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On the Road Again in 2016

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

A Pilgrimage to Worship Him
Posted December 22, 2016

by Ann McAlpin

Many Chapel members will always remember Ann McAlpin. She was a part of the Chapel from the beginning and her foresight and dedication are still with the Chapel today.

While many have probably received Ann's Christmas letter, Ann gave her approval to repost the letter here on the website. Ann will always be a part of the Chapel and a wonderful friend to all.

In case you did not receive Ann's letter you can read her letter below.

Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship Him.” (MSG)
(Pilgrimage: A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.)

Like the “band of scholars” of old we are each on pilgrimage to worship our Savior!  Thinking about this verse and looking over this year I have many reasons to worship Him with love and thankfulness.

My pilgrimage to the Northwest has opened new opportunities for me to see God’s creation.  As the TV ads remind me – Mt. Rainier is in our backyard.  One cannot look at the majesty and beauty of this mountain without feeling the power of God.  I have been out to the mountain several times during different seasons this year and each time I am humbled as I worship Him!  In the spring I worshiped God amidst the beauty of the tulips in Skagit County.  Fields of vibrant color there, and here in Auburn the beauty of the cherry blossoms filled my heart with worship of Him.

I am not alone on my pilgrimage.  In January I met two friends in California for a Road Scholar trip to the Rose Parade.  Then in April a friend came to Washington to visit and see the tulips.  A May visit to Texas to see friends and family and another Road Scholar trip in September to Mackinac Island with 4 friends kept me in contact with special people in my life.  These are people who have been a part of my life for a number of years and being with them helps keep me grounded.  In thanksgiving for friends I worship Him.

Being near my son, David, continues to be a joy for me.  He lives about 45 minutes away – near enough to do things together and far enough for each to have our own activities!  We have several things planned for the Christmas season including our Christmas Eve church service where we will worship Him together.  In August a sweet cousin and friend from Texas came for a visit.  They had been in southern Washington with their church helping with VBS.  We had a wonderful visit and their love for Christ encouraged me on my pilgrimage to worship Him.

On any pilgrimage there must be time for play and relaxation.  I have enjoyed attending the symphony, plays, Mariner baseball games, day trips to local attractions, lectures, walks and hikes.  Through these activities I have met new friends that broadened my perspective of life.  For this I worship Him.

The guiding light in my pilgrimage is my church.  It is there that I find focus, purpose, love and hope.  We have begun a midweek service for all ages on Wednesday evenings.  I am a guide for an adult FaithWalk small group.  Sharing with this group is a major part of my pilgrimage to worship Him.

I am on pilgrimage to worship Him!  I joyfully anticipate the places and people I will continue to encounter on my pilgrimage.  I pray that your pilgrimage will bring you many blessings in 2017.

Blessings,  Ann

Creating a Mini-Family Reunion
Posted October 26, 2016

by Bill Burris

I have been traveling to the Florida Panhandle for over 40 years. The early visits were to spend time with dear friends around Thanksgiving. In the mid 90's I learned that I had four cousins on my mother's side living in Mobile. On each visit to Florida I've passed through Mobile.

I began reaching out to my cousins and would occasionally arrange a little get-together with them on my next trip through Mobile. I learned that one of my cousins, Roy, owned Butch Cassidy's, a restaurant in Mobile. The other cousins thought it would be a great place for all of us to meet for a "get to know each other" mini-reunion. Another cousin, Sandy, used to live up the road in Auburn. Sandy and I were born on the same day and she always referred to us as twin cousins. I'm so glad I arranged that initial meeting because we lost Sandy a couple of years later to cancer. I was able to arrange for my three younger brothers and their families to attend on some occasions, as well. I'm sure my mother, her brother and our Grandmother Seewer would have been smiling down on us from heaven.

Once I had the chance to eat one of Roy's Butch Burgers, I was hooked. Roy has won "Best Burger in Mobile" many times. Our gatherings have become a big part of the annual two-week trip Marcie and I make to Destin each fall. We spend a couple of hours with them at Butch Cassidy's in Mobile and also celebrate Marcie's and my cousin Ernie's birthdays before continuing on to Destin for two weeks. Sometimes, we even arrange to stop again on our way back to White Bluff. Each year we have more fun and good times. This year was the best so far.

Family has always been a treasured part of my life. After my late wife Connie and I were married, we always lived a considerable distance from our parents and spent any vacation time we had visiting them. That was at the expense of not being around any of my cousins for over 30 plus years. These mini-reunions have helped close that gap. Each time we get together creates a wonderful memory. God has impact in all of the decisions we make and this was a blessing.

The Burris family holds an annual reunion in early November in southeastern Illinois. We have had the opportunity to attend some of them and that has helped me catch up with cousins on my father's side of the family.

God brings us into this world within a family. I've been blessed to have known and been part of a wonderful family. At a late stage in my life, God brought Marcie and me together to share our lives and her family. His blessings continue to raise me up.

My Colorado Adventure: A Rare Vacation and Opportunity
Posted October 6, 2016

by Toni Wengler

The adventure began in August, 2015 while visiting friends in the picturesque town of Lake City, Colorado. Ken and I were there celebrating Ken's birthday and our anniversary. We spent our days hiking the scenic trails and exploring the incredible beauty of the San Cristobal Lake, the American basin and the Ute-Ulay mine and mill.

The townspeople of Lake City are friendly. Many Texans have retired there full time and many others have their summer homes there. One resident of Lancaster, Texas, Sue Ann Paulus, has spent her summer months in Lake City for many years. When I first met her, I was showing pictures of my artwork to someone. Sue Ann reached over to see and with great enthusiasm and delight told me that she would be opening a fine art gallery in Lake City the following summer. She explained that she had spent several months putting together a collection of artists representative of work across a wide variety of different media and that she had thus far been unable to find anyone who worked with colored pencil and pastel. Thus said, she asked if she could represent my artwork, adding that her prayers had finally been answered!

For several years my desire had been to visit Lake City in the summertime, but the timing had never worked out. I had been praying for a new way to show and sell my art. The one-woman shows I'd had in the Dallas Metroplex for the past several years had been great opportunities and very enjoyable, but also very time consuming. My desire was instead to spend more quality time painting. When Sue Ann and I met, we immediately recognized that God's plan had brought us together in a timely way that would fill both our needs.

For Sue Ann, her life-long dream to have a gallery had come true. She had designed the gallery meticulously, attending to every detail. A special touch was the beautiful one-bedroom apartment that she added in the back of the gallery. Her intention was to invite each of her gallery artists to stay there for a designated time, spending each day painting in the front window of her gallery, showing their artwork and demonstrating their technique. What a most unique feature of this gallery!

The reception for the opening of the gallery was held on June 25th, 2016. I was there and it was a fabulous event. The atmosphere was electric! The townspeople, friends and tourists were so excited; they came early to support Sue Ann, to view the art, and to meet the artists. It was well attended, far more so than had been expected - a blessing especially for those who had worked so hard to see the completion of the renovated building with its new apartment.

I spent a month this past summer in Lake City. Each week offered a new adventure. The week I spent in the gallery was exhilarating. There was a constant flow of people visiting from many places. I thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating my technique in colored pencil, and a few people even sat and tried their hand at it!

Lake City is an amazing place. I can't wait to see what adventure awaits us for next summer.

On Our Bucket List Trip
Posted September 8, 2016

by Nancie Yarbro

Now, let me make it clear that when I say Our Bucket List Trip I really mean Jody's Bucket List Trip. Jody turns 65 this year so we decided to clear two things off of his list. Machu Picchu and The Galapagos Islands are two places Jody has always wanted to visit. Vantage had an adventure tour that covered both so off we went.

We arrived in Cusco Peru after an overnight flight only to find out that there was a strike on the road to Machu Picchu. Our itinerary changed just a bit and we stayed in Cusco for a couple of nights. The altitude in Cusco is just a bit over 11,000 feet. The hotel keeps oxygen for those that have altitude issues and our tour guide checked our oxygen levels regularly to make sure no one had a problem. The first night the youngest member of our 17 person tribe passed out.

We took a beautiful train ride to Aguas Calientes where we would board the bus up to Machu Picchu. The weather was great as we waited in line for an hour. It seems that the crowds have doubled over the last two years and the infrastructure to handle the masses hasn't caught up. Once we got up the mountain, we hiked around the ruins and amongst the llamas and alpacas. The crowds didn't bother us as we marveled at the technology of this ancient Inca people and their beautiful community.

We were supposed to spend the next morning back up in Machu Picchu but some of us decided to forego the crowds. A couple people from our group lined up for the shuttle at 2:30 am and waited 3 hours to go up for sunrise. Unfortunately, it rained. Fortunately, Jody and I decided to wake up late, have a relaxed breakfast and a massage instead.

We visited many interesting places but one village where the main industry was weaving was our favorite. They showed us how to make the yarn, dye it and then weave it. The people were so welcoming and it was great to see that some of their ways are still as they were in their ancestor's day.

We then spent several days in Quito Ecuador before going to the Galapagos. We enjoyed our time there and saw many interesting things. In fact, we have both said we would go back. But the Galapagos Islands were waiting and we were both looking forward to that. At this point 4 nights in the same bed sounded great.

We boarded the Santa Cruz II and our adventure started. Each day we visited one or two islands. Seeing the protected wildlife was amazing. They weren't afraid of us. As we sat on a bench on the dock waiting for our dingy a sea lion approached me. Jody was trying to get a picture but the sea lion barked at me so I immediately moved and he climbed up on to the bench lay down. Obviously, I was in his spot.

We hiked, snorkeled (in 67 degree water) and kayaked around these amazing islands. We saw many sea lions, sea turtles, dolphins, iguanas, blue and red footed boobies (they are birds), albatross, and even orca whales. We spent one whole day observing the giant land tortoise.

It was the trip of a lifetime and even though it wasn't on my bucket list, I'm glad it was on Jody's. We flew 9 legs, took 2 train rides, rode on a bus just about every day except when we were transported by dingy and lived on a boat. We came home tired but amazed at all we learned and saw. The best lesson we learned was that God created us and the creatures that inhabit this earth and He made us with the ability to adapt to the environments where we live and visit.

On the Road to Heaven
Posted September 8, 2016

by Jim Browder

Sadness prevailed a couple of weeks ago at a place known as Happy Hill Farm.

Ed Shipman, who co-founded a school for underprivileged and troubled children 42 years ago near Glen Rose, passed away at age 83.

A wonderful Christian ministry began when Ed and Gloria Shipman took a couple of runaway girls into their home back in the early '70s. A deputy sheriff dropped them off because he didn't want to put the girls in jail. He knew they'd be better off in a strong religious home.

Since then, thousands of children have been given a new lease on life at what is now the North Central Texas Academy at Happy Hill Farm, a Christian boarding school. This is a faith ministry funded by gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and churches, such as White Bluff Chapel which made contributions for several years. In fact, Mr. Shipman preached at White Bluff one Sunday just prior to the arrival of Coz.

Today, Happy Hill Farm has an immaculate campus and great reputation. But it didn't just happen. You see, Ed was a great salesman, maybe even a persistent salesman. In fact, I first met Ed when he was an advertising salesman at the Fort Worth Press where I was sports editor. He was working at The Press to pay his way through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Later he pastored several small churches, and for 12 years served as Director of Promotions for the Southern Baptist Radio-TV Commission.

I lost contact with him until 1989 when he came to my office at the Dallas Cowboys campus in Valley Ranch where I was editor of the Dallas Cowboys Weekly. He needed pictures of Cowboys players for the "Cowboys Wives Cookbook" which was sold to raise funds for Happy Hill. He spent countless hours each season searching our files for pictures.

But he spent thousands of hours on the road raising funds for Happy Hill. In fact he completely wore out a multitude of vehicles. And he probably spent a million hours on the telephone. Even after he was physically unable to navigate an automobile he had a driver take him on his rounds. He was totally dedicated to making lives better for the kids taken in at Happy Hill. He convinced millionaires to build state-of-the-art structures at the academy. Yet he sought donations from the average citizen as well. He once said the small donations were the backbone that kept the school afloat.

Ed was a kind and unassuming man. He received countless awards for his work. He was a friend of Tom Landry and many other famous folks. But he was just as friendly, for instance, with a Mexican immigrant who worked at Happy Hill. When the worker suffered a heart attack, Ed made sure he had the very best medical care available. That worker's daughter was schooled at Happy Hill and became a college graduate--just as most of the kids who are educated at Happy Hill.

Most impressive speaker at Mr. Shipman's memorial service was Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. The Cowboys had played a Thursday night game in Seattle and didn't arrive back in Dallas until about 6:30 a.m. Friday, Yet, Garrett was in Fort Worth for the service at 1 p.m. Friday (probably with no sleep), and delivered an inspirational 20-minute talk. Now, how many NFL coaches would do that? Several former Cowboys players attended the service as well as most of the Happy Hill student body.

Ed's legacy can be summed up with what one young student told me: "I was living on the streets...headed the wrong direction, for sure. If it hadn't been for Happy Hill, today I would be dead."

Spending Time in Wine Country
Posted August 25, 2016

by Bill Burris

Marcie and I have enjoyed traveling to a variety of places in our lives together. One location we've been able to visit several times is the California wine country in Napa/Sonoma.

Prior to our first Napa trip I was able to take Marcie on her first visit to California. We spent a couple of days in San Francisco near Fisherman's Wharf. On our first night we were having dinner on Pier 39 near an open window. Marcie kept hearing a noise and asked why all those dogs were barking. I grinned and told her I take her to see the dogs after we finished our meal. She was amazed to find out her dogs were sea lions. She fell in love with them and all their actions on the floating docks.

I asked Marcie what the four most interesting sights she had seen in our four trips to wine country. Her first choice was Castillo di Amorosa, seeing the Pacific Ocean, a carriage ride through the vineyards on our 10th anniversary, and she learned she couldn't handle the ride on the coast highway.

On our first trip for wine tastings, I soon realized that we needed to slow down if I was going to find my way back to our lodging. One of the wineries we visited suggested we consider dinner at the restaurant next door. The restaurant would not charge a corking fee with their wine and they also recommended asking for Walter as our waiter. We were very pleased with the wine, meal and the whole dining experience with Walter.

On our third trip we stayed in Sonoma at the Applewood Inn. That trip gave Marcie the opportunity to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time and we dined where the Russian river meets the Pacific Ocean. God gave us a wonderful sunset as we enjoyed another great meal. We've learned to look at things through different eyes to see what God has made for us to enjoy.

During our four trips to the wine country we knew that we would need to return and enjoy more of what God has created.

On the Road to a Memorable July 4th Weekend
Posted July 21, 2016

by Bill Burris

As the calendar was turning to this year's Independence Day celebration, Marcie and I figured we'd have our usual Friday evening get together with our daughter Sherry and son-in-law David at their lake house in the Canyons. Little did we know that it would be one of our best 4th of July weekends ever.

Our daughter Sherry and son Garry from Perkasie, PA planned for Garry and his family to come to Texas as a surprise family gathering. When we arrived at Sherry's place Friday evening, we were welcomed by Garry, his wife Kelly and our three granddaughters Carley, Abby and Mandy. Stunned was probably the best way to describe our feelings.

Upon arrival we were about to encounter something for the first time. We had not seen Sherry, Garry and his family together at the same time.

We had opportunities to spend wonderful times with them at Sherry's lake house where everyone enjoyed her pool and ate too much food. On Monday we had a couple of hours with them by ourselves here in White Bluff before they began their journey home. It will be a July 4th weekend we'll always treasure for having family together.

Anytime I'm together with family is a blessing from God. I cherish the memories of spending time with family. This weekend was with the family God brought into my life when He brought Marcie and me together.

As a real life definition of the phrase "Small World" our granddaughter Carley attended the same school as Linda Wilmarth's nephew. Linda and I work together on the Chapel website. When we were at our Garry's home in Perkasie for Christmas last year, I later learned that Linda was in Perkasie at the same time.

God has unique ways of making our world smaller. If the world would honor and seek Him it would make the world a safer place, it would be heaven on earth!

The Blessing of Freedom
Posted July 7, 2016

by Glenda Bettina

As I was traveling the road of life last week, I got to thinking how blessed we are to live in America.

We are blessed to live in a safe place. We really know nothing of fear as we have the freedom to go to church and worship; we have the freedom to go to town to the Sonic or anywhere we choose. We are rich in blessings & I thank God for these things. I thank the brave men & women who stand guard while we celebrate & live life, spending time with our families. I am concerned for America's future but I am reminded that God wins the battle over evil.

I pray that American citizens will stand together, no matter the religion, the race, the heritage. I pray that a leader will rise up to encourage Americans to stand together, arm in arm, brothers & sisters, to protect our freedoms so that evil does not gain a foothold in our land. This has become a "me" society & many have forgotten that battles cannot be won; the road ahead cannot be cleared by "me". It takes "us" all of us to win, to clear the road for the future, to remain a free people.

So together shall we pray for God to bless America & her citizens? Together shall we stand for Christian values? Together shall we turn our hearts to our true love, Jesus our Savior? Together shall pray unceasingly? Together shall we rise victoriously as American citizens, living in the land of the free & home of the brave?

May God bless our land, "our" USA, & our future!

A grateful AMERICAN.

Moonshine Lunch Run
Posted May 25, 2016

by Bill Burris

Are you or someone you know into long road trips on a motorcycle? If so you might consider a ride to southeastern Illinois to a small town of Casey. In 2004 my cousin Terry Hammond thought it would be nice to invite friends he made on his long summer rides to have lunch with him at a place called Moonshine. It became an annual event called Moonshine Lunch Run (MLR).

Terry, God rest his soul, left us much too early. He was a wonderful fun loving country boy with farming in his blood. He was active in his church and a sought after singer for weddings and funerals. One day motorcycles got into his blood. Annually he made long summer rides to various parts of the country. On his trips he obviously met and became friend with other riders.

In that part of Illinois where my folks grew up, a little country store situated at a lonely country crossroad became a legend in its own time. Moonshine, built in 1912, was a general store and a place where workers would gather for lunch. Moving forward many years, the current owners of Moonshine decided to serve Saturday hamburgers. Since then people have come from all over the country and beyond to have a simple hamburger.

Terry thought it would be great for friends to join him for lunch at Moonshine. The inaugural event brought in four riders. Since that time on a Saturday in April you'll find up to a thousand bikes lined up along the crossroads. The event has become a major fund raiser for both the food bank, fire department and other local needs. All this from just wanting friends he met on the highway to have lunch with him. The 2015 MLR riders bought 3,061 hamburgers, a new record and almost $10,000.00 donated to the charities.

In 2011, the first MLR following Terry's death, 1,600 motorcycles and 1,800 people were in attendance. If you think you might want to join in on this effort check out the official website for MLR. You will find history, a short bio of Terry, pictures, registration forms and much more. More information, worth reading, is an article written by a rider who attended the 2015 MLR. Even if you don't think you'd like to take on MLR, check out the links to understand what my wonderful cousin created.

We lost Terry in 2010, but his memory lives on through this annual event with the help of Terry's sisters Vicki Gee and Carol McMillan and his best friend Jason Garver.

On The Road To Chapel Worship When God Thundered
Posted April 28, 2016

by Kay Lea Scott

Today started like any other Sunday with a shower, hair fixing and make up to look my best for worship. Glancing in the mirror as I went out the door I thought, "good job". But God had other plans to make today's worship experience enjoyable for both of us.

It was sprinkling as I walked to the car. The drops got bigger and more plentiful as I started Bailey (my beetle). She had a surprise for me. The driver's side wiper broke right in half on the first pass. Never having seen that before and with no time to ponder the problem or get Scotty's help I thought, "I'll just look out the passenger's half of the windshield." Even though Bailey's windshield is small, using only the passenger's side of it while driving presented a challenge in a rain that got more intense. Bailey and I made it to the chapel and God rumbled.

After gathering purse, Bible and choir binder, wrestling with the umbrella took extra coordination. Naturally it wouldn't cooperate requiring a couple of tries to get it to open. Finally everything was in hand, Bailey's door open and the umbrella was between me and the rain drops. Then came the gully washer which overwhelmed my little umbrella. It really is a more cute than practical accessory. I ran for the chapel. God rumbled while a fellow choir member held the door for me saying something like "Don't get wet". I already was, everywhere and completely. Certainly Mary Kay was running down my face with the drops of rain dripping off my nose.

Shivering and out of breath I rushed to the ladies room, grabbed paper towels and dried the best I could. Decidedly a shirt made of thin fabric was a poor choice for this morning. And all I could do was pull the legs of my pants away from my skin where the rain had stuck them. On my way back to the sanctuary I noticed the inserts from my shoes on the table. I'd run right out of them, splashing my way to the chapel door! Luckily a kind choir member had retrieved them.

God rumbled as the choir director patted his head while smiling at me trying to get everything together again. I think he thought the dampened and droopy hair was humorous. I just thought how silly I was to try to have every hair in place on a rainy day.

Seated in the choir loft, music in hand, I reached for my glasses only to find the lenses covered in rain drops. God rumbled while I puzzled over how rain got in a zippered purse.

God's rumbles were heard throughout the worship reminding us today was part of His plan. He was there when words and phrases were chosen for the service like fount of every blessing, streams of mercy, never a day so dreary and the voice of the Lord is over the waters. He was there in the prayers and benediction referencing our rainy day. And He was there as Pastor Terry admonished us to carry His message.

I know every time I heard God rumble this morning; He was chuckling and enjoying our worship. And best of all He laughed out loud in the middle of Pastor Terry's prayer. That was when God thundered.

Searching For The Right Path
Posted April 28, 2016

by Bill Burris

I often wonder if I'm on the right path for seeking God's face.  It took me almost 65 years to even consider finding His path.  I've learned that I have to clear my mind in order to even think I'm hearing from Him.  How do I clear my mind in today's world?

When I decide to do something, is it my choice or has God planted the thought in my mind?  I think it's a little of both.  I just don't know when it's Him.  If I choose not to act, am I ignoring Him?  If I have done something good, I either followed God's prompt or I simply pleased him with my actions.  It was most likely His prompt and that pleases Him, as well.

I have struggled lately with that question.  I can look back and see the path I was on and the decisions made that brought me to Marcie.  Most of those decisions resulted from making a choice.  Who else but God could have planned for two people to meet at exactly the right time in their lives?  Looking back has helped me look forward.

There are examples I see where it's evident that God has led people.  For people in ministry and mission work, it is easy to believe that God has called them.  I'm always amazed when someone like the Tolers give up good jobs and possessions and take their two young children to a remote part of Mexico.  They obviously have a very strong faith and trust in God.

While trying to understand God's plan for me, I've been putting my thoughts into written words.  It is my hope that I can stimulate someone to stop and think about their life, past and present, and to better understand their relationship with God.  I know this process has helped me immensely.   My faith has grown so much through putting my life and thoughts into written word.  It has also helped with my spiritual checkup.

I hope reading my thoughts helps someone to better understand and grow their faith.

Col 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for your human masters.”

On The Road To Physical and Spiritual Health
Posted April 14, 2016

by Bill Burris

During one of our visits to Destin FL, a devotional source that we read suggested that we should not only follow a doctor's recommendation for routine physical exams, but also do a spiritual checkup. Later that day while sitting on the balcony I began thinking about my spiritual health. We all are concerned about the physical part and take steps to maintain this piece of our health. I think spiritual health has a profound effect on physical health.

No matter where I am, I can see an abundance of God's beautiful creation. Whether I look at the Gulf in Destin or the Caribbean in St. John or Tortola, I see and feel His strength and majesty. I see it at home when the deer, turkey and a host of birds come around our back yard. It wasn't long ago that I would have just seen these things and not connected them with His creation.

Now that I see things differently, I sense that my spiritual health is improving. I still have a long road of recovery ahead, but the journey is most rewarding. I'm reminded of Glenn Carrell's "The Ultimate Tutorial". God's words in the Bible are wonderful medicines for spiritual health. Christ's response to one of the teachers of the law when he asked "what is the greatest commandment" is the ultimate goal for perfect spiritual health. I watch and listen for Him as He continues guiding me on a path seeking His face.

I enhance my devotional time by looking at or recalling parts of His creation. That's when I know and believe how great our God is by His creation and His love.

"A man's spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God" C. S. Lewis

Mark 12:30: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Sharing Lenten Thoughts
Posted March 31, 2016

by Betty Newman

The following is the final Lenten item of those requested by the Worship Committee. It is hoped that having a chance to see and read them will help better understand the meaning of Lent and the journey our Lord and Savior made to the cross. Thank you to those that offered their thoughts for all to read and contemplate this past Lenten season.

Our Great Intercessor

This week I began to think about Jesus' thoughts and his actions in the days before His betrayal and His upcoming crucifixion. We know that Jesus knew exactly what was coming his way. In John 16:16 Jesus is quoted as saying, "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

As I read these verses, my question became, "How did Jesus handle those days?" Our human ways would have reacted by wringing our hands, wrought with worry and despair, with deep, dark depression about our final hours and how we might spend that time. As we read John 17, we find out how Jesus handled those last few days. Hours before his betrayal and arrest, John tells us that Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed.

First, Jesus prayed for himself. John 17:1 tells us that Jesus said, "Glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you." Verse 4 continues, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

In verses 6 – 18, Jesus continues by praying for protection of his beloved disciples. John 17:11 reads, "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one." In verse 15, Jesus continues, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."

Then lastly, Jesus prays for future believers. In verse 24, Jesus prays, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory. The glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world."

Chapter 17 of John is one of the most powerful chapters in the Bible. Jesus' heart has never been so transparent as it is in these verses. In a time of desperation and distress, Jesus turns to prayer. Not only does he pray for himself and his disciples, but also, us, the future believers. I don't think we can conceive how wide, long, high, deep and how everlasting His love is for us. The Creator and Savior prayed for you and I at this critical time in his life. We were on his mind as he was in His darkest hours. Jesus gives us a purpose for living. He is our intercessor for prayers. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives his constant presence, peace and power.

I urge you to slowly read and contemplate John 17 this week. Take time to bask in Jesus' love and all of the heavenly riches that He offers to us. So often as humans, we look for something tangible, visible, or physical to which we can cling. We have so many of God's promises within our grasp, but we must reach out with faith to actually experience them. My prayer for myself and for you is that we learn to stretch our faith so that we can experience just a fraction of all that Jesus has to offer us while we are on this earth.

Sharing Lenten Thoughts
Posted March 17, 2016

by Bubba Radke and Caroline Upchurch

The following is a continuation of the Worship Committee's request of some members to record their Lenten season thoughts for Chapel members to read.

Come Unto Me

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for our soles. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

To some, this may be an unusual scripture for a Lenten devotional. From the time we were given this as a song to sing in the choir I have thought, focused and prayed upon this scripture and, for me, Jesus was preparing His people, His followers, for times in their lives that may be filled with uncertainly, heavy hearts, sickness, a time when just the burdens of life can throw at us are hard to bear.

Can you imagine the uncertainty, the heavy hearts and the burdens the disciples and followers faced in the day that led up to Jesus' crucifixion? After being witness to so many healings and miracles to have Jesus tell them of His journey to the cross?

Lent may mean different things for different people but it truly is a time when we should put our focus on the journey that Jesus took to the cross and in doing this our focus may sometimes turn to our own journeys, our own burdens.

Devote yourselves this Lenten season to go to Jesus with your burdens, anything in your life that you may be laboring with, learn from Him, humble yourself and as Jesus told us, you will find rest for your souls. Rest for your souls, what a gift!

- Bubba Radke

Surely......Our Substitute

"Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" Isaiah 53:4-5

The Messiah, Handel's most successful oratorio, was composed in 24 days in 1741. This musical masterpiece incorporates, in part, the Lenten period or reflection. One of the choruses I love to sing centers around the Bible quotation above. It is powerful and difficult to sing well.

Surely it was that He took our sins and endured the despicable suffering for us all. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The very thing that gave offense to us and which makes us turn away from Him constitutes the most important part and demands our highest regard, gratitude and praise.

Surely as He lifts all our burdens and carries away our anxieties and afflictions by His power, He procures pardon for our troubled souls.

Surely those who despised and rejected Him made a monumental mistake in condemning Him on account of His sufferings and humiliation. They thought He was being punished for his own sins - how could this be? Jesus - our sinless Lord.

Our one and only substitute. So do not doubt His love for you.

Handel's inspired work has been performed for 275 years but, thanks be to God for His wonderful gift of victorious substitution given to you, if you will only believe that Jesus Christ remains our blessed assurance and that He will continue to the end of the age.

- Caroline Upchurch

Lenten Season Thoughts Shared By Members
Posted March 3, 2016

by Tommy Edgar and Candy Haverkorn

The Worship Committee Chair John Upchurch asked several Chapel members to share something that was on their heart regarding this Lenten season. They are being placed as inserts to the bulletin. Placing them on the website gives those not able to attend a particular Sunday a chance to read them. The last website update shared Glenn Carroll's "Ultimate Tutorial". This issue contains the thoughts of both Tommy Edgar and Candy Haverkorn.

The First Step

Life's greatest mystery is that first step into eternity. For millennia, civilizations have been searching for insight into that mystery and preparing for that journey with early things. Our family recently experienced, not the first, but the last step in this earthly life when we were present at the last breath of Amee's brother. It was an emotional experience but a Holy one as well. A Presence was in that hospital room because Dave had placed his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us in Luke 16:22 "that when the poor man died, angels took him away to Abraham's bosom". As believers in Christ, we know where that first step will take us. During this Lenten season, we look forward to celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that has given us this promise.

- Tommy Edgar

Be Transformed

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's perfect will is. His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

As I look forward to springtime and the new birth around me I am reminded of this scripture. I ask you, Lord to renew and transform my mind as I meditate on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ this Lenten season. The gift of eternal life is through Jesus' death, resurrection and glorious Ascension.

May my mind and heart be receptive to what you are teaching me as I study your Word. Transform, renew, and change me Lord to be the daughter you had in mind. I praise You, for Your holy gift of sanctification as I daily study Your Word.

My prayer is that I will not shut You out, but that I will continually seek your still small voice.

Cleanse me from any wrong thought and the deceptive lies of Satan.

Hallelujah, He is Risen!

I praise You Lord, because You live I can face tomorrow....

Philippians 4:8 says: "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".

This scripture is in a frame next to my desk.

- Candy Haverkorn.

The Ultimate Tutorial
Posted February 18, 2016

by Glenn Carrell

On Valentine's Sunday Glenn Carrell placed an insert in the bulletin. It was an excellent read and thought provoking. Enjoy his tutorial below.

I have become a fan of tutorials, especially video tutorials, that I can find on the internet - how to build a birdhouse, how to make a band saw box, how to scan sheet music and play the song on my computer, how to install a trailer brake controller on a SUV, how to merge multiple PDF files into one document, how to....

These can be helpful and entertaining, but what about the big question, "How do I DO LIFE?"

I often hedge on that one by hiding behind scriptures like Isaiah 55:8-9:

55:8 "for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," Declares the LORD.

55:9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

I complain : "This is all too complicated for me Lord, I'm just going to sit on the bench for a while."

But He reminds me, "You have My scriptures. You KNOW plenty of things to do that you are just ignoring....GO DO THEM!"

During this season leading to Easter, God help me focus on the One you sent as a living tutorial, the One who was willing to die for my sin. Help press REPLAY on His teachings again and again. Then help me DO what He asks me to do. Thank you for My Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wonderful Christmas Memories
Posted January 21, 2016

by Bill Burris

When I read Harry's heartwarming article about being Santa for a day, at Park Place Nursing Home, it brought back a Christmas memory from 2003. Harry talked about the feelings he had from the reaction of those he encountered that day. I have a younger brother, Ron, who has been playing Santa for many years in Battle Creek, MI.

Families in the area arrange for Ron to visit their home. They leave packages hidden in the landscape for delivery to the children. He echoes Harry's feelings with each encounter.

In December of 2003 Ron and his wife Margaret came down for a visit. One evening we were talking about their being at our Burris family reunion in Illinois. We could not attend due to the condition of my late wife Connie. There was a knock on our door. When I opened the door, it was Santa in all his glory. I hadn't realized Ron left the room.

Santa spent time greeting everyone and wishing us all a very merry Christmas. With a twinkle in his eyes he opened his huge red bag and pulled out a beautiful Christmas quilt an aunt had made for the auction held at each reunion. Ron and Margaret had bid on and won the quilt. He handed the quilt to Connie. The look on her face said it all. It was then that I once again believed in Santa Claus. It was an emotional evening.

This past Christmas for the first time in this old life of mine I was able to spend time with a son and four granddaughters. What a wonderful feeling and blessing. During the visit our 3 year old granddaughter made a great connection to both Marcie and me. When she curled up in my arms on the sofa, I was blown away with feelings I had never had before in my life. It also reminded me what a wonderful experience I had missed in my life. God has certainly blessed me in so many ways.

I'm sure that both Harry and Ron have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with them as they deliver joy to those receiving their efforts.

No matter how or when we celebrate Christmas, keeping the true reason for the season forefront in our lives makes any Christmas a Blessing.

The Blessing of Family
Posted January 7, 2016

by Bill Burris

Prior to my life with Marcie, I was childless. She and God brought a wonderful family into my life. I now have fourteen children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It's been an unbelievable experience. I could probably write a lengthy article about each one on the blessing they are on this late stage of my life. My recent article, "God and His Special-Needs Children," is an example. I've been told I 'cheated' since I didn't go through the child-raising and teenage experience. I now know I missed a most wonderful blessing.

We're fortunate to have a daughter who lives in Dallas during the week and spends weekends on Lake Whitney. We spend Friday evenings with her and, on two occasions, have shared time with her in St. John in the Caribbean. She has been a wonderful addition and blessing to my life.

Sadly, most of my new family members live in Pennsylvania and New York. I'll miss watching three grand- and six great-grandchildren grow up. We do get lots of pictures and that helps. Yes, I'm a very proud grandpa!

Holding a one-week-old granddaughter and a one-week-old great-grandson was unbelievable. I can now somewhat imagine the thrill of holding my own child. After all these years, God has certainly blessed me many times over.

Each son has given us four grandchildren: five adults and three young ones, thirteen and under. The parents of our six great-grandchildren have indicated that I treat them all as if they were my very own grandchildren. Hearing that touched my heart and was a wonderful blessing.

Now that I have family, being able to celebrate Father's Day is indeed a blessing. In prior years, I would celebrate my dad's Father's Day. I can now enjoy that blessing myself. I look forward to it each year.

Marcie and I both agree that God planned our separate journeys to connect here in White Bluff. Think about your paths in finding each other. I'm sure that family has been a blessing to you as well.

Joshua 24:15 - "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

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