Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nephew in Town

Our nephew, Steven Greenwalt (my brother Noel's son), was in the area yesterday as his truck was being serviced at the Schneider terminal in Fontana.  He had a few hours free, so Sondra and I picked him up and took him to Sundowner's restaurant for dinner.  They were having a steak and shrimp dinner special for $5, so all three of us ordered it!  It was good, and we had a great visit.

After eating, we took Steven home for about an hour and a half, just to relax and chat some more.  David was at the home of one our church members.  Our friend and church member, Ken, is a graphic artist by trade and was so helpful in creating a design for the cover of David's book.  Steven had hoped to see David too, but it didn't work out.

Evan was at work.  Crystal was sick.  Roger was out of town at his boat in Oxnard.  So, Steven got the luck of the draw and spent the evening with me and Sondra!  Lucky guy.....ha ha.

So, about 8 pm I took Steven back to his truck as he said his next trip would take him all the way to Wisconsin.  The life of a trucker is interesting!  I love talking to him about his adventures on the road.  We also reminisced and heard more tales of his teenage years working on boats and schooners in Maine.  That was fun.

Here's some photos from yesterday (with the Sundowner sign in one):

I am including a picture of the tentative creation for the cover of David's book.  He is inviting comments on how it gives a first impression.  Also, he is inviting anyone to read a preview of his book, and then to give any feedback and thoughts.  This has been a unique experience for his writing process.  It has also given me some impetus to get some of my writings into print.

Anyway, you can write to David at this email address..... .....and he will be glad to give you a download for reading his book.  Here is his book cover:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Head Scar Is Healing

Some have asked how my right forehead is healing.  The scar is not as noticeable now.  Here's a photo from today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Doctor's Appointment

On Monday afternoon, I was able to get an appointment to see my primary physician at the VA Loma Linda hospital.  My right ankle was extremely swollen and I was told by the advice nurse by phone to come in.  At the hospital, I was instructed to get an ultrasound on my right leg to check for a blod clot.  They did the procedure and found no clot!  However, the doctor doubled my dosage of lasix (water pills) to flush excess fluid from my system.  Oh, well.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Sondra and I drove down to visit a wonderful lady who has been a part of the life of our church since our inception 10 years ago.  She lives in San Clemente, and has a daughter (and son-in-law and grandkids) who live close to our church.  This lady (Rilla) visited our church and told her daughter about us.  It has been a great relationship over the years.  Rilla comes up often to visit her family and our church.  Now, sadly, Rilla is in the hospital in Irvine and may not have too much more time on this earth.  So, we took the daughter and two grand-daughters with us for the visit.  They were going to go, so we just all piled into our car for a special time together for this trip down to Orange County.  It was a meaningful time.

My friend, Pastor George Nelson, who has started a new church plant in the Los Angeles area of Chatsworth, called and told me one of his first members at the assisted living home just passed away.  George has never held a memorial service and I am meeting him this morning at breakfast to talk about funerals and memorial services.  It is a blessing for me to be able to help others in their growth as ministers and servants of the Lord.  I feel honored.

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, I have been asked to lead a morning devotion again at Coronado Stone in Fontana.  I was told that several who have led the devotional times in the past days have used my series on End Times as a springboard for their time of sharing.  These are special times to note and see what the future holds.  As I used to sing a song years ago in church:  "I don't know about tomorrow.....but I know who holds my hand."  It's Jesus who has me in His grip, and that's all I need to know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stitches Out

Friday night I went back to ER to have the stitchers removed from my forehead.  The doctor who had stitched me said he put 11 stitches in, but the doctor on duty Friday only found 10!  I may still have one buried above my right eyebrow!

Sunday I preached from Matthew 4, where Jesus called some of the disciples to "come and follow" him.  It gave me opportunity to reflect on my call to ministry, and I included that in my sermon.  It is as fresh today as it was 27 years ago, when I felt God's call on my life to serve in pastoral ministry as my vocation in life.  The life of a pastor is not "what I do," as it is "who I am."  God has transformed my focus, my pursuits, my desires.

That's the way it should be with all Christians.  Being a Christian is not "what you do," it is "who you are."  Believers and followers of Christ find great joy and peace in that.

I have an appointment this afternoon (Monday) to see my primary doctor.  Last night, it seemed that my right foot was greatly swollen.  Sondra called the advice nurse last night to see what I should do.  Since I have symptoms of congestive heart failure, the doctor will check out to see if excess fluid is being retained.  I do not like going to the doctor, but this will give peace of mind to find out exactly what is going on.

Here are a few more photos of our trip to Solvang last week (windmill, clock tower, and Sondra at the small monument bust of Hans Christian Andersen):

Our church had a fun outing planned for today.  A group is going to the taping of the game show, "The Price Is Right."  Sondra and I were planning to go, but the doctor's appointment came up suddenly so we couldn't go.  Sondra's brother, Alden, went and we will hear about the trip from him tonight.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quick Trip on Short Notice

Our brother David has finally received permission to travel outside his previous 50-mile limit.  There were two things he had talked about doing, once he was able to go some distance without restriction.  One was to go to the Wasco cemetery and see where Dad is buried.  The other was to visit the little town of Solvang, as mom and dad had recounted many times about how quaint and European it is.

So early yesterday (Wednesday) morning, Sondra and I and David jumped in the car and headed north.  We arrived in Bakersfield and ate breakfast.  Then we drove by the Crystal Palace, built some years ago by Buck Owens, who also bought the famous "Bakersfield" sign when it was taken down from the old Hwy 99 entrance to town.  Buck Owens restored it and placed it at the entrance to his Crystal Palace. 

Then we drove over to East Bakersfield and took a look at the old Trinity Baptist Church, where my dad pastored in the 1960s.  This church is now being used to start a new Set Free congregation there.

We drove further north, telling stories and reliving memories of when Dad pastored in Wasco.  It began to sprinkle as we entered the town.  By the time we arrived at the Wasco cemetery, it was coming down at a faster pace.  Sadly, we could not stay as long as we had planned because of the rain.  We took time at Dad's headstone, and then some time at Truett's headstone.  Cold and wet, we climbed back in the car and drove out of town.

We had rooms reserved over in Santa Maria, so we headed west to the coast.  By the time we checked in our Holiday Inn rooms, we had left the rains behind.  We drove up to Pismo Beach and walked the town and out to the end of the pier.  Since there are some very good seafood restaurants, we went and had fish and chips for dinner.

After a good night's sleep, David and I quickly ran over to a cinnamon roll shop in Pismo, as Sondra was getting up for the day.  (Yes, we brought her a cinnamon roll and coffee back!)  We checked out and drove south to the little town of Solvang, a very fun and interesting place to visit.  It is basically a Danish style city, with many other European influences in architecture and foods -- German, Dutch, French, etc.  We wanted to taste some Danish pastries (not American made pastries with a Danish title) and found a small bakery for that.  After walking around, we found a Danish restaurant advertising soups (Potato and Leeks, and also a Split Pea with Ham), Danish sausages, and aebleskivers (a pancake-like batter made into a small deep-fried ball and covered with rasberry jam and powdered sugar).  It was delicious!

We took more time walking and driving around, just like real tourists.....ha ha.  Around 2 pm this afternoon (Thursday), we headed back to Rialto and home.  Good trip and wonderful memories to share.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Devotional Series on "End Times"

Whether by coincidence or divine appointment, I was given the task of sharing for four days on the topic of "End Times" at the Coronado Stone manufacturing plant in Fontana.

Yes, this happened before the great earthquake in Japan.  So, I was not trying to tie in any one global event to my times of speaking on this Biblical subject.

I just want to write about a few things that I felt compelled to share.  First, if we live according to God's ways, we will have no fear about the end of days.  Second, we must not focus exclusively on end things, otherwise we will lose sight of those thiings we need to be doing in the present time.  Third, we cannot and will not know all things about the end, whether it be about the millenium reign or tribulation or whatever.  That is the summary of my Introduction Day to the subject.

With that, let me give some truths that I expressed.  After the Introduction, I divided my devotional series into three parts for the three consecutive days, Tuesday through Thursday, at Coronado.

Part One dealt with the timeline (sequence of events) and the Tribulation.  Here are the truths presented that day:

Truth #1.  We are living in the Last Days, whether the end is tomorrow or next year or 100 years from now.
Truth #2.  God's plan for the end is good and just and exciting for believers.
Truth #3.  Everything that leads up to the end of days is proof of God's control and final victory.
Truth #4.  The time of Tribulation precedes Christ's return.
Truth #5.  God is with his people, whether in chaos or suffering or troubles or joy!

Part Two dealt wth signs of the end and the Second Coming of Christ.

Truth #1.  Jesus will return.  Those who trust the Bible do not question this.
Truth #2.  Jesus will return in glory to receive his own.
Truth #3.  Sin can only be enjoyed for a season.
Truth #4.  Great sin will precede the Second Coming.
Truth #5.  We as believers are to be watchful and prepared for the return of Jesus.
Truth #6.  The Second Coming will be powerful and amazing.

Part Three dealt with symbolism and the Rapture.

Truth #1.  All the redeemed will be gathered up in the Rapture.
Truth #2.  The full majesty of God is revealed at the end.
Truth #3.  God's purpose for creation will be finally and completely fulfilled at the end.

In summary, God wins.  Satan loses.  God people are on the winning side.  We look forward with eagerness to the "End TImes."

For anyone interested, I will forward a full transcript for each day by email.  Just write to me at and I will send you a copy of the devotions for all four days.  Just send me $19.95 plus shipping and handling.....ha ha.  Just kidding.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hockey Game, Part Two

The plan to attend the hockey game on Friday evening was for it to be eventful and fun, but it did not turn out the way it was intended.  It was eventful, that's for sure.  Just not the way we thought.  We were to relax and have fun and enjoy the night.  But, due to my "jumping over the seats" incident, it ended with me at the hospital for several hours.

Well, I felt well enough to try it again on Saturday night, as we were offered free tickets for the next night.  David took me and Sondra to dinner first at Appleby's for my "birthday" dinner prior to the game.  Then, Shawn/Crystal/Bailey met us at the arena.  We had a great time, with no accidents or incidents!  I think I stayed in my seat for the entire game.....ha ha.  Our hometown team, the Ontario Reign, won the game as well.

On Saturday, I was not sure how good I would feel on Sunday morning, so I had someone else lined up to preach for me.  I went to church and led the service, all except for the preaching.  With the band-aid patch over my forehead, I had to tell the full story of what happened.  Sondra elaborated (to the entire congregation) how I had to press a Pamper diaper (from Bailey's diaper bag) to my head to stem the flow of bleeding.  As our music leader stepped to the microphone before the next song, he said:  "I am so glad to hear that our pastor is being 'pampered.'"  It was hilarious.

We came home and rested all afternoon.  The birthday dinner outing planned for last week was postponed until last night (Sunday evening).  Sondra, Alden, David and I drove down to Corona to meet Evan and Callie, Shawn and Crystal and Bailey for dinner at the Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill restaurant.  It is noted for its BBQ dishes, so I ordered a full rack of baby back ribs.  Delicious and had some left to bring home

We have been talking to family back in Missouri and Oklahoma, naturally, throughout the course of my "incident" and current "recovery."  With my meds (specifically, the blood thinner I am taking), this was cause for a little bit of concern, but all is going well.

I haven't posted any pictures of our "little cutie" in Shawnee for a while, so I want to end with some photos from Oklahoma.  Here are some picture of my grandkids back there, especially little Macyn who has just discovered her hands and has learned to clap.

Life goes on, but at a slower pace this week for me!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Oh, my goodness.  Want to hear the latest?

Last night, my daughter and son-in-law (Crystal and Shawn) with grand-daughter Bailey took me and Sondra to a minor league hockey game close by in Ontario.  It was part of my belated birthday, as I was sick last weekend.  So, we met them at the arena at 6:30 pm.  Got the tickets and went in.  We had seats 7 rows up from the ice, just behind one of the goalie nets.  The game had not started, so Shawn was going to go get some hot dogs, and I told him I would help.

I was on the inside of the aisle, and not wanting to make everyone get up and let me out, I decided to step over the seat in front of me as there were no people in those seats yet.  Well, I got my left leg over and then the right one, but just then my right foot slipped through the opening of the back of the seat.  I fell sideways and cracked my head on the arm of the arena seat.  My foot was caught and I began to bleed from my forehead wound.

I finally got up, and not having anything to press against the gash, Crystal gave me one of Bailey's Pamper diapers to hold against my head.  I was a sight!  Security from the arena came down quickly and escorted me up to the main floor to be seen by the First Aid responders at the arena.  They cleaned me up and put a huge bandage and wrap on my head.  They also instructed me to go straight to ER somewhere close to have stitches, as the cut was about 1 1/2 inches long and 2 cm wide.

Sondra took me directly to the VA hospital and I got the necessary care done in a couple of hours.  I needed 11 stitches and then they gave me a tetanus shot as added precaution (because I could not remember my last tetanus booster).  Got home about midnight.

Crazy day!
Here I am before going to ER.

Here I am after ER!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Last week, I was asked to lead a three-day devotional series on the subject of "End Times" at the Coronado Stone manufacturing plant in Fontana.  A very interesting topic these days for Christians and non-Christians alike.  They have their devotions on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday mornings at 8 am for all the employees, as they shut the production lines down for the break.  So, last Thursday, I gave a short introduction to the topic at hand.  They put me down on the schedule to lead the series this week on T-W-Th, three days in a row.  They had never tried a series with one speaker for a devotional series previous to this, so I feel honored.

This past week, my brother David was down with the cold/flu stuff that is going around -- sneezing, coughing, congestion and all.  It has just hung on for almost a week now, but he seems to be getting better each day.  Trouble is, I got a touch of it over the weekend.  It's not his fault, as there are so many that have been sick in our church and at Coronado Stone where I spend some time.

I felt feverish and then some chilling, sneezing and a mild sore throat.  This began last Friday.  On Saturday, I missed a meeting at our church's Associational Office because I just wanted to rest and feel good enough for Sunday.  A lay preacher in the church called me Saturday, letting me know he would be ready to help (by preaching) on Sunday if I needed him.  I was going to push myself to go on Sunday morning, but it wasn't worth the risk so I called my friend to take my place in the pulpit for the worship service.  I stayed home.

On Sunday evening, we had planned a birthday dinner at a nearby steak and BBQ restaurant with the kids.  That was postponed until next week too.

Monday was my birthday.  I was feeling a little better but still not 100 percent.  I had asked Sondra to cook a big birthday dinner rather than go out.  I specifically requested fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried okra, corn on the cob, and homemade biscuits with honey.  Instead of a cake, I wanted a peach cobbler with ice cream.  That dinner made me feel a whole lot better!  We are still waiting to go out with our kids this next weekend for a birthday dinner "on the town."

I really felt loved and special this birthday.  I received cards, phone calls, and emails wishing me a Happy Birthday.  What was astounding was the amount of birthday wishes I received on Facebook.  I never post on my Facebook page, and I only look at it when somebody else writes on my Facebook "wall."  I had more than 50 birthday notices on my Facebook page, hearing from some that I had not heard from in quite a long time.  What fun and joy!

Tuesday, I went to Coronado Stone and spoke on the sequence of events leading up to the End Times, looking specifically at the Tribulation mentioned in the Bible.  This morning (Wednesday), I covered the topic of the Signs of the End Times, with a focus on the Second Coming of Christ.  Tomorrow I will give a summary and general conclusions as we look at the Rapture and the symbolism in the book of Revelation.  It has been a tough assignment, in the sense of crystallizing the devotions into a 10-minute time each day.  But the challenge has been fun and rewarding.

Last night (Tuesday), we went to Olivia's Mexican Restaurant to eat and be with family members who came to visit with Keri (our niece who lives in Chicago) and her little baby Isaiah.  Keri was invited to come to California Baptist University to lead in preparation seminars for students who will be going out on mission trips this year.  She was also asked to speak at the two chapel services today for all the student population.  It was good to see her and all the family members who could make it.

Today, we are taking care of grand-daughter Bailey.  We have some exciting news to share out of the Shawn and Crystal Marcum household.  Crystal is going to have another baby this coming September!  We are so thrilled and cannot wait.  Little Bailey turns two years old next month (April 4), and she will certainly have fun as a big sister!

OK, that's it for now!