I’m Laughing With Ya!

You’ve said the words. I’m laughing with ya, not at ya! You know the experience. Someone does something that is a bit embarrassing, and you just can help it

Well, this happened to someone I know recently. I’m not going to name names, but I’ll give you a clue. I’m married to her! The anonymous person loves to play mini-golf. She is also very competitive. Soooo, a week ago our Sunday evening Recovery Group had a fellowship night. Mini-golf!!! She was pumped up. The adrenalin was flowing. No mercy, she was thinking. This is cut-throat-put-put!

We played one hole. She got a two! Yep, off to a good start. One of our group teed off. Oh my, it went way out of bounds. Miss get-out-of-my-way-or-I’ll-hit-you-with-my-putter decided to run after it. Building up steam she tried to run up some rocks in her pursuit of the stray ball. She made it three steps, slipped and landed on her knees…on the rocks. On the jagged rocks. It wasn’t pretty. I heard some commotion and I went over to her. On hole number 2 she had created a hole in her knee. Not in her knee-cap, mind you, but you could see it through the hole.

So, one hole in (no pun intended) we were off to the emergency room. I was elected to go. I was okay with it, I don’t like mini-golf as well as she does. They took good care of her in the emergency room. Four stitches later we were off to ice cream with the group. I thought I should take her home but she wanted sympathy. I guess I wasn’t very sympathetic or empathetic. Frankly, I thought, if you hadn’t been so pathetic in your game I would be more sympathetic and empathetic. I didn’t say it, I just thought it. Ssshhhhhhhh.

All said, miss anonymous had to admit it was pretty funny. It started in the emergency room when the nurse and then the doctor asked what had happened. Sheepishly she replied, “mini-golf injury.” “What?” they said.

Honey, I’m laughing with you, not at you. You’ve been pretty impressive in that you have been able to laugh at yourself about it. You’ve milked it for all its worth, but you have also been able to laugh about it. Too often we take ourselves too seriously. Sometimes we need to lighten up. Hey, admit that once and a while you do stupid things. You know what I’m talking about. Smile at yourself. Maybe even giggle. Then God can say, “Yes, I’m laughing with you, not at you.” For you see, I know God shakes His head at some of the things I do. “There he goes again,” says God. I know that He laughs out loud over some of the things I do and certainly giggles now and then.. You too? Alright, let’s have a good laugh together. You, me and God. It’s good for our souls.

See you at the Lighthouse,

Dale

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The 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, Independence Day! In the midst of all of your celebrations, relaxation and whatever the day holds, I hope that you take a moment to thank God for life, freedom and the privilege we have to live here in the United States of America. Ask God’s blessings over those who serve our country. Make a commitment to be a better citizen, a better person, more compassionate, and more loving. The following is my second blog post of the week. It was written a few years ago. It is interesting how it is still relevant. My niece Shianne is still abroad serving our country in the vicinity of Iraq. I’m still thankful for our forefathers and those who have devoted their lives to preserve our freedom. I’m still thankful for the freedom I have to worship Christ Jesus and to Him I am still fully devoted. Have a great day, and God bless America.

The 4th of July!

Posted on July 4, 2011 by dale

I love the 4th of July, but I don’t know that I’m normal (please don’t comment). No, I know lots of people love the 4th. What I mean is that I don’t like to do much on the 4th. We used to go home to Bismarck / Mandan to visit our parents. On the 4th of July Mandan has Art in the Park and I swear, the longest parade in the history of humankind. Oh great, more people riding by on horses. This is exciting. I was convinced that they just kept going around the block until people finally wore out.

Now we usually stay home. I’ve deprived my kids of so many interesting experiences. For example, I’ve never bought fireworks. They just don’t do much for me. $100! Boom!!! Wow, that was exciting. I enjoy watching large displays of fireworks (that’s if I can stay up late enough which usually doesn’t happen).

So, it will be home again this year. Andrew and Rachel didn’t come home and Sarah has to work this afternoon and is going to her boyfriend’s family gathering tonight. Just Beth and I and the grill. Steak Kabobs! What more could a guy ask for?

Truth be told, I’m very patriotic. Some may know that, but as a pastor I don’t say a lot about my political leanings unless the issues are moral issues that have made their way into the political landscape. That said, I am very thankful for this country, our democracy and the freedom we enjoy. That freedom was purchased with a great price, as you know. What a vision our forefathers had.

You’ve perhaps read that Beth and I recently went on a vacation. One of the coolest experiences for me was to visit where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed in Philadelphia. There is something profound about historic Philly. Then we traveled to Washington DC and saw the original documents. I was proud to be an American and I’m very thankful for the men and women who have sacrificed greatly for this country. Today I’m thankful and offer up a prayer for the men and women who are away from home this day serving our country, including my own niece Shiannne.

I am especially thankful for the religious freedom we enjoy. In many places of the world there is no independence or freedom to worship. I offer up a prayer as well that one day every brother and sister in Christ may know the freedom I know.

All that said, as patriotic as I am, my ultimate allegiance is to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am a follower of Jesus Christ first and last and foremost. It is a privilege to live in the US but the benefits of it are finite. The promise of following Jesus is eternal. Things here can be difficult, perhaps they are for you today. But the promise I have in Christ Jesus means that no matter how bad things are here, there is a hope and an assurance that cannot be taken away from me. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV.

In fact, if you too are a follower of Christ, I remind you that that hope was also given to you by God’s grace at a great cost and sacrifice. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 that “You were bought at a price.” (vs 23). God loves you and me so much that He left His heavenly home and came here to take the punishment you and I deserve for our sin. He suffered and died on a cross for you and for me. In Him we now know true and perfect freedom. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV.

Alright, I better close. My home if filled with the fresh aroma of the blueberry muffins Beth is making. The sun is shining and we are going to go for a bike ride. Life can be good! God is good! Have a great 4th, and God bless America!!!

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One Nation Under God

In this week of July 4th I want to share a couple of blog posts I wrote a couple of years ago. This is the first. God bless you this week!
One Nation Under God

Posted on June 28, 2011 by dale

I recently made my first trip ever to Washington DC. I must say it was quite an experience. In fact, I would say that there was something very spiritual about it. I could not help but think about all the history that has centered around that place. Gazing at the White House I thought about the decisions that have been made there. Life and death decisions. When you visit the war memorials you cannot help but reflect upon the lives that have been given for the freedom we so enjoy. Walking through the Holocaust Museum one cannot help but feel the darkness and evil that sinful human beings are capable of.

The spiritual nature of the visit for me was most evident in the presidential memorials. We live in a time and culture where many people, national leaders included, would seek to rid the acknowledgment of God from the public square. We hear consistently that the name of Jesus is offensive to people. Our children are taught in school that creation was an accident, a chance series of scientific events. The courts are interpreting the separation of church and state to be something that was never intended by our founding fathers. At the same time we see a decline in morality, an attack upon the institutions of marriage and family and a disregard for the sanctity of the life of the unborn.

Now, with that in mind I stood in the memorials and read the quotes of these past presidents. They were astounding. I even commented to my wife Beth about the biting irony of such words so evident in our nation’s capital today while so many are working hard to remove God from public conversation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights… (Jefferson)

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” (Jefferson)

Lincoln’s second inaugural address is sculptured in his memorial. It is astounding. Lincoln clearly acknowledges the providence of God and beseeches His grace to bring healing to a nation decimated by the civil war.

“If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believer in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

Wow! What would Lincoln think of our current plight? Now, I don’t want to overstate things. Jefferson was a deist. Many of the founding fathers were. They acknowledged a divinity but not necessarily confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. And yet, one cannot help but see the spiritual foundations on which our country was built.

It is imperative that those of us who profess the name of Jesus join together to keep our Father God in the public consciousness and conscience. It is not our government’s job to lift up our Lord. That is the job of the church and individual believers. On the other hand, I’m concerned that a nation that opposes the acknowledgment of our creator God may soon discover the removal of His hand of blessing. Though it was added later, for me the most important words in the pledge of allegiance are “under God.” To Him be the glory!

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