Baby Jessica Update, Prayer Power, by Patty
April 29, 2009, 14:07
Filed under: faith, Uncategorized


To all Jessica’s angels and prayer warriors; 

I can’t thank everyone enough for keeping Jessica, Bob and myself in your prayers. God’s love, grace and mercy is awesome! 
Our sweet Jessica turned one year old yesterday 4-21-09. She is doing wonderfully! She is up to 16.2 pounds. She is still on baby food mostly, but we are introducing “people food” slowly as her digestive system seems to be very sensitive to flavored foods and starches. She is crawling, cruising and desperately trying to walk. Her muscles are still strengthening. Her legs and arms are strong. Her hips and mid section is still firming up. She is a maniac in her walker. (she backs up better than I do in my car) 
What a personality! She is very stubborn and has quite a temper, (that’s how she survived) but she is the most lovable baby around. She is always hugging and giving kisses. She looks at you as if she sees your soul. It is very humbling. She knows Jesus. When we read her books and there is a picture of Jesus she kisses it. (I did not teach her that, she did that on her own, again, humbling) I can go on and on about her. 
As far as her birth parents… the DA has pressed charges and we are awaiting the arraignment to set the trial date. They have been charged with “Course of Conduct” which is a 3rd degree felony. (not just child endangerment which is just a misdemeanor) The assistant DA working on the case is said to be an excellent lawyer and very tough. Praise God! When the DA pressed the charges all contact they had with Jessica was discontinued. (I no longer have to take Jessica every week for “parenting” classes with them. Again praise God!) Although Children and Youth are trying to fight this because they still feel they are putting Jessica back with her birth parents. There is a hearing in May with the Orphans court, but I don’t think the DA is budging on this. (please keep in prayer) 
We have a new case worker with Children and Youth who is a blessing from our other one. She told me she is on our side and will do all she can to help us. Our other case worker did everything she could to get Jessica back with her birth parents. 
The birth father told the DA that it wasn’t his job to feed the baby. (that went over real well) The DA is very disgusted with both of them and what they did to Jessica. 
Please keep all in prayer. God is, as always, proving to me that He is in control. I know I have a promise from him that this little baby is not going back. Although I get very anxious at times, my faith is being strengthened. 
Here is pictures of Jessica now. 
Thank you again everyone and God bless!!!! 

Patty S

How could anyone ignore this face?

How could anyone ignore this face?

Slightly out of Focus
April 29, 2009, 13:40
Filed under: Uncategorized


For the last eight years my wife and  I have worked in an office right down the street from my church.  It was really handy to be available to the people who   would  drop in or to call if they had a need.  We rarely took a day off,  and I realize now that besides an income my job provided structure and focus. 

You would think that being laid off would yield a lot of free time, at least thought that being laid off would yield a lot of free time.  Wrong again.  Since the home office decided my wife and I were redundant,  we have had the time to actually take one ride in the country.  That is it. Where did all the time go?

  Learning  about being bi-vocational is a continuing process.  Today’s lesson is that a bi-vocational preacher who is laid off still has a vocation, and in fact one that will swell to fill some of the  void of a 40 hour week job that is no more.  Men and women often define themselves by occupation , and I have seen people devastated by job loss. It is a gift to me that when asked, “What do you do?”  I still have an answer. ” I pastor a church called Dayspring.”  Every time I say that, I hope God does not lay me off. 

The week after my corporate lay off I shared a fear from the pulpit.  I shared that often in my mind an image appears,[ perhaps taken from the Robert Duvall movie, The Apostle], of the ‘Pastor Police ‘ showing up at Dayspring and taking me away in cuffs, apologizing to the people for the affront dealt them by being subjected to my rantings.  For a sinner like me to have the honor of speaking the Mysteries of Christ, the Love of God, and His redemptive plan, seems totally outlandish.  Should this Holy calling not be reserved for a Nazarene?  Some one kept pure from birth,  no fermented products, somehow dedicated to the servicew of god from childhood, a modern day Levite?  How can it be that a man who has waded so deep in sin is chosen to preach and teach the Gospel?  There is only one answer,  “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

So I am bi- unemployed.  It seems to please God  to continue to allow me the privilege of loving His people and feeding His flock.  Part of that responsibility and privilege is to support my family with a new job.   I have no doubt He will provide, and no doubt a change was due. 

When the job left so did my pattern of life, my schedule, my habits.  The systems that had developed for sermon prep, study , even prayer were all affected by the lack of schedule. It is taking me a while to adapt. So my blog-cation is over,  my “shock of change” , diminishing. It is time to learn to use the hours of the day in a new way.  

                           Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as            wise,making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Time to put things in focus. 

Unwanted Holy Week Visitors
April 11, 2009, 12:48
Filed under: Uncategorized



Unwanted intruder seeks nuts at Dayspring

Unwanted intruder seeks nuts at Dayspring

We have had an open door policy at Dayspring, but that may need to change.  All God’s creatures moan for His coming ,Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now”, but some will need to moan outside.  I received a call from a woman cleaning the church that said,”We have a problem”.  Being a bit PTSD [see post],  images of fire, flood and attack raced through my mind.  “Something is eating the windows.”  Instantly I knew  the culprit, the squirrels are back.

The church that sprung from Wyoming Valley Baptist, was built by SBC volunteers.  God love these people.  They came in their R.V.’s and stayed a week, ripping out the bar / shoestore combination,[ weird already, right?] and leaving a really nice church building in their wake.  This was 25 years or so ago and if they had any error it was to assume that the church building would be finished by those the church was given to.  It really never was.  Small things like finishing around the eves was never completed.  Since I have been in the pulpit there has always been more important things to do.  This lack of attention to details somehow allows squirrels to get in, but not out.  We had the same thing last year,  a squirrel entered and then spent weeks of escape attempts but died in the effort.

Once again we have a visitor, more accurately an invader as visitors rarely chew our woodwork. Our Anderson windows now look like this.


Could be beavers, but more likely squirrels.

Could be beavers, but more likely squirrels.

I tried to trap them, but the old hunter’s saying, “you must be smarter than your prey”, defeated me.  I was feeding it/them.  Now the strategy is to leave the window open so that he ,she, or them may simply leave.  The problem with this is that one or more may enter,  perhaps in hope of peanut butter filled traps, or feeding stations as they may be known in squirreldom.

Many Christians I know try to see a ‘sign’ in all around them.  Does this mean Dayspring is full of nuts?  Or Squirrels?  Most of us are a bit squirrely as judged by the world,  but God loves us anyway.  Does this mean we are at war with nature?  We try to be earth friendly, but yes we do use styrofoam cups.  

These invaders need to learn a biblical lesson, they can not win!  We shall be victorious!  Gen. 1:26


And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  

We shall be victorious!   The war is on! 


Dayspring,  hand over the peanutbutter, or else!

Dayspring, hand over the peanutbutter, or else!

Lord save us from The wild beasts! 

Good Friday?
April 10, 2009, 10:20
Filed under: Uncategorized


Cross in Dayspring Bible Chapel

Cross in Dayspring Bible Chapel

When I was a youth ages ago, I could not imagine a group of people so perverted as to call the day their Savior died “Good”.  Hey, I was young , nine or ten and very poorly eduated in the Christian doctrine.  it took a lifetime but I get it now.  It was a horrible Friday, but it was , for me, a Good friday?  Is it a good Friday for you?  


If you believe ,  “When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy,” Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”  and they were healed, it is a Good Friday.

If you believe His Mission was as He said,  When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” and you have heeded that call,  it is indeed a Good Friday.

If you believe Jesus had Power over all, as in:  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still“. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. It is indeed a Good Friday.

If you believe Jesus raised the dead,  And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her,”Talitha cumi”; which is, being interpreted “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” It is indeed a Good Friday.

And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, “Thou art the Christ”.  If you Believe as Peter, it is indeed a Good Friday.

If you believe and are not ashamed,  “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.“, it is indeed a Good Friday.

If you believe He said,  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. and have responded as did this man,   “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”.-  it is indeed a Good Friday.

If you can see as clearly as blind Bartimaeus who said,  “And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.”  and have cryed out in like manner, it is indeed a Good Friday.

If you believe as did the Centurion at the foot of the Cross,   And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  it is indeed a Good Friday. 


If you believe an Angel once said,” Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid him.  it is indeed a Good Friday. 

If you believe, it is a Good Friday.  If  you do not it is just another day.

Flickering Pixels, [from Bookshelf to Blog]
April 9, 2009, 11:20
Filed under: Uncategorized

flickeringpixels11 Todd and Tina Howard sent me a book to review.  Here is an open invitation, if you send it I will read!  I like books, and I like free, so this is a real winner for me.   Rob the Texan Bar-b-cue chef sent me a book also that will be next, there are a few others, so here we go ,a new willohroots feature,  From the Bookshelf to the Blog, my review.  [I will also test drive cars and taste cheeses, please contact me for delivery.]

Reviews are by nature subjective, our perspective can drastically alter perception.  It would behoove the reader to know I am a bibliophile.  My house is too full, says my wife, of books.  As Mike Bell is the Eclectic christian, I am the eclectic reader.  I once spent three wonderful hours reading a 1938 manual on engine repair, wonderful read! I  can also turn on a book, with dire results.  I picked up the sequel to ‘Silence of the Lambs’ at an airport,  and when I got home took it out back and shot it, repeatedly, for wasting two hours of my life I would never recoup.  I am also very jaded when it comes to Christian books.  I like John MacArthur,  but disagree on some important points. I like Charles Stanley and agree with him , but his writing style does not thrill me. I did not like ‘Purpose Driven Life ‘at all, no apology.  The Howards knew none of this when they shipped ‘Flickering Pixels’, but you do have this knowledge, it will help you  understand.

Flickering Pixels is written much the way the municiple swimming pool in my old home town was designed.  Perhaps the engineer turned editor. Shane Hipps starts us out in the kiddy pool, ankle deep.  As a former advertising executive he quotes McLuhan [advertising guru] and says that Christians have long been taught that the Message [not the translation that irks me so, but the gospel] matters, but the Method, the way we spread the gospel, is flexible.  I had to agree, I have been to those seminars,  that is what we have been told. Yawn, another guy saying the same old same old,  but then he hit a new twist.

The water gets wading deep around this point.  Hipps describes how we are shaped by the medium.  The bombardment of sight and sound has shaped and shifted the way we think, the way our brain functions.  Hipps seems motivated by a frustration, his evangelical upbringing seminary training and Mennonite tradition gave him no help in evangelizing the lost.  Paul’s method of linear thinking that was used on Mars Hill seemed lost in today’s word.  I started to relate, as my attempts to preach people into the kingdom has been an abject failure.  I was dog paddling on at this point.

Hipps believes that the amount of information bombarding us today has lead to a stunting of individual growth. He called it  “a permanent puberty of the mind”.   Hipps explained how  Systematic Theology needs to give way to Practical Theology and then brought examples of change in seeker/believer thought processes.  This was the adults only section of the pool, deep waters indeed.  When it was explained that today’s believer’s salvation experience is more similar to a dimmer knob than a light switch I knew this writer had something I needed, and this book would be read and reread.

The last chapters of this book are diving area deep.  He could not have started with so much depth,  you need to gradually wade in to get there.  Hipps says we need to teach today with images,  not necessarily power point images,  images of real life.  His whole point is that we are the message.  In my words, to bring people to Christ we must be Christians.  Pretty radical, right? 

Here is a writer more approachable than MacArthur,  more readable than Stanley,  much deeper than Warren.  This is a book that vindictes what we at willohroots have shared, what many of you post on your blogs.  Fine doctrine is fine to have,  but the heart and mind of Christ is to love others, to be an image of Christ by acting in love is not only the message, it is the method.

I never thought I would so strongly endorse a book. This needs to be required reading for anyone who would claim the title Christian.  The antidotes of Christian love and the out takes from the Mennonite handbook  ‘Agreeing to Disagree in Love’ are uplifting enough,  but I think this type of thinking is the antidote to the decline of the Evangelical church.  I could paraphrase the book with these words, 

Interview with Shane Hipps at Out of Ur ,



Jam 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” It is time for the deception to end.





Check this out! Sheep Video
April 8, 2009, 09:36
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

R3blog is a good read, here is a little extra reason to go there, it makes my Welsh blood sing!  Stop back and leave a comment if you are impressed, and you should be.

The Christian Life, a Study in Humility
April 6, 2009, 18:01
Filed under: History, roots of Willohroots, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

humbledmanDoes humility come easy to any of you?  If so you have my respect and God forgive me,  envy.  Don’t worry , I will get rid of the envy by leaving it at the foot of the cross, and repent, but I could not deny it without false testimony.  Humility has NOT come easy to me.  I always wanted to be the “….est” at something.  Smartest,  coolest, toughest, quickest, some measure of outstanding achievement or performance.  It may have been a result of being the youngest [there it is again], smallest[oh boy], fattest [no brag there], kid in my class.   Reasons and rationalizations aside, I sought niches in which to excel.  I wish I could tell you that this was channeled into socially acceptable, God honoring categories that led me to be a leader of industry and achievement, but that would be going back to the whole false testimony thing.  A lot of the niches I wanted to be captain of were down right sinful. God takes His servants from some odd backgrounds.  I rejoice that Moses was a stuttering murderer.  I am given much hope in the Saul part of Paul’s life.  Abraham’s failures allow me to more readily call myself a servant of the Most High, this is a group whose qualifications are not based on the individual, but on the Holy God who used them.  When Noah went on a bender after doing all the right things he showed a humanity I can relate to, perhaps all too well, a lack of perfection that only goes to illuminate God by the contrast of His light to our dark.

God does not often use the prideful servant.  The Holy Spirit fills the empty vessel, not the one filled with pride of self.  Jesus called us not to lead, but to follow.  Since from birth we are self minded, God must send people and instances and the Holy Spirit to act on us as Nathan acted on David.  “You are that man”, experiences are horrible to go through, but iron is heated, beaten and quenched to be made into a tool.  If we offer God the ore of our basic existence, should we not expect to be refined?  We can trust that His expert hand will not strike harder than we can bear, nor will He withhold the fire until the dross is skimmed away. God has caused or allowed many humbling experiences to come into my life;  He has placed me in situations where I have been helpless, looked foolish, and/or  had no hope except His mercy.  Looking back these were times to praise Him,  even though at the time of occurrence they seemed cruel, or at best humorous. I would like to share a few of these moments, for I am sure they will make you feel better about your humbling experiences.  We all know that pathos is when you trip over a rake in the yard, comedy is when your neighbor does it. Allow me to be your neighbor and have a good natured laugh at some of these situations,  I assure you that neither the neighbor nor I were permanently injured by these events.

On a scorching August day we were called to a ” assist the civilian”  while Hanging around at the Fire House.  The temp was bumping 100 degrees, and most of us were in shorts and tshirts.  The  Hermit had found a dead animal in  his well and wanted us to pump  out and chlorinate the cistern.  A marvelous opportunity to train the new guys , girls, and juniors in the operation of a portable pump.   I took the squad truck and about seven “newbies” and off we went to serve the community.  We set up next to the well with a 300 gpm portable pump and two lengths of suction , with no hose needed as we would just blow the water out of the pump and out of the way.  Everyone listened attentively as I, the experienced Fire Chief shared a chunk of my knowledge.  They watched as I primed the pump and started the operation.  Now it was their turn.  I watched from ten feet away  as the suction was re-lowered into the well, the pump restarted,  but they had forgotten to prime, so no flow was to be had.  I took a step closer as a rookie figured the problem  out on his own, applied back pressure and re-angled the outlet.  At me.  300 gallons per minute of rancid dead animal stew  hit me right below the belly button.  Do you think that is humbling?  No, humbling is when this well water,  freezing cold well water blows your shorts down to your ankles in an instant.  Did I mention it was freezing cold water?  The great Chief stood before the crowd with all the primary sexual characteristics of a Ken doll. That is Humbling. 

I lay in a fetal position on a hospital bed unable to move.  I had been this way for weeks with herniated discs.  The local hospital was afraid to operate due to my cancer history and had shipped me out for expert surgery.  As I  lay there I asked God, “Can there be anything worse?”  I advise you to avoid that comment .  A 6’3″ man with bright red hair in a Ronald McDonald permanent showed up with a disposable razor.  If you wanted to cast a flamboyant gay guy for a movie, you would cast this fellow.  “Time to shave your bummy  for Doctor Martin!” ,  he announced with glee.  Humbling.  By the way, he was an excellent care-giver who understood a man’s pride, and did his best to preserve the gram of dignity I had left. 

I was in a bible study/prayer group.  I looked around the table at my fellow travelers, and realized I was superior.  I was the only one with a college education, actually a GED would have been trump with this crowd.  I was not on welfare,  I was wearing clothes bought just for me when they were new, not from the Salvation Army store.  I did however, have a problem.  I could not pray.  Since my mom died the previous year,  I just could not pray. I called it prayer-locked.  In front of a group I could sound like I was praying, but I was not talking to God, I was speaking so others would know what a good prayer I was.  Then it was Tami’s turn to pray.  She told God how happy she was for the miracle last night, that when she rechecked the cupboard with faint hope, there was a box of macaroni and cheese and her family had supper.  “Thank you Jesus for feeding us.”  She meant every word, nothing fancy, just humble and honest,  from the bottom of her heart.   I did not get my turn, I  was crying.  My heart was broken, I was humbled, and once again I could pray.  Thank you Jesus, thank you Tami. 

I wish I had no more stories like this, but to keep the testimony true, I  must admit there is  a bunch.  Some have no humor involved.   I once thought I was pretty tough, but I found out my own skin cells could turn against me and take me out.  I thought I was smart, but I have done the most idiotic things.  My dependence on my God grows every day. 

Micah 6:8   He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

He hath shown me, and I rejoice.