An Example of Wackiness, Love, and Faith

1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

Aunt Lavon would do wacky things.  She was fun-loving, always had a smile, and was a deeply caring person.

For many years as a child I just knew her as the sister of my Dad who was crazy and fun.  She was the aunt who had so much fun playing the game Spoons that the neighbors could hear and would wonder what was going on over at  the Dunkle’s house.  She would dive across the table to get a spoon in this card game.  It was no holds barred. Aunt Lavon on right

Instead of writing letters, she would sometimes record a tape (yes this was before email and YouTube).  She would talk about their family, which cousin was in which sport, how work was going, etc.  She would also sing.  Yes, she would sing some of her favorite songs acapella.  She also would record some her favorite songs and provide commentary on why she loved it so much.  One song I distinctly remember was “Rushing Wind” by Keith Green.  He sang about being cleansed from our sin and the Holy Spirit entering his life after being born again.  It later became a favorite of mine.

When we visited her home, we always went to church.  It was different from our church.  There was more emphasis on looking at the Bible, talking about Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and this serious discussion about salvation. People at her church were friendly!  And, man, they loved the Lord.

In my early teens I found out the source of her joy and zest for life.  It was her faith in Christ.  I learned of it slowly through news she would share with us and gifts and cards she would send me.

She took a personal interest in me and my spiritual state.  I was her first nephew and she would tease me that I couldn’t hide anything from her because she used to change my diapers.  Usually this discussion happened in front of others for embarrassment purposes.The Way

On one of my birthdays she sent me a Bible.  It was a “fresh” translation targeted toward the younger generation.  Many remember it as the green, hardback Bible called “The Way.” 

In it she wrote the following:

“Shawn Barr – May you find that peace for your life that only is found in Jesus Christ.  The following I am sharing with you from my Bible – sayings I’ve written in my Bible over the years.  May He bless your life in every way. You are loved. All my Love, Aunt Lavon”

Here are the sayings she shared:

* I have to stand for something or I’ll fall for anything.

* Christians shouldn’t be satisfied to die on 3rd base when they could go on to Home with the Winning Run.

* Responsibility – The response is to come from us, and the ability will come from Him.

* I would rather burn out for Jesus than rust out for Him.

* History – His Story.

* Money is an instrument that can buy you everthing but happiness and pay your fare for every place but Heaven.

* Love is something you “do”!

* If justice was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we’d all be blind and toothless!

*Shawn Barr – You are loved!

She closed with: “My commitment of love to you: to pray for you everyday the rest of my life. Aunt Lavon.”

Her investment of love and prayer in me changed my life.  The example of joyful, Christian living was contagious.  Shortly after receiving this Bible, I found Christ as my own Savior and gained assurance that I was reconciled to God because of Him.

Several years ago her commitment of praying for me ended as she died tragically.  However, her example will never die.  I’ll always remember her great love for Christ and others.

The Church needs more “Aunt Lavons” – people willing to be an example and invest in others.  I pray I can be that person for someone else.  And may I ask, who will be able to point to you in the same way someday? There are people right around you who need you to love them, invest in them, and stand up and be an example.

Decide to become a difference-maker to someone today.

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“Who Dun It?”

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 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

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Stephen King, Nancy Drew, Monk, and CSI: what do they all have in common?  Mystery.  We love mysteries.  That’s why we play the game Clue.  That’s the reason for murder mystery dinners. The question of “Who dun it?” intrigues us.

In fact, people look for mysteries where there are none.  Conspiracy theorists look for dark plots.  People play songs backwards looking for hidden messages.  And just why is my neighbor digging that big hole in his backyard?  Surrreeee he’s putting in a firepit.  We’ve all heard that one before. Continue reading

Finding God in the Flea on My Neighbor’s Dog

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Yes, I see God in the flea on my neighbor’s dog (I can’t believe I actually think about these things).  I see Him in other things also, but why not start with something close to home.  Think about some of the amazing things this flea on Abby (the dog’s name) can do:

  • Jump 30,000 times without stopping.
  • Jump 150 times its size (about 12 inches)…equivalent to a human jumping 100 stories!
  • Pull 160,000 times its weight.
  • Drink 15 times its body weight in blood (yeah, kind of gross, but in a cool kind of way).
  • Accelerate 15 times faster then the space shuttle. ( courtesy of  http://www.nationalfleaweek.com )

If a human could do those things, then move over Superman!  Seriously though, those are some amazing statistics and we’re only talking a flea here.  Look at the more complicated biology in nature.  Consider the physical laws that keep our universe from flying apart.  Look at the intricacy in ecosystems.  In all these items I see the hand of God.

Continue reading

Googling for God

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A recent Google search for “God”, pulled up a potpourri of hits.  It included things like: 

  • A book about the demise of America
  • Images of space that claim to contain glimpses of God
  • The Wikipedia definition for God (of course)
  • www.god.com (God’s website?)
  • 50 Proofs that God is imaginary
  • An interview with God
  • A myspace hit about the group “Lamb of God”
  • A journal containing scientific evidence for God’s existence
  • www.godswarningtotheworld.com – a site about prophetic events and visions of Mary and Jesus. (Mary usually weeping)

What a hodge podge of sites and ideas about God.  Maybe I need to get a telescope to see God out there in space somewhere; or maybe we should begin evaluating these proofs that God is imaginary.  Thankfully we don’t have to do that. 

However, it seems there are as many ideas about God as there are people.    Continue reading

Jesus said, “Drinks on me!”

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The dusty saloon doors swing open as a cowboy enters.  He swaggers to the bar, slaps down a fistful of dollars and says, “Drinks for everyone on me!”  People raise their glasses and shout, some clap, and some say, “3 cheers for our new friend”.   

What a great deal for those in the saloon that night; a free drink from a stranger.  It wasn’t asked for.  This cowboy just gave it in honor of something he wanted to celebrate, perhaps a successful trail ride.  Whatever his reason, most people gratefully lift their mug and accept the free gift.   

But imagine a table in the corner of the room with several whiskered gamblers.  Continue reading

Girls and Bunnies

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The blanket was filled with little girls and baby rabbits. “Dad, can I keep this one?!” My daughter held the 2-week old baby rabbit to her chest. “We’ll see,” I said.  The two girls had been playing with the furry bunnies for 30 minutes. They were no bigger than teacups. The girls “Oohhhed” and “Aaahhhed” as they picked up one then another of the tiny fur balls with twitching noses.  It seemed they couldn’t cuddle or hug the nine babies enough; little girls loving littler rabbits.

It reminded me of God’s love for the world. Continue reading