Sunday, December 14, 2014

Angels Song

This time of year and music go together, we hear Christmas music in stores, in churches and on our gadgets. We may be focused on what we are doing but in the background Christmas is in the air.

This year before I was really in the Christmas Spirit, a friend shared a link with me to the Plantatonix song "MARY DID YOU KNOW" from their album, that's Christmas to me.

I didn't know the group, but listened on my iPad to the Mary song. In about two minutes the Christmas Spirit and message got me. That song was just what I needed and many others as well. I immediately requested the album as a gift.

Have you found your song of Christmas? Music may get you where you would like to be. Music this time of year has a way of reaching our hearts and that is good because we need to have our hearts opened again and our eyes glisten with tears at the unbelievable wonder that the invasion of God is into our mundane, sad world.

That is is why God may send you a song to start speaking to your heart, don't miss it because after the tree is dragged out and the decorations put away, the song will linger in your heart.

What is the meaning of Christmas?

There are many good Christmas movies out there old and new. Recently, I watched Scrooge with Bill Murray. It is a crazy blending of Charles Dickens in the modern world.

The story is the same in the cold stinginess of both scrooges. There is a lack of concern for the poor and family right around them. After major wake up calls from a dead partner, a crazy taxi cab angel driver and a manic Christmas angel, the modern Scrooge played by Murray does a dramatic change and becomes human, loving and reconnects with all. Of course there is a Tiny Tim, but you need to watch the movie.

Christmas is about more than parties and good will. Christmas is about divine intervention that brought Emmanuel to us. Of all the most merciful in this world, including the saints, and all the great givers here, there never was nor will be a bigger giver and character changer than Jesus Christ
Of Nazareth.

He was rich, but for our sake became poor. He was sinless but went to the cross for you and for me.
He, alone, changes hearts and makes us become what He designed us go be. Do not, in whatever you are doing this year, and maybe you have had some wake up calls, miss Christmas. 

Get the message? Repent and Be Forever Changed!

Give Yourself As A Blessing!

This year is different for us. There will be no family and friends gathered around a large table filled with children and friends. While others are driving to gatherings, we are home in a blanket of white snow quite foreign to us transplanted Californians. But, a curious thing has happened this year. We started to be very thankful early. Thankful for this home. Thankful that we have heat. Thankful for so many things that is almost like the food and the day aren't that important.

We have a small local turkey. There will be potatoes and gravy etc. but the main thing we are bringing to the table is our hearts of Thanksgiving.

Want to know something? I don't think this one will be bad at all.

Feeling like you aren't having things the way they used to be? Embrace where you are and give thanks. This is an offering that pleases God. I am suddenly thinking of a boy from camp who was asked by Patty what they had for Thanksgiving. He hung his head and said. "WE DIDNT HAVE ANY FOOD."

This really happened. If you are feeling blue about what you don't have this year, I have an idea for you: JUMP OVER THE WALL OF SELF PITY. Sit down at your desk and write a generous check out to organisations that feed the poor like Second Harvest Food Bank.
Get out of your house and go serve meals to the poor. Many places need your Hands to help serve. While you forget yourself, you will discover Gods mercy in action and find your true Thanksgiving!

Being Open and Accepting

One of my friends in San Jose was astonished that we would move out of state away from family and friends. She thought I was very brave. In fact, I wasn't but there had been much prayer over the past few years and this was right for my husband and me.

God has all of the change in mind. It isn't such a bad thing to have to start over and assess everything. We can see what isn't important and what is. My call to reach out to children hadn't changed and in fact I started finding out much about the need here in Idaho and in the schools. I was shocked to see how many needs there were. I reached out and there was some response but it wasn't easy because people didn't know me and I didn't know them.

We can't make a friend in ten seconds no matter what Facebook thinks. ;-) Even as we get to know Christians in a new area, we have to take time. They have to make time. It can be frustrating.

But, waiting is never a waste of time, if we are waiting on God. He knows how he is guiding his sheep. He knows exactly where you are...better than any GPS. You may feel lost or scared but God is there tracking you all the time.

"Fear not," Jesus said. "I am with you.."

The great constant in our lives as Christians is not where we are or who we know it is that the Lord knows us, his sheep, and is moulding and training us for the next step. Be patient and wait.

My First Experience at Craig's List

I have recently used Craig's List. Always the first time... A few pictures of extra wood was posted to get rid of here in my home town, Idaho. It got 28 hits within two days. They all wanted wood for warmth and to put the wood in a stove or fireplace. It was getting pretty cold here but this response brought that home to me.

Marketing is about filling a need. When the avenue is something as clean as Craig's List, it is a snap. Everyone is going to get cold here. Of less response have been the extra dog run and two old kayaks.

The person you market to, must feel the need. When the need is matched to the product and the price is right, then there is a sale. In the case of firewood...  FREE seemed go be the word that got people motivated. The more we know about the customer's need, the more likely marketing leads to sale. Craig's List makes it possible for things to happen fast.

I took a picture of what I was selling, wrote a brief notice, pushed the publish button and waited for the results. I am told that Craig's List has under 30 employees and I wondered how they made their money. Some of you may know.

Trying something new. It may be challenging but worth it.

Going Light

It wasn't easy to pack in a roll aboard for one week trip. I had to think and choose carefully.  I couldn't take all the changes I wanted, only the essential things.

Like life, we think we need to carry so much but we don't. We just need the things that make us strong. I pack a Bible. I pack what I need for exercise. I consider the weather and packed two pairs of shoes plus soft slippers for the hotel.

Having just moved far too much in the way of worldly goods from one state to another, I am rethinking what we is really needed. Many fewer things than we think. We don't really need another outfit, we need to go through and give to others who really could use our excess baggage. I am finding going light really is fun. It is easy to move with less.

More material things will never deeply satisfy us. I am thankful for clothes and shelter but these are not what really brings joy. Have a look at excess in your closet and the baggage of the world you carry. Isn't it time to let go and get real with yourself about what really matters.


Think about it today and act on it soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

You Can Do It

Yesterday at the gym, I saw a woman on a machine that was loaded with weights and she was getting ready to bench press all of them. I must have looked surprised. I am a novice when it comes to complicated machines.

"You can do it" she said. I laughed. "You can take the weights off".

Her words "You can do it" just rang in my ears. How seldom we hear that from anyone. She was young and fit and well I well....

One of the things we need most is encouragement as I wrote before. In any area we need to know that someone thinks that we can do it.

In our hearts we may fear trying something new. We may think negatives about volunteering, for example, and think I could never do that. I have no talents or not enough time.

Most of the team working with us for children have very demanding jobs. They have "no time" but they make time to come to meetings and serve once a year at camp for one week.

We all have 24 hours per day. How much time do we give to being entertained. I am not against that: it is just the amount. If we have no time to give back in our neighborhoods, or churches, or community, are we really being salt and light as Jesus said we were to be.

If we sat down with a child and helped tutor that child for a couple of hours a week, would that kill our day runners? Would helping a child stay in school and be encouraged and not drop out by 8th grade make a difference?

Many years ago I had a year substituting in high school. I taught almost everything except boys PE. Algebra was tough for me because I always had a hard time in math. So, I went very, very slowly over the problems on the board. Too my surprise, I got a call from a students mother begging me to tutor her son who was flunking out of algebra.

"He can't understand Mr. X," she said "but he can follow you because you are so slow". This mother literally begged me to "take on" her son. Reluctantly, I started but soon realized that I could help him by studying his book and going very slowly, yes very slowly with him on the problems."

His mother kept having a "YOU CAN DO IT" message to me and kept me posted on her son's progress. He made an A in the course and I was surprised, and delighted.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Words of Encouragement

It is really hard to believe how powerful our words are for good or for harm in people's lives.

I have spent some time today reading birthday cards, notes from teachers about kids, thank you notes and other things collected for a second reading. The reason these cards are so important is that they have something encouraging to say to me about a family party or accomplishment of children.

 Of interest is that many of these people are no longer on planet earth. The dear notes from my mother. The very lovely notes from Eloise Hardman, first secretary of Project Lost Sheep.

The night we were incorporated Eloise said. "I will do the job but I don't do the computer." She was about 80 at the time. Eloise was a real encourager. She always had time to listen to me and she noted with interest the development of the kids. She always had something positive to say. She also would invite me over to her house and as a young mom I really appreciated the time to sit in her living room in the quiet.

 Eloise Hardman was a dear friend. Without her willingness to back me up, there would not have been the required person to sign our official papers. Are you thinking you are too old to do anything? Think again. And do write notes of encouragement to your grown children, your grandchildren, and anyone you can say something about that encourages them.

We live by in large in a distrustful and cold world. People who encourage us are like gas in the tank. They keep us going. Even years later, an old birthday card, or Christmas card with personal note or Mother's Day card can give us an uplift.

"Do not neglect to do good when it is in your power to do it." We need to build each other up in love.

If writing isn't our thing then find someone to call on the phone and allow thirty minutes. No short cuts to really encourage someone who may be lonely and needed your voice just to lift their day.

God is full of mercy. When we extend ourselves and see and say what is positive in others we are helping that person to grow and be grounded in love. We need each other. We can't get strong unless we build each other up. It's as simple as that.

If you are thinking of someone right now, it is time for you to act. Don't wait. 

Washington DC

The last time I was here was seven years ago. There are areas of redevelopment that is much needed. The homeless seem to be everywhere. Those afflicted with drugs are obvious. The mental illness can be seen in crazy talk on the streets. A brief encounter with a restaurant manager confirmed that our work for children is needed here.

I am praying for a leader and a church that wants to reach out to the poor children so in time the city may be changed. We are instructed by the Word. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Who will rise up with us for the children here?

Seeds grow

This afternoon I have been looking at pictures of campers from past camps. We started in Redwood City in 04 with approximately 40 campers. We have planted in young lives many good seeds of truth from Gods word.

Now over 1000 children have been through a Touchdown kids camp. I am not excited about the number but I am interested in how God has grown the seeds planted in these lives, last year a child came to camp. After that the entire family came into the church, this family is now growing in faith and love with all kinds of help.

If you look at a seed, it seems insignificant. As a child I just couldn't believe that those tiny seeds put in dirt would in time produce a plant with flowers. We know that the Word of God is so powerful that one verse can cause a grown man to fall to his knees, repent and be saved. These Biblical seeds planted in children's lives now may not seen to be active but they are inside the child and will grow in time according to Gods purpose.

What seeds are you planting in the children around you. There are all kinds but the kind that last are seeds of the Kingdom of God. I see the pictures of campers from 07. Where are they all now? We have worked the soil and planted the seed. We have done the job and will continue to work as doors are opened in other cities.

We have prayed. I think of my friend, Audrey Hosteler, who prayed in the Founders group. I once asked her how she got so much prayer in. She said, while she was working grooming pets. She put lots of love and care into the start of Project Lost Sheep. The seeds she planted in me have lasted because I never give up. God wants all the children to receive His blessings. It is not His will that any of these little ones be lost. Do you believe that?

If you can pray, please do this for us. Prayer changes things. We need your help to breakthrough in cities like Bakersfield, San Bernadino and Chicago. Prayer is the shovel that turns over the ground so we can go in and plant and plant and plant.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cafe Time

This has become an impersonal world. The speed of internet communication is a blessing but it can be an excuse not to sit down and get to know someone face to face.

We all need a place to meet outside of work. How can we love others if we don't know anything about them? We are commanded as Christians to love one another.

Here are some simple steps to that end:
1. Pick someone you nod at as you go by. Stop. Talk to them for a couple of minutes.

2. Next time mention that you like to go to x cafe for lunch or dinner. Reveal something of yourself. Tell the person why you like the place. Then listen to the response.

3. Stop again and talk to the person about anything of general concern. In this crazy world the person is getting to assess whether or not you are safe to be around.

4. Stop. Converse. Mention you would like to have coffee or lunch sometime.

Please note how often the process involves you stopping. This isn't easy unless you ask God to give you more love for others and focus on them rather than self. We can love because we have been and are loved.

A very busy mother and I started with messaging. I hated to bother her. She was home schooling 4 children. My husband thought it very strange that I was messaging my next door neighbour.

"WHY DONT YOU JUST GO OUT TOGETHER", he said. So, of course, I sent a text message and we went out to a local cafe.

We had a great visit and she could rest. She mentioned another neighbour with a serious need. We three went out and real concern and trust came about.

I was surprised last night to be treated to dinner and given a going away present by my cafe friends. Yes, I felt cared for and valued.

Now I am moving, but cafe time will continue. I trust they will invite someone else, I have found my new cafe and it is just a matter of stopping and talking on the new block.

When we stop and care, the impersonal becomes personal. We can be known and know others so that the Love of God can be seen and felt amongst all of us.

Olga's Story

Before I leave San Jose, here is a true story of a mother that raised 3 successful sons in the south side of San Jose.

Olga and her husband came from Mexico with nothing except a dream of a better life in America. Her husband took any job to support the family. She became the stay-at-home mom who watched everything including her sons who shared school life with her. She had vigilant eyes and I can tell you from observation that Olga has a strong work ethic and is happy to clean toilets and the gym.

Her story unfolded over a number of visits with her. When her middle son was in junior high, he just announced to her that he wouldn't be going to school that day. He wasn't sick – he just felt lazy.

"Fine," Olga, said, "Here is the broom. You can go outside now and sweep all the leaves until they are gone." He swept and swept. When his friends walked by, he still was busy. This son graduates from San Jose State this December in criminology.

Good parenting is essential. Olga never let down her vigilance. She went through their backpacks and clothes pockets everyday. She knew where they were at all times. No parties happened without adults present in the house. Parenting takes lots of work. Kids can still make bad choices, but discipline and a strong work ethic plus insistence on an education have paid off. 

Olga was shocked to tell me about friends who had worked hard at their jobs but grown sons, dropped out of school, now sit around the house, expecting parents to feed, clothe them, etc.
In Project Lost Sheep, we encourage education and we also have Parenting Classes, because adults need reinforcement to do the job.
"My husband has always backed up the discipline," Olga says. "He has gone from temporary jobs to having his own business of a floor installation company".

Let's applaud those who work hard to make the real American Dream.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Being Angry

It happens.
We are not perfect even if we have walked with the Lord a long time. We are subject to weariness, irritation and sometimes triggers that can set off the flame of anger.

Anger is dangerous to us and others. Anger causes us to separate ourselves from another. Anger is like fire: it can destroy everything. Be careful and be truly sorry when anger starts to rule you.

Anger does not do any good for you or anyone you lash out at. Jesus said; "Do not let the sun go down on your anger and give the devil a foothold."

I like this because it is real. He didn't say we won't get angry. He just said: Get rid of that day's anger on that day. Anger that is held over night does become a place where the devil can work. A foothold is something that will drag you backwards and keep you from going forward. You can't play with fire and not get burned.

A suggested prayer: "I got angry today. I said some words that I shouldn't have said. Lord, I am truly sorry and ask you to forgive me this breach of your Spirit. Calm me and heal me of bad habits of speaking too fast back as emotion, rather than you, rule.

It is a Decision. Make That Decision.
I chose to forgive x for what he or she said that triggered my response. But, it was my response and I own that and ask you to forgive and release me. I don't want the devil to drag me back or have any foothold in my life. Thank you, Lord, that you forgive me my sins. You are my living Lord and I want to walk in your light."

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Easter Means

Many Americans have lost lots of money in the stock market but there is one thing I would like to say that is good about the stock market. It is closed on Good Friday and has been every Good Friday in all the many years it has been in operation.

In America, banks used to be closed for part of the day on Good Friday, so that people could go to church to prepare for Easter. Many other businesses were closed that now are open and that is a real shame. Because, we all of us need to think about Good Friday and reflect on what happened, whether or not we are able to accept Jesus's sacrifice there. The Bible states that Jesus died ONCE FOR ALL. His blood on the cross opened a way to God that we who were in darkness might come into the light and know peace with God because of Good Friday.

Jesus knew and told his disciples that he would be handed over to the Gentiles and be mocked discouraged and crucified. Jesus prayed for this "cup" of suffering to pass, but it was not God's will that the cross would not happen. Jesus died as the sacrificial lamb for us. Jesus also predicted that in three days he would rise again.

This is Easter. The great triumph of His life over the death that is inherent in man through his sin nature. Can I have peace with God any other way? Can I do enough good deeds to get into heaven? Can I be a better person than someone else and get there? Can I do all kinds of sacrificial things to earn my way? The answer to all of these is NO.

That is why we must put our eyes on the cross. The cross may seem foolish to the some but God is wiser and has provided for all of us.

Do you want peace? There is only one way to get lasting peace. Acknowledge the cross. Suggested prayer: God, thank you. I accept your son's death on the cross for my salvation.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Visiting Pasadena, one of cities in LA where foundation prayer has been laid. Pasadena has a school system that would be benefited by tutor programs. Poverty mixes with affluence. Churches abound. Previous generations have built magnificent buildings mainly empty now.

Sam - How Great Thou Art

Only a 5 year old boy! Not only does this boy have a good voice, he also sings from his heart. You can understand the words......wait till you hear this!

Here is My Song- Kim Walker

Seeking the Lost

Have you ever been stuck in a long line?  I was today. There was a man at the post office who was in a rant over mail that hadn't been delivered. He was taking much time and so we waited for the only other post office person.  I could have stepped out of line but you know once you are in it you are committed plus I didn't know how long this ranting person would go on. Well, he went on and on.

So I began to notice the woman ahead of me. A pleasant young asian woman who was using her smart phone. I asked her if she liked it and she responded she did. As time went by I started to talk to her about our program for youth at the Korean Church. She was interested and put on her phone pertinent information.

She was ahead of me and finally she went to the window. To my surprise, she was still waiting after I was finished.

Where is that Korean Church she wanted to know. I told her and it then became clear to me that we were in the case of a lost sheep. "How long have you been in America?"

"One year" she said. I then started to tell her how wonderful the church was and the time of the service. A long line led to a connection between this seeking Korean woman and a possible church home. This delay was not an accident.  Be aware that sometimes you are put on hold so that you can talk to someone about God.

Jesus said, "I came to seek and save the lost." Nothing has changed in this plan.  He is still doing this through us. Think about how much He wanted the lost sheep. He was willing to go to the cross to reconcile people to God.

Maybe if we just "get" the program, if I just get it faster, I will be aware of what is happening the next time I am held up by a long line.

Persistence and Perseverence Goes a Long Way

I was encouraged recently in again asking for car donations from a gas station manager that had been approached before. This time I spoke to one of his workers who then passed on the need to the other person.

It was God's timing because this time THE MESSAGE WAS HEARD. We need to be persevering in our telling others about what we are about and what we are offering. 

Repetition is one of the things we learn to remember things. But, persevering sometimes means saying the same thing over and over. Teachers know this as do sales people. There is a moment of receptivity and we don't know when this is.

There is a local preacher who preserves in asking people if they would like to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. This is an invitation that happens almost weekly. This week, there were 3 responses.

So, we continue to ask, like the persistent widow, for what we need from God. Persist in prayer. Keep at it. God hears and wants to respond but He knows whether we are only giving lip service or really praying from the heart. Today, I was encouraged that a total stranger said yes to praying for the city of Laguna for our work. Of course, there is trouble in rich communities, but we cannot come to the city unless someone is in prayer and cares.

Do you care? Will you persist in knocking at the door of heaven? Will you ask others for what we need? A few minutes of your time can and will transform the children and in time the city. 

Jesus said. "You have not, because you ask not." 
America, it is time to rediscover asking God.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Up in the Air

How do those Olympic ski people go backwards up in the air and do somersaults. And land on their feet backwards.

We watch and are dumbfounded. The answer is, they are trained for the impossible by years of doing small jumps? And not being afraid of falling because they know now to roll. Of course it is. Dangerous and to the non expert skier it looks well nigh impossible.

Every excellent in sports involves training and experience. No one gets to the top without discipline and self denial and a good coach. It is in the life of the spirit. We need to listen to our instructions. We must know who we are serving and we are not competing for an earthly gold medal but for something much more lasting.

We will feel pain. We will be disciplined for our own good, but if we stay the course, we will be able to do things for God, we could never have imagined.

Good Old Fashioned American Service

Businesses spend lots of money on figuring out how to win customers. There are all kinds of little words that banks use now to sound more engaging to customers. As for example: How is your day going? Have a nice day! Or any plans for the weekend?

Are we won over by these pasted on programs? The answer is I am not buying into it. Very few people on the other side of the counter really listen to what the customer says.

So, I had a big surprise when a teller remembered something I said from making a transaction with her before. She asked about the class I was attending. It was like a real person listening to me and expressing interest. Was she really interested? There is too much pretend service.

Young people today need to be trained in order to serve. If they are fortunate enough to have basic Christian values taught them in the home, they may extend this in their work area. We need to get back to real service by thanking and underlining when someone really does listen and respond to us in the business area.

And reality check: Are we, am I, becoming sucked into superficiality by the culture? Jesus took people one at a time. He was never too rushed to hone in on the needs of the individual before him. Our basic service values in this country come from a Biblical base. We need to serve each other and we need to know each other and be as real as we can in a very phony plastic society that is fast loosing its moorings in what made it great.

Don't fool yourself. If you want to build up your business or grow a church, you better become more real and work real hard at that. Results are not from programs or slogans or false interest. Results happen when we find that we can be real as we transact our business and that the person on the other end is trustworthy and will do more than just go through the motions.

Monday, February 3, 2014

People Change People

We are greatly influenced by those around us. If we are at a sports club we may be much more aware of bodies, and ours, in particular. The values that the leaders are holding out is the importance of fitness so we will tend to "measure up" and "work out" harder than if we were somewhere else.

When we are in church or around people of faith we may feel more influenced toward praying or thinking about a supreme being. When we have friends who are people of faith we become attuned to faith waves and our faith can grow as we see how God works in real time and situations.

If we have parents who expect us to do well in school, unless we are rebellious, we will tend to study, do our homework, and aim for a higher education. If on the other hand, our parents do not have these values, we will be influenced to be just like them. Recently, I have been reading how no matter how much money gets pumped into school systems like Chicago and Kansas City, the level of achievement remains very low. Because, it is people that influence people, not the buildings they are educated in.

In mentoring a child, a teacher must be a real model who cares for each child. This is really impossible in over crowded class rooms. There is no time for the one to one.

That is why Project Lost Sheep encourages tutoring programs for elementary students inside churches in poorer areas. The place is safe but the love and care of the people doing the tutoring is even more important.

In San Jose high school students come in for one hour to tutor in math or English, the children who have no one who can help them at home. In the joyful atmosphere of food, games and community that happens in the first hour, the door is opened for the timid child to try hard to do his homework.

People influence people. Never forget that those who carve their initials in your life and stamp you with their attitudes will make a difference in you, and in your children, for good or for evil.

Children are out there who do not have a chance of surviving without intervention. See yourself as a problem solver by becoming involved in influencing a child. You won't be sorry you gave a few hours of your time.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

After Christmas Blues

After Christmas can be a time of low spirits for many. The lights are put away. The parties are over. Normal life begins again. And yet, and yet, God still gives us a bright spots to feel and see.

Today, in northern California, it a remarkably spring like day. The sun shines. We need rain badly but still it is a day to enjoy and be outside. I had lunch outside by a pool. This is not normal in January.

It is a bright spot: a gift to enjoy. I can rejoice in it and enjoy it or not as I choose but God really likes to see us enjoy the bright spots, the peaceful moments. It is hard not to love a day like this. This bright spot is given to us to enjoy "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

There are bright spots all around us in winter. I have discovered music on I pad and enjoy my own play list. We can rejoice and listen in winter and have the time to hear the notes of accomplished musicians.

I always am amazed at the thought of how many hours went into the practice that is presented in the finished album. With amazing sound quality I am present, a little audience of one, to hear masterful performances.

God has given us all things to enjoy.

The laugh of a child. A kind word from a friend. A show about birds: the life of birds on Netflix. look for the color under the water! See the diversity of God. The Lord knows that we need these bright spots to lift up our spirits.

Look for the bright spots in your day today.