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Archive for June, 2014

Some People Can See Into the Future.

mission1

We have been in a battle for a while now about mission and mercy, welfare and faith, witness apart from Christ.  We had this argument with some years ago about not giving a Christian witness or offering a prayer when helping people get out from the effects of natural disasters and tragic circumstances.  We argue about a Christian witness without any acts of mercy at all.  We argue about witnessing to Jesus and not trying to bring people into the Lutheran church, as if these people can develop a faith apart from the church in which the spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies.  When God calls someone to faith He calls them into fellowship with Christ and with a community of faith.

Carl Braaten was a powerful churchman and teacher years ago. He was a professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  He wrote a book called “Eschatology and Ethics” in which he made this prescient remark.  Remember he wrote this in 1974.

“It is necessary to warn against a careless disregard for all the Christian character of the churches involvement in welfare activity.  The spirit of the times is dictating a self-defeating kind of tolerance which makes the church and easy victim of secularism. It is at work in all the churches auxiliaries, including it’s colleges and agencies. According to the spirit the church is guilty of discrimination and zealotry if it insists on Christian commitment and articulateness on the part of those who represent its services in the world.  I am ashamed to see how often Christians, even in high posts of leadership, are themselves ashamed of the implications of the gospel truth they profess to believe and have to declare. There will be a trend for the infiltration of the ranks of the army of Christian social workers by fifth columnists who mean to do good and serve people who do not share the faith of Jesus Christ. This will bring about it a further weakening of Christian witness in the world, an erosion of faith, a diminishment of the sacrificial spirit, because people will be in it for a job. And the job is a job. It is exchangeable for another job, a better job. No vocation, no calling.”

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Our Shield and Great Reward

sheild and reward

There are in Genesis 15,  four statements that are made for the first time in the Bible that are of amazing import.  They are repeated many time afterwards but here in the story of Abraham they make their grand entrance.

Abraham after his defeat of a King that had plundered cities and taken his nephew and family prisoner, had returned to his place and probably terrified of what that King would do.  It was a good bet that a King in that position would return with another army and exact his revenge.  Abraham had been in the land that God had promised him for ten years and nothing had happened.  No child, no land, nothing that God had promised had come.  It was into this situation of relief at a battle won and fear of a battle yet to be, of promises made that had not been kept, that kind of twilight between exhilaration and exhaustion and depression that “the Word of the Lord came”  I take that to mean that Christ came because Christ is “the Word of the Lord”.  Christ came with a word of strength and peace and assurance.  For the first time in the Scriptures the Word of the Lord came.

For the first time a command is made that will ring out through the centuries.  It will be spoken to Moses and Gideon and frightened Prophets and frightened disciples and to us at the end of the age – “don’t be afraid”.

For the first time God is called our” shield and great reward”.

For the first time the word “believed” is used in terms of trusting and saving faith.  Centuries later Paul the Apostle would write that “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

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Doing God a Favor?

GalatiansHuman beings, and even Christians sometimes get to a point in their thinking and faith that –

“God is put in the position of a debtor and is in duty-bound to reward a good work with the gift of eternal life. This is a wicked teaching…………   If I could perform any work acceptable to God and deserving of grace, and once having obtained grace my good works would continue to turn for me the right and reward of eternal life, why should I stand in need of the grace of God and the suffering and death of Christ? Christ would be of no benefit to me. Christ mercy would be no use to me.” So says Luther and his commentary on Galatians.

How often do we go to the length of  believing we would be doing God a favor if we return to him. So God becomes dependent on the grace of man.

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Big Week in North Dakota.

willow city

This was and is a big weekend in the North Dakota District.  I have written about this on June 21 and June 8.  One of the articles is my memories of Willow City and Willow Creek.  I wrote a songs about those memories.  The other was about two Pastors that I respect a great deal, one who retired last week and the other  who will be retiring –  Pastor O’Brien and Pastor Johnson .  Please read that article too and remember them in your prayers.  It would fun to hear from folks who were raised in Willow City or who went to church at Willow Creek.  We have a church at Willow City as well.  Willow City, ImmanuelRev. Josh Reimche  who is also the Pastor at Our Savior in Bottineau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With God All Things Are Possible.

is anything too hard for God

The wonderful story of God’s promise to Abraham that he would have a child in his old age gives us the marvelous image of Sarah  laughing when she hears the words. Behind the walls of the tent she thinks to herself, “can I be sure that I will have a child in my old age?”  The comic image here quickly turns deadly serious. God asks “why did Sarah laugh and say can I actually be with child when I’m old?”  In the middle of this tragic and comic conversation one incredible question stands out – “is anything too hard for the Lord?”
I have an antique book I finally got around to reading.  It is called Abraham: or, The Obedience of Faith.. F.B Meyer Wrote it and this is his response to that question.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord”? That is one of Gods unanswered questions. It’s laying there for 3000 years, perused by myriads, answered by none; unless indeed the words of Jeremiah are the only answer which mortal man can give: “O Lord God behold You have made the heavens and earth by your great power and stretched out arm and there is nothing too hard for you.” It may seem too hard to the verge of impossibility, that ever God should keep his word, in the conversion of that friend for whom you have a warrant to pray, according to 1 John 5:16.  Hard to vindicate your character from the aspersions with which it has been befouled. Hard to keep your evil nature in the place of death; and to cast down your evil imaginings, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Hard to make you sweet and gentle, forgiving and loving. Hard to produce from you the fruits of a lovely and holy nature. And maybe hard; but it is not too hard for the Lord. “With God all things are possible”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Christian Persecution – Here and Elsewhere.

Nigeria

The War on Christians

From Africa, to Asia, to the Middle East, they’re the world’s most persecuted religious group

Paul Marshall

June 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39

For at least three reasons, the contemporary persecution of Christians demands attention: It is occurring on a massive scale, it is underreported, and in many parts of the world it is rapidly growing.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that Christians are suffering persecution in more places today than any other religious group; between 2006 and 2012, Pew says, they were targeted for harassment in 151 countries—three-quarters of the world’s states. Similar findings are reported by the Vatican, Newsweek, the Economist, and the 60-year-old Christian support group Open Doors. Most people in the West are unaware of these facts, though that may be changing.

A few cases do get press coverage—the desperate plight of Meriam Ibrahim, for instance, who gave birth in a Sudanese prison just the other day. She was raised a Christian, but after officials learned that her long-absent father was a Muslim, she was sentenced to death for apostasy—for leaving Islam. And since in Sudan a Muslim woman may not be married to a Christian, her marriage to her American husband was declared void, and she was convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes to be administered before her execution. These punishments will be dropped if she renounces her Christian faith, which she steadfastly refuses to do.

Another case receiving attention is North Korea’s sentencing of a South Korean missionary, Kim Jong-uk, to life with hard labor. On May 30, he was convicted of espionage and trying to start a church. North Korea also still holds Kenneth Bae, an American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor on charges of trying to use religion to overthrow the political system.

The Chinese government’s demolition of the 3,000-member Sanjiang church in Wenzhou on April 28 was newsworthy partly because of the church’s size, but also because Sanjiang was not an “underground” church but an official, approved, government-registered “Three-Self” church. Some 20 other official churches in the area have had all or parts of their buildings removed or demolished, and hundreds more are threatened with destruction.

And, most notorious, the abduction into slavery of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria on April 14 by the al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram led news cycles and tweets for a time, though the religious dimensions of the story were often played down. While the kidnapped girls include Muslims (Boko Haram regards them as apostates because of their Western education), most are Christians, seized in a predominantly Christian area and now subjected to forced conversion.

These events get media attention because they are particularly poignant, or dramatic, or involve foreigners, but our media miss countless other stories. Since the kidnappings, Boko Haram has killed—not kidnapped, killed—hundreds of people, many in the predominantly Christian Gwoza area of Borno State, destroyed 36 churches, and kidnapped at least 8 more girls. On June 1, it attacked a Christian area in neighboring Adamawa state, killing 48 people. In Sudan, a second woman, Faiza Abdalla, has been arrested on suspicion of converting to Christianity, and on April 8 a court terminated her marriage to a Catholic. Iran is imprisoning and torturing pastors from the rapidly growing house church movement, including an American citizen, Pastor Saeed Abedini. Vietnam has imprisoned over 60 Christian leaders. Eritrea holds more than 1,000 Christians in conditions so inhumane that prisoners die or are permanently crippled. In Somalia, in an ignored religious genocide, Al-Shabaab systematically hunts Christians and kills those it finds.

Of course, people of all religions suffer persecution for their faith or lack thereof—the situations of Baha’is and Jews in Iran, Ahmadis and Hindus in Pakistan, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong in China, independent Buddhists in Vietnam, and Rohingya Muslims in Burma are particularly dire. Traditionally, the United States has been regarded as the country that advocates religious freedom for all, often to the disdain of other Westerners. In recent years, however, that has changed. Now America is quieter, while others speak up.

British prime minister David Cameron said recently that “our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world” and “We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other religious groups wherever and whenever we can, and should be unashamed in doing so.” German chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly stressed that Christians are the world’s most widely persecuted religious group. Probably most outspoken of all is Vladimir Putin; no doubt this reflects geopolitical calculation, but the fact remains that he is stressing the matter.

The Italian Foreign Ministry has established an “Observatory on Religious Freedom.” Quite properly, it is concerned with all religions, but its genesis was the upsurge in killings of Christians. Two years ago it hosted a conference on “Stopping the Massacre of Christians in Nigeria.” Former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner established a similar agency in the Quai d’Orsay, and later the ministry gave financial backing to an “Observatory of Cultural and Religious Pluralism” devoted to monitoring “attacks on freedom of conscience, on freedom of expression, and freedom of religion around the world,” particularly with respect to the Arab Spring. Canada now has an ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, a title borrowed from the United States.

In the United States, meanwhile, the position of U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom is vacant, as it has been for over half of President Barack Obama’s tenure. Even when the position has been filled, in the last decade it has usually been marginalized. President Obama gave a great speech on religious freedom at the National Prayer Breakfast, but little action followed.

The United States has marginalized the issue in other ways, too.

After the massacre of 25 Copts by the Egyptian military on October 9, 2011, the White House lamented the “tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces” (emphasis added) and called for “restraint on all sides.” As my colleague Sam Tadros commented, “I call upon the security forces to refrain from killing Christians, and upon Christians to refrain from dying.”

On Easter morning in 2012, a church in Kaduna, Nigeria, was the target of a Boko Haram suicide car bombing that killed 39 and wounded dozens. (The previous Christmas, Boko Haram had bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church outside the capital, Abuja, killing 44 worshipers, and also attacked churches in the towns of Jos, Kano, Gadaka, and Damaturu.) There was no official comment from the Obama administration about the Kaduna massacre on Christians’ holiest day. Instead, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a press release celebrating the Romani people and demanding that Europe become more inclusive of them.

At the beginning of the State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom for 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry stated, “While Christians were a leading target of societal discrimination, abuse, and violence in some parts of the world, members of other religions, particularly Muslims, suffered as well.” The assertion is incontrovertible, yet the wording elides the truth: Christians are not just “a leading target,” they are the leading target. American officials seem so scared of being accused of selectively defending Christians that they consistently overcompensate and minimize what is happening.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches are more outspoken now than they were in the past, partly because the plight of their brethren, especially in the Middle East, is so stark. Pope Benedict XVI raised the issue many times. Pope Francis, speaking three days after the September 22, 2013, suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, in which over 80 congregants were killed, urged Christians to examine their consciences about their response to anti-Christian persecution: “Am I indifferent to that, or does it affect me like it’s a member of the family? .  .  . Does it touch my heart, or doesn’t it really affect me, [to know that] so many brothers and sisters in the family are giving their lives for Jesus Christ?”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in his November 11, 2013, address as he stepped down from chairing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke of the “Via Crucis currently being walked by so many of our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, who are experiencing lethal persecution on a scale that defies belief.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has observed that “even the simple admission of Christian identity places the very existence of [the] faithful in daily threat,” and Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations, has been raising the issue with American churches for several years.

Happily, there are signs that some Americans are again paying attention to the issue. Last month on Capitol Hill, a wide coalition of Christian leaders was convened by the co-chairs of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, representatives Frank Wolf of Virginia, a Republican, and Anna Eshoo of California, a Democrat. They committed themselves to a “Pledge of Solidarity and Call to Action for Religious Freedom in the Middle East.”

Although the persecution of Christians is widespread—Nigeria is where most are actually being killed, North Korea is the most repressive, China represses the largest number—the Pledge of Solidarity focuses on the Middle East and specifically on Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. These are countries where the situation has deteriorated rapidly to the point where Christian communities—along with smaller religious minorities such as Mandeans, Yezidis, Baha’is, and Ahmadis—now face “an existential threat to their presence in the lands where Christianity has its roots.”

In the last decade, half of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country, and many others have fled to the Kurdish region. In three days last August, Egypt’s Coptic Christians experienced the worst single attack against their churches in 700 years—with 40 churches utterly destroyed and over 100 other sites severely damaged. Tens of thousands of Copts are estimated to have fled their homeland. Syria’s Christians, like all Syrians, are caught in the middle of a brutal war, but, according to the pledge, they “are also victims of beheadings, summary executions, kidnappings, and forcible conversions, in deliberate efforts to suppress or eradicate their religious faith.”

Too often these communities in the ancient heartland of Christianity have been forgotten. Speaking in Rome in December, Baghdad’s Catholic Chaldean patriarch, Louis Sako, lamented, “We feel forgotten and isolated. We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of Christians in the West? Would they do something then?”

In Washington, pledges like this new one tend to have about as much staying power as campaign promises. Still, there are reasons to believe that the Pledge of Solidarity will have an effect.

For one thing, the breadth of the coalition behind it is remarkable. Speakers included Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Greek Orthodox metropolitan Methodios of Boston. Pledge signers include Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell D. Moore, Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, Episcopal Church presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Anglican Church in North America archbishop Robert Duncan, Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham, Robert George of Princeton University, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and George Marlin, chair of Aid to the Church in Need-USA.

Also promising is the fact that the Pledge of Solidarity sets forth focused goals—the appointment of a special envoy on Middle East religious minorities (legislation to create this position has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate, reportedly by a hold placed by Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma), a review of foreign aid to ensure it upholds principles of religious freedom, and an effort to see that refugee and reconstruction assistance reaches all religious communities.

But the pledge will have its greatest effect if, rather than falling on deaf ears, it awakens rank-and-file Americans and others to the religious diversity of the Middle East and the plight of Christians there and elsewhere. When Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I met in Jerusalem in May, their joint communiqué echoed the pledge, singling out “the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events.” The concern expressed by these religious leaders and a handful of politicians is abundantly justified. Still missing is any large-scale mobilization of free people on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world.

Paul Marshall is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and coauthor of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson, 2013).

Published on The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com)

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Great is Thy Faithfullness…Thy Compassion Never Fails.

 

 

Lamentations 3“Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”  That was written by a man named Frederick Buechner.

The Hebrew and Greek words translated “compassion” in the Bible come from a Hebrew word that means the “womb of God” and the Greek word is something like the bowels or the “insides”.  To me these are fascinatimg ideas.  When God has compassion He gives birth to a new person and Jesus does the same.  When Jesus has compassion He feels for the person from his insides.  He aches for them.  The words have come to mean “to have mercy, to feel sympathy and to have pity.” We know that, according to the Bible, God is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15). Like all of God’s attributes, His compassion is infinite and eternal. His compassions never fail; they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, exemplified all of the Father’s attributes, including His compassion.

First John 3:17 asks, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Originally made in His image, man is to exemplify God’s traits, including compassion. From this it follows that “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). The Bible is clear that compassion is an attribute of God and of God’s people as well.

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LWML’s met and meeting.

 

 

 

lwmlwahpeton

The LWML in North Dakota met in Wahpeton over the weekend.  About 165 people registered.  There were even some men there who seemed to be having a good time.  The Keynote speaker was Deb Burma, and the mission speaker was Danelle Putman serving in Central America.  The theme of the convention was “Filled and Overflowing” based on John 7:37-38

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

The Minnesota LWML Convention will be held in St. Cloud

Theme: “God Alone is Our Rock”

Verse: “For God alone my soul waits in silence from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”
Psalm 62:1-2 (ESV)

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Paul Krueger

Senior Pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Minot, ND
and Director of Hope Village, Minot, ND

Responding to a June, 2011 flood that decimated the city of Minot, North Dakota, Rev. Paul Krueger and the members of Our Savior Lutheran Church organized a volunteer effort consisting of more than 5,800 volunteers from 42 states. Reflecting the mercy of Christ, these volunteers rebuilt five-hundred and forty-eight homes helping more than 1,100 families recover from the tragedy. God’s answer to the cries of hurting people might be you!

Websites:
www.OSLCnow.com
www.hopevillageND.org

Bible Study Leader: Rev. Brady Finnern

Pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church, Sartell, MN

Rev. Brady Finnern is a sinner, babtized into Christ, and forgiven in the blood of Jesus. He serves the saints of Messiah Lutheran, Sartell. He is married to his beautiful bride, Amy, and they are blessed with four children.

About the Bible study…
In Christ, God is our only rock and salvation. Our foundation is set in Jesus Christ and your forgiveness is true. We build on this foundation in simple ways; Receive the gifts, pray, serve, and go home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hairs on Your Head are All Numbered!

providence

This is a small part of the Gospel lesson for this morning.  Charles Spurgeon took this ball and ran with it for some 15 pages of sermon.  Here is a peek.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30.

IT is most delightful to see how familiarly our Lord Jesus talked with His disciples. He was very great and yet He was among them as one that serves. He was very wise but He was gentle as a nurse with her children. He was very holy and far above their sinful infirmities but He condescended to men of low estate. He was their Master and Lord and yet their friend and servant. He talked with them, not as a superior who domineers but as a brother full of tenderness and sympa- thy.

You know how sweetly He once said to them, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” And thus He proved that He had hidden nothing from them that was profitable to them. He laid bare His very heart to them—His secret was with them. He loved them to the uttermost and caused the full river of His life to flow for their behalf.

Now, in this chapter, if you read it at home, you will see how wisely the Lord Jesus deals with their fears. He is afraid lest they should be afraid, anxious that they should not be anxious—so He talks to them as a very tender friend would talk to some very nervous person—some weak-minded brother or sister. And He speaks in such a way that if they were not comforted, surely they must have willfully resolved to put comfort from them. He says to them, “Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear you not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Brethren, admire the tenderness of our Lord Jesus and imitate it. Let us try to be equally kind to our fellow- Christians. Let us never attempt to show off, or to make ourselves somebody, or to exhibit our strength of faith—for that will grieve the tender little ones and make them shrink into self-doubts. Let us consider their weakness and the help that we can render them, their sorrow and the comfort that we can afford them. Jesus was Himself a Comforter, or He could not have spoken of “another Comforter.” And so let us be comforters in our measure, treading in His steps.

This reminds me, also, to say how very homely the Savior’s talk became with His disciples in consequence of this de- sire to cheer their hearts. Why, He talks, I have often thought, just in the way in which anyone of us would have talked to our children when desirous to encourage them! There is nothing about the Savior’s language which makes you say to yourself, “What a grand speech! What a rhetorician! What an orator He is!” If any man makes you say that of him, sus- pect that he is off the lines a little. He is forgetting the true object of a loving mind and is seeking to be a fine speaker and to impress people with the idea that he is saying something very wonderful and saying it very grandly.

The Savior quite ignores all idea of beautiful expression in just trying to bring forth His meaning in the plainest pos- sible manner. He sought the shortest way to the hearts of those whom He addressed and He cared nothing whether flow- ers grew or did not grow by the roadside. Hence there is no eloquence like the eloquence of Jesus—there is a style of ma- jestic simplicity about Him that is altogether His own and in this lies unsurpassed sublimity. I now and then see in books quotations and the names of the authors are put at the foot of the extracts. But when ever I observe that the name of Christ is put below a quotation I regard it as a superfluity which ought to be struck out. For there is never any fear of mistaking the language of the Son of God for that of any of the sons of men.

He has a style all His own. This, however, is incidental to the design aimed at. For He does not study style of rhetoric in any degree but simply aims at conveying His thought. Hence He speaks in homely words, such as those of our text— “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Your great and learned men will not talk about the hairs of your head. All their discourse is upon the nebulae and the stars, geological periods and organic remains, evolution and the solidar- ity of the race, and I know not what besides. They will not stoop to common things.

They must say something great, sublime, dazzling, brilliant, full of fireworks. The Master is as far removed from all this as the heavens are from the gaudiest canopy that ever bedecked a mortal’s throne. He talks in homely language because He is at home. He speaks the language of the heart because He is all heart, and wants to reach the hearts of those to whom He speaks. I commend the text to you for that reason, though for many others besides. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going Back To Willow Creek

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I was born in Bottineau North Dakota,  I spent the first few years of my life around Gardena North Dakota. I grew up in San Diego and a place high up in the mountains call Leadville Colorado. But when I was old enough I would come back and spend every summer with my relatives in Gardena.  The Gardena congregation closed a few years ago. We have a church in Bottineau, not far away from Gardena is a church at a place called Willow Creek.  I remember years ago going to church there as a small boy and being allowed to pump the bellows of the pipe organ. It was a great job for a while, but I got to be pretty hard work. I have many fond memories of the whole area from Bottineau  to  Kramer to Carberry to Gardena to Willow Creek and Willow City. I had great aunts and uncles who lived in Willow City. The whole area I guess I would call home.
There have been some interesting conversations I’ve seen on Facebook from people who used to live in Willow city. They reminisce about the things they remember. I guess that makes sense because you can’t reminisce about things you don’t remember.  One remembers the hiss of the screen door coming in from the garage at the relatives house. Another remembers the meadowlarks. I remember the slam of the screen door, and I remember the morning doves. The cooing they would make in the evening as the sun was going down was plaintive and sad and soothing all at the same time.  I remember carrying the creamery cans to go to a well somewhere and pumping water to bring it back home for us to drink. We used the water from the cistern to boil and wash things in, but the drinking water came from 4 or 5 miles away. I remember the meadowlarks too and the way they would sing as we rode our bikes down roads where we very seldom met a car.
My parents used to talk about dances they had at Willow city, and Omemee, Dunseith, and Bottineau , and Souris. My memories are of thunderstorms that would build in the morning until they looked like fortresses in the sky.  You could see all of them from the top to the bottom and at night you could stand and look straight up as the lightening danced inside of them like a great a Chinese lantern.

Those evenings were what I remember best.  In the days of no air conditioning, my  Grandma would come into my room and open the windows.  “Get the evening breeze” she would say.  The smell of new mown hay would waft in and life was good.

I wrote this song with those memories in mind.

 

 

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