Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Light-Filled Letters

We hosted a productive letter-writing party last night as Pat, Quint & Carol,
Keith & Carol, Don & Alberta, and Allen joined Claire and I as we sought to let our our lights shine through courteous but firm letters. We enjoyed some prayer together as well as conversation and dessert but, as is our pattern, we spent 90 minutes of serious letter writing.

The topics addressed in our letters last night included SCOTUS appointments, the attacks on religious freedom within America’s armed services, the various evils perpetrated by Planned Parenthood (supported exorbitantly by our tax dollars), the ongoing bathroom follies, and PayPal’s mean-spirited business tactics. We also wrote several thank you cards to people who have performed outstanding service — people like Senator Ben Sasse and Samaritan’s Purse director Franklin Graham.

And finally, we printed off two excellent articles about the most recent abortion decision by the Supreme Court and sent them along with a personal note to our respective pastors. Indeed, a few of us sent copies to other pastors we know as well.

While so many Christians are hunkering down and putting sacks over their head to avoid thinking about the wickedness surging around them (through distracting entertainment, wishful thinking, and compromise), we plan to keep engaging the culture…even as we pray for God’s intervention.

We do that by maintaining a pro-life witness at the abortion mill, by ministering in the senior care facilities, by holding up God’s truth in the public square, by discipleship, by presenting the glorious good news of Christ’s death for sinners, and by advocating for His justice and truth through such things as these letter writing parties.

If you’d like information on how to conduct one of these parties yourself, please let us know.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Thank God; the New Normal Isn't the Forever Normal

I’m nearing one of those significant birthdays this summer.  It's the “Medicare milestone” of 65. Man alive, can it be that I'm so far removed from that vibrant, skinny kid climbing out of the Green Mountain Swim Club pool as music from the loudspeakers blasted The Beach Boys and the Beatles?

My body, aching from yesterday's walk, answers “oh yes!”

Now I am trying to keep as healthy as possible. Claire and I follow a very strict Paleo diet. We have an aggressive exercise regimen. We see our doctor regularly. But, let's face it, no matter what we do, there is no escaping the rigors of age.  Our bodies begin to disappoint us, even fail us, and we must constantly, courageously adjust to a “new normal.” Many of you know what exactly I’m talking about.

But for the Christian, accepting the “new normal” of aches, pains, limitations, frustrations, loss of memory and mobility, and on and on, is only a temporary state of affairs. For the one who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the payment of sin’s awful penalties, the “new normal” is not the “forever normal.” Hallelujah.

Here’s how the apostle Paul (writing with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) puts it 2 Corinthians 2:16-17. “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” And in I Corinthians 15:52, he writes about that splendid moment when our decaying minds and bodies are transformed. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” The Christian’s body will be resurrected in a glorified, holy, and immeasurably healthy state.

And, take hope, my friends; that wonderful, beautiful, and vibrant “new normal” will be forever.

In that day (and throughout the endless days in heaven thereafter), we will experience God’s sweet compensation for what we have endured here. So, hold on and keep looking towards the grace to come when all things are reconciled to God. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

And that’s certainly worth another hallelujah.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Using the Weekend to Catch Up?

In addition to mowing the lawn, washing the car, and getting the family to church, you might consider adding to your weekend reading these dispatches from the culture wars.

* “Falsifying the Public Record Because It Offends Islam” (Abraham H. Miller, The American Spectator)

* “Ideologues Make for Dangerous Politicians” (Victor Davis Hanson, National Review)

* “Ignoring Reality” (Stephen F. Hayes, The Weekly Standard)

* “The Worst MDs Free to be Suicide Doctors” (Wesley J. Smith, First Things)

* “Annals of Mewling Idiocy” (Scott Johnson, Power Line)

* “Liberal Cosmopolitans Lash Out at the Shattering of Their Worldview” (Ian Tuttle, National Review)

* “Nigel Farage: Britons voted for Brexit because Obama told them not to” (Mark Hensch, The Hill)

Friday, June 24, 2016

“When Swing Was King” -- A Consensus Favorite with a Birthday Party Coming Up!

Yesterday's “When Swing Was King” presentation at Brookestone Meadows was our last for the month and it went swimmingly -- an exceptional crowd, a lot of great conversations before and after the show, and Mary Roberts showing up with two of her daughters to be a part of the fun. We even had a couple of enthusiastic responses to my book, The Christmas Room, from residents who had recently read it. And finally, after hearing several gracious complements about the show, we were told by staff that “When Swing Was King” is the “consensus favorite” of all the entertainment programs they have!


Another sweet blessing from yesterday was that we learned that Life Care Center of Omaha will be holding a party next month (July) to celebrate the 6th birthday of “When Swing Was King.” Following our regular show, the staff will be serving cake, ice cream, Paleo brownies, and other treats for diabetics so that everyone in the facility can take part.

How cool is that? Well, it's really cool because LCC is where “When Swing Was King” all began. Initially created as a ministry to my mother and her friends who lived there, a program that would feature music and pictures from the days of their youth, plus some interesting and fun information about the songs, the musicians, and the days of the big band era.

 And now, after six years, the program is presented (still free of charge, always) to 11 senior care facilities every month. There's 24 different programs (and even those are always being changed a bit) and they still involve music, photos, fun trivia, and regular visitation from people who care about seniors and love to spend some time with them. What a tremendous blessing it has been for the residents of these senior care facilities...and for their staff to have such a popular (and affordable!) program to offer...and to Claire and me too!

And, needless to say, we are really looking forward to that “When Swing Was King” birthday party!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Seniors Welcoming WSWK Into Their Summer Entertainment

The latest edition of “When Swing Was King” is proving as big a success as it’s long line of predecessors.

And brother, that's sayin' something!

As usual, this “When Swing Was King” volume is a delightful mix of romantic ballads, dance-oriented big band music, and rousing songs that seem perfect for singing along. We have already had a ball in our first four shows but there are still another seven coming up in the next couple of weeks. We would absolutely love to have you drop by for one of those shows. Indeed, the residents of any of the 11 senior care facilities where we bring this unique entertainment/friendship program would love it too! Just check this page of the Vital Signs Ministries website for the schedule of places and times.

Of course, every “When Swing Was King” show also includes interesting commentary about the songs, the musicians, and the there's those amazing pictures. So, come on and give us a visit!

By the way, here's the song list for the latest edition:

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra — Elmer’s Tune
2) Chick Webb Orchestra — I Got Rhythm
3) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, vocals by Frank Sinatra — The Song Is You
4) Harry James Orchestra — Alice Blue Gown
5) Art Lund, Johnny Thompson conducting the orchestra — Mam’selle
6) Freddy Martin Orchestra — Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
7) Dean Martin — A, You’re Adorable
8) Lawrence Welk Orchestra — La Mer
9) Mills Brothers — Once In A While
10) Benny Goodman, vocals by Helen Forrest — It Never Entered My Mind
11) Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, vocals by Bob Eberly — Fools Rush In
12) Al Jolson — Toot, Toot, Tootsie