted November 3, 2011

by Tom Reedy, Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii, Summer 2011

It's difficult enough to arrange for four people to play golf. Planning a week-long trip for family ranging in age from 11 months to 85 years is a whole different ball game. We had made the attempt two years ago only to be derailed by an untimely fall requiring surgery. Surely this time would be different. And it was.

We couldn't have been blessed with better weather or more beautiful surroundings. We had found God's lush tropical paradise, soothing surf, cool breezes, and stunning sunsets.

The occupants of a wheelchair and a stroller shared eventful meals and silly games. We enjoyed lots of food and laughter while watching the sun slowly slide into the water. Young cousins chased tirelessly up and down a beautiful beach and into the surf, to the delight of proud parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Most of all, we simply enjoyed being together.

Four generations. A week in paradise. Loving, laughing and getting along. Thank you, God, for family!

Awesome Recovery
Posted October 25, 2011

by James Ward

On Sunday, October 23, member James Ward stood before our congregation and gave the most moving testimonial. Only one month out of surgery for a double-lung transplant, James found the breath to say these words to his friends and supporters at White Bluff Chapel:


As I sat in bed on Friday, Sept.23, I was thinking about what was going on in my life, I recalled what Bob had said in our Sunday school class. We were talking about Moses and how he asked “Who am I Lord?” and Bob answered that God is an awesome God and that He had a plan for Moses. That stayed with me until Sunday Sept. 25th. I woke up in time to hear Joel Osteen and his sermon was about how God is an awesome God and nothing is impossible. God wants his children to do great things and if you follow the path there is nothing we can’t do together. Sorry that Kathy and I could not be here for the concert that day, we were looking forward to it.

Sunday and Monday nights were the hardest because death was all around. 3 people passed away those 2 days. Tuesday became a major melt down for me. My thought was to get busy living or get busy dying. I knew then that God had a plan and that I needed the 3 most positive people I know to be around me. Wednesday afternoon I asked God If he could get Jordan’s C.O. to grant him a 3 day emergency pass. Kathy called Jordan and told him that his Dad needed him here, by midnight. Jordan’s C.O. granted the pass, and he was here the next day. By Saturday I had the 3 most positive people here, Jordan, Jake, and Kathy. I could draw from their positive thoughts and prayers. God saw that need and filled it and I began to recover.

I had a little problem on Sunday after lunch and they had to put me back in ICU. I had to have CPR to bring me back to life, and with God’s help here I am.

Kathy and I have been so blessed to the fact that most people have only a few family members and friends around them. We have our family and friends, a Masonic family, a coaching family and players, and our church families. I have been lucky because everywhere I have coached there was always a church where Kathy could play. When I would go and look for a job, I would always hear “you can go but Kathy stays.” I am not sure why God put us where we are but I know there is a plan. This brings me to White Bluff Chapel, Pastor Terry, Pastor Ann, and you the members. We have never been more welcomed in our lives than here. To take in 2 strangers into your house and make them feel so good is beyond words, thank you so very much. All the cards, gifts, positive thoughts, and more importantly prayers have been great. One of my nurses came in and saw so many cards, she said I must be a rich man and I told her no, I was a blessed man. When the cards from White Bluff Chapel started coming and so many kind words, I knew we were home.

In closing, because of our Awesome God, thank you for all you have done for Kathy and me. I am not sure words are ever enough, but thank you again.

Colorado Mountain High
Posted October 20, 2011

by Jim Browder, Castle Rock, Colorado

Autumn is usually a great time to travel. A fine time to search for the elusive perfect picture of fall foliage. However, in our many fall trips in search of beautiful color we've always been met with:

"You should have been here last week."

"The trees should peak next week."

"Cold weather, wind and rain made all the leaves drop."

"This has been a bad year."

So, this year, no search for color. We just planned a short trip to Castle Rock, Colorado, to visit our daughter.

Guess what? The news was in all the papers and on TV: "This is the peak week of the year for aspen color." God was smiling on us.

The weather was perfect. Blue sky. Miles and miles of golden aspen. We kept going higher and higher in the mountains until we drove above the treeline where there was little color. At this point the sky turned dark. Clouds rolled in. There was thunder, lightning, rain, then some snow. I may be wrong, but I think this was God's way of telling us to go back down the mountain.

As we descended, the sunshine returned and we enjoyed even more of His colorful handiwork.

What Does Love Look Like?
Posted October 13, 2011

by Ann McAlpin, Port Townsend, WA

Today love was a 136-year old church and a 75-year old pastor. First I heard the quiet voice of love as the pastor mingled with the small congregation prior to the start of the worship service. "How is your niece, Jane, doing? You asked us to pray for her a few weeks ago." "Good to see you this morning, Bob. Has Mary gotten all the cooking done for the family gathering this afternoon?" Questions and personal comments for each member as he greeted them – this pastor truly knew his congregation and cared about them. Love is personal.

Then he stopped by my pew and extended his hand to me. "Welcome to our service. We are always happy to have visitors." He asked where I was from and how long I would be here. After a few other comments he moved on, and within a minute another man came over to my pew. He extended his hand and said, "Wendell (the pastor) says you are from Texas. My wife and I are from Texas too." In his quiet way the pastor had made sure the visitor in his church made a connection. Love is inclusive.

The sermon lacked elegance and the delivery was not spectacular, but I listened intently as this pastor spoke about forgiveness. His words were straight from his heart. Without forgiveness there can be no relationship with Christ or with others. It was that simple, but it was real. Love is from the heart.

I started out of the church after the service, but stopped and went back to speak to this man one more time. "I really enjoyed being here today. The service was very meaningful to me," I said as I shook his hand. In his kind and gentle voice, he thanked me and said, "This is a loving congregation. They do make you feel good." Love is not self-promoting.

Love filled my heart and a smile spread across my face as I left. I stood for a moment outside and looked at the church. It was a beautiful building and inside was a man who radiates love.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:37, 39

Heavens to Betsy
Posted October 6, 2011

by Betsy Torman

As many of you know, my husband and I are avid golfers, and since Monday is the WB Race for the Cure Tournament, I was reminded this morning of life's funny moments, in the midst of crisis. I was in the third month of chemotherapy for Breast Cancer, and I was as bald as I could be, but that didn't stop us from participating in a couples' golf event, on a typically windy Texas day.

Golf had been a welcome break from treatments, and I had my wig securely in place with a snugly fitting visor. When we finished, I went to the ladies' lounge to freshen my "disheveled" hair. Using my brush, I yanked a little too hard and suddenly my wig flew off my head into the toilet! Just at that moment, my friend Carol came around the corner. We both froze! Then miraculously, I burst into laughter, and lovingly, so did Carol. In fact, we laughed until we cried. She shared laughter, not pity.

That was a sweet moment for me, when my friend joined in my awkwardness, and it became one of those "life moments" as I determined to always have a positive attitude. It is absolutely vital for healing.

It has been many years since cancer and yet, just about the time I think I can put it all away, the Lord will put someone in my path who needs to know the truth. There is indeed, a wonderful life after cancer. It isn't anything I'd ever ask for, I never want it again. Still, I'd never trade our faith walk with the Lord during those years for anything. Every day is precious, and there are wonderful rainbows, even in the midst of terrible storms.

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