What's Happening

  Bible Studies
  On the Road Again
  On the Road to Recovery
  Ongoing Events
  What We've Done
  

On the Road Again

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

On the Road to the Moon:
REFLECTIONS on the Movie, "First Man," the Moon Landings, and Their Implications for Faith
Posted October 18, 2018

by Bill Tinsley*

Last weekend we slipped into one of the premier showings of First Man, the movie portraying Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. The movie takes us on board the X-15, Gemini and Apollo. We feel that we are there, experiencing the sheer terror of it all, pushing the limits of technology to land a man on the moon. The movie is gripping, as is the history.

My wife and I married on December 21, 1968, the day Apollo 8 launched to carry the first men to orbit the moon. They reached the moon 3 days later. On Christmas Eve, just before they disappeared to the other side of the moon and lost radio contact with the earth, Frank Borman and his crew read the Genesis account of creation. (Genesis 1:1-10). In the distance the earth appeared as a fragile planet on the moon's horizon.

Six and ½ months later we sat in front of our black and white TV and watched Neil Armstrong leap from the last rung of the lunar lander's ladder to take "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

James Irwin served as the commander and pilot for the lunar lander on Apollo 15. He became the 8th astronaut to step foot on the moon. After his return Irwin founded the High Flight Foundation as a non-denominational evangelical organization based in Colorado Springs. He said, "Some people make light of it and ask how can a technical person, an astronaut, believe in the Bible. I guess I also was a skeptic in my early days, but I have come to believe what the Bible says as being true."

The last man to walk on the moon was Gene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972. Cernan described his experience. "I felt the world was just too beautiful to have happened by accident. There has to be something bigger than you and bigger than me. … There has to be a Creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern ourselves."

*Bill Tinsley is a childhood friend of Madeleine Lively's. He served as pastor, church planter and missions executive. He has published widely, including sermons, books and poetry. In 2009 he launched the Tinsley Center, LLC (located in Woodway, Tx.) to promote authentic faith that changes lives. He grew up in Corsicana, Texas and now lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, Jackie.

Tinsley's Reflections Columns appears in more than 15 newspapers with 40,000 views world-wide. The column reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective.

http://reflectionscolumns.blogspot.com/2018/10/first-man.html

http://www.tinsleycenter.com/

EMAIL: bill@tinsleycenter.com


Those Florida Kids and a VBS Far, Far Away
Posted September 20, 2018

by Kay Lea Scott

Dear White Bluff Chapel Family,

I have a couple of confessions to make. Being put in my place by kids is difficult to admit, but God has put it on my heart to tell you about it.

You know me for the roles I've played in WBC's Vacation Bible School. It has allowed me to use your children and grandchildren for the interaction and enjoyment I really crave from my own. It's impossible for us to bring Emma and Kayleb, our grandchildren, from Florida to WBC's VBS. For years we've promised to volunteer for their VBS. That promise put me in a spot where two kids could put me in my place!

Even with a great amount of VBS experience, guiding a small group of second graders proved eye opening in many ways. Indian Rocks Baptist Church VBS had over 900 students this year. 200-300 of them waited until the first day to register. That day's chaos was similar to WBC VBS's first day confusion. The grand scale of the din in IRBC's auditorium/sanctuary was almost disorienting.

Panic set in. How could I lead a group of children through their VBS days when I didn't fully understand the schedule and had no idea where the various activities were to take place on this huge, multi- building and unfamiliar church campus? God sent Martha. My co-leader assured me she'd been doing this for years and promised to teach me the "ropes." Martha even brought a rope every day. The children and I never got lost hanging onto that rope.

If you know anyone who has been a VBS small group guide, thank and praise them. They are instrumental in making a VBS function, no matter its size.

When the chaos subsided, our group of 12 students included 7 from broken homes. One had only learned of the split in her family just the day before. Zack's learning disabilities could be brought under control most of the time but Matt's were severe enough to require constant adult companionship. Martha and I traded responsibility for him throughout the week.

One of our challenged boys put me in my place during prayer time. Martha led us. I sat on the floor with the kids. During the week I'd learned that placing my hand on Zack's back when he began to show signs of hyperactivity could sometimes calm him. To no one's surprise, as we listened to each child's prayer request in turn, my hand again wound up on Zack's back. It was just too long a sit for him. So when Martha said, "And Zack, what do you want to ask God to do for you today?" His pointed reply was a simple, "Ask Him to get her off my back."

Over 130 children prayed for Jesus to be their personal savior during IRBC's VBS week. Many of them were baptized at a beach baptism event held the Sunday evening following VBS. I didn't get to witness the baptism. I was home recovering from laryngitis and exhaustion.

The following week I was sitting at the kitchen table reading my Daily Walk Bible when Emma breezed in the door. She stopped, glanced at the table and asked, "Oma, do you read your Bible every day?"

"Yes I do," I replied.

"I don't think so," she commented, continuing on her way to greet Opa. "Today is June 19."

Looking down at the page I saw May 12 clearly printed at the top of it. She caught me.

"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked Him.
"Yes," said Jesus. "Have you not read,
'from the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise'?"
Matt 21:16

In Him,

Kay Lea Scott

PS The names of the VBS children were changed for this letter. Martha Lyons and I were co-leaders. She recently received a difficult cancer diagnosis. Please pray for her.


Mission Impossible
Posted July 26, 2018

by Jim Browder

It should have been a short road trip. Just drive to Walmart and buy a three-pack of brown socks. Sounds simple, but it's not.

Walmart doesn't sell men's brown socks any more.

So, the road trip is extended to Kohl's, then Penney's, then Ross, and even Sears. Racks full of socks of all kinds, but nobody has brown socks.

The best you can do at any department store these days is a three-pack which includes one black, one grey and one ugly brown for about twenty bucks. I don't need black or grey socks--I have a drawer full of black socks.

OK, I'll travel to Sam's where surely they have a package of 64 brown socks. Nope, not even a single pair of brown socks.

I even shopped the multiple sock racks at Czech Stop in West. Novelty socks are big there. I found Spam socks, patriotic socks, cartoon character socks and socks of every color on earth--except brown. There were presidential socks featuring the images of Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton and George Bush. None in brown.

And if I remember correctly, President Clinton had a White House cat named Socks. It was black and white, not brown.

And these trendy socks cost $20-$30 a pair. A bit out of my budget.


Czech Stop also has a pair of religious socks--in green, not in brown.

Socks actually date back to somewhere between 300 and 500 AD. The earliest known pair of socks were excavated on the Nile in Egypt. Brown? Nope, they were reddish. They are on display in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

In the 5th century, socks were worn by holy people to symbolize purity. These probably were white socks.

Anyway, I'm beginning to feel a lot like comedian George Gobel who once said on the Johnny Carson show: "Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?"

You know, a man could almost lose his religion searching for a three-pack of brown socks.

I recently learned that Datang, China is called "Sock City." They produce eight billion pairs of socks per year, which is a third of the world's sock production. (Obviously, they make only about 100 brown socks per year). Anyone have the Sock City phone number? I'm getting desperate.

Well, until I can get back on the road and find a solution to my problem, I'll continue to wear my last two pair of "holy" brown socks--the ones with the big toes protruding.



The Pepperoni Kid Or What I've Learned from My Grandson
Posted July 26, 2018

by Kay Lea Scott

I'm visiting family in another state. Two of my grandchildren live here. I relish every moment I spend with them. By now I understand how quickly children grow up and how fleeting each learning experience with them can be. We're making memories while they teach me many things.

I call Kayleb, my 6-year old grandson, "the pepperoni kid." He always orders pepperoni pizza. When it arrives he very carefully removes every slice of pepperoni from his piece of pizza and stacks them aside before sampling it. Then he refuses to eat the pepperoni. No amount of coaxing gets him to eat it.

"Why don't you just order cheese pizza for him?" I've asked his father. "That's all he's really eating." The reply, "We've tried. He won't eat cheese pizza. 'Essence of pepperoni' is his flavor of choice."

A couple of days after again watching Kayleb eat "essence of pepperoni" we went to a buffet style restaurant. Pepperoni was an item on the salad bar. My grandson put several slices of pepperoni on his plate. Wondering what he intended to do with those pepperoni slices, I said, "You don't eat pepperoni. Why did you take it?" He just grinned.

By meal's end, he'd eaten every one of the slices and had entertained us and the guests at the surrounding tables. As he began his meal, he very carefully took one bite from each pepperoni slice and ate it. Then he stuck the slices to his face! He made beards, moustaches and side burns without the aid of a mirror. Just one pepperoni stuck under his nose, bite side down, made him look like a miniature Charlie Chaplin. The next piece, bite side up, and we had a French Maitre'd seated with us. Two, side by side, bite side up made a well-groomed handle bar and bite side down gave him that aging cowboy look. On the chin, pepperoni became a goatee and along the jaw, a full beard.

I learned that essence of pepperoni makes a good pizza and pepperoni becomes much more edible when properly played with first!

Kayleb came to me one day and asked "Oma, can you hear kissing stories? It's kind of a secret." Fearing what I might learn and about whom, I said, "Yes, I can hear kissing stories. I'm good at keeping secrets." He seemed relieved.

Then Kayleb, who was just completing kindergarten, said, "Everyone says Natalie is my girlfriend. She's really not. She's a girl and she's my friend, but she's not my girlfriend." With that he jumped up and went off to play.

That short, very serious discussion taught me not all kissing stories are about kissing.

Then there was the day Kayleb sat down beside me and said,

"Oma, I know sumpin."
"What do you know?" I queried.
"Well, first you're born and then you're a baby. Then you're a kid. And then you're a teenager. And then you grow up. You get old. And then you go to heaven!"

I looked at my smiling grandson, thought a second and said,

"That's why Opa and I are so happy. We are getting closer and closer to heaven."

He gave me a hug and went on his way to play.

And so Kayleb taught me that looking at life through a child's eyes and with a child's faith makes for true happiness in this world.

And all who believe in God's Son have eternal life. John 3:36


Care Group to the Rescue
Posted June 7, 2018

by Marcie Burris

Ron and Ursula Stone had planned for a full year to visit their daughter Jenny, son-in-law and their grandchildren in Spain where Jenny's husband is stationed. They had made arrangements with their regular dog sitter to watch their dogs while they were gone for a month. But two weeks before their scheduled departure, their friend notified them that she could not look after their dogs.

Ursula sent out an SOS on Next Door to see if anyone knew someone who could care for their dogs during the month of May. If you are a dog lover, you know how hard it would be to kennel your dog for a week or two, let alone a full month.

Fortunately for Ron and Ursula, three members of the "Over the Hill Care Group" stepped up and offered to pitch in to feed and care for the dogs for the month they were gone. One neighbor offered to feed and let the dogs out and give them play time and hugs for the first two weeks, while a second neighbor offered to be on call if needed.

A third couple and neighbor offered to take the dogs into their home for the final two weeks so the dogs would have companionship 24/7. What could have been a worrisome trip for the Stones or worse yet, a cancelled trip, turned out to be sincere gratitude to friends and neighbors. All's well that ends well and Ron and Ursula got to experience the beauty of Spain and the enjoyment of their grandchildren while their dogs never had to experience being left on their own.


WBC Members Travel to the Holy Land
Posted April 12, 2018

Kay German, formerly of White Bluff, now lives in Midlothian. At her new church there, Kay signed up to go on their Holy Land Tour. As luck would have it, several members of White Bluff Chapel took advantage of the opportunity to join Kay's group, including Becky Watkins Jacobus and Tom and Lois Partridge. Our Ann McAlpin, former Associate Pastor at White Bluff Chapel who now lives near Seattle, also travelled with the group.

Below is an excerpt from Ann McAlpin's journal in which she describes a particularly moving experience she had at the Sea of Galilee.

A Special Moment for Me in the Holy Land

by Ann McAlpin

2-23-2018

"First stop of this morning was at the Sea of Galilee where Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Our guide said that in this area many fish are always easily caught. She suggested that the miracle was not that many fish were caught there that day but that they were caught after no fish had been caught there all the previous night by experienced fishermen. She compared the charcoal fire where Peter denied Jesus with the charcoal fire by which Jesus stood as he called out to the disciples to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.

Our guide also reminded us that all Jews repeated the Shema each morning and night – 'Love the Lord your God with all your mind, all your heart and all your strength.' (Note the 3 ways.) Peter surely made the connection between his denial of Jesus and this prayer when Jesus asked him 3 times – 'Do you love me?'

This site was very special for me as I looked out over the sea and felt the power of Jesus' love. It was almost as if Jesus asked me, 'Do you love me with all your mind, with all your heart and all your strength?' And as I answered each time, the question to me was – 'Do I feed his sheep with all my mind, all my heart and all my strength?'"


Learning to Show God's Light to Those around Me
Posted March 14, 2018

by Bill Burris

The community of White Bluff is filled with many people similar to the one in Max Lucado's message below. They go about their daily life shining God's light to those around them. Some may not even know that they emit that light. But I am certainly aware of His light shining through them.

Our daily devotionals and the various Bible studies I attend lead me to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me down the right road so that God's light can be seen through me as I go about each day. As Max mentions, you never know who might be watching. Our actions confirm the type of Christian we are to others.

One of our daily devotionals this year is Max Lucado's "Grace for the Moment." That reading inspired the idea for sharing it in this column.

Only One Thing Counts

You should be a light for other people. Live so they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Think about the day Christ comes. There you are in the great circle of the redeemed. Though you are one of the throng, it's as if you and Jesus are all alone... I'm speculating now, but I wonder if Christ might say these words to you. "I'm so proud that you let me use you. Because of you, others are here today. Would you like to meet them?"...

At that point Jesus might turn to the crowd and invite them.... One by one, they begin to step out and walk forward. The first is your neighbor, a crusty old sort who lived next door. To be frank, you didn't expect to see him. "You never knew I was watching" he explains "but I was. And because of you I am here"...

It's not long before you and your Savior are encircled by the delightful collection of souls you've touched. Some you know, most you don't, but for each you feel the same... You feel what Paul felt..."I'm so proud of your faith." See 1 Tess. 2:19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you?

Faith is a lot like WI-FI. You can't see it, but it connects you to everything you need. ANON


WBC Holy Land Travelers
Posted March 1, 2018

Kay German, formerly of White Bluff, sent an email on Wednesday, February 28, announcing that the White Bluff Chapel Holy Land Travelers were en route home after a wonderful trip. Her traveling companions consist of Ann McAlpin, Becky Watkins Jacobus, and Tom and Lois Partridge.

Concise was Kay's message, saying only, "Having a great time. Coming home tonight." But be not discouraged with such a terse communiqué. We'll not let them get away with only that! Look forward to reading this On the Road Again column in our next issue for a lot of details from the different perspectives of our adventurous travelers.



Month One of the Golden Years: So this is Retirement
Posted February 15, 2018

by Sherry Miller

Bill and Marcie Burris' daughter, Sherry Miller, has just joined the retirement community. She has started her own journal and shares her 1st-month thoughts here. Since most of White Bluff is in or near retirement, the Burrises thought it would be worth sharing. Sherry has excelled in the workforce and for the past 15 years was Vice-President of Human Resources for Park Place Motors in the Metroplex. One of her many achievements was to guide Park Place Lexus to achieve the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality award. The award was the first ever for an Auto Dealership. Yes, Bill and Marcie are most proud of Sherry's accomplishments and look forward to spending more time with her in her "Golden Years".

Month One

I woke up that first day. Okay, good start…I woke up. I am still alive…hooray for that!

My cell phone text message indicator that is normally filled with multiple requests from staff members who need the day off (to care for sick kids, or for themselves, or just to vent)…was eerily blank. My email indicator that would accumulate about 144 emails in an hour showed zero. My calendar was wiped clean of scheduled meetings for the year, and that lovely little reel-to-reel voice mail indicator, it too showed nothing, nada, zero.

Oh, so this is what it's like to be disconnected from my job, from the people I worked with, from the vendors I saw regularly, for all intents and purposes my life for the past forty-five years? This is what it is like. It sucked the air right out of me. A punch in the gut, a hardball to the face. Slamming on the breaks while going 85. It was sudden jolt. It was unfamiliar and odd. It was empty.

That was my first day of retirement. The Golden Years? It sure didn't feel like I had won the race, hit the jackpot, or won an Oscar. Okay, there may have been a time or two in my career where my performance was worthy of an Oscar, however this day did not feel so darn golden to me.

A month into it, I smile at that day. Not because I have found this first month of my new normal to be fulfilling, exhilarating, liberating, freeing, Oscar-worthy or any combination of those things. What I have found is myself, and that I am pretty okay with me...and this will be a continuing journey for me as I adjust to my new normal. Once I find it, that is.

Reality of life and age is a funny thing. I woke up that day wondering how in the world did I get to be this age? I called on my faith more times in that month than I have in my whole life and I could almost see GOD smile and hear GOD saying to me, "Where have you been child? I have never left you. I gave you strength for every battle, wisdom for every decision, peace that surpasses understanding." That is when it really kicked in for me. Or let's just say I kicked myself and began mentally chanting a quote that I read recently, "Don't cry that it's over, be happy that it happened!" And in GOD I trust.

As a 63-year-old woman, former V-P of Human Resources for a great company, triple-type A-personality, this is not an easy transition. For most of my career, my days were filled with responsibilities to the Company, my staff, the employees and to Leadership, all which easily filled up an eight-plus hour day every day and every sleepless night. The successes in my life were many, and measured by what I did for a living, who I worked for, what other people thought, and the bar was always high (self-imposed). Failure for me was never an option, although I did learn and experience that through failure (and there were a few of those defining moments), you will grow.

What I have discovered as the days turned into weeks is that this kid from farm rural western Pennsylvania, who without a college education, took the "nothing in life comes easy" lessons learned working on our farm and earned my way up the corporate ladder into management. This kid started working full-time the day after graduating from high school, entered college at age 40, went on to graduate Cum Laude and then carried a 4.0 through my Master's Program. This kid went on to help transform a Company into a top workplace and helped create an extraordinary culture in an industry where many said it could never be done. This kid has traveled all over the Caribbean, certified as a diver, dives with sharks, paddleboards, water skis and flies scared to death over oceans to experiences afar.

This kid walked out of my office on that January 2nd, tears streaming down my face, catching glimpses of what would never be again, full of uncertainty about what lay ahead on the other side of that office door. And I woke up that day.

I realized I was still that kid, that nothing-comes-easy person, that former VP of Human Resources; nobody could take that away. Nobody was trying. It is regrettably sobering as I realize that I have more years behind me than in front of me. Many of my high school classmates are no longer with us. I vowed to not be another obituary for the Class of 73 any time soon.

Reality of life and age is a funny thing. I woke up that day wondering how in the world did I get to be this age? I called on my faith more times in that month than I have in my whole life and I could almost see GOD smile and hear GOD saying to me, "Where have you been child? I have never left you. I gave you strength for every battle, wisdom for every decision, peace that surpasses understanding." That is when it really kicked in for me. Or let's just say I kicked myself and began mentally chanting a quote that I read recently, "Don't cry that it's over, be happy that it happened!" And in GOD I trust.

Month Two

To be continued...


"Welcome to Holland," a Secret to Life's Challenges
A Follow-Up to My Earlier Article "God and His Special-Needs Children" posted 7/9/15

Posted February 1, 2018

by Bill Burris

A while back, our daughter-in-law Amy shared with us the secret to her journey through life since she had begun raising her special-needs daughter, Lauren.  The key to her secret is provided in the engaging article below, “Welcome to Holland.” It has served her remarkably well. The interesting perspective revealed in this article provided Amy a way of facing the “new normal” in her life, once she realized that her baby would become a special-needs daughter.

In the last 28 years, Amy has done a wonderful job of raising and caring for our granddaughter Lauren.  As I recently returned to reading and rereading that article, it occurred to me that many of the abrupt changes God sends us in our life might actually be approached from a new and different perspective, one that can provide us find balance. All we have to do is consider reframing our newfound challenge, much in the way the author shows us below.


Welcome to Holland
(by Emily Perl Kingsley)

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met otherwise.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, and Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.


An Artist's Journey
Posted January 18, 2018

by Toni Wengler

At a recent art show in which I was selected to show my work, the participating artists were asked to share their personal Artist Statement. This statement was intended to reveal the inspiration gained from painting with different art media.

Here is how I revealed my own artistic inspiration. Perhaps you can find some inspiration in it, as well!

Ten years ago I began my journey as a neophyte artist. Passionate about my newly discovered craft, I began to use many different media, experimenting and creating with great joy and curiosity and with a playful attitude. I loved them all! I began to realize art is about searching, creating, and evolving as an artist through self-discovery.

[Editor's note: What is the meaning of "media" in art terms? "Media" is just the plural of "medium." A medium is simply a substance that an artist uses to make art. website reference]

I found that each medium offers distinct advantages. Here are some examples:

Painting with colored pencils takes a lot of patience. Many hours of concentrated effort are spent building layer upon layer of color to obtain a translucent effect. It is so worth the effort, for it often ends up looking like an oil painting.

Pastel is all about pure color and it teaches one to see and select the right values for each painting.

Collage teaches good design.

Use of water media offers much diversity and, for me, is well suited for creating abstract art. It opens the mind to new, creative possibilities. It challenges one's fears, such as self-doubt about not being in control of the creative process. It brings out the inner self for unique experiences and opens one's vision wide to develop and embrace one's full expression as an artist.

Thus, through the working process, experimentation, and God's added inspiration, I am happily discovering my own individual, unique style.


Read more "On the Road Again" articles.
Current
Year
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011