Adaptability and Deference

The picture to the left was taken ½ mile from Lake Michigan on the way to Holland State park. This amazing picture, shows the accommodation a tree made for a chain-link fence.  If the tree had been a small sapling when the fence was installed, one would think the tree would simply have been pushed … Continue reading Adaptability and Deference

The Hidden Need of a Really Nice Guy

This is Gary’s story in his own words. “Throughout my life others have had the power to crush and deeply discourage me; sometimes for days. This was and remains one of the biggest strongholds in my life. “I could talk a lot about my background and how rejection has influenced my commitment to get others … Continue reading The Hidden Need of a Really Nice Guy

Out of Context

You have seen it many times – on wall plaques, on greeting cards and you have heard it quoted.  Yes, we see Jeremiah 29:11 often: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This verse … Continue reading Out of Context

Positive Role Model

 I threatened Marilyn that the day I retired I would get a golden retriever (pictured in the pool with me and grandson Isaac).   It was a hollow threat because neither one of us wanted the dog hair in the house.  But today, I still want a golden.  Recently I met a golden owner at … Continue reading Positive Role Model

Tense Negotiations

 Dateline:  August 8, 1993  Beirut     Mr. Giandomenico Picco, the assistant United Nations Secretary-General, was in delicate negotiations for the release of American hostages. Terry Anderson, United Press International’s station chief had been held for seven years.  The American public wanted their fellow citizen home.  Picco’s bold plan called for the release of all … Continue reading Tense Negotiations

The $740 Pie

 Waterloo, Iowa, Black Hawk County 4-H,  August 2, 1996.   Eleven-year-old Drew Hoppenworth decided to make a pie to be sold at the 4-H fair.  He thought, “If no one raises money, there won’t be a 4-H fair.”  So Drew raised some -- $740 to be exact.  Here’s the skinny.  Pie making was risky.  Suppose … Continue reading The $740 Pie

The Penny War

 The senior class at Macomb Christian School (Warren, Michigan which is greater Detroit) needed a fund raiser.  They settled on a one-week Penny War.   Each class, 7th grade – 12th grade, was given a jug in which to collect coins.  Pennies were positive points, but silver – quarters, dimes and nickels – were negative … Continue reading The Penny War

Dry Trees Who Belong

 “Don’t say, ‘The Lord will surely exclude me from His people,’”  nor  complain, “’I am only a dry tree.’” In these two phrases from Isaiah 56:3,  God addresses two subjects:  belonging and inadequacy.  Belonging   Some foreigners were on the fringe of the Jewish nation. They were drawn to God’s people by the quality of … Continue reading Dry Trees Who Belong


 Arriving into Singapore some years ago, we were met at the airport by Bob Howder.  We had not met previously, but had corresponded. “Where are we staying?” I asked as we drove away.  Bob responded, “You’ll be with Norm & Louise Barnhart.” I thought, Norm & Louise Barnhart. Okay. Don’t know them but we will … Continue reading Trust

Second Best (Genesis 29:16 – 35:19)

Poor Leah, it seemed she was always second best. She was the oldest daughter and yet we can assume no eligible suitors had claimed her hand in marriage for the last seven years. Have you ever thought of yourself as second best? Maybe you had a beautiful younger sister who attracted everyone's attention, like Leah. … Continue reading Second Best (Genesis 29:16 – 35:19)