Sunday, May 22, 2011

05-21-11 Inspiration Of The Week-JUDGEMENT DAY, TODAY, MAY 21, 2011 . . . or maybe not?

     A full-page ad in USA today, 05/13 and 5/18 proclaims, “Judgment* Day is coming today, Saturday, May 21, with a worldwide earthquake beginning at 6 p.m.” . . . according to Harold Camping, the president of the Christian broadcaster Family Radio. * “Judgment” spelled this way in the ad) Could he be wrong? He wouldn't be the first. Here are five failed Judgment Day predictions.

1. October 22, 1844

Who: Samuel S. Snow, a preacher in the Millerite movement, led by the Baptist preacher William Miller
How he came by this date: A prophesy in the Book of Daniel states "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (Dan. 8:14). If you convert the days into years, and if you start in the year 457 BC – the year that Artaxerxes I of Persia decreed that that the city government of Jerusalem shall be re-established – then this takes you to 1844. Using the Karaite Jewish calendar, Snow pinned the date down to October 22.
What actually happened: Thousands of people gave away all their possessions, only to be surprised when the world did not come to end, and the day came to be known as "The Great Disappointment." The Millerites splintered into several religious groups, the largest and most mainstream being the Seventh Day Adventists, and the smallest and most unconventional probably being the Branch Davidians. Millerism has also influenced the Bahá'í Faith.

2. 1806

Who: The Prophet Hen of Leeds, a domesticated fowl in Leeds, England, who in 1806 began laying eggs that bore the message "Christ is coming."
How she came by that date: As you will see in the next paragraph, the answer is "the hard way."
What actually happened: Charles Mackay's 1841 book, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” describes it thus:
"Great numbers visited the spot, and examined these wondrous eggs, convinced that the day of judgment was near at hand. Like sailors in a storm, expecting every instant to go to the bottom, the believers suddenly became religious, prayed violently, and flattered themselves that they repented them of their evil courses. But a plain tale soon put them down, and quenched their religion entirely. Some gentlemen, hearing of the matter, went one fine morning, and caught the poor hen in the act of laying one of her miraculous eggs. They soon ascertained beyond doubt that the egg had been inscribed with some corrosive ink, and cruelly forced up again into the bird’s body. At this explanation, those who had prayed, now laughed, and the world wagged as merrily as of yore."

3. December 21, 1954

Who: Dorothy Martin, a Chicago housewife and student of Dianetics, a set of practices developed by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard.
How she came by this date: Through automatic writing, Martin came in contact with beings from the planet Clarion, who told her that the world would be destroyed by flood and that the faithful would be rescued at midnight by flying saucers (or so she said).
What actually happened: Martin's followers, many of whom quit their jobs and gave away their possessions, gathered in her home to await the aliens. (Martin's husband, a nonbeliever, slept upstairs through the whole thing.) To avoid being burned by the flying saucer, her followers removed all metal from their persons, including zippers and bra straps. Midnight came and went and the group became increasingly agitated. Finally, at 4:45 am, Martin said that she received another message from Clarions informing her that God was so impressed by her groups actions that He changed His mind and decided to spare the earth.
The group was infiltrated by a psychologist named Leon Festinger, who used his observations to develop the theory of cognitive dissonance.

4. 2000

Who: Hal Lindsey, who has been continually predicting the end of the world since his 1970 book "The Late, Great Planet Earth," and who, in his 1996 book "Planet Earth 2000 A.D.: Will Mankind Survive?" wrote that Christians should not make any plans after the year 2000.
How he came by this date: Probably the same method he used to calculate the date of the end of the world in his book "The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon," which is now out of print.
What actually happened: Despite his less-than-stellar track record, Lindsey is still at it. In 2008, he wrote a column for the conservative news site WorldNetDaily suggesting that Barack Obama is the Antichrist.

5. October or November 1982

Who: Pat Robertson, who in a 1980 broadcast of "The 700 Club" said "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world."


The first thing I thought when I was surprised to find this one page ad in USA Today, last weekend edition was . . “We’re heard it before! Here we go again! . . . and the Bible says “No man knows the day or the hour of the Lord’s return.” So, I’m, like you, skeptical before I read any of the article. I do respect the fact that this prophet and president of Christian Broadcaster Family Radio felt strongly enough about their conviction to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $130,000 for this full page, color ad . . . not to mention that they ran it at least one more time, Wednesday, May 18, which would have been at least another $120,000. $250,000 minimum under the “outreach” or “make aware” account on their church books. Understanding that they were willing to put their money where their mouth was . . . I read the fine smaller print of the ad.

My first response was addressed in the first of three columns . . . NO MAN KNOW THE DAY OR THE HOUR?

Column 2 . . . HAROLD CAMPING A PROPHET? and column 3 . . . CHRIST DID KNOW? Prophet Camping substantiates his claim from the assumption that the “unsaved” do not know the “day or the hour,” but 1 Cor 2:10-19, God hath revealed the true gospel unto us—“true believers.” He also says, “Noah knew when the flood would occur.” I believe God told Noah to build this thing called an “ark” and that it was going to rain . . . but God didn’t tell Noah the exact day that the weather forecast would predict “rain.” Okay, enough! I didn’t read beyond this point. I do realize that in the last days God would use prophesy . . .

But! . . . that in the last days many false Christs and prophets will deceive many!

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24).

Conclusion!  Yes! The rapture could take place today! If so, it’s not because prophet Camping was lucky! I’ve been writing songs about for the last fifty years, but I’ve never been spiritually foolish as to predict a “specific date.” I do realize that every time prophets who have gotten the visibility that prophet Camping has gotten are wrong . . . they deteriorate the credibility of the Christian community to the non-believers who are even more convinced that “Christians” are flakey . . . and Christianity is not to be taken seriously! I’m sure that Satan and Hell enjoys all of the “flakey Christians” press that the Christian community gets from highlighting “Doomsday” prophecies that didn’t come to pass.

The important thing is to realize that we are living in the end times because of all of the signs given in scripture. We need to not concentrate on “selling all of our possessions” banking on a certain day . . . but 1) Be ready! Live ready! . . . for in a moment ye think not! and 2) Get the word out that “Jesus is coming! Untold millions, still untold! WE NEED TO tell them while there is still time. I do believe harvestime is upon us!

P.S. It is now 7 a.m., May 22nd, I haven’t check with the news media to see if “we’re all still here, or if there was a start of a “world-wide” earthquake last night at 6 p.m. EST.  My guess is I may need to revise the list above to the last “six” failed predictions!, but I won’t revise my position on His coming!  He still is! . . . and I need to live “ready” and tell the lost that they need to “get ready.”

Monday, January 31, 2011

01-31-11 Inspiration Of The Week--HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

     This is the day! . . . that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!   We’ve all  quoted this familiar scripture so many times that is has almost lost its pungency!  This coming Wednesday, February 2, is well-known to most people because its Ground Hogs day.   But its also the birthday of such famous celebrities as Farrah Fawcett, Christie Brinkley . . . and many lessor-knowns including “yours truly” . . . Lanny Wolfe!   

    Remember when we were four or five approaching our next birthday, we would say “I’m four . . . almost five!” or “I’m 4 and 1/2” . . . so eager to get to the next rung of our journey.  
     Then, when we were 12, we couldn’t wait to become official teenagers.  You may not remember, but I do . . . getting my social security number on a card that I was so proud to carry.   Yes, I know to many it simply dwarfed all of us to the status of a faceless number. . . but I was so happy to think that I had a number with the Social Security Administration. 
     And with just as much eagerness, we counted the days until we would turn the age we needed to be to get our driver’s license.  Oh, yes!!  We had arrived at somewhere between the age of 14 to 16.  I was 14 when I graduated from Jr. High, looking forward to becoming a Senior High student.
     The contentment at achieving this monumental milestone soon became a “rear-view mirror” item in our lives as we would mark off the days on a calendar until we would be considered “legal” in so many arenas.  Ah, yes! . . . to finally be eighteen!   And it seemed like it would never come!
      On our twenty-first birthdays, you would have thought we had won the lottery, thinking we finally had “legal” status with the government and every other arena that mattered.   Working towards my 3rd decade, my scrapbook included graduating from Ohio State University with my first of five degrees, getting married, securing my first teaching position—Columbus public schools ($4400/yr) moving away from family and “our comfort zone” to California where, in the pix to the left, my first job in the religious teaching arena—Dean, School of Music, Christian Life College, Starting my first degree in music education at San Jose State College, finishing this degree, and moving to St. Louis, MO. to become the Dean, School of Music at Gateway College of Evangelism, and forming the Lanny Wolfe Trio.  Let’s fast forward to the age—29!  Probably you, like me had some very sober reservations about turning this page, and celebrating like we did nine years earlier. 
     Turning 30 sounded as if it were sucking all the “youth” out of my life as I blew out 30 candles . . . and what I thought had surely been the “best years of my life.”  After a few months . . . or years being in my 30’s . . . or as some have called it “mid-life” (thanks!), I finally gave in . . . and accepted the fact that I had to act like a mature man and not be tempted to ever think again life a teenager . . . or someone in their twenties.   Okay!! Now that you’ve had your laugh for the day . . . me, included wondering if I could really become air-borne with these “wings” that, at the time, we called “collars.”  Oh, and we thought we were so “cool.”  By the way, underneath the “wings” was an even cooler—polyester suit!  And, before you laugh too hard, why don’t you go back and take a look at YOUR scrapbook from the ‘80s.
        I would have never thought that I would  ever want to go back to being in my thirties . . . under the grim reaper snuck up on me and I had to take his cold hand and cross over into the “Over-the-hill” status.  I repented at being so unexcited about turning 30, but it was all too late! 
 I’ll never forget my 40th birthday.   Friends called it a celebration with morbid black balloons and “Over the hill” signs.  Whoever made the signs at that party that said “Life begins at forty” was so far off from the reality that I was holding onto which was closer to “Life ends at forty.”   Well, I blew out the candles and tried to pick myself up after the hoopla was over and to get on with the “beginning” of a new challenge in my life . . . which included buying reading glasses from the dollar store . . . in order to be able to read the birthday cards! 

     A couple of years into my fourth decade God’s plan for my life included some very wonderful moments like the one above with presenter Pat Boone and this one at the 15th annual Dove awards with my parents accepting a dove award for “Song of  the Year” and “So     ngwriter” of the  year.  What a joy to have my parents share this wonderful moment with their middle child. Somewhere in my 40’s I finally accepted that I was not a “young person” anymore;  I can’t tell you how many birthdays in this fourth decade of my life I spent more time looking in the rear-view mirror than straight ahead at what was coming down the road. 
           I must be absolutely truthful and tell you that at age 49, the last things I wanted in my wallet next to the Social Security card (which had faded in it’s debut glamor status) was . . . you know the answer already!  The word “AARP” was a word that I shied away from for as long as I could.   Of course, I didn’t get one right away.  I was in denial!  Even when I could have gotten benefit from this card, I refused and paid full price to keep protecting the integrity of the mid-life “Lanny Wolfe” and n      ot the “Oh, no! I’ve-really-crossed-over” Lanny Wolfe.  When I finally broke down and gave in to becoming an AARPmember, I realized that this one card would be proof to the world that not only was I over the hill; I was over the “prime of my life. . . and possibly the best years of my life.  
 Turning sixty was even worse than turning fifty; I would now have to align myself with people that, for so many years of my life, I termed as "old."
     My only consolation was the hype from Hollywood that kept trying to sell the public that the “now 60 is the new 40.”   Yes, about that car! . . . It made me feel good to have it grace my “the-new-40” mentality, but its not mine!  The hype helped somewhat . . . in spite of the fact that my doctor, at a routine exam, informed me that I had arthritis!  . . . That was the good news.  The bad news  . . . three different kinds!       
     Even the thought of turning 65 turned me off completely.   I wasn’t ready to go there; wasn’t ready to get “senior citizen’s discount.” was ready to be associated with so many in this age group that I through had resigned themselves to sitting quietly in “Life and Death’s” waiting room, patiently waiting for their name to be called.  One slight ray of hope, even though I hated the sound of the name of the organization-- The Social Security Administration.  Even though I had been a card-carrying member since being in my teens and had paid into this organization all of my life, it was like the “black plague” that I never wanted to be friends with.   But as God would have it, I crossed the timeline to fill out all of the papers to become “one of those people" I never thought I would be considered a part of! . . . the good side of this coin, a SS check every month. 
           My family and friends from different arenas threw a big shin-dig with a cake so big and and 65 candles on it that a fire fighter was standing within feet of the flaming cake to make sure that we didn’t burn the church down.   Thank God Marietta and Dave were there to help me muster up enough air to take down this “Tower of flour, sugar, icing, with enough candles for it to qualify as a lighthouse.  
          Wise Solomon moment! -- With the reenactment of the burning of Atlanta on Feb. 2nd, 2007, I finally got it!!!   All of my friends and family weren’t really celebrating my birthday; it was simply a day that became an excuse to CELEBRATE ME!!  . . . and , that every new day that God gives us is a reason to celebrate; looking forward to the next new day or new year is a gift from God . . . and we should celebrate each of those gifts with joy and anticipation . . . and not any regret that we have left our earlier seasons of life in a scrapbook album.  Our birthdays, even more than stopping to have a party with a birthday cake,  are like the comma in the sentence of life.  The “comma” becomes a visual indication to stop, pause, take a breath—look back over the journey to what has brought us to “this day”, pause and celebrate, and then . . . anticipate future “This is the day’s.” So, our birthdays become a time to “pause,”celebrate and be celebrated.   Realizing that makes each of our birthday’s worth . . . whatever the number of candles on the cake.   The candles represent each of us being a light in a world to shine and make a difference in the world. 
          So, here I am somewhere between getting put on the Social Security payout list . . . and the next “milestone” . . . but finally ready to concur with David of old, that on this coming Feb 2nd, Lord willing, I will say “This is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!  S     omeone said, “Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.  I realize that age is often so attached to a number, but how you think about aging and life, I believe, starts in the “head” first.  I know people two and three decades younger in numerical age than myself . . . but act years older than I do.   They think like an elderly person, the act like an elderly person . . . and it all starts in their mind.
          Now, more than ever before, I anticipate each new day to explore this wonderful world God placed me in and to accept the challenge of making a difference in people’s lives . . . one at a time.  It doesn’t matter what age YOU are today; it does matter how you send TODAY!  Each day God allows us to live, He gives us a coin worth 24 hours.   It is up to each of us how we will spend this gift called “the present.”   For me, I truly accept each day as a wonderful new present that I want to unwrap carefully and spend the coin wisely.  And for  YOU . . . how will you spend the “24-hour” coin God gave you today?  Will you make a difference in even ONE LIFE.   And remember, you only have one life, so soon it will pass; only what’s done for Christ will last!  An old Chinese proverb says, “The journey is the reward.”  I’m working really hard to enjoy the journey . . . every turn in the road . . . rather than thinking that all of the journey is simply an investment for a payoff at the end. The payoff is the daily “present” given to take one more day of the journey!   And, don’t forget . . .
     . . . the message on top of the cake is more important than the chocolate cake inside and the icing on the outside . . . for the message from those who truly matter in your life is what your heart will remember long after the extra pounds from the birthday dessert!  Happy Birthday . . . and Have a Nice Day . . . with Jesus!
Lanny Wolfe

Monday, January 17, 2011

01-17-11 NEW YEAR, NEW YOU? . . . OR NOT!

     It’s commonly voiced that after age forty, people don’t change!    Coming from that same philosophical arena is the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”   Many psychologists say that a child is “set” in his formation of thought, etc. by the time he is three years old.   The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.”  I keep thinking, the reality is, “However you train up a child, that’s the way he WILL go.”

     It’s very difficult for a person to depart from the input in his childhood.  It’s almost like a “fingerprint” that gets stamped on everything in his later years.  All of the “things” put into the luggage that a child carries around with him throughout his childhood and teenage years are taken with him into his adulthood . . . and marriage . . . and most often . . . the rest of his life.  For this very reason it is usually reported that children of abusers become abusers and most children of alcoholics become alcoholics.  So many times the “like father-like son”  cliché  turns  out to be just as true as “mirror, mirror, on the wall, I am my mother after all.”  

          The Bible speaks of generational curses.  I would like to think that these “generational curses are a product of both “nature” and “nurture.” In the same way that we who have a propensity to either gain weight easily or be overweight  keep trying to understand why when we look into the mirror we see our father or mother starring at us.  My family consoled ourselves so many times by simply noting that we were “big-boned.”  For sure it’s some combination of the gene pool and the rearing or training up a child . . . the nurturing process.  It’s easy for me to blame my propensity to be overweight on not being blessed with a good metabolism or the fact that my father’s side of the family were all tall and big . . . and my mother’s side of the family were shorter . . . with a propensity to be “stocky.”  My father weighed 300 pounds at his zenith, but when I look at his high school picture, he appeared to be very fit. 
     All of that to say, it’s not just in the genes or the DNA; the other part of the equation looks at the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese that frequented our family’s supper table.  I’ve worked as a vocal teacher and coach to many students over the years who through that a change in their singing voice would only a couple of lessons away, not realizing that they had been working years and years on branding their existing voice into exactly how it sounded when they walked in for their first lesson.  The statement hwas been made, “Things take time.”  Although this does not seem to be very profound, the reality of the statement IS profound.  Things don’t happen overnight . . . except if you’re a mushroom.  Ask the huge, towering 200-year-old oak tree if things take time!  As far back as 1734, Alexander Pope added his two cents in on this subject when he profoundly wrote, “Tis education forms the common mind, just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.”
     Well-known motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar,  says that to change anything in your life, you must do it for “twenty-one days” consecutively to even have a chance that the “change” will have an opportunity to “stick.”  Having said all of this, we all are creatures of “habit.”  Recently I read that of the 97% of smokers who would like to give up smoking, only 3% actually carry out the process to “kick the habit.” 

      So, you, like a gazillion others, made “New Years’ Resolutions” . . . and like most of the gazillion, you’ve possibly already failed to keep some or all of them. The bottom line!  What would you like to change to make YOU a better YOU this year?   Moreover, what do you think God would like to change in YOU to make YOU a better YOU that He would like to see this year?  If you read the opening paragraphs carefully, you realize that making changes in your life do not and will not happen easily.  And the older “of a dog” we are, the harder it is to change!   Keep in mind you don’t have to necessarily be old in years or single to be brittle in your ways and thinking; way too many younger in years suffer from a condition of arthritis of the “head” and/or  “heart.”

     And so, we  acknowledge that it’s not easy; however, the important criteria here is how “IMPORTANT” is it to make whatever change in your life that you would like to make . . . and that you feel God would like to make.  For God’s part, you’ll have to seek him earnestly to “hear” his still, small voice admidst the clamor of a roaringly-loud 2011 world of which you are a part.   

For your part, sit down and--
a) look back to where you’ve come from,
b) look at who you are and who you’ve become over a period of years,
c) look at what has been put into the “luggage” you carry around from day to day, and ask yourself if you are pleased with what’s in your luggage.  Do you think God is pleased?
d) look into the mirror and try to get past the legacy of who your parents were . . . 
        . . . and then try to step away from the forest and take a good look at yourself and the areas of your life in which you are pleased . . . and the areas of your life that really need your attention.   Case in point . . . I travel a lot; and, if I’m not careful I can overeat or eat way too much of the wrong things and easily blame it on my schedule. For me December was one of those hectic months; the schedule and demands were much and many, and my eating habits were way out of line.  As a matter of fact,  I gained about 10 pounds over the month!   And so, on Dec. 26, . . . not waiting until Jan 1st, I started immediately to work on my situation; I jump started myself by cutting back very soberly.  It is Jan. 17th, slightly over three weeks later, and I’ve lost 13 pounds and will lose 17 more to get where I want to be.  Will I do it?  Yes, because I’ve made up my mind that I don’t want to match my father’s weight and, Lord willing,  I want to live longer than he did.  So, I have a routine plan in place to make sure that I achieve my goal . 

     You know how sometimes your computer acts up and doesn’t work correctly?  The first thing those “in the know” say to do is to shut it down . . . and reboot!  There’s something about rebooting that so many times fixes the problem.  What’s your problem?  What’s your challenge?  What’s your resolution?  Where do you start?  You might just want to “reboot!”  Get a jumpstart . . . to get your attention . . . or your body’s attention . . . and then get on with a realistic, systematic, plan.

          Oh,  by the way, I didn’t forget the most important item on this list!    I saved “e)” in the above list until you were through looking in the mirror and making visual evaluations.

e) look into your heart! Better yet, let the Great Physician look into your heart and tell you what He sees!  This is the kind of checkup you need more than once a year and this is the kind of MRI or heart scan that we don’t like to undergo, because we know that many times the One who made us also made a plan for our life. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  In this hectic world we live in we can so easily get sidetracked from HIS plan.   Blame it on the devil, blame it simply on “life” or maybe you could just blame it on “yourself” not being as close to “the GPS voice” as He would like for you to be.   And we know that oftentimes, this doctor, after examining us will want to put us on the potter’s wheel and “reshape” us . . . “reshape” our thinking . . . “reshape” our passions . . . “reshape” our hearts . . . “reshape” our direction . . . “reshape” our life! . . . as  ONLY He can!   So often we resist the wheel because we simply don’t want to give up our control of our life . . . be at the mercy of the potter’s hands.

     So, after you’ve looked into your January ‘11 mirror and your heart . . . after you’ve listed some realistic priorities for your “2011” and responded to the Great Physician’s prognosis . . .  ask God to help you have the “grit” to stay with whatever is needed to change to make a better YOU in 2011. . . to make you the YOU that He sees in the mirror.    Remember that when your Maker looks into your mirror He keeps seeing the YOU He knows you can be and not just the you that you’re seeing.   On your own you probably won’t be able to pull off whatever your head and heart decide needs to be changed, but . . . with God . . . all things are possible.  Would you choose to argue with Paul who said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)  Let me remind you that this same Paul was the infamous killer of the Christians who God stopped in his tracks and turned his head and heart around, after which Paul penned, wrote 2/3’s of the New Testament.     It would be both arrogant and a boast of self humanism to just say “I can do all things” but quite different to confess “I can do all things through Christ.”  
     New Year , New You?  .. . or Not!  Only YOU can answer this question!

Mp3 file: What I Could Be, words and music by Lanny Wolfe, ASCAP from the musical “Love Found A Way” (Lanny Wolfe/Mark Hayes) ParadigmMusic Productions #303854.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12-20-10 The Tablecloth

  If you missed my guest appearance on Dec. 24th on the TCT TV broadcast  ‘I’m Just Sayin,’  You can watch a video podcast of the show by Clicking on”  These video podcasts are free to view and are archived for approximately two weeks after the initial live broadcast.  Note: The Dec 24th broadcast with me as a guest was a new broadcast, not a re-run of the 1/2  broadcast.
Merry Christmas, 2010 . . . from my heart to yours!
     Hands down, December is my favorite month of the year and Christmas is my favorite celebration of the year!   I do have some other favorites that would be included in "A Few of My Favorite Things” list however,  I'm sending one of my all-time favorite inspirations.  I’ve shared this before and if you've already been blessed by it, wonderful!   Do yourself a favor and re-read it!  If this is the first time you've received it, enjoy!!! 
     I've come to realize that in God's economy, there is no loss . . . and no mistakes!   I wonder how God is working in your life to bring a puzzle together to bring glory to him.  When God moves on your spirit to do a certain something that goes outside your normal routine or comfort zone . . . don't question God . . . just do it!!!!   and then know that God is at work in not only your life . . . but in all of the lives that you may come in contact with and all, of whom, become a part of a bigger picture puzzle that God wants to complete.
Lanny Wolfe
P.S.  If I had sent this anytime before Christmas you would have been so busy with last minute details in your schedule and obligations, that neither your  head nor your  heart would  be fair to this true story.  Now that hopefully all of the preparations for the special day are behind you, take a well-deserved “break” and read this favorite inspiration of mine right now and then allow me to comment at the end!
                                                       THE TABLECLOTH!

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

    The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.  By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it.
     The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week.

     She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again... The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home; that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
     What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.
One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike. He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison.
He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between. The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - by Pastor Rob Reid
     I can never read this story without my heart swelling up and my eyes tearing up . . . and I’ve read it so many times because each time I read it anew I am overwhelmed at the God we love and serve and how much he cares for ALL the details of our lives.  So many times we get so caught up in trying to make sense out of our details and disasters  that we impulsively think that God may be somewhere else at the moment or that HE has so many more important things to worry about.  STOP RIGHT HERE!!  . . .
     YOU and every detail of your life in every single moment are the most important thing to God!  Yes, I know we can’t get a handle on this . . . but, that’s why He’s God  . . . and we’re not.  His ways are far above our  ways.  I know you’re busy but let me submit for your consideration what I call my “What If” list!
What if--
… it hadn’t stormed in New York on December 19th of this particular year?
…the damaged part of the church had not been in the sanctuary, but in a
     Sunday School room?
... the local flea market was not having a sale to catch the pastor’s attention?
... the pastor had not stopped at this particular flea market?
…the pastor had not seen or bought this particular tablecloth?
…the tablecloth had not been big enough to utilize to cover the hole in the   
…it had not snowed on December the 21st?
…the older woman had not ended up living in New York city?
…the older woman would have had her cleaning job on a different day when it
       wouldn’t have snowed, or when she might not have missed her bus or  
       would have crossed paths with this  pastor?
…the older woman had  NOT MISSED  HER  BUS?
…the older woman’s bus stop had been at the next block instead of this one?
…the pastor had not crossed paths with the older woman?
…the pastor had not invited the woman to sit in the warmth of the church to
       wait for the next bus that would come 45 minutes later?
…the woman would have taken the tablecloth that the pastor had offered to
       give her on December 21st?
…the older man wouldn’t have attended the Christmas eve service,   Dec 24th
       at this particular church out of all of the churches he could have chosen?
…all of the above were in place and had happened except for one detail—
What if --
     the husband had somehow ended up living in any place than the neighbor-   
     hood in  which THIS  particular church was located.  All of the other pieces
    of the  puzzle would have been for naught!
Yes, my mind asked all of these “What if’ questions” . . . and then my spirit  reminds  me that  . . . with God there are No “What if’s!” and  NO coincidences!
I wonder what puzzle God may be putting pieces together on your behalf today.--a puzzle to which you may be completely oblivious to today . . . but someday! . . you will see the puzzle put together.   If not here . . . then  There!
MP3 file attached: Romans 8:28 (Words and Music by Lanny Wolfe, Lanny Wolfe Music Co., ASCAP) Artists “The Lanny Wolfe Singers” Soloist: Vonnie Ewing Lopez
It’s not a Christmas song but you might need to be reminded that “all things work together for your good . . . all year long.” 
Merry Christmas, 2010
Lanny Wolfe
P.S. Sometimes it’s okay to miss the boat . . . or the bus!