Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them.  So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord.  That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime.  My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ.  So, thanks again for joining me.  Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Interesting Musical

Earlier this week we had a chance to attend the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater for their production of the musical "Nunsense". The musical begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned and killed 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. They are able to bury 48 of them but have four still stored in the freezer because they can't afford the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money to do this is to put on a variety show. The musical is this variety show. It is rather funny, although there are a few crude jokes. The dancing is entertaining and the singing is exceptional. The entire production is done by just five women actresses. But while we enjoyed most of the show, I'm not sure that I could recommend it to anyone. Unfortunately, the musical was some what ruined for me by the final number. There really isn't too much theology throughout the show until the very last song, "Holier Than Though". It begins with these words, "If you want to be a saint, all you have to do is pick a saint to emulate who embodies you. Then figure out what made that saint the idol of today. Then follow in those footsteps and you'll earn the right to say, I am holier than thou. I've got the spirit now. I feel like I'm in heaven now because I'm holier than thou!" Then they continue to dance and sing for several minutes "I'm holier than thou!" The audience loved it, but it left me with an ache in my stomach. The words sound great to a world that is ignorant of Biblical truths or the Gospel … a world that believes that we all are gods and we can just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. There is no need for mercy and grace and a Savior. But the Bible teaches us that all believers are already saints in that they are positionally "set apart" to God and are experientially being made increasingly "holy" by the Holy Spirit. This is all through the grace of God and there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it, no matter how we may try or who we may try to emulate. And holiness is certainly not something to brag about, far from it. My prayer is that, as a saint of God, I may daily become more like Him and that my life and actions may please my Father and help to draw others to Him. I admit that since watching that musical, my heart aches even more for the multitudes right here in this country who don't know the Lord and His desires for them. I certainly wasn't expecting to be challenged this way when I thought we were going for a night of relaxing and entertaining. But it is interesting how the Lord can use an event like this to challenge us. I pray that all who read this blog may have already experienced new life in Christ and then you too are a saint of God, set apart for Him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It Was Worth It All

It wouldn't be right not to follow up my last blog with an update on Zachary and Taylor's trip. As you know, after many delays, they did get to Reno, a day late, but in time to enjoy some of the convention with their parents. Their main reason for the trip was to meet President George W. Bush, and that did happen. They spent much of Saturday with Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice-president. She also spoke at the convention. While Craig was showing her around the exhibit area, she said that she wanted to go see the former President. So their security contacted secret service and arrangements were made. Craig accompanied her and was able to talk to President Bush for a few minutes. Later that day arrangements were made with a professional photographer to take pictures of the Safari Club's officers with the President. Craig took his family along and they had a great picture taken with him. Taylor also had a few moments to talk with him. That night they heard him give a special speech about his eight years in office, and, at the end, the audience gave him a standing ovation. One of his comments was that the thing that got him through those eight years was the knowledge that every day thousands of people who he didn't even know, were praying for him. Craig followed the President on the program and as the President left, he told Craig "I've gotten them all warmed up for you!" I remember well the day that I met President Regan. It was a day that I will never forget and so it will be for Craig and Kisha and especially for Zachary and Taylor. It certainly was a challenging, memorable experience getting them there, but in the end, all the effort and inconveniences and problems were worth the result. And I have been reminded once again that someday we will meet Jesus. And everything in this life pales with that. All the cares and trials we face now will be worth the result of being with Him. This reminds me of an old hymn which I featured a few months ago in my hymn blog (Hymn Blog), "It Will Be Worth It All". The first verse and chorus go like this: "Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear, We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair; But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away, All tears forever over in God's eternal day.. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ; One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, So bravely run the race till we see Christ" The anticipation and promise of that day makes one pray, Lord come quickly.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Up, Up And Away ... Maybe

The idea began months ago when our son learned that President Bush would be attending the annual Safari Club convention in Reno, Nevada. Because he is an officer of the international organization, Craig would be one of the hosts who would be with the former president during the convention. Craig and Kisha would be there in Reno the entire week but their two children normally stay with us because of school. However, since this would be a special event, they planned to have the kids fly out on Thursday to spend a few days with them while the former president was there. Both Taylor and Zach have traveled by air quite often so they weren't concerned about flying there without their parents. So Thursday morning they left home at 8 in the morning to travel to Baltimore for a 12:25 flight to Reno, changing planes in Phoenix. Then the fun started. About noon they were told that their flight was cancelled due to heavy winds in Phoenix. Southwest then rebooked them for a 4:30 flight changing planes in Las Vegas. Then that flight was delayed an hour and a half and finally cancelled. After standing in line for an hour, they were next booked on a flight changing planes in Chicago, leaving at 9:35 … the next morning. That left them with three options – cancel and get a ride home, sleep overnight in the terminal, or find a hotel room. Unfortunately, Zachary is two months short of 18 and no hotel would allow us to book a room for him. And Southwest could have cared less about these two minor kids with no place to stay. So Dianne and I jumped in the car at 7 that night, drove to Baltimore, picked up the kids and checked into a hotel. But since I had an early morning appointment on Friday and because they were calling for ice overnight, we couldn't stay with them. So we left them alone in "my hotel room" and drove back home to Millersville. Friday morning they got the hotel shuttle and headed back to the airport. Their 9:35 flight was on time and went well and they landed in Chicago. Their second flight took off as scheduled at 11:45 and all seemed well. But a few minutes after take-off the plane developed mechanical difficulties and had to return to Chicago. They were told that they would probably need to be booked on another flight which meant they might not get to Reno until Saturday or they might even get stranded in another city – with little money and the inability to get a room overnight. Craig and I made some frantic calls to Southwest and after quite a wait we finally found that they were going to either fix the mechanical problem and use the same plane or else use another plane. Finally they did take off again and landed in Reno at 6:05 our time, just 34 hours after their adventure began. Actually, calculating the distance between Reno and Lancaster, as the crow flies, and averaging 60 mph, they could have driven that distance in 38 hours. But then they wouldn't have been able to get a few hours sleep "illegally" in a Baltimore hotel. But God was good and protected them through this process. We had many folks praying for them. And during their wait in Baltimore on Thursday they actually saw Tara Wise, our pastor's daughter, who was working there. Taylor said that it was so nice to talk to somebody they knew during a time of frustration and uncertainty. I think that was a special blessing and comfort that God provided for them. And another special answer to prayer was that their luggage actually showed up so they had clothing to wear to the banquets. Maybe in a later blog I can share how their time in Reno went for them. I do pity those who must fly regularly. Now they face the whole process again in reverse, trying to return home just 44 hours after they arrived, but this time with their parents.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some hope

I must admit that as I've watched politics and the workings of government during the past year, I've begun to get very disillusioned with the whole process. What I've seen is one party control pushing their liberal agenda despite what the voters want. They have insulated themselves from the average American. They have padded their own empires, placed the country in massive debt, and sneered at any bipartisan action. Campaign promises have been ignored. Politicians have abandoned their principles to vote the party line and protect their power. But what should we expect? After all, politics broken down comes from "poly" which means "many" and "ticks" which are "blood sucking parasites". What more can one say. But during the recent month there have been some glimmers of hope. First there were the elections in Virginia and New Jersey where conservatives won in upsets. Then there was the major upset last Mon day in Massachusetts where a conservative Republican won Kennedy's seat. Who would have ever believed that this would be possible? Scott Brown, a state senator who defeated Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley on Tuesday, is the first Massachusetts Republican to win a U.S. Senate race since 1972. His win stripped Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-seat Senate supermajority and has forced the Obama White House to reconsider its options for passing a health care bill. And he apparently won because the voters were fed up with the way the Democrats were doing their own thing. Maybe there is still hope for democracy. Now if only the public keeps expressing their concerns at the ballot box. For example, it would be tremendous if Pennsylvania would "retire" Arlan Spector this year in favor of a conservative. He is a real career "politician" who claimed to be a Republican for years when it was to his advantage, even though he voted like a Democrat. Then he suddenly changes parties because the polls show that the Republicans would no longer support his actions and he might lose reelection. Now with loads of money and liberal support, he is running for another term, this time as a Democrat. Now it is time for the voters of Pennsylvania to stand up and send this politician into retirement. That would be refreshing and a change worth supporting. Will the voters of Pennsylvania, from both parties, do this? Congratulations to Scott Brown for proving that much of the public does care about this country and that they will vote for what is right, not just for what their party says. Maybe there is still hope!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Special Discovery

In the winter of 1918, at the height of World War I, history's most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with the American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years and more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. In Spring City, PA, a young minister lived with his wife who was expecting their second child, and their son. The minister, Horace Abraham Kauffman, was my grandfather and his young one-year old son was my father. While ministering to ill members of his congregation, the minister himself caught the influenza and died. For his viewing, his body was placed near the front window so that folks could look in the window to see him and not risk spreading the flu to others. After his death, the presiding elder felt that an expectant widow should not live alone so he approached another young minister, N. H. Wolf, and told him that he should marry the widow and help raise her children. N. H. Wolf was one of Horace Kauffman's closest friends. I actually have several letters that the two young ministers had written to each other both before and after Horace Kauffman was married. So N. H. Wolf listened to the presiding elder and married Kauffman's widow. Then they assigned the new couple to the same church and even the same parsonage where my grandmother had lived with her first husband. How difficult all of this must have been for both of them. As it turned out, N. H. Wolf was a special godly man who would become a great father and a special servant of the Lord, spending about 65 years in the ministry. He was a great husband, the only father my dad ever knew, and he was a major influence in my spiritual life. However, years later when Dianne and I were engaged, my grandmother privately shared with us that one never forgets their first love. Over the years I have learned many things about my real grandfather and his heritage. He also was a very special, godly person. He was a schoolteacher before entering the ministry and he is considered to be the founding pastor of our church in Lebanon. In fact, N. H. Wolf began his ministerial training with him at Lebanon. But as I've tried to find out more about H. A. Kauffman, I was missing information about his life from the time of his marriage to his death. Then, this week, my sister discovered a baby album that my grandmother made after my father was born in 1917. It is filled with baby pictures and notes. It has special pictures of his grandparents. But even more importantly, it has pictures of my real grandfather, including those with my dad. These to me are priceless – a real treasure. I think I now know how an adopted child must feel. I wish I could have met my grandfather. There is so much I would like to ask him and share with him. The more I learn, the more I can see myself in both my father and my grandfather. We had so much in common. Now if only I could be the godly man that they both were. But what is so precious to realize is that last February my father finally met his dad and sometime in the near future I will also have that experience myself.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Is It A Cause?

If you have read my blogs for any length of time, you know how disgusted I get with folks who are always talking on their cell phones, especially when driving. Now I know that my female readers will get upset with my opinion but I believe that the worst offenders are female. I shudder every time I see a female driving her big SUV with one hand and using the other to hold her cell phone. Recently I even saw one talking while also holding a lit cigarette in the hand on the steering wheel. During the Christmas season I observed many at Park City wheeling through the packed parking lot, looking for a parking place, while talking on their phone. But you've heard that before from me and you know I strongly feel that doing this should be illegal. But today another thought struck me while we were waiting for a store to open at Park City. Half of the waiting crowd, mostly female, were talking on their phones. While I watched this, my mind went back to a news program I recently heard where they were talking about an alarming increase in thyroid cancer in women. And the experts don't know why this is happening. It suddenly struck me that maybe the cause of this might be cell phones. Now I am serious about this. Cell phones are so new that there really can't be any decent research available on such a problem. I have been having difficulty in recent weeks with headaches and I have spent considerable time using a heating pad on my head, neck, and shoulders. When I mentioned this to my doctor he told me that this was very dangerous. He said that one should not use a heating pad more than 30 minutes. I never knew this. When I got home I did some searching on the internet and that confirmed what he was saying. It appears that there could be two bad results of overuse of heating pads. One is that you could cause damage to nerves and that damage can't be reversed. A second is that the heating pad could cause cancer. Now if a heating pad could cause cancer, what about a cell phone? I'm not a doctor or a researcher, so I could be out to lunch with my thoughts. But the increase in cancer of the thyroid in females certainly seems to coincide with the increase in the use of hand-held cell phones by women. So while there is serious danger of auto accidents caused by lack of full attention to driving or lack of control of the steering wheel, maybe there is even a more serious danger to the cell phone user. I for one will no longer use a heating pad for more than 25 minutes, but using a cell phone while driving is not a habit that I must give up. I never do it. Instead I will try to spend my time while driving watching out for the careless driver using her cellphone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Resolutions You Can Keep

So did you make any resolutions for 2010? How many have you broken already? I guess resolutions are fine if you have the discipline to meet them. I'm not into resolutions although I do enjoy starting the year by looking over my journals from past years to see how things have changed and how the Lord has led in our lives. But if you are into resolutions, why not promise to do something you can actually do. Here are some suggestions.~ Gain weight - at least 30 pounds. ~ Stop exercising - waste of time. ~Eat more snacks at night. ~ Read less - makes you think. ~ Procrastinate more - starting tomorrow. ~ Spend more time at work, surfing the web. ~ Don't jump off a cliff just because everyone else did. ~ Stop bringing lunch from home - eat out more. ~ Get in a whole NEW rut! ~ Start being superstitious. ~ Only wear jeans that are two sizes too small and use a chain or rope for a belt. ~ Get further in debt. ~ Don't drive a motorized vehicle across thin ice. ~ Don't swim with piranhas or sharks. ~ Spread out your priorities beyond the ability to keep track of them. ~ Wait for opportunity to knock. ~ Focus on the faults of others. ~Get more toys. ~ Mope about faults. ~ Never make New Year's resolutions again. Hopefully this list will get you thinking about some that you can actually keep. But on a more serious note, personally I don't make resolutions but I do have a daily goal for my future. It is shared in the chorus of one of my favorite praise choruses that, unfortunately, I seldom hear sung anywhere. You can listen to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing it now by using the following link, PRAISE. The words are so simple but so powerful. "Praise you, praise You, Let my life praise you! Praise you, praise You, Let my life O Lord, praise you!"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

In going through the personal items left by my father, I came upon three brief essays that he wrote while he was in high school. I don't know if they were for a class project or if they were editorials written for the school newspaper. He was the editor of the paper, so it may be that these were written to be shared with the student body at Sunbury High. One of these was on leadership, one about Christmas, and the third about New Year's Day. So let me kick off 2010 by sharing with you the one on New Year's Day that was probably written late in 1935. The title was "Things We Can Do Without". New Year's Day is always thought of as a day of new and mighty resolution. One should not only make a fresh start at the beginning of the year but every day should bring new determination and resolution to do our best. Business houses everywhere check up on the quantity and quality of their stock as well as the condition of the plant. The stock is cleaned out and reorganized. Shopworn and obsolete articles are gotten rid of and inventory is taken. A balance sheet is another business form connected with the new year. These business methods can be applied to our own lives. If one did not check up and "sweep out" old ideas and sort the good from the bad, his life and mind would become so cluttered up as to become useless. Check over your own assets and liabilities. Balance this account and see where you stand. Do away with as many liabilities as possible and acquire some new assets. The question, what should I keep, may present itself. Here are a few things which ought to be kept - your temper, your sunny disposition, judgement of others, secrets, and your word of honor. Some things to get rid of are grudges, borrowed books, bad habits, ugly dogs, and debts. It is one thing to make a resolution and another thing to keep it. A certain young man was heard to say, "If I break a resolution I can make more." Don't be as foolish as this young man was. When we make good resolutions, we should keep them. (Horace Kauffman) After your parents pass away there are always so many questions that you'd like to ask them. After reading this essay, I'd love to ask dad what it was written for and also what brought about the comment of getting rid of ugly dogs. Although I do agree, after all, who wants an ugly dog. Have a great 2010.