A Good Marriage Is Worth The Effort!! #213

In my workshop I have a valentine from Sally Jo, written after 50 years of marriage. “Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is something very special. When I think of everything we’ve been through together, I’m amazed, inspired, and grateful – our love is as fresh as when we started, yet deeper and more real. Happy Valentine’s Day.” And then her note: “May sound strange, but Thank You for loving me so much, no matter what happens.” This year I wrote a letter to Sally Jo for Valentine’s Day in which I told her she most lives the Fruit of the Spirit of anyone I know.

God instituted marriage Genesis 2:20-25, and Jesus celebrated marriage at the wedding in Cana.John 2:1-10. The Bible provides specific guidance for the marriage relationship including Ephesians 5:21-33, Matthew 5:31-32. Following are passages not spoken in the context of marriage, but they are not negated by marriage. The person we marry becomes our very close neighbor, and being married to the same person for any number of years is not easy, but a good marriage is work the effort.

– “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
– The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same. Luke 3:11
– “Peter asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times”. Matthew 18:21
– “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” Romans 12:2-6
– “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
– “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. Carry each other’s burdens, and you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:1
– “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
– “Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Sunday morning I asked a man from India about his arranged marriage. He had never met the person he was to marry until she had arrived in the United States. “Chuck, it takes adjustment, compromise… yes, sacrifice.” After 26 years of marriage, he was still smiling.

Sunday noon I went to see my friend Dan, who had been in the hospital for 6 days. Dan’s wife, Stephanie, greeted me with a warm smile – she was Dan’s high school sweetheart – a cheerleader for the high school football team of which Dan was captain. They were discussing who could spend the night with Dan. Stephanie needed to be home with their 8 year old twins, and other family members were not available. My offer to stay was accepted, and I returned at 8:00 PM

In the summer after high school, Dan slipped on the side of a swimming pool – and became a quadriplegic. Sometime later Dan and Stephanie were married. During the night at the hospital asked Dan, “How do you keep your marriage fresh and alive? “Chuck, I’m not sure. I guess it is because we love each other, encourage each other – and then he laughed… I could do better!”

Live In Partnership With God
Live In Partnership With Your Wife or Husband

Marriage Education – at Deerfoot Lodge #211

As the young men of Deerfoot Lodge got older, so did their interest in, and their concern about marriage. Some came from second marriage and single parent homes – all had friends who did. Many had parents with wonderful marriages – and this is what they wanted for themselves. Still others came from homes where, to those on the outside, everything looked wonderful. But on the inside…continual tension, sometimes physical pain.

These young men came to DL and saw how marriage can be, how marriage can work. This week Sally Jo and I had dinner with Chief Ron and Anne. They agreed that the marriages at DL were solid, healthy marriages – and that they continue to be. Healthy marriages cannot be faked for 11 weeks each summer.

In many ways, being married at DL is like being married anywhere. In the healthy marriage, the husband and wife continually adjust their expectations to the realities of life. At DL, never having never to cook also means no choice of menu. Being surrounded by recreational activities is great, but it can be frustrating not to have much time to enjoy them together. Staff children may not have playmates, and for sure, no TV’s or DVD’s. Walking in the cool rain to everything in camp gets old! Work days at DL can be long – the challenges unpredictable. Privacy: Limited.

Wazican opened the kitchen every morning except on his day off. On Sunday he was at the kitchen about 3:30 AM – sticky buns. His day ended when the kitchen was cleaned up. Imagine how out of it Lee felt when at Dun Login with a toddler and a baby. Yet Wazican and Lee maintained a good marriage.

The nurses lived above the sick campers and/or staff in the Health Center. For 15 summers Lynn Gosling’s husband, Bill, and later it was Linda Lankford’s husband, Lowell, had work responsibilities at home and would be at DL for only a few weeks each summer. When these men arrived, their nurse/wife was not suddenly freed of their responsibility for the sick and injured campers and staff. The nurse still had to pass out meds at meal times, and always be ready when needed by any member of the DL community. Bill, and then Lowell, would come to be with their wives, knowing the nurse schedule. Upon arrival they would do Health Center laundry: dirty sheets and wet sleeping bags. They would take sick and injured campers for medical care – anything they could to help their wives. If needed and available, these men would drive out hikes. Remember, these couples lived right above the sick campers and staff. If there were ever an angry word between husband and wife, those below would certainly have heard it.

Campers and staff noticed our marriages at DL. They could see the schedules we kept, the responsibilities we carried – they also could see the smiles, the laughter, the holding of hands. And the questions would come. During my one on one walks with staff members there were intense conversations about girl friends/fiancé’s. More than once the staff member knew what they should do….but, ouch! I know there were several relationships stopped after those conversations. I still get e-mails and phone calls. This week: “my wife’s pregnant” and “I definitely credit Deerfoot’s emphasis on growth through hardship as preparing me”…“miscarried”…“it’s been an endurance run”.

At every Island Question and Answer session, the questions asked about love, sex, and marriage would take a good portion of the 2 hours. They wanted straight, honest answers – and they got them. During the evening I would remind them that God invented sex, and it was good, and if they saw a candle burning in our bedroom window at the Lookout, to leave us alone. One evening at line-up I was given a 14” taper candle and encouraged to have a good evening. Laughter! The next morning I came to line-up with a candle stub, and said “Thanks!”

Living In Partnership With God requires living in partnership with our wives.

Next week: Biblical truths of marriage – with implications.

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow! #210

In last week’s In Partnership With God, I wrote about the blessings we receive from people, and failed to focus on the fact that the source of all blessing is God.

What came to my mind, when I realized what I had done, was when Jesus healed the 10 lepers and “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. And he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:15-18. God has been the source of all blessing for Deerfoot Lodge, for each of us. Last week I focused on the blessings given by God’s people – not the original source of all blessing.

How could I fail to remember “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain? Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Psalm 127:1-2

Most Deerfooters seek to “Trust in the LORD with all their heart and lean not on their own understanding; in all their ways they have sought to acknowledge Him, and rightfully expected Him to direct their path.” Proverbs 3:5-6 altered. God has directed the paths of the staff members who come, the campers who come, sometimes through the encouragement of people at church, or kids at school, or a parent’s employer. God has directed the paths of those who give to enable Deerfoot Lodge to seek “to build godly young men in a Christ-centered community through wilderness camping.”

Apart from God’s blessing, how else can we explain that, in the middle of the night, nurse Linda Lankford, looked out of the upstairs window in the Health Center – the window at the opposite end of the building from where she slept, and saw the small flame in the kitchen which resulted from a broken butane pipe when a bear crashed through the window and knocked the gas toaster off the counter? If the dining hall had burned down…campers and staff would have had to go home.

Apart from God’s blessing, how could DL have its incredible staff, summer after summer? Why have there been no abusive staff members? Why no serious van accidents when young drivers drive campers over 350 trips each summer?

God has been merciful. Let us PRAISE GOD, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW.

How has God blessed you? How have you responded?

Writing these two IPWG’s has caused me to think, I promise.

“Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, See what God has done.”
— Edwin Excell

Truly Blessed = Unmerited Favor #209

Blessing: That I was asked to resign from a ministry/place which the Lord had used me to put together, but where we knew we would never be comfortable.

Blessing: I was hired by Deerfoot Lodge, and a few years later, Sally Jo was also. It was obvious from the beginning that we were privileged to be placed in “His Place”. For 23 years we worked hard – in our dream job!

Blessing: The Deerfoot Lodge Board of Directors. They took this incredibly smashed and almost broken man and guided, encouraged, and loved me back to being an emotionally healthy person, able to do my job.

Blessing: Chief Nay (Dave Naysmith), Wazican (Dean Dover) and Jeff Littauer who guided and encouraged me through that first summer. When I became Director, I had never seen Deerfoot Lodge in operation.

Blessing: Those of you who have supported DL through physical work, expertise, camping, maintenance and office equipment, financial contributions, and prayer. It would be fascinating to know how many seriously pray for the ministry of Deerfoot Lodge. Some of you saved DL from extinction by bringing campers.

Blessing: Camp-of-the-Woods invited DL to have a brief slide presentation during the morning worship service one morning each week. They put DL into their summer brochure and a display in the hallway of Purdy Lodge.

Blessing: Getting to personally know thousands of you who have supported Deerfoot Lodge. You are an incredible bunch who know the joy of the Lord, the joy of giving. Your notes and phone calls have been steady – often offering wise counsel. No joke… as I write this, I have suddenly begun to cry. God is awesome… and so are Deerfooters.

Blessing: The Staff that came for many summers: Sally Jo, Nay, MaMa Nay, Wazi, Lee, Lynn, Brent, Abi, Valerie, Linda, Pete, Shawn, Garret, Kelly, Ken and Stephanie – and those hired/rehired each summer: kitchen, maintenance, counseling, waterfront, and office. After our first few summers, I do not think there was a finer summer camp staff in the United States than Deerfoot Lodge employed. These godly people came to serve, to learn, to work hard!!

Blessing: Campers who came to DL to have fun, learn new skills, make wonderful friends and to grow as godly young men! The order of importance of these varied from camper to camper. The Island filled first because Woodsmen became Pioneers, became Indians. Many sessions the Island only had one or two who were new to DL. With good leadership, the Islanders took care of themselves…and little campers as needed. Guides became the core of the DL staff, year after year.

There is no need to say I will never know how many young lives the Lord has used me to encourage – I have a pretty good idea through the hugs, warm greetings (this week in a Wendy’s), notes, e-mails, and phone calls.

What I would like to say to you, and others who have enabled Deerfoot to be Deerfoot, is You will never know how many young lives the Lord has used you to encourage. You have been the enabling people. I was like the quarterback… getting much more credit than I deserved!!

God’s blessing has been upon us, through us! I think Deerfooters bring Joy to God, I really do! Let us continue to live “In Partnership With God” and in partnership with Deerfoot Lodge – His place!

Why The Island (campers 14-16) Fills in January – The Camper’s Perspective #208

My last summer at DL, unknown to me, there were custom bound books in which Woodsmen, Pioneers, Indians, and “Voyageurs and Guides” were able to write notes to me. Chief Ron gave me the notebooks after my final After Breakfast Bible Study for each session. The campers cheered. Emotionally it was really tough for me to handle! Tears!!! This week I re-opened the Island/Indians book to read what was been written 10 years ago by campers who are now 24-27 years old.

“Thank you for being supportive of me last year when…”

“You always stick true to your word”

“Ever since my first year at DL (when I gave my life to Christ) this has been a very special place for me”

“You have made my years enjoyable and fun”

“As a third generation camper”

“Deerfoot Lodge is a wonderful God-loving/worshiping place it is.”

“I first came 8 years ago – I loved it. It has gotten better every year. Thank you for making my Christian experience greater”

“My 4 years have been amazing. I feel bad for the campers that haven’t experienced Q & A responses (middle Sunday night with Indians) Although some were humorous, other answers were really influential. Some of your answers taught me a lot of things I hadn’t even thought of”

“You are so happy and at peace because you are strong in the Lord. You have made me realize how much fun you can have with the Lord, and that you can be free to have fun. Thank you very much.”

“DL has shaped me into a better person, a much stronger believer”

“I have been coming to DL for 7 years and I couldn’t have done it without your generousness (scholarships). Now my older brother is working (became Guide leader), and my younger brother is coming.”

“My past 6 summers at Deerfoot have challenged me and stretched me both physically and spiritually in ways I could not have imagined.”

“I only hope to find a wife who is as good to me as yours is to you”

“Chief, I hope you will continue to grow in God”

“It has been great having you as the Director during the 6 years I have been here. I cannot properly express how much I shall miss you” (written by a very challenging camper!)

“It’s awesome how you trust us”

“It is because of you and this camp that has completely turned my life around and kept me on the right track. These last 8 years showed me the true awesome might of God, and how he reaches out and touches everyone’s lives”

“DL has become a home to myself and innumerous other Christian guys”

“I have learned so much just listening to your stories, Bible stories, after breakfast Bible studies and Q & A.”

“It has increased my confidence in myself by a lot. Confidence was something I lacked before I came here.”

“Ever since my dad came here about 30 years ago, he loved it. When he came to drop me off my first year, he noticed that nothing had been changed. It was just as amazing, godly and awesome.”

“It is hard for me to be a Christian when the only person at home who is a Christian lives 20 miles away. That’s why Deerfoot helped me”

“Coming to Deerfoot has changed my life spiritually and physically. This is my 8th year. Every year I learn something new”

“Coming here is a big relief – being around people who aren’t strict about religion”

“A Boss 2 years, the best 2 years of my life”

“I have grown so much closer to God”

“It wouldn’t have been as fun of a time without you.”

“Thank you for being the camp director of the best place in the world.”

“God has used you for His work and I pray that God might use me as well.”

“I had so much fun, learned a lot of new things, and grew in my walk with God.”

“P.S. Tell the new guy to keep the cinnamon rolls”.

Deerfoot Lodge remains God’s Place, and I have no doubt that what was written 10 years ago, would be written today.

This is true because those who serve at DL, those who contribute in other ways, do so In Partnership With God.

Describe your present personal Bible reading… devotional habit #207

“Describe your present personal Bible reading/devotional habit”

This question is on the Guide and Staff applications, and is asked of every person being considered for membership in the Lone Eagle Fellowship and the Deerfoot Lodge Board of Directors. Most answer that they read the Bible on a regular basis, perhaps 5 or 6 times a week.

Because the Bible is the foundation for our understanding of salvation and Christian living, DL considers the pattern of daily devotions very important to develop. At 8:00 AM, after cabins have been cleaned, each Section Chief hollers “quiet time”. Campers and staff then read their Bible and pray for 15 minutes. Woodsmen counselors provide extra assistance to those with limited ability. Sometimes a children’s Bible or a paraphrase edition like the New Living Bible is provided. Often a counselor has read the Bible to one or more campers. The long term objective is to have every camper develop the pattern of daily devotions, a pattern they continue when they are at home.

Often we learned that it was during the junior high school years that this pattern of regular Bible reading settles in. I know that this is when I got serious about reading my Bible almost every night before I turned out my light.

I have walked by the maintenance building before the 7:00 AM staff meeting, and seen the facility staff reading their Bibles, each in a different location.

Staff can sign up to use The Quiet Place, a beautiful 10 X 12 log building with a screened porch and decks, located on a hill overlooking the lake. Its primary purpose? So individual staff members can have a place where they can spend a day with the Lord, a day to read, think, pray, write notes…and nap.

I continue to read/study the Bible. To do so, on a regular basis, continues to be a very difficult discipline to maintain. My habit of reading at the same time in the same place helps me to keep at it. When I find that I have not read for a day or two…or three, I pick up where I left off. When I read I freely mark my Bible – underlines, notes, etc. When I have worked through one translation or paraphrase, I put it aside and pick up another. Through comparing translations and paraphrases I am often able to get a clearer picture of what the writer was saying.

When I read the Bible I am reminded of God’s wisdom and faithfulness, and love – and this strongly encourages me to love Him, and my neighbor. Reading helps keep me from rationalizing my decisions.

Almost every Wednesday morning Bob Mullens, father of DL campers Dan and Mark, and I breakfast together before Bob begins his work day. Presently we are studying Ecclesiastes, which, for the first time in my life, I am beginning to understand – with assistance from author Dr. Phillip Ryken.

Your spouse and your children know you watch television. They probably see you reading the news paper, magazines, books, or checking your computer, iPad or smart phone. Do they see you reading your Bible? Do they know what you are reading? Does your family know when one of you questions the pastor’s use or interpretation of a particular passage of Scripture? Do you ever talk with your pastor about your difference in understanding? Chances are high he will be thrilled that you listen and care enough about what he says to talk with him about it!

May our knowledge and application of God’s word bring courage to our daily living, and a continued peace with God.

Living With My Sinfulness #206

Whereas I had not thought about my legacy, I have thought about destroying my reputation. When my dad was in his middle 70’s and we were praying together, he said “Lord, take me before I do something really stupid!” I am quite sure that all of us who knew him would agree: “He ran the only race worth running. He ran hard right to the finish, he believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting – God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge.” — II Timothy 4:7-8 The Message, adapted by me

I look at the lives of King David, King Solomon, Judas, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, some pastors… all sinned, big time. Sinfulness surrounds me: sex/ pornography, love of money, ego, lying, deceit. I see people I think are solid in the Lord… and then… slowly… they seem to stop. These were not young men! They all knew better! And when they sinned, the ripple effect was huge, on their families and others who knew them or knew about them.

I Corinthians 10:13 confirms what the news media tells me. Every human being, including Adam and Eve, are tempted to disobey God. Satan is alive and well, and effectively deceives us into sinning. But, if I finish the verse, I realize that if I sin, it is my own fault! The verse continues: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

If Chief Chuck has an affair, gets a divorce, gets caught stealing, or lying, or being deceitful – if Chief Chuck becomes an alcoholic or uses drugs, and this becomes known, the sadness, disillusionment for my family, Deerfoot campers and their families would be huge. Particularly because I frequently said at DL, live your life so it can appear on the front page of a newspaper.

The sins mentioned above are unacceptable to the Christian, and to some degree, the non-Christian world. Do them and the ripple effect is huge. But there is another group of sins that are tolerated by us Christians…because “we all do them.”, but this does not change the fact that they are sin. We can commit many of these sins in our minds – and no one else knows. These sins negatively affect our relationships with other people, and, apart from Jesus Christ, build a barrier between us and God.

I know that frequently I do not live the fruit of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

I know that I do not consistently demonstrate love: “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Yes, I live with my sinfulness. I have chosen not to ignore these sins in my own life – I want to change. But old patterns are hard to change!

Fortunately Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

On the basis of what I have experienced, I must celebrate the reality of God. I find it incredible that God continues to use me for His glory.

I serve a risen Savior!

Chief, what is your greatest legacy? #205

Each year, after retiring from Deerfoot, Chief Ron has asked me to spend an evening with the staff. In addition to a specific assignment, Chief Ron asks me to tell something of DL history, and have a time for questions. These questions are written on small pieces of paper which are folded and given to me. No one knows who wrote any question. Give 60 college students that opportunity… no subject is out of bounds!!!

When I unfolded the square that said, “Chief, what do you consider your greatest legacy?” for a moment I was speechless. I had never thought about my legacy. Never. My mind began to race!!!

What came to mind was that I desired my legacy to be that I have worked at living a life pleasing to the Lord, doing whatever I believed God would have me do. I went on to point out that each of us should have this legacy.

Since that evening I have thought about “my legacy” — and the fact that each of us has one.

After leaving Sky Ranch in Texas, Sally Jo and I decided our focus was to be on the development of people, not on the development of facility. I had just spent 7 years raising money and developing a facility and program that required hiring and managing the core staff of what became 9 people. My time was not focused on building godly people.

Deerfoot’s emphasis since its beginning has been “building godly young men in a Christ-centered community through wilderness camping.” I knew this to be a fact. My father was one of those young men in 1931-32.

I was hired to focus my time and energy on building godly young men. My selection criteria for staff began with their desire to be godly young men and to build godly young men. One way to check on a person’s desire to be God’s man was to check his knowledge of the Bible. Another was to talk with people who knew them on their college campus. Did their life evidence a desire to be God’s man? Camping skills, counseling skills, first aid skills could be developed during staff training and throughout the summer.

Quite frankly, I was looking to hire young men who, in this core area of their life, thought as I did. Beyond this – incredible variety was wonderful – for DL, necessary! About 85% of the summer staff had previous DL experience. DL campers become staff members. Eight to ten summers at DL is not unusual. Building godly men takes time.

In the area of facility development and maintenance, Brent Karner, a furniture maker, and when he resigned, Ken Hoffman, a garbage man, were hired. Both Brent and Ken became Chairman of their respective public school boards. These two men have impacted hundreds of lives at DL and in their home towns. Godly young men — not so young now.

Facility development and maintenance were viewed as an opportunity to build godly men. “Outside” contractors were no longer hired as this work could be done on work weekends — which were seen to be an excellent way to build godly men. These weekends have become a spiritually challenging, growing experience. The number of those coming has grown from about 10 per weekend to over 100. Some of the men have participated in 40 or more of the weekends. Do they do good work? Check out the care of the old DL buildings, the quality of the new log buildings. But maintaining and building is not the key value of the work weekends. It is the building of godly men!

My legacy? I want it to be that I have worked at being God’s man, at doing what He has had for me to do. I want my legacy to be that I have worked, In Partnership With God, at building godly, capable people.

There is a time for everything #204

From the age of 24 until I retired as Director of Deerfoot at the age of 65, I enjoyed the fact that God kept me in very challenging situations. When entering seminary, I had no clue how God would use me in His service. I did know this: I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. — Ephesians 2:10

At the age of 24, as a Yankee in Georgia, I was elected by the seminary student body to head the annual mission’s conference for the high school age young people of the Southern Presbyterian Church. Working with two incredible classmates, the mission’s conference was integrated. The year? 1964. The Selma march was March 1965. The voting rights act was in 1965. God put me in that situation, and we worked In Partnership With God. If God had not been with us, we could have been killed – like for real!!

My last major challenge was Deerfoot Lodge. Between 1982 and 2004, when I retired, camper attendance went from 48 to 160 per session. Contributions from $13,000 to over $300,000 per year. God put me at DL with a job to do. I worked In Partnership With God. Deerfoot Lodge was, and is, God’s place!

I am no longer responsible for any ministry. It is one thing to intellectually know this, but it is quite another to adjust my mindset to “It’s not my job.” I am frequently asked my opinion – but I have no authority. None. It can be very difficult to be in this situation, particularly when seeing great opportunities, or the potential for real problems.

This morning I preached at the Onesquathaw Reformed Church, as I often do when the pastor is unable to do so. I know many of the members, hug some very wonderful people. I have no authority. I do my “job,” and leave.

This is the season of life I am in. Reality. Not a bad reality if I accept it, but it can be hard to accept.

Solomon, thought to be the author of Ecclesiastes, wrote: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Solomon outlined the realities of life.

Solomon reminds us that we “cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things.” — Ecclesiastes 11:5. Because we cannot understand the work of God, it is the more important to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6. I may no longer serve in leadership roles, but God does, and He fills each day with good opportunities, with challenges old and new. My “to do list” just gets longer and longer!

When in school we think “I am too busy.” When beginning a new job: “I am too busy.” Parents of infants and young children and teenagers: too busy. In retirement we think “I am too busy.” Perhaps not! Is God directing our paths?

Regardless of the season, let us live in the “now,” In Partnership With God. Remember God’s words to Joshua which echo off the Dug Mountains during every candle light service: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee wherever you go!” — Joshua 1:9.

Beginning IPWG Again

Friends… and others who read IPWG,

Several have encouraged me to get back to writing the In Partnership With God Monday morning e-mail.

The following IPWG #204 relates to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. “There is a time for everything.” In July I realized that writing IPWG from ME, MA, NJ, PA, NYC, Nicaragua, NC plus having people in our home for 5 weeks, etc was a pressure I did not need. My time for everything in this case, was for a break.

Sally Jo and I are fine… healthy, etc.

The IPWG that I plan to write will sometimes have a broader context, sometimes go back to experiences from many years ago. I will share a bit more of what is in my heart on some subjects.

It is good to be writing again.

May what I write be pleasing to God, an encouragement to you.