Saturday, August 26, 2023

A Word from Colorado

 Estes Park, Colorado, 11 PM, Saturday August 26 -- It's hard to believe (with all that we've packed in) that We have only been here since Wednesday. Indeed, it has been an unusually valuable and inspiring trip. We are here with Larry and Deb Harrold, dear friends and ministry colleagues with whom we share a love for the Rocky Mountains. Larry had major surgery 3 months ago or so and had a very tough time afterward, but he has now begun chemotherapy and the doctors cleared him (just barely) to make this trip to one of their all-time favorite haunts. Larry is doing really well, by the way; he and Deb have both been full of courage, faith, heavenly perspective, a spirit of thanksgiving, great generosity to us, and fun. None of these virtues are surprising to the people that know them well, but they are all the more impressive because of their being a matter of course. A remarkable couple.

In our time here, we have relished times in the mountains, drunk in the beauty and splendor of the scenery from drives and long talks on the condo balcony, meals and coffee at several of the Harrold's favorite spots, a little shopping, reading, correspondence, and two trips down to the Front Range for wonderful visits with family: dinner with Dan & T.C. Aylward in Loveland on Friday night and coffee, a museum visit, a farmer's market, and lunch with Ric & Ellen Hartford in Golden today. And tomorrow...recording a brief sermon so the Morans and Allen can use it in the Aksarben Village church service tomorrow afternoon, another trip higher up into the hills, and packing for the trip back home.  

Actually, Claire and I will be stopping at Grand Island on Monday evening because we are volunteering for a couple of shifts at the Nebraska Right to Life booth at the Nebraska State Fair on Tuesday. What a week, huh? We are so grateful for the many blessings God has poured out on us in this brief time.

The Top 5 (August 26 )

 * "Top 3 Abortion Lies in and around the GOP Primary Debate" (S.A. McCarthy, Washington Stand)

* "Church Attendees Believe...What?!" (Owen Strachan, Washington Stand)

* "How scientists mold public opinion on controversial bioethical issues" (Michael Cook, NRL News)

* "What Is Freedom of Conscience, and Why Does It Matter?" (Bryan Neihart, Alliance Defending Freedom)

* "Report: Library Association’s President Wants To Stock Kids’ Shelves With LGBT Propaganda And Porn" Rebeka Zeljko, Federalist)

Friday, August 18, 2023

“Who Can Bear to Feel Himself Forgotten?”

“They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?”

I thought of this moving quotation from W. H. Auden’s poem, “Night Mail”, Wednesday afternoon when Claire and I were at Immanuel Village Senior Living for one of our “When Swing Was King” shows. Before the program began, I was visiting with Nancy, one of WSWK’s biggest fans, and I was telling her about the touch of sadness that all people feel when they open their mailbox and find nothing personal in there. With real feeling, Nancy agreed with me and then asked, “Do you write letters yourself?” I told her that I do. In fact, I explained that Claire and I write an awful lot of letters and cards. She then smiled coyly and said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. If you write me, I will promise to write you back!”

“When Swing Was King” is a truly exceptional outreach, providing quality
entertainment and an inspiring lift of the spirits. But it is even more than that. It is an opportunity to make friends, to remind people that their lives and times matter, and to show them they are not, as Auden warned, forgotten. These ministries occur with every “When Swing Was King” show. For instance, yesterday’s show at Echo Hills Assisted Living sparked lively (and delightful) conversations with residents afterwards – conversations about dancing, Dick Haymes’ 6 wives, hitchhiking hundreds of miles to hear Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, summer jobs in their high school years, the tornado that hit the town of Primrose in 1965, and more. 

And such opportunities for meaningful connection also occur every Sunday afternoon when Claire and I conduct the Vital Signs Ministries interdenominational church service at Aksarben Village Senior Living. For that matter, they also occur every time that you drop by and visit someone who is otherwise marginalized by society -- or make a phone call or send along a letter. For who indeed should “bear to feel himself forgotten?”

And that reminds me -- we would like to once again extend to you an invitation to join the friendship team of our Sunday afternoon services. We set up around 2 o’clock, begin at 2:30 the “formal” program, and then, at about 3, start in with 30 or 40 minutes of personal visiting over coffee and cookies. We could sure use your help. But the members of our congregation could use it even more! So if you’re interested in even an occasional visit, please let us know.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Picking Through the Trash or Going for Gold?

Are your entertainment choices leading to rest and spiritual enrichment or are those choices distracting you, maybe even corrupting your spiritual priorities?  That's the trick for Christians, isn't it? To select things to enjoy in our leisure hours that do not divert us from our stated convictions of faith and morality.  

I fear that modern Christians are much too quick to accept whatever the culture offers. We are not discriminating. We are not properly protective of what our heart takes in. We do not insist on purity and productivity. We do not strictly avoid the wicked and worthless which so abounds nowadays.

So who’s in for a change? Let’s go for the gold of God instead of the rubbish of the world and make even our entertainment choices investments in eternity. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Climbing New Heights

The August letter from Vital Signs Ministries is a jam-packed, photo-filled, mountain-top edition that we think you're going to like. Give it a go with the link below.

 (Note: with the photos, give it a few seconds to load.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Musical Genius Lives! (At Least at "When Swing Was King" Shows)

If, regarding music, you’re thinking that beauty, inspiration, and extraordinary talents have almost disappeared altogether from American life, you’re all too correct. 

However, if you do miss these things, there is one place we can direct you to; namely, a “When Swing Was King” show presented at senior facilities across our area several times a month. For instance, in the August program, we are sharing the genius of songwriters like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Henry Mancini, and Johnny Mercer. 

And those songs are performed by other musical giants like Harry James, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Nat King Cole, Artie Shaw, Eydie Gorme, Fred Astaire, the Andrews Sisters, Benny Goodman, Connie Francis, and Andy Williams. 

Too good to be true? Not at all. And to prove it to yourself, why not come along for a listen? We will be at Pacific Springs this afternoon at 3 and the schedule for the other August presentations is on the Vital Signs Ministries website. We would love to have you join us!