In The Beginning #138

Before God created man, He created the place where man would live. Six times God said about His own creation “it was good”. Genesis 1:10,12,18,21,25,31. The place, Deerfoot Lodge, is part of the perfect world God created, and fortunately, at Derfoot, human beings have not done much to what God created.

When old Deerfooters return to DL, many stand where the flag pole is, and look across the lake to the Dug Mountains. Often I saw tears on their cheeks as they said “this place is just as I remember it”. Deerfoot Lodge is God’s place physically as well as spiritually.

At Breakfast on the first Sunday morning of each session, I asked the campers go with their counselors into the woods. They were encouraged to take a close look at God’s handiwork and return to share one of the following:

  • The difference between the world of DL, and the world where they live
  • Something which they felt was a symbol of God – a reminder of who God is, what He is like
  • A parable – an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, based upon what they had observed

After the campers have the opportunity to share with their peers, each Section Chief would ask about ten campers from his section to share during the morning worship service. Between the singing of hymns and the reading of scripture, those who were going to share came by section onto the low platform

I can still picture the large African-American camper wearing a new bright blue sweat suit. He stepped up to the microphone and, without a smile, said “at home we don’t have trees”.

When this young man arrived at DL, he had seen very little of the world God had created for him to enjoy. His world had been tall buildings, concrete streets, traffic lights, and noise. Perhaps he had never seen a lake – certainly not a lake with two loons gliding upon its surface. Due to pollution and street lights, he may not have seen a clear blue, or star filled, sky. Perhaps he had never “heard silence”. What did he think when experiencing his first lightening and thunder storm?

When I am at Deerfoot Lodge, I am reminded that there must be a God – a creative, powerful God. Paul refers to this fact when he wrote “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” — Romans 1:8

David was a shepherd boy. He had lived with rivers and rocks, bears and lions, the sun, moon and the stars. David had been chosen and protected by God. It is out of the context of his life experiences that he wrote:

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” — Psalm 8

God created a perfect world. I cannot justly blame God for the imperfections of this present world.

Our God remains an awesome God.

My challenge: to live in this imperfect world In Partnership With God.

after participating in a class reunion – while facing death.


There will not be an IPWG tomorrow morning….
It is written but not edited…and I am whipped….

Sally Jo and I have just returned from my 50th college class reunion when we were with some great friends…and also watched a carefully prepared power point that showed us the names, with pictures, of those of our classmates who have died. The most recent was Rex White, just two weeks ago. He and his wife, Nancy, had registered for the reunion. For a period of time Sally Jo and I were the guardians of Rex and Nancy’s kids, if they were to die.

Another part of the reunion – I was asked to lead a hymn sing….two great piano players – two Steinway grand pianos. There were over 250 of us who whose hearts and voices were lifted as we sang ten hymns last sung together in college fifty years before. The intensity and speed with which we sang was close to when the DL staff has their last breaking of bread service. You would have loved it.

In September our family and friends learned that my brother’s 72 year old wife, Marge, had a malignant brain tumor. We spent time with Dick and Marge in February. They live in Wheaton, in the home where I grew up.

This time the focus of our time in Wheaton was to be my 50th class reunion, but this was quickly changed to a duel purpose. In the middle of the second night we were in Wheaton, Marge was taken to the hospital while having intense, uncontrollable seizures which continued for 4 hours. Seizures of some intensity continued for 48 hours…when she was heavily sedated for 48 hours. The seizures stopped …and did not return when she returned to a conscious state.

Try spending hours with Marge, brother Dick, their 3 married kids and 11 grand children while also participating in a class reunion. The great hymns of the faith, and friendships of over 50 years, take on new meaning.

I have many thoughts, some of which I will share.

Living in Partnership With God is wonderful…and very, very tough.

Good Night


The Bible Helps us Understand…. #139

“At home we don’t have trees.”

  • It is easy to forget there are campers who have never seen a tree – or the ocean that is about three blocks from their home. Their family has no car and busy roads prevent walking to the ocean.
  • It is easy to forget there are campers who have never seen the bright colors of a sunset, or a star-filled sky.
  • It is easy to forget there are campers who have never heard wind blowing through the trees, a bird sing, or quiet.
  • It is easy, at Deerfoot, to see huge trees with different barks and leaves, and large rocks with soft moss growing on them, and the Milky Way, and a moon reflecting off the water, and a doe 10’feet way, and two loons gliding by, making their strangely beautiful sounds.
  • It is easy to forget there are campers who believe our world evolved over millions of years – they have been taught this in school, complete with pictures to show how human beings came from apes, which came from…
  • It is easy to forget there are campers who have never owned a Bible. There are even more campers who can find a book in the Bible’s index, but have no idea what 1:21 means. Yes, this can be true of Indians new to DL. And it is good to be able to show a camper where the Bible tells us this world was created for us by God.
  • It is easy to explain that the God who created this universe provided a book, the Bible, to teach us how we can best live in this world He made. The Bible is God’s guide book. It is satisfying to help a camper begin to read an age-appropriate Bible. And to know that, during quiet time, the camper can read the Bible so he can learn God’s way of doing things – and to learn about how Jesus demonstrated God’s way of doing things.

It is true, the Bible contains more words than any other book campers have ever seen – but when a camper learns there are “chapter books” within the big book, it makes reading the Bible seem more possible. When a camper begins to read his Bible, cabin devotions make more sense, as do the after breakfast Bible studies. As a camper reads the Bible, frequently he comes face to face with the fact that he is not living as God tells him he should. A choice must be made.

When I read the Bible, I re-read how I am to have only one God, how I am to love my neighbor as I love myself , and this means I am to respect and care for them as fellow human beings – the result of God’s creation. When I read my Bible I realize I must forgive – and somehow to keep no record of wrong. And the Bible reminds me to pray for those in government. And to be a peace-maker….

Yet, even knowing all of this, there are times when I have stopped reading my Bible daily – or even regularly. It is easy for me to rationalize: I have read every word in the Bible many times – I have a pretty good idea of what it says. But
I need the reminder there is only one God. I need to be reminded what attitudes I need to have, to live out. I need to be reminded to pray…to really talk with God. Yes, and somehow to listen to Him speak to me – often through the Bible.
I also know that, even when I read my Bible, it is hard to understand the bad things that happen to good people. I know that, even when I read my Bible, and try to do what is right before God every time, there are times when God seems to have gone on a vacation.

At times like this, I know I must look back at my history with God. I must remember those times when I believe God has forgiven me, provided for me and protected me. I must look back and see how God used me as His agent of love and compassion. And I can look back at the Scriptures and be reminded that good and bad things happened to His people…and He remained a loving, redeeming, faithful God.

Sometimes all I can do is hug the camper whose family moved and he has no friends, or whose uncle was killed in a car wreck, or mom and dad just got a divorce – even though he prayed it would never happen! Sometimes all I can do is say I have prayers that I do not see answered. I don’t understand either. And I can also say God has proven His love for me many times. I can say to the camper, just as God loves me, he loves you. The Bible tells us so.

Please do not give up on God…. I haven’t.