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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Love Your Neighbor

In the early 1960's a small home mission church, Millersville Bible Fellowship Church, purchased about four acres of land on W. Charlotte St. here in Millersville. Over the years they built a parsonage and a basement church which were separated by a 60 ft. wide piece of land to eventually access the property behind the new buildings. In the late 1960's the church disbanded and everything was put up for sale. When there were no buyers, my father decided to purchase the property and sell us the parsonage. We have lived there ever since. Over the years farmers used the land behind us. The problem came with the basement church - nobody wanted to buy it. So eventually dad rented it to a group as a Teen Center. This proved to be a problem and near disaster for all of us and, fortunately, that group also disbanded. Eventually the local Lions Club purchased the building and used it for their meetings. Then they added the top floor and used it for a Community Center. Often this caused problems for us because parties and noise there went on after midnight and kids and teens often ended up in our yard. Many times I had to call the police since the Lions Club did not seem to police the groups using the center. Then a developer asked to buy the land behind us and the 60 ft. access to the land. At the same time our own church was buying land to build a new building. So my father worked out a deal to give his land to our church who in turn sold the land to the developer. As a result, all the sales money went towards our new church. This thrilled my dad and was a huge boost to our church. Dad felt the Lord allowed him to hold this land over the years as an investment in the future of our church which he originally had helped start. Soon the developer built a street on the access and this improved things tremendously for us. The Lions Club now seemed so much farther away and we no longer had throngs of kids and teens in our yard. But then a few years ago the Lions Club membership declined and they could no longer afford to maintain the building. They put it up for sale and we shuddered thinking about who might buy it. To our surprise, a local organ repair company wanted it, but that would require a zoning exception. To get support for the change, the prospective owner and his wife visited us and our neighbors, introducing themselves and sharing their plans for the building. Among the things they shared was the fact that they would never need the 30-40 parking places on the property and that neighbors were welcome to use them whenever they needed a place to park. Their company would only actually need 8 - 10 of the spaces. And, since the company would never be open on Saturday or Sunday, they were always available on the weekends. We were thrilled to help them get the zoning change needed and they eventually moved in. Since then we have seen little or nothing of the owner. It has been very quiet and we have appreciated having them there. Once I did try to talk to the owner when he was having a problem with his lawn mower, but he had no interest at all in talking to me. That was the extent of our contacts until a few days ago. We seldom have taken advantage of his offer to park a car there. However, a number of times when we hosted our small group I did park our red car there for a few hours on Sunday to provide enough space for our guests in our driveway. This past Sunday I did that and at 8 pm I moved our car back to our drive. Monday, about noon, I found a note had been placed on the windshield of our car in our driveway. It said "This vehicle is illegally parked on private property." It told me that I had been ignoring the "notice clearly visible on the side of the building". The note also said that I had broken "PA Crimes Code 3505 (B)(1)(11), Criminal Trespass, Summary Offense, Punishable up to $300 Fine and 90 Days in Prison". It also said "Your car, make, model and license number have been recorded as well as surveillance video of you entering and leaving the vehicle for identification purposes." "Your car may be towed at your expense." I was stunned. I decided to go and talk to the owner who obviously knew me and knew my car, especially since they had come to my driveway to post the notice on my car. I apologized to him for parking on his property and explained that I thought he had said that we could park there when needed. His reply was that he gave me this notice because I hadn't first called and asked permission. I guess the rules had been changed since he won the zoning change. Well, I guess he had me there and I assured him that I was sorry and that I would never park in his lot again. And that may create a problem for us. No parking is allowed along the streets anywhere in our neighborhood so when we have company, our only choice now will be to park on our front lawn - except when it snows. So that's the story. There is no question that in terms of peace and quiet it is a pleasure to have his business in our neighborhood. But in terms of friendliness, neighborliness and cooperation ... well I must be reminded of that admonition to "love my neighbor". And hopefully the Lord will give me the grace to do that. And, if not, then I hope you will come and visit me during my 90 days in prison. Now relax Barry and remember - “Love your neighbor!”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Looking Forward To Retiring?

What the job gets tough and the boss becomes demanding, it is human nature to look forward to retirement. This can be true not only in your job but in ministry situations as well. But retirement from a job has many problems - dropping returns on investments, the high cost of medical insurance, and increasing living costs just to name a few. But an even bigger problem is the emotional loss of being important or needed and adjusting to the loss of a daily schedule. One of the things a retired person will soon find out is that you and your experience are often no longer needed or wanted. This can be hard. In recent years I've faced that situation in two positions that I held for over 30 years. In one case my decision was easy and I knew it was the right time to do it. In the other it was hard to do but probably necessary because of the opinions expressed to me by others. And in both situations it quickly became obvious that I was no longer needed. Now I am over both situations, but it was hard and many retirees have real trouble adjusting to those dramatic changes in their lives. Over the years I have watched many folks face these decisions with different reactions. I recall once at Pinebrook talking to a group of seniors from a church who proudly proclaimed that they had dropped out of everything at church and were leaving it to the young folks. I found that to be sad. Some times old folks do stand in the way of young folks, but there should be a way to balance the two. The young should be mentored by the old, but often neither are willing to do this. Then I've seen folks hang on too long to a position and they've ruined their reputation. Take quarterback Bret Favre for instance. He was once one of the best quarterbacks to ever play football but his several unsuccessful attempts to "unretire" made him the object of many comedians. Then there are those who continue to hang on and control things when they are still working with a mindset from the previous century. They can't give up their control. Does the name Joe Paterno ring a bell? I admit that I also get bothered by seniors who continue in leadership positions forcing their opinions on major decisions which will greatly affect people long after when they themselves will have passed away. Some seniors fail to listen and adapt to others around them when they feel they have all the wisdom. So often we seniors get so stuck in our ways that we can't accept the wisdom of others and adapt to a changing world. It is sad that businesses and ministries can't find a way to blend the wisdom of older folks with the enthusiasm and perspective of younger ones. But that isn't the spirit of this age. Young is in, old is out. So are you growing older and thinking of retiring from work or from a ministry? If it is a job you will be leaving, make sure that you have counted the costs financially. It is not easy to afford full retirement. Prices of everything continue to grow and your retirement money probably won't grow at the same rate. Also measure your effectiveness in what you are now doing honestly and don't stay longer than you should. But look for ways to mentor your possible replacements, especially in ministry. And look for ways that you can still be respected for your wisdom without forcing yourself to be in charge, making key decisions that will impact others and possibly not yourself. And that is hard. Don't stop learning and picking up new skills - especially technological skills. This will keep your mind sharp and give you more options in the future. Be a life long learner. And be prepared to adjust mentally if your experience and wisdom are no longer valued or wanted after you leave. That is sad, but it happens to many of us. I know that from experience. But there is life after retirement, if you seek God's will and prepare for that time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Growing up I was taught to be proud of our political system and heritage. None had ever rivaled it. And it was basically good. People were freely elected and then proudly went to Washington or Harrisburg to serve the people and to protect our great country. We supported elected leaders no matter what party they represented because they desired to serve the people. But times have changed and folks like me are quickly losing our confidence in our government. Today politicians are more interested in protecting their jobs and getting reelected. Politics and party loyalty are much more important than what is best for the people. This becomes obvious when people are predicting that nothing will get done by Congress during the next year because of the elections that are coming up in 2012. The president is already ramping up his efforts to win a second term by promoting a "class warfare" agenda - the rich vs. the poor. Tax the rich to support the middle class. And because of this, nothing important will get done once again this year. And no politician will tackle the pressing problems of the economy because they are afraid politically to take on things like social security and medicare. And so while they position to keep their jobs, the country goes deeper into debt. Are there any true patriots anymore? Are there any elected leaders who will stand up and do what is right for the country? And no Democrat will dare take on the President or even run against him. That would be political suicide. Then there are the hapless Republicans who are battling each other for the chance to take on Obama next year. Publicly they tear each other apart and put each other down. They try to destroy their opponents with their nasty remarks. The one who survives will have been battered, not only by the liberal press, but also by their fellow party members. The candidates will have already exposed all the shortcomings for the country to see before the campaign begins. Then they will try to unite and provide support for the winner to take on the President who has already been campaigning and raising money. None of this really makes any sense to me. And with the economy in the tank, both parties will still spend millions and millions of dollars to try to win the White House. Why not donate that to pay down the national debt or secure social security or lower the unemployment rate. Such hypocrisy. Unfortunately, I no longer feel that I can trust any of them. And the day of a commoner, with little money, getting elected to an important political office is long past. Now it is only a possibility for those who are famous, rich, or in the debt of somebody with deep pockets. Now I guess my blog has been very depressing. The state of politics today is depressing. But the one hope that we have is the knowledge that God is still in control and that the return of Christ must be very near. Years ago I was told that the prefix "poly" means many and that "tic" is a blood sucking parasite. So put them together - poly tic - and you have a good definition of politics today. Keep looking up!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Special Project

It was a challenge I wanted to accept, but I wasn't given enough time to complete it to my satisfaction. But after I said "no", they reconsidered and gave me more time. The project? Complete a series of dvds showing the history and growth of our church over the past 61 years. They are to be used to kickoff a debt reduction campaign. Given the additional time, I began the project with several reservations. First, I didn't know where I would find about 140 pictures that I would need. I did get some great cooperation from some folks, ran into unexpected problems with others, and never did locate a picture of our fourth pastor, Rev. Norman Weiss. Second, I could not use pictures of everyone and unfortunately there would be several of the Kauffmans included since we have been a major part of the church since its founding in 1950. Third, it would be impossible to include all the ministries and missions trips that we have experienced over the years. And I imagine that there will be some who will be upset that they and their experiences were not used. Given more time and another dvd, maybe I could have improved this. But I have done the best that I can. A year ago I did write a series of blogs on our 60th anniversary, but compiling three dvds has been a much more challenging project. However, I have enjoyed it. The theme is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and that certainly has been very true. We have come a long way from our first service in a tent, with 28 in attendance, to last week when we had 671 in attendance. In the early years we grew about 10% every year and we have always been able to pay our bills on time and pay off our debts earlier than expected. We started in a tent, moved to rented rooms in Malta Temple, built a building and later two additions, sold our building, moved to the Ramada Inn, transitioned to the old Calvary Church and then built our new building on Donerville Road. It has been a great journey and if the Lord tarries, the journey will continue as we face the future challenge of expanding our facilities. We are quickly outfrowing them. But I think the greatest memory that I have had in this project are the great leaders which the Lord has raised up over the years. He has always provided us with godly pastors, but He has blessed us with skilled, dedicated leaders. I was only nine when the church was organized but I distinctly remember the sacrifices that the founding leaders made to establish our church. I can remember the hours they gave in labor to help save money on the first building. I often wonder if people would do that today. I remember the struggles of being a small congregation but I also remember the hope and motivation that resulted. I also benefited personally because there were many needs and few to fill them in a young church. So I started teaching Sunday School as a junior higher. I led the entire children's department as a senior higher. During that time I also directed the first church choir. I was one of the early youth group presidents. These were valuable experiences that young people in larger churches rarely have. I thank the Lord for them. And so, as I complete this project, I have become even more thankful that the Lord allowed me to be part of this church body since its beginning. As far as we know, I am the only remaining living charter member. And over the years, my parents (charter members), my brother and sister and their spouses, my sons and their wives, and all of my grandchildren have been part of this body - many in leadership positions. And for that blessing, I say thank you, Lord! God is so good and God is so faithful!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Think About These

Times are changing, maybe faster than we want. Have you ever stoped to think how different the world is for today's kids than it was for us. Every year Beloit College provides a "Mindset List" which provides a look at the cultural changes that shape the lives of students entering college that fall. The most recent listed 75 items but I am only sharing 26 with you. I also shared these with our Awana staff as a reminder of what is true in the lives of the kids we work with. Think about these.
1. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports. ... 2. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court ... 3. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo. ... 4. Their school's "blackboards" have always been white and are getting smarter. 5. "Don't touch that dial!"...what dial? ... 6. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish. ... 7. Amazon has never been just a river in South America. ... 8. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James. ... 9. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia. ... 10. Video games have always had ratings. ... 11. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief. ... 12. Women have always been kissing women on television. ... 13. Fake Christmas trees have always outsold real ones. ... 14. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over. ... 15. Music has always been available via free downloads. ... 16. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy. ... 17. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop. ... 18. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day. ... 19. Public schools have always made space available for advertising. ... 20. Charter schools have always been an alternative. ... 21. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than six divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs. ... 22. They won't go near a retailer that lacks a website. ... 23. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted. ... 24. McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle. ... 25. They've often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace. ... 26. Most have never read my blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day To Remember

September 11 - a day that Americans will never forget. It is one of those days that everyone remembers exactly were they were when they first heard the news of the terror attacks. It was a day that changed our lives forever. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, there are several days that I will always remember where I was when I heard the news ... the end of World War 2 ... the shooting of President Kennedy ... the launching of Sputnik ... the first walk on the moon ... the shooting of President Reagan ... and a few others. But ten years ago I was in my room at school preparing for my next class. For some reason I decided to turn on the television to watch the news before class. Several minutes later I saw the first plane hitting the tower. The remainder of the day my classes of high school juniors watched in stunned silence as the events unfolded before us. There was little that could be said. As I said before, in an instance our lives were changed. During the days that followed, people flocked to churches. It was suddenly politically correct to talk about God and to call on Him for help. There was a spirit felt throughout the nation unlike any we had experienced for years. Security was tightened everywhere and we feel that even today. Wars were fought to try and stop the enemy - many additional lives were lost. But in the years that followed, the wars continued and some security measures affected our freedoms, but for the most part people returned to their previous ways. Religion was no longer important and, in fact, it even become a focal point of attack by many liberals and atheists. How soon we forget. Ten years later we have elaborate services to remember these events, but in New York City, pastors and other religious leaders aren't even allowed to participate. But God is still here and He is in control, no matter what man may do. And I have to believe that the return of the Lord is just on the horizon. We have just gone through a difficult time in this country with earthquakes, wild fires, hurricanes, flooding and unbelievable frustration. This has come at a time when our economy can't afford the billions of dollars involved in these losses. I don't profess to have the answers, but I can't help but wonder if God has withdrawn His hand of blessing and protection from this country. The scriptures remind us that "God is not mocked for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap." Maybe September 11 is a time that each of us should renew our commitment , our love, and our obedience to God the Creator.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Millersville!

Millersville is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. I guess the extent of our part in the celebration is to buy the book that was printed for the celebration. We have now lived here about 45 years. Actually we don't really live in Millersville since our property line is the borough line and we are actually in Manor Twp. But I can walk about 15 feet out my den door and be in Millersville.So we usually say that we live in Millersville. Recently one of my sons and I were driving through town and he remarked how much that he liked Millersville and how many good memories he has of the town. I was a little surprised because I do not have the same feelings. I have never really enjoyed this town and have never felt a part of it even though I've spent over 60% of my life here, including 39 years working here. When I graduated from college I had four job interviews - Donegal, Elizabethtown, Hershey and Penn Manor. I was offered jobs at all four places and the Lord led us to choose Penn Manor. Our first few years here we lived about 20 minutes away. When we finally moved to town I could walk to work or else drive there in about 5 minutes. That was enough for me to stay here, eliminating those drives in bad weather. And we've stayed because I don't want to take another mortgage at my age and the thought of packing and moving sort of "blows my mind". Now why don't I like Millersville. First there is no downtown shopping area as there is in a place like Lititz. It was fun growing up to be able to walk downtown and shop and meet folks. The shop keepers all knew you. Not here. Millersville is a college town and that means you put up with the noise and drinking and bad behavior. And it does exist and little appears to be done to control it. There is a law about open beverages but one can drive around and see the drinking parties held openly with nobody enforcing the law. Then there are the out-of-town landlords that buy up homes to rent to college students. We are becoming surrounded by these situations. A friend of ours is desperately trying to sell his house because of all the college students now surrounding them. And despite their complaints to the authorities, nothing is done about the problems. Then there is the major problem of traffic. Thousands of commuters tie up the few narrow roads into and out of town. Don't try to get out of town quickly on a Friday afternoon - impossible. Fortunately a few traffic lights now allow you to at least get across the main street when school is in session. A few years ago there was an attempt to provide a by-pass and another access road to the college to relieve the problem. But the borough officials voted it down because they didn't want to encourage additional developments. But now we have the additional developments and the traffic is worse. Fortunately I don't need to find parking in town. But the college has failed to provide adequate parking lots for their commuters. My grandson often has to drive around campus for 30-45 minutes to locate a parking space when he goes to class. And finally, our neighborhood is very suburban with most folks keeping to themselves. Now part of the problem could be ours, but most of us have little in common except that we exist here. Now why don't we move now that I am retired? Good question. We considered moving to Lititz (I think my heart is still there) after my dad died. But Lititz has its own traffic problems. It is much, much farther to church and to our doctors. It would mean a mortgage which we don't want at this point in our lives and it would mean packing and packing and packing. It would mean all sorts of work to sell our house and after selling my dad's house I'm just not ready for that adventure once again. So the Lord has provided this home for us and until He leads differently we will probably stay. I do know one thing, however. We won't stay another 45 years for we have a mansion being prepared for us and that will surpass anything we could have on this earth. But, happy birthday Millersville.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's Back!

It's back! College football starts this week. That is something I look forward to all year. Unfortunately during the past few years College football has been marred by major institutions violating NCAA laws. The news has been full of reports about Ohio State, Michigan, USC, North Carolina, Miami and others who have broken the laws. There are a few such as Penn State and Stanford that have never faced such charges. As a result there have been numerous jokes made about football at such colleges. Some are funny, some are sad, some are right on. I hope I don't offend your favorite team, but to start the season here are a few that I have heard. (1) Why do Nebraska football players like smart women? Opposites attract. ... (2) Why do Tennessee fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and wear it to pick up trash on Monday. ... (3) How do you get a former Ohio State football player off your porch? Pay him for the pizza. ... (4) What does the average Florida State player get on his SATs? Drool. ... (5) How many Miami football players does it take to change alight bulb? Five. And they each get three credits. ... (6) How many Florida freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb? None. That's a sophomore course. ... (7) What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room? A full set of teeth. ... (8) What are the longest three years of a Florida State football player's life? Freshman year. ... (9) A man asks his friend, "Did you hear about the 22-year-old babe who married the 93-year-old Alabama booster? It was afootball wedding." The friend says, "A football wedding?" "Yeah, she's waiting for him to kick off." ... (10) Why do Mississippi State football players put their diplomas on the dashboard? So they can park in a handicapped spot. ... (11) Why do Michigan State football players go to movies in groups of 18 or more? 17 and under not admitted. ... (12) What is the most common phrase used by a former Colorado football player? Would you like fries with that? ... (13) What do you call a genius sitting in the Arkansas student section? Visitor. ... (14) How did the Georgia football player die from drinking milk? The cow fell on him. ... (15) What's the difference between a litter of puppies and Steve Spurrier? Puppies stop whining after 8 weeks. ... (16) Two West Virginia football players were walking in the woods. One of them said, "Look, a dead bird." The other looked up in the sky and said, "Where?" ... (17) How do you keep a Colorado football player out of your yard? Put up a goalpost. ... (18) A Clemson football player was almost killed yesterday in a tragic horseback-riding accident. He fell from the horse and was nearly trampled to death. Luckily, the manager of the Wal-Mart came out and unplugged the horse. ,,, (19) A Southern Cal football player was bragging to a group of co-eds that he finished a jigsaw puzzle in only three months. One girl said, "Three months? You're proud of that?" The Trojan said, "Yep. On the box it said 4-6 years." ... (20) When do Florida State players NOT run up the score? When they are taking their SATs. ... Well I hope you enjoy the football season better than these jokes. Oh yes, before the kick-off, here is a final one ... (21) What do Penn State football players call the elderly? Coach.