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Please read this statement:

“Now, many in Nashville are hoping the controversy will lead country music to re-evaluate. “My hope is that this genre will always be moved to act based on love and inclusion,” says Pastorek, “and although it wasn’t easy, today feels like a big step in a positive direction.”

This is a paragraph from an article (noted below) where artists and record companies forced Mike Huckabee off a charity board. Forced. Because they didn’t approve of his lifestyle and beliefs. Forced. They don’t love him. Forced. They don’t include him. Forced. They aren’t open to his thinking. Forced. They want to be based in love.

If I don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle I am a hater. Evil. Stupid. But if they don’t agree with me they are inclusive, free, loving, open, progressive.

Be careful what you are banning folks. Eat some cake.

John 8

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”trees


Page 300

Pick up a thriller novel or watch a thriller movie. In most, the hero and villain are developed throughout the first 300 pages and the suspense builds. Around page 300 the hero realizes who the villain is, and alas the villain takes the hero captive.  This is where fiction and real life begin to separate.

In real life, the villain pulls a weapon and immediately kills the hero. In fiction the villain takes the hero hostage and develops a ‘mousetrap’ game of slow death – a good one I remember as a kid – the hero hanging upside down over a boiling pot of oil while a candle slowly burns the rope overhead.  While the suspense of this is happening, the villain runs off and leaves the hero unattended to fall into the boiling vat. But… just before the last thread of the rope is burned the hero finds escape! The hero is energized by this miraculous rescue, pursues the villain and eliminates him.

The question always comes to my mind: Why? Why would a villain risk all of his plans when he had the hero at his mercy and could have walked away to destroy the earth or steal 500 billion dollars? The short answer is he wouldn’t.  But if that happened there would be no book or movie.

In real life, there are no mysterious mousetraps. We are taken out or we take out. We don’t waste time and risk defeat to come up with a glorious plot to end our nemesis.  There are rarely heroes that come to the rescue at the last minute. Look at a different venue, when was the last time you saw a community come to the rescue of someone accused of robbing the savings and loan as they do in “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Nice story but doubtful no matter how nice the banker is. The community would sit at home and talk about switching to another bank.

We hope for heroes. We hope for salvation. We hope for a young David to come out and kill Goliath.

The Hebrews were hoping for that with Jesus. They were hoping for a hero. They were hoping for a miraculous turn of events just as the last thread of rope was about to burn. People bet on it. Judas lost his life betting on the hero saga. Peter cut off a guards ear. Women and men cried. Their hopes were shattered. What went wrong?

I said that in real life the book or movie wouldn’t be written if the hero died. This was one case where the book (and movie) were still written even though the hero died. The Hebrews didn’t get the salvation that they wanted but a few pages after pages 300 we all learn that we received the salvation that we needed. That’s why the book was written and the movie continues. Read the book until the end and see how it all ends!

Matthew 28:The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.


Person of the Year 2017

If an alien came to earth right now and settled in America it may think that all men are abusers, cheaters, demanders of personal rights and refusing to stand for the national anthem.  What happened to the greatest generation that fought for our freedom, worked hard, paid taxes and lived a life of honor?

Understand that no person yet alone generation is perfect. I’m sure women were abused in other generations. We just didn’t hear about it. I’m also sure that citizens have criticized the government and it’s leaders as well.

But…it seems like we are missing something and I picked a person this year to remind us of those long ago values.

Ray Chavez. You probably don’t know the name. He didn’t make billions of dollars with an internet invention. He didn’t get rich in real estate and become President. He isn’t an illegal immigrant or a mass murderer. He never created a protest group to fight against unjust laws. He doesn’t play football or participate in the Olympics.

Ray was born in San Bernardino and grew up in San Diego. His parents, immigrants from Mexico, both died young. Juanita Chavez died of exhaustion, her son said, while Atilano Chavez succumbed to disease.  Ray was 9 or 10 when his father passed away. In his early 20s, he married and had a daughter. Then, at 27, he joined the Navy and was assigned to the minesweeper USS Condor at Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii.

After leaving the military he became a landscaper and ran his business until he was 96 years old.  He drove his car until he was 99.  At 106 he credits his longevity to clean living, no alcohol, no smoking and little red meat. In the 1950’s his only daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in an auto accident. He and his wife adopted a 5-year-old daughter from an orphanage in 1957 to help ease their pain. His wife Margaret died in the mid-1980’s.

At age 101 his health began to decline and he lost weight. His daughter encouraged him to join a gym and get some training. He gained 20 pounds of muscle and began working out 3 times a week.

I skipped over the reason Ray caught my attention. He is the oldest surviving serviceman from the attack at Pearl Harbor. 

At 3:45 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Chavez’s crew was sweeping the east entrance to the harbor when they spotted the periscope of a Japanese midget submarine. Another ship blew up the sub and the rest of the morning passed uneventfully. He was asleep at home in nearby Ewa Beach when the Japanese bombing raid began at 8:10 a.m.

“I will never forget it as long as I live. It goes through my mind every day like it happened yesterday,” Chavez said. “My wife ran in and said ‘we’re being attacked’ and I said ‘who’s going to attack us? Nobody.’ But when I got outside I saw the whole harbor was up in smoke.”

Chavez ran back to his ship and spent the next nine days on continuous duty. Over the next four years, he rose to the rank of chief, serving on transport ships that delivered tanks and Marines to shore in eight Pacific battles.

Last December, he and Kathleen flew to Hawaii for events marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.



“I have no secret except I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I try to eat a balanced meal,” Chavez said. “I just keep on going.”
That’s a great motto from someone who can testify to it – just keep on going.

1 Samuel 25:6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good healthto you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!


Go Mennonite Cooks!

Chef Gordon Ramsay Has Absolutely No Criticism for Mennonite Girls

Chef Gordon Ramsay Has Absolutely No Criticism for Mennonite Girls


Surly British chef and television host Gordon Ramsay was briefly tongued-tied on Friday, after being stunned by the kitchen chops of Mennonite cookbook author Lovella Schellenberg and her team who appeared on Ramsay’s television show. The host of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef usually rips chefs apart leaving them crying in their soup by the end of the episode, but Ramsay was so impressed with the Mennonite Girls that he offered no criticism for the first time in his career.

“What can I say?” said Ramsay. “The culinary ability of these Mennonite ladies is unparalleled in the history of network television cooking shows.”

The Mennonite Girls impressed the famed chef with Ellen’s hamburger soup recipe and Anneliese’s meatballs with mushroom sauce, before leaving him speechless with Charlotte’s Toberlone cheesecake.

“These ladies cook with soul,” said Ramsay. “There’s not a single thing I would change about any of these dishes.”

Ramsay says he plans to make the ‘Mennonite Girls Can Cook’ cookbook mandatory reading for chefs in all his restaurants, and is considering modifying the format of Hell’s Kitchen to allow for more Mennonite content.

“These ladies turned Hell’s kitchen into Heaven’s kitchen,” said Ramsay. “I guess it’s true. Mennonite girls really can cook!”

(Photo credit: by gordonramsaysubmissions )

Upside Down

Wow!  Astonishing words from Isaiah that really parallel our current government.  Are we upside down?  Have we been told that we “have not built this?”  Are our leaders honoring the Lord with their lips but not with their hearts?

It seems that our nation, colleges, leaders and society are getting more confused every day.  Are we turning against each other?  Has wisdom vanished?

Isaiah 29

13 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[b]
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
    with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
    to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
    “Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
    “You know nothing”?



Brown Shirts

I’m sharing this over to the mission blog for those of you who don’t follow Random Thoughts.

Random Thoughts

I have made mention of the “brown shirts” in recent posts and I have received numerous questions on what they are.  Since this blog is a little lengthy, I am breaking it up into sections.  The first is a brief summary.  The second is a more detailed history.  The third is how this topic relates to current events.  The fourth is some of the references that I referred to.

1) “Brown Shirts” is a nickname for groups of men in the beginning of the Nazi Party.  They were put together by Hitler to create fear in the public, weed out dissenters, begin persecution of Jews and provide protection during rallies.  The term brown shirts came from the uniform that they wore.  During rallies and marches, the brown shirts would assault anyone who was not participating or showing support for the Nazi cause.  Their fear incitement is largely the reason why…

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As we soon head into the summer (and beach!) I wanted to re-post this.


My post today is an observation Laurie and I witnessed at Ocean City New Jersey yesterday and today (we took an overnight get away).  There are two points.  I hope you enjoy this true story.

We witnessed an older woman (70ish) standing about ankle deep in the ocean.  Her back was to the water and she was holding a child’s swim ring that had a cord tied around it and it was also tied to her swimming suit.  Her head hung down and she was slowly making her way out into the water.  Because of how she was hanging her head and moving in the water we first thought that she was mentally challenged.  After some time, we realized that she was blind.  She continued to back into the water until she could sit on the ring.  As the waves brought her back to shore, she would reach down and…

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We’re all going to hell

We’re all going to hell.

Muslims > Christians – hell

Christians > Muslims – hell

Catholics > Protestants – hell

Protestants > Catholics – hell

Christians > Jehovah’s Witnesses – hell

Jehovah’s Witnesses > everyone else – hell

The list goes on.  You get the point.  Every group thinks they are on top of the heaven bound train and everyone else is missing it.  Even within denominations, there is judgment.  Amish to Mennonite.  Conservative Mennonite to liberal Mennonite.  Liberal Mennonite to Gay Mennonite.

I was reminded of this recently when I heard of a friend that joined a very small rigid church (I would call it a cult).  This group has no room to spare for anyone who doesn’t follow their exact teachings.  I guess they will be in a mini-heaven of about 30 people.  The rest of us are all going to hell.

Seriously, i guess it’s normal for everyone to think “I found the way”.   Even those who believe that everyone can go to heaven believe that “evil” people are going to hell including the self righteous that judge.

So who is going to hell?  There are very few verses in the Bible that mention hell.  We could discuss it here . . . but we probably won’t agree.

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. . . . . And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Elaine is going to hell – YouTube

Poor yet Generous

I am working on this year’s “Person of the Year”. My leaning is towards a “poor” person who gave sacrificially. I came across this blog last night as a potential in running . . . Stay tuned.

faith parley

Not long ago I was in line at a downtown Wendy’s when a homeless guy cut in front of me. He literally acted as if he didn’t see me. He stepped up to the counter and ordered a .99 cent hamburger and a water. He handed the teenage girl behind the counter two wadded up dollar bills to cover the grand total of $1.07. As he stuck out his hand for the change, I noticed him reading the label of a donation box for kids with MS. In one quick move, he took the .93 cents he was given in change, jammed every penny into the box, spun around and bolted out the door.

It caught me off guard. And it was my lesson for the day (if not week).

Today I found an article that interested me and reminded me of this experience. It was written by Frank Greve…

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