Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent is Here!


I apologize for the break in postings.  I have spent the last few days celebrating the Thanksgiving break with my family.  But it is Sunday, the 29th of Novemeber and Sunday is a work day for me.  So, as I sit here in my office preparing for my Sunday school class and going over my sermon, I thought I might share with you one of my most favorite times of the liturgical calendar, Advent.

Advent is the four weeks prior to Christmas day.  In the church today is the first day of the new liturgical calendar.  Advent is a time when we stop the busyness of the Christmas holiday and look forward.  Actually, to look forward at Advent also causes us to look back as well.  Advent is a time when we celebrate  the coming of our Lord that Christmas morning.  It is a time when we recall the moment that "the word became flesh and dwelt among us". (John  1:14 )  However, Advent is also a time that we look forward to the second coming of Christ.

Scripture tells us that there must be signs of the coming of Christ ( Luke 21).  For many years people have taken the opportunity to warn us of the second coming.  The fact is you can take the warning signs that Christ gives to us in the 21st chapeter of Luke and find that they apply to our world in, almost, any time period.  There is always going to be famine, there is always going to be war, and men's hearts are always going to be failing with fear.

I believe that the true point of Advent is to see those warnings in a more positive light.  It is not that I think war is good or that famine is a positive thing.  The point I make is that when I do see those happenings that Christ has given to us I should be encouraged.  Christ doesn't want us to take that scripture and use it a rally cry for the end of the world just so we sell a few books or become a minister of dooms-day prophecy.  He wants us to know that we are to be ready for His coming.  That is our Advent.

I know there are many books and TV shows, movies and sermons that call our attention to the end of the world.  I cringe whenever someone tells me that they saw a show on TV and then tells me what day the world is going to end.  Every time I hear that I sense fear in that person's voice.  Advent, or the second coming, is not supposed to be a scary event for us.  The Advent of Christ is supposed to be a time when we prepare ourselves for His return.  This means that we avoid being so caught up in the business of the Christmas season that we forget to make Christ's advent the reason for our season.

Brothers and sisters, look forward to Christ's return but don't let the looking forward impair your ability to see the truth.  The truth is that God sent His son into this world so that we might know Him and He is sending His again so that we might be with Him.  Take this Advent season and prepare your heart and your mind for the coming of Christ.  Live life to the fullest, love with the heart of God, forgive where forgiveness is needed.  In short, live like there is no tomorrow...because there might not be.

May this Advent season be a blessing to you and your loved ones and may you be blessed this Christmas season.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give Thanks!


My prayer for you this day is that you and your family have a very happy Thanksgiving.  A big shout out to my Mom and Dad, I love you guys, to Kenny and Sharon, hang in there, and to all of my family who might be reading this today, I give thanks for you.

Scriptutre tells us to give thanks with a grateful heart!  On my journey home I give thanks for those special days.  Thanksgiving is one of them.  There was always a real chance that I was not going to get up from one of those operating tables, but I DID!  Christine and I have not let that blessing go unfulfilled.  We give thanks to God every day that He decided to let me go on in this life.

However, immediately following my second and third surgeries I was quite bitter at God.  I was thankful that He had given me more time but I don't think I gave thanks with a grateful heart.  Giving thanks in that manner calls for a realization that God is sovereign, that the things that He decides to do or no to do is always the right choice.  It's hard some times to give thanks for the dicfficult times in our lives that's just human nature.  But every once in a while we get that opportunity to truly realize that we have been blessed by God.  I look around at my life and I take stock in what I have gained and lost and it is easy for me, now, to say THANK YOU GOD!
I see my family and I think of those who are alone in life.  I look at my job and think of those who are struggling financially.  I look at my health and, even though, it could be better it could be much worse!  I give thanks for the blessings in my life and I pray that you would do the same tomorrow.  Don't let this day of Thanksgiving go by without looking around and seeing all the places, things, and people God has blessed you with.

Life isn't hard, it's just life.  We all suffer the same yet we don't all rejoice the same.  Scripture tells us not to grieve as if we are people with no hope.  One of my favorite sayings comes from The Lord of the Rings when Gandalf tells Frodo that "everyone wishes that such bad things would never happen  to us but that is not our choice.  The only choice we have is to decide what we are going to do with the time that we have been given."   I like that thought.  So, the question is this:  with all the pains and strains, ups and downs,and ins and outs, what are you going to do with the time you have been given?

I have been given extra time and I am going to give thanks with a grateful heart!



Monday, November 23, 2009


I want to share with you an e-mail forward I received.  If you have alraeady received it then read it again.  As I have said before my father, uncles, cousins, my broth and I have all served our country.  These words are not my words but I am so proud of the airman who wrote them.  I will be back with my blog tomorrow!
I could not help but forward this one on as well.

God Bless our soldiers.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 2:11 PM

This Cindy Williams is NOT the "Laverne & Shirley" Cindy Williams. She is a Assistant Director for National Security in the Congressional Budget Office...... ///////

Military Pay

This is an Airman's response to Cindy Williams' editorial piece in the Washington Times about MILITARY PAY, it should be printed in all newspapers across America.

Ms. Cindy Williams wrote a piece for the Washington Times, denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members' way this year citing that she stated 13% wage increase was more than they deserve.

A young airman from HillAFB responds to her article below. He ought to get a bonus for this.

"Ms Williams: I just had the pleasure of reading your column, "Our GIs earn enough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank account. Checking my latest earnings statement I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes per month. After taxes, I take home $874.20. When I run that through the calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413.60 before taxes, and $10,490.40, after.

I work in the AirForceNetworkControlCenter where I am part of the team responsible for a 5,000 host computer network. I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment. A quick check under jobs for Network Technicians in the Washington, D.C. area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience with my job. Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year. No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum........... I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets off of WIC and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN; I leave the choice of service branch up to you. Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience."

As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone - obviously they've been squandering the "vast" piles of cash the government has been giving them.

Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites. And when you're actually over there, sitting in a foxhole, shivering against the cold desert night; and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE (meal-ready- to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything.. This gives some flavor.

Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it. You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your opened piece.

But, tomorrow from KABUL, I will defend to the death your right to say it.

You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective nose at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe. We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies.

And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve? You can kiss my royal red a**!!!

A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB AFNCC

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pick a Side


I want to continue where I left off last time.  But before I do I want to wish my Mother and Father a very Happy Anniversary.  Nov 22, 1961.  48 years if I have it right!  Well, on we go!

I had told you last time how Galena was made up of one street and that there was a  chapel on one side and the bar on the another.  Upon arriving I had decided that due to my anger issues with  God, that I wasn't sure I even believed in, I took up residence on the bar side.  I stayed on thar side well into the first month I was there.  Then for some reason late in June 1990 I decided to go to the chapel one Sunday.  Since my stint on the bar side hadn't gotten me any results or relief from my annger and depression I figured I might as well give the other side of the street a side.

Isn't that how God works?  Most of the times we never see God truly at work in our lives.  The everyday businees of our lives are filled with the presence and guiding from God yet we miss it.  I would like to tell you that God was waiting for me in all His glory that Sunday I went to chapel but that would be shorting God.  What I came to realize later in life was that God was waitng for me in the chapel, He was encouraging me in the bar.  Of course, in my ignorance, I never would have thought that God would dare enter an establishmnet like a military bar in the middle of Alaska.  But, sure enough, there He was!

It was during my time on the wrong side of the road where God begin to build the foundation of my faith.  I didn't know it.  I couldn't participate.  And even if I would have known He was there I, probably wouldn't have cared.  Anger and disappointment does that to a person.  Anger, depression, and disappointment is the crach that Satan uses to get into the door of your life.  However, God decided that He was going to use these emotions in my life for the good of His kingdom.

He began by giving me a godly roommate.  His name was Kevin Butler and he came from Pueblo, CO.  I remember thinking at that moment of the odds that in a small remote base like Galen I would end up with a roomamte that lived only 60 miles from where I just left.  It was during converstaions with Kevin when God decided to plant the seed.  I know many people who would say tha it takes a special kind of seed to gro in Alaska.  They would be right.  Between the changing of all day to all night coupled with the extreme changes in temperature it makes getting something to grow a little dificult.  But not for God.  God knew that my life was ripe for the harvest and knew that I was in a lace to receive the seed of God.

Most of the time Gods plants in the rich and fertile soil of our lives not when things are great but when they are bad.  I was sure that things were as bad as tey could get.  God knew I was ready and so he released the hounds.  I call them the hounds of heaven because they are relentless in their tracking.  They will hunt you down no matter where you have gone.  You have heard that you can't out run God.  It's true!  Not only could I not outrun God's hounds of heaven but they beat me to Alaska.  As soon as I stepped off that plane there they were.  He had tracked me down and He was about ready to plant a seed in my life. 

Join me next time when I share how the seed of God grew in my life in Galena.  Until next time!  Blessings


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Hounds of Heaven


I pray that God is blessing you on this day!  I wanted to take a moment and continue from my last post.  I wrote that I had been shipped to Galena, AK to begin a one year remote tour with the Air Force.  I also wrote that there was someone waiting there for me.  So..let's hear the rest of the story!

I arrived in Galena on a summer day by way of a C-130 transport plane.  We were seated in jump seats, which are just fabric netting strapped to the inside walls of the plane.  In the middle of the plane were all of the replenishmnet supplies needed for the base in Galena.  We landed in Galena and the rear of the plane opened and I got my first glimpse of a fighter intercept base not 50 miles from the Russian border!  How was I to know that this tour was going to be even more exciting and more life changing than I could have ever imagined.

Immediately after deployment f the tail section a staff seargent boarded the plane from the rear and said, "Welcome to Hell".  Still fresh from the leaving of my wife I was sure that he was correct and that some where during my long flight to Alaska Ihad somehow missed my connection and, inadvertently, boarded the plane that was destined for hell!  The tempo for my stay in Galena began when the first things that were unloaded from the plane were not it's passengers but the four crates of beer that had filled the aisle of our transport plane.

I soon found out that Galena was a small village that the Athabascan Indians called home.  Galena Air Base took up nearly 90% of the village.  I don't want you to misunderstand me the base was not that big, it was just that the village was that small.  Upon arriving in Galena you quickly realize that there is one street down the middle of the base.  On one side there is the chapel and the other side there is the bar.  Not having any thought of reconciling with God for sending me to this God forasaken place I chose the side of the street with the bar.  I would soon realize that this place wasn't "God Forsaken".  In the depths of my sadness of leaving my wife  I would find that God had, indeed, followed me to Galena or, rather, I met him already there!

The story of my encounter with God is a very interesting story and I will try and tell it in the manner that it deserves.  It will take a number of posts to let you enjoy the true magnificence of God and so I will let my story play out over those posts.  Suffice it to say, I found God in Galena, Alaska.  In my attempt to blame God for my lot in life I had missed the part where Hehad promised to be with me during my year at the top of the world.  If God could not get my attention in my past circumstances in life He would surely seek me out in the frozen world of Galena, AK.  God had set the hounds of heaven out after me and they had picked up my scent!

Join me in my next post to read how the creator of the universe hunted down one of His creations!

Until the next time!  Blessings!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Angel

'The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.' William Gibson

After graduating from high school I enlisted in the United States Air Force. Now that I look back on it I’m not quite sure what made me do it. I’m sure it probably had something to do with a girl. Most things at that age do. Never the less I can remember the day I met the bus to travel to Indianapolis to begin my in processing. I remember my father shaking my hand and telling me, “It’s time to become a man”. So on a hot day in September day in 1986 I stepped on that bus in Marion, IN and became a man, or so I thought.

It has always amazed me how God can use the really dumb parts of your life for His glory. I didn’t have the faintest idea what God had planned for me, probably, because as that time I didn’t know God. But he knew me and He had a plan I just didn’t know it at the time. As I look back in my past I have found that that is the way God likes to work on me. He seems to have these plans, great plans, but He just doesn’t let me know all the details until I’m ready for them. God works that way you know? He takes people and He puts them in certain circumstances and situations so that the outcome brings Him glory. I can’t say I have always been a big fan of that plan but, He’s the boss.

Two years into my six year enlistment in the USAF God began a plan that would take me 20 years to come to terms with, that’s to say if I even have yet. Two years into my enlistment God placed me in the path of an angel. I don’t mean to say a real angel; however I will talk about that later in my journey. Who I am referring to is my Christine. I have read many books where the author states their undying love for their spouse and I believe them. Yet, when I say I met an angel I mean it. Throughout our marriage, especially in the last six years Christine has been beside me through everything. 
Christine and I were married on August 12, 1986 in a small Presbyterian church in La Junta, CO. That day is not only our anniversary but Christine’s birthday as well. That’s right, I married her on her birthday and not just any birthday, it was her 21st birthday. I often tease her in telling people that I wanted to make sure she was legal. She hates it when I say that! Yet, as of that date she had no idea where God was going to take us or leave us.

The military is a wonderful institution. I am reminded of the Irving Berlin classic “White Christmas” starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. My wife and I watch it each Christmas. There is a song in which Bing and Danny sing with Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. The name of the song was "Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army" and It described the military perfectly. My first assignment was to the North American Aerospace Defense complex or NORAD for short. For those who might not know what NORAD is or where it is let me explain. NORAD is a big giant place to work inside a mountain. Let me be clear, the building is inside the mountain. For 18 months I went to work in a cave. I probably wouldn’t have very fond memories of Colorado Springs, CO or NORAD if it weren’t for the fact that I worked with a guy who had a cousin that I just had to meet. I’m sure that you got to this point before I did but , yes, I met the love of my life while I was working in a cave.

Christine didn’t work in the cave with me. Oh no, she was a college girl. What she was doing getting mixed up with a military guy like me only God knows, and He did. Eight months after Christine and I were married the Air Force decided to re-assign me to a base in Alaska. After working in a cave for almost two years it might seem that any assignment might be better than the one I had, it wasn’t. Not only was I sent to Alaska, I was sent to a base named Galena. Galena was an intercept base meaning that as the Russians would send their bombers into the air space of the United States the Air Force would send it’s fighter planes up to intercept them. Those planes had to be relatively close to the Russian border and they were. Galena sits about 100 miles south of the Arctic circle. For those who aren’t up on their geography I’ll explain. Basically I was sent to a base on the top of the world. To make matters worse my wife couldn’t come with me. It’s what is called a remote assignment. So there I was, married for only ten months and I was being told I had to leave my wife in Colorado and move to Alaska for a year. Needless to say I was upset. I was mad at the Air Force for doing that to me. I was mad at myself for joining an institution that would do this to me and I was mad at a God that I didn’t even believe. In general I was mad at everything and everyone. Little did I know that, once again, that God had a plan and this one would change my life forever. God had someone to introduce me to and, for reasons only known to Him, it had to be in Galena, AK. So, I set off to spend a year away from my wife in a place that, in the summer, never got dark and, in the winter, never got bright. Yet, someone was waiting for me there and I never even knew it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mom's Whistle


Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV

I have always believed that children grow up to be their parents. This rule doesn’t always apply to everything but it applies to most things. Children grow up learning how to be adults by watching their parents. They mimic what they see their parents doing because they believe that’s what it means to be an adult. They learn from mom and dad what it means to be a mom or dad and they rarely part from it. I know that there are many people in the world who would disagree with me and that’s alright. To spend time on the psychology of children would take us way too far in to the nurture vs. nature debate. Suffice it to say the rule doesn’t apply to all people but it does to me.

I was born in a town named Marion, IN. It is a typical mid west town with typical mid west people. My parents, Jim and Dixie Hutchison, were typical mid western parents. They taught me the typical things that mid western parents taught their Midwestern children. So, it’s easy to say that I am a typical Midwestern person. Having said all that I am still not sure what that means. Being typical doesn’t sound so wonderful especially when you are talking about the Midwest. However, I believe that being raised by typical Midwest parents, in a typical Midwest home, in a typical Midwest town is anything but typical.

Indiana is Big Ten country, basketball is king and the hard court is its palace. Being raised in Big Ten Country, or the mid west, means something to me. I am proud of my hometown and proud of the way that my parents raised me in that hometown. I am proud that things like honesty and integrity mean something in that town. Society today says that you can have everything you want and it doesn’t matter how you get it. Society touts the “ I” and forgets about others. “Do whatever you want”, that’s what our society believes. That’s not what my parents believe and that’s not what they taught. I was taught that your last name matters and the things that you do reflect on not only you but your family as well. I was taught that “please” and “thank you” are respectful and holding the door open for other people is the way we do business in a Midwestern town. Don’t get me wrong I’m not going to tell you that I always followed the rules of what I was taught I’m just saying that I was taught them.

Looking back it seemed that mom and dad did a great job of teaching me and my brother and sister what it meant to be a good person. We rarely went to church when I was young. I would go to church with my friends on the occasional Sunday but that was it. We didn’t read scripture in my home but I came to find out my mother and father lived it. Without knowing it my parents showed me how to live a Godly life. Later in their years they would come to Christ and become very active in a local Christian Church. My father has served many years as the President of the church board and my mother became a leader within the women’s circle. I give thanks to God each day for them and praise God that the Godly lives that they chose to live when I was young gave me directions on my own path to Christ.

Home is a strange word. Just saying the word gives everyone a different feeling. Even though I live in a small town in Colorado I still consider Marion, IN my hometown. I consider it to be the place where I grew up and learned life. It reminds me of a place of safety and great joy. My hometown reminds me that wherever I might go in my life there is one place that anchors me, the place where my roots are. It’s always nice to go back home for a visit. Even though my hometown has changed since I was a young man there I am still reminded of wonderful memories. I believe that each one of us have a yearning to go back home. I believe that we were made to want to return home however the home that we were made to yearn for isn’t on a map. It doesn’t lie in the midwest or the coasts. You can’t “mapquest” the directions to this home because the directions aren’t found on a map but, rather, a book. God has made us to want to come home and that home is with Him.

I remember when I was young my mother and father were very good about letting us explore our surroundings and share time with our friends. We were allowed to go wherever we wanted as children as long as where you were you could hear “the whistle”! My mother had a whistle that she would blow to let us know that it was time to come home. If my memory serves me correctly one blow was for my sister, two was for my brother, and three loud whistles meant I was to come home. I believe to this day that my mother knew that it was impossible to tell how many times the whistle had been blown. Being deeply involved in a game of whiffle ball was never a good time for me to try and determine whether it was one whistle or two or three. What if in my great concentration of getting Bobby Pilken out at first base I had inadvertently missed one of the whistles? What if I thought I heard only two whistles when actually my mother had blown it three times? You see my dilemma. I know my mother knew that dilemma and whether we heard one, two, or three whistles we would come running home. It seemed like a good system to me. I got to go and play at my friend’s house and mom could call me home whenever she wanted. I guess mom’s whistle was a precursor to the cell phone, only cheaper.

There was only one problem with the whistle program. Sometimes I would get out of whistle range. Just thinking about the repercussions of mom blowing the whistle and me not being able to hear it gives me chills to this day. I can still remember coming home from a friend’s house and mom would be standing there with the whistle in her hand. When that happened you knew that you had “blown” it. I had tested the whistle boundary. I had measured the wind and thinking it could give me an extra block I had gone beyond mom’s range.

I think that is the way it is with God. He lets us go out into the world, to be in it and not of it, to be a light for Him. We know there are boundaries that He gives us. We all know what they are and, yet, there are times in our lives when we want to test them. We believe that it’s okay to just go a little further. We are sure we can still hear God’s whistle. But, sadly, there are times when we don’t. We are so caught up in our lives when we don’t hear God telling us it’s time to come back home to the grace He provides and so lovingly gives us.

I like the idea of mom’s whistle. I probably didn’t grasp the metaphor when I was young. At that age the most important thing was where was the next baseball game was and whose turn was it to bring the tennis balls. Life was so much simpler then. It was easier. You heard the whistle and you came home. It was almost like some Pavlovian response. I wish I could hear God’s whistle a little more than I do. It takes effort. I remember always keeping an ear open for mom’s whistle. I would like to do that with God more. Maybe if we all took the time to listen for God’s reminder that it is time to come home maybe we wouldn’t get in as much trouble as we do or as far away from home as we get.

I didn’t have a relationship with Christ when I was young. I wish I had but wishing doesn’t make it so. I do know this, looking back on my childhood I can remember many times that my parents prepared me for my life as a Christian. They taught me to love and be honest, to have integrity and to show compassion. And even though I might not have always shown those things at all times, I knew they were in me. It was hard coming home when you knew you had ignored mom’s whistle. Walking home with the knowledge that you were in trouble was the hardest part. But it never failed that mom showed love in my disobedience. Correction came, yes, but the love is what I remember. That memory would play a big part in my journey home to God. Thanks, mom, for that whistle.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Live Like You Believe!


Not long ago I preached a sermon on the scripture where Jesus called Mary and Martha to answer a simple question, "Do you believe this?".  Their brother Lazarus had died and Jesus was asking if the women believed hat Lazarus would rise again.  Of course, they answered with the response that many Christians would reply back with, "Of course I believe that he will rise again in the resurrection in the end!".  But that was not what Jesus was talking about.  I want to share with you some parts of my sermon:

The ultimate question has been asked. We ask many questions about the meaning of life and how we can handle different situations. When events happen that complicate our lives we turn to God and wonder where He is and then we go to church on Sunday and say we "Believe". Scripture tells us that even the demons believe and shudder. These two women had just gone through a very devastating even in their life. They lost their dearly beloved brother and the one man who could have handled it didn’t come the way they had anticipated. Jesus didn't react the way that those women had wanted Him to react. Jesus, had His own idea.  He knew that this particular event had happened so that God might be glorified through Him.  So when He arrived, apparently too late to do anyhting about Lazarus He asked the women if they believed that Lazarus was going to live.The question He asked was,  “Do you believe this?” But what He was really asking was “Will you live like you Believe?”

That's the question that God has for us today. Despite all that’s going on in your life, will you live like you believe? Don’t just say you believe and give some Sunday school answer like Martha first did. He said “I am the resurrection and the life…” Living like you believe means receiving life itself. Your spiritual life cannot survive without the One who gives life. Jesus asks Martha this question because Martha wasn’t living like she believed. She said she believed but from her obvious amount of frustration with the way Jesus didn’t heal her brother proved that she didn’t really believe.

The story goes: upon completing a highly dangerous tightrope walk over Niagara Falls in appalling wind and rain, 'The Great Zumbrati' was met by an enthusiastic supporter, who urged him to make a return trip, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, which the spectator had thoughtfully brought along.

The Great Zumbrati was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, "You can do it - I know you can," he urged.

"You really believe I can do it?" asked Zumbrati.

"Yes - definitely - you can do it." the supporter gushed.

"Okay," said Zumbrati, "Get in the wheelbarrow..."

Will you get in the wheel barrow? Will you live like you believe? Martha answered Jesus a second time. “Yes Lord; I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” Believe that He really will do what He said he will. Believe and Live like it. Tell other people about the one you believe in. Get out of the crowd and get into the wheel barrow! Live like you believe! Jesus asked a very simple and yet ultimate question, “Do you believe?” If so, then live like it.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Bless Our Veterans


I want to take this day to step away from my journey and write of the journeys of others, especially our veterans.  Today is Veteran's Day.  This is a day when we honor all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation.  These are brave men and women who have made a decison to defend this great nation of ours.  I am a veteran, my father is a veteran, my brother and two uncles, all veterans.  I am very proud of that fact.  I am proud that when it came  to serving our country in uniform the Hutchison men answered that call.

As this long and bitter war in Afghanistan and Iraq rages on I stop this day to take stock in what we have gained and lost.  As a pastor of the gospel I am sure that many people would think that I would be anti-war.  Not so.  As a christian I believe that there are "just" wars.  I believe that at certain times in our nation's life we have been called to protect the great freedoms that we all cherish.  Honestly, I have a little bit of a hard time trying to understand those who say, "I don't support the war but I do support our troops".  To me that is a little like saying, "Derek, I support you as a pastor but I don't support your church".  I am my church.  Those brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and cost guardsman are the war!

This country has been ripped apart at the very center debating whether this war is necessary.  On September 10th, 2001 maybe not.  But our country is not the same as it was on September 10th.  The reason is because we experienced September 11th.  It was on that day that my generation's "Pearl Harbor" occured.  It was on that day that my country was attacked and you just don't get to do that!  It was on that day the military might of these United States stepped forward and said "We will defend ourselves", no matter the cost.

You don't have to like  war, no one does.  Yet, I believe, that once our valiant military steps into the ring to fight you have to give them 100% support.  Should we be at war?  I don't know?  Was it really for oil that we sent our brave men and women to the middle east.  I haven't a clue.  What I do know is that they are over there now and I am going to support them every step of the way.

The veterans who founght in WW II have been called "The Greatest Generation".  At a time when tyranny threatened our way of life they stepped forward and defended that way of life.  As a christian I believe that all people have the right to be free.  All people have the right to determine their own destiny whether for good or for bad.  Individual freedom and the shaking off of the chains that bind us is a gift from God.  It doesn't matter whether those chains that bind us are spiritual or physical Christ came to set us free.  And if that is true, and it is, doesn't it stand to reason that if we are prepared to fight for our own freedoms shouldn't we be willing to fight for everyone's freedom?

This debate will rage on forever.  Red states will argue with blue states.  Democrats will argue with Republicans and Independents will try and find middle ground.  Those who loved President Bush will support the war and those who hated him will say it was for oil.  In the end, all that really matters is that our country has to be defended and it is up to our brave military to defend it.  In war time and in peace time the armed forces of the United States of America stand ready to answer the call to fight for freedom.  My father knew that, my uncles knew that, and my brother and I knew that.  We were privileged to serve. 

On this Veteran's Day of 2009 let us take a moment to remember those who gave what President Lincoln called, "the last full measure of devotion".  For those who served, thank you, and for those serving now my prayers are for you!

Jesus said, "there is no greater thing than for a man than to lay down his life for another".  May God bless you and may God bless the United States of America!



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Path Less Chosen


I have always been a fan of Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken:

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. 20

The idea of taking the road less traveled is a wonderful way of thinking of one's own life.  On my journey home I can think of a number of different paths I could have taken.  Those are the easy paths.  The path that is difficult to choose is that path that is not well worn.  It is the path where fear of the unknown is palpable.  This path is, in some ways, the path of Christianity.  Our faith calls us to travel the road that Christ traveled toward Golgatha, the place of the skull.  It is called the Via Dela Rosa, or the way of sorrows.

As Christ walked that long journey saddled with his cross he brought us with him.  Obviously, he knew the outcome, we don't.  Choosing to walk the path of faith can be a very frightening thing.  However, knowing where the path ends is what gives us hope.  None of know the future.  No one can predict what will happen tomorrow.  The experiences, both tragic and triumphant are veiled from us.  Yet, we do know that the reward of heaven is at the end of that path.  For me, that is good enough.

I like the path less traveld, the road not taken.  To me it is an opportunity to set out in faith!  I pray that your journey today, the path you choose to take, will make all the difference.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Give Thanks!


I apologize for the lack of posts this past week.  Business can swallow up your time and make it hard to do that which you really want to do.  However, this week did give me a chance to recognize all the thanks I need to give to God.  Friday, November 6th was my brother-in-law's birthday.  As usual we gathered together to have cake and ice cream.  Terry turned forty-six and when I ask him how old he was, HE TOLD THE TRUTH!

Now, I know it is custom that females don't really like to tell their true age.  However, when I heard Terry say he was 46 I thougt of how great it would bve for me to get to 46.  I have five more years to go!  Normally I probably wouldn't think about birthdays that much.  However, my life is anything but normal.  I can remember during my brain surgeries that I would  would pray for just one more day from God.

I have found on my journey home that each and every day that God gives me is special.  Realistically, I probably don't deserve those days.  But, then, none of us do.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Not one of us can say that I will be here in a week.

Because this fact is so true I want to challenege each of us to give God thanks for the day we have and the things He has blessed us with.  You may havenot survived brain surgery, but I've never had cancer, or the death of a child, or a number of other things that keep us from thinking that we can go on.  God gave us that next day and He has given us today but doesn't promise tomorrow.

Live today like it was your last.  Tell someone you love them, enjoy a sunrise or a sunset, take in God's creation and give Him the thanks for it.

I am looking forward to my 46th birthday.  But, if I don't get it I sure have enjoyed the ride!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Familiarity breeds Contentment


Life is funny!  I am not talking about the funny ha ha's of life.  I am talking about funny as in strange.  I use the word strange because it doesn't seem to matter who's life you look at some things are the same to everyone.  One thing that seems to be true for everyone is that we have things in our lives that we have become accustomed to.

As a result of my surgeries I have constant pain in my head.  I am not talking about the occasional headache or migraine.  I am talking about the kind of pain that you rate as a 7 on the "how bad does it hurt on a scale of 1 to 10" thing.  I have had it for 7 years now and it takes a toll on me.  Many people ask me how I can function in my life when I am dealing with that kind of pain.  My reply is always the same.  I tell them that, after a while, you kind of get used to the pain.  Now, that doesn;t mean that I don't feel it simply means that it has become so much a part of my daily life that I recognize it but have accustomed to it.

I think that becoming accustomed to things can be good or bad. I often wonder how many other things I have become accustomed to in my life.  There is danger in that thought.  Have I become so accustomed to my faith that I know longer recognize it's impact in my lefe?  Have I become so used to the Lord's parayer that I really don't even recognize and process it when we say it during worship?  Have I become so use to the Sacrament of Communion that I, simply, eat the bread and drink the juice without one single prayer or on single acknowledgement of God's gift to us in Christ Jesus?

On my journey home I have realized that a daily recognition of God's presence in my life keeps me motivated.  What about you?  Are there things in your life that you have become so accustomed to that you simply repeat it day after day with no thought or comprehension o what it is that you are really doing it for?

If this is the case I challenge you to stop and look at your life with new eyes.  Examine your life from the view point of newness.  Each day that we are given is a new challenge.  This challenge calls us to a realization of who we are and what we believe.  God has given each of us a new day to be inspired by Him.  Let's not waste it by, simply, repeating the same things over and over without ever stopping and deciding why it is that we are doing what we are doing.

I pray that your spiritual journey would be filled with a sense of newness each day.  I pray that God will inspire you to new ways of thinking and looking at the world.  And I pray that He will bless you in a miraculous way.  Until next time.  I will see you on the journey.