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All You Have To Do Is Ask

When I graduated from high school I had a member of my church who also wrote for the local weekly paper come up to me and tell me that a number of people in the community were upset with me. I was surprised and asked, “Why?” Apparently they were upset about the amount of scholarships and grants that I received at my high school’s awards assembly.

After my trip to the carrier last summer, a number of people (a little grumpily) asked, “How?” 

Check out this brief blurb in a newspaper from Jefferson City (close to my hometown), especially note the comments. In the comments you have an anonymous individual bashing the subject of the article and claiming that he shouldn’t be working for the Sheriff’s department because he’s sure there is a younger person who needs the job more.

What a load of bunk. This is exactly the same crap that I had to deal with. How did I get to go on the carrier? My mom and I asked the right questions at the right time. If we wouldn’t have asked I never would have got to go. How did I get so many scholarships and grants? I applied for every single scholarship and grant that I was eligible for and even applied on some that I wasn’t even sure I was eligible for. I let the committees decide. How did that guy get the job? He applied and went to school. Just because there are people who might want to get into law enforcement, doesn’t mean they should get the job on a “want.” They actually have to do something. The guy, while older, jumped at the opportunity and went for it. Cry me a river if you think he’s “too old” and cry me a river if you complain about what other people get when you didn’t try for it.

New Heaven and Dogs

During two summers in college I worked for the University of Missouri as a maintenance tech for the college of engineering. I did jobs ranging from helping at auctions, driving big trucks, demolition, and painting, with numerous other jobs thrown in there. During one job I was interacting with a young guy who grew up in Columbia. We were chatting and it turns out he was at one point a Lutheran, but had converted to the Episcopal Church. I inquired as to why he converted. His answer: my pastor told me my dog wouldn’t be in heaven.

Silence. That’s all I could muster at that point. I love my two dogs that are living with my family back in MO. I loved my dogs that have died (a number of beagles and black labs). They were wonderful companions for our whole family. However, they are dogs. I was certainly sad about their death and always felt bad when they were in pain. However, I state again, they are dogs. They are not humans. I talked more with the kid, but couldn’t get anywhere with him. I think his concerns were far more complex than just his “dog not getting into heaven.”

I never gave this much more thought until I had a class with Dr. Louis Brighton, author of the Concordia Commentary on Revelation available from CPH. We were discussing the “things to come,” specifically the new heaven and new earth spoken of in Revelation 21:1. He proposed that in fact we might find animals in the new earth. He comments on what is to come in his commentary on Revelation by referencing Isaiah 65:25, “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” Brighton points out that, “by way of the messianic reign here on earth, (this) is a typological picture of life in the new heaven and new earth after the judgment and resurrection at this present world’s end” (Brighton, 591). 

Undoubtedly there is still grief over loosing one’s pet. However, I think examining what has been described to us in the book of Revelation, we find comfort knowing that God will provide for a new creation, more peaceful than one can ever imagine and with more provisions than can ever be understood.

Last Stop Before Heaven

I love my home church, St. Paul Lutheran Church, California, Missouri. They are a faithful congregation with faithful members who hunger for God’s Word and don’t shy away from studying it. They also have a great sense of humor.

The older adult Bible class humorously refers to themselves as the “Last Stop Before Heaven” Bible class. That is the group I study with whenever I return home with Lisa. They took the following picture and sent it to me yesterday. What a hoot!

Treasury of Daily Prayer

Are you jealous… I got my copy of the Treasury of Daily Prayer today?

Only problem… I left it on my desk at work today. Bah.

Amish Annoyance

If you know me pretty well… you know that I have an unusual dislike… the amish.

This has all developed within the last four years or so. Where I grew up we have always had both Mennonites and Amish living in the general area. I think the Mennonites are wonderful, neighborly, and hardworking folks. The amish were never a problem until they moved about two miles away.

The have their buggies on the rode after dark nearly causing a bunch of accidents (at least three close calls in my family alone). They don’t understand the concept of private property (they’ve been in our fields at least two times). This has caused us to have to put up a new gate. Even more disturbing is that parts on people’s equipment comes up “missing” after the Amish have a problem with their equipment.

My biggest annoyance… their hypocrisy. Take this article from Fox News. What do the amish do… they get “taxi drivers.” If they can’t own a car or drive one… how is that they can ride in one? In the same light… how is that they can pay someone to do their cattle hauling? Or even more annoying… come to your house and ask to use your phone?

I’m going to spend some time helping out my mom and grandma for the next couple of days. I’m expecting the Amish to show up and ask to buy some property or equipment. Hopefully their buggy can go back down the hill quick because if it doesn’t my grandma has already said she’ll call the sheriff to arrest them for trespassing. 

Now I just need to go find some friendly, fresh, home-cooked Mennonite cooking…

Prayers for Grandpa

I’m sitting in the hospital (St. Mary’s-Jefferson City, MO) with my grandfather right now. I got in at about 10:30 p.m. last evening… and spent the night.

Over 13 years ago he had a single bypass, heart valve replacement, pacemaker implanted, and an internal defibrillator implanted. For the next 12 years he had no problems. A little over a year ago he had a bought with pneumonia and hasn’t been the same since. He’s been hospitalized at least four times this year alone. He was brought in by ambulance two nights ago when my grandma couldn’t get him out of his chair. He went into respiratory arrest last night and I rushed to Jeff City from St. Louis (I was coming this afternoon anyway to see grandpa and preach at my home church). My mom is currently driving from Washington, D.C. where she was at for her class reunion. The problems are: his kidney’s nearly quick working because of the lasix they gave him (last month) for pneumonia, also his blood pressure was down dramatically

This is especially difficult for me since I was raised by my mom, my grandma, and my grandpa. My father has never been in the picture (left when I was less than a year old) so my grandpa has been and still is my father. He taught me how to golf and still gives me tips. He taught me how to shoot. He taught me so many things about being a good man and being kind, gracious, and loving.

I ask for your prayers for him (his name is Elvis) and for my family.

Almighty God and gracious Father, in Your mercy look on those whose increasing years bring them weakness, anxiety, distress, or loneliness. Grant that they may always know care and respect, concern and understanding. Grant them willing hearts to accept help and, as their strength wanes, increase their faith with the constant assurance of Your love through Jesus Christ, their Savior. Amen.

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need, look with favor upon your servant Elvis. Assure him of Your mercy, deliver him from the temptations of the evil one, and give him patience and comfort in his illness. If it please You, restore him/her/them to health, or give him grace to accept this tribulation with courage and hope; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.