Thoughts and insights


Church Family

I love names! They fascinate me. I wonder who first made up each name, how it evolved from one language to another—why doesn’t it stay the same no matter the language—and why each mom and dad chose the names they gave their newborns. In the Bible names had meanings. They still do. Books have been published that tell the meaning of every name from A to Z. When I was a kid, I made lists of names that I liked. Most of them have changed over the years. I keep a “Name Bank” on my computer to aid me in my writing.

Maps and telephone books (okay, I’m dating myself!!) are a treasure trove of odd place and people names. Did you know that Norway and Denmark are in Oregon? And California is in Maryland? Oregon boasts town names of both Brothers and Sisters, Kellogg, Post, and Welches; Oatmeal and Cut and Shoot are in Texas, as well as Blessing and Comfort; Brooklyn is in Washington. But do you know where El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de los Angeles de Porciuneula is? You’ll find it in Southern California under its common designation of simply L.A.

Years ago, I knew a minister whose last name was Dull. Can't you just hear some woman encouraging her husband to attend church with her—“Come on, Honey. Pastor Dull is preaching this morning.”

“Pastor Dull, huh? Nah, that’s ok. I’ll just stay home and watch Face the Nation reruns.”

Anyway, it came time for Pastor Dull to be transferred to another pastorate. The Boring church (yes, there really is a town in Oregon named Boring!) needed a pastor, but the conference officials of Pastor Dull’s denomination decided that it was a little much to send Pastor Dull to the Boring church. So, he went someplace else. True story!

This same Pastor Dull was at a small regional campmeeting in southern Oregon. The man doing the opening preliminaries at one meeting was introducing the ministers on the platform. “On one end,” he said, “We have Pastor Dull. On the other end is Pastor Sharp.” He paused for effect, then said, “But I want you to know that there’s Pastor Miles in between them!”

Have you ever wondered if people think of how the first name they choose to pin on that newborn will sound with their last name? Obviously, the parents of Ben Dover didn’t! Neither did Rana Shore’s folks. Some women just have to take what they get when they marry. As did Candy Treat, Candy Christmas, and Joan Bone. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave the rest as fodder for another blog.

There is one Dad, however, who is choosing the perfect name for all His kids. We won’t know it until we get to heaven. Revelation 2:17 says, “And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” I like to think of it as His pet name for me. I’m anxious to know what it is. Aren’t you?


Church Family

Everybody needs somebody! Remember—“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world”? We all need someone else, and we’re not “lucky,” we’re designed that way by our Creator. Not only do we need other people, but we also need God. And dare we say—God needs us? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 NIV). Jesus wants us, needs us to come to Him, to remain in Him, to bring Him glory. “Bring … everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isa. 43:7 NIV). People who hold back, keep aloof from others may think they are protecting themselves from hurt, but deep inside, they are lonely. We’re made to be social creatures. You need the church family, and the church family needs you!


We’ve all seen documents that contain a list of the rights and responsibilities of the person who signs the agreement or contract. But have you thought about the rights and responsibilities we are entrusted with when we “sign” a contract with Jesus and commit to follow Him. This is a new thought for me, so maybe it is for you, too.


John 1:12

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Revelation 2:7

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 3:21

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 22:14

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

These incredible privileges aren’t given grudgingly by a reluctant God. He says they are our rights! That thought just boggles my mind! But we have responsibilities that lead to those rights. Here are some of them.


Leviticus 24:15

Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible.

Leviticus 22:31

“Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord.”

John 14:15

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

Revelation 14:12

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

John 15:12

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:13

Live in peace with each other.

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 

Colossians 3:12–14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Our responsibilities are really very few and lead to our happiness. Our rights, however, are amazing and undeserved. Think on these things!

Bible Verses Credit:

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®


I don't like football. I don't understand football, and I have no desire to ever learn to understand it. It just doesn’t appeal to me. I can think of more interesting things to do than watch a bunch of grown boys get their nice clean clothes all dirty trying to catch and keep an awkwardly-shaped ball.

But … one Super Bowl Sunday in 1995, I found myself in front of the TV for part of the game. Not because I cared (or even knew) who was playing, but because I was in my sister-in-law’s home and wanted to sit with the rest of the family.

During the half an hour or so that I watched the game, I learned something. Not how to play football, or even how to enjoy watching football. But I learned something that I hope will carry over into the Game of Life, especially my home and church life.

One player made an attempt to catch the ball, but his foot slipped on the grass and he fell, losing the ball. But instead of his fellow teammates yelling at him, calling him names, telling him how stupid he was, and maybe kicking him off the team, one teammate came over and helped him to his feet. He patted him on the back, and spoke words of encouragement. I couldn’t hear what was said, but I could imagine by the facial expressions that he was saying, “Nice try—better luck next time.”

Now, these are guys who would just as soon pile on top of one another in the mud as go out for ice cream. I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect such an obvious display of comradeship. After all, the guy messed up. Possible score points were lost. He let his team down. The least they could have done was ignore him. Maybe if no one acknowledged his fall, the fans wouldn’t think the whole team was bad. H-mm …

I got to thinking … the church is somewhat like a team. At least it should be. How does your church team react when one of the players slips and falls, losing the ball? Do they yell at him? Push him back down in the mud? Kick him off the team? 

Or does someone go to him, offer a hand up, and say, “Nice try—better luck next time.”

How about the family team? Does your child feel at times like the Least Valuable Player? Does your spouse, at times, wish he/she could trade you to another team? Or do your team members show the kindness and encouragement to one another that the football player exhibited?

Instead of scolding, shaming, or ignoring the offender, why not say, “Oops, you goofed. But I’m here to help you up. Keep playing, you'll do fine.” It feels good to say such words, and it feels good to hear them, too.

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear words of encouragement next time you lose your temper at board meeting, or don’t get the last load of laundry put away until five minutes after sundown Friday evening? Or give in to that old caffeine craving that you thought was conquered?

Instead of being called before the school principal to be told of your child’s latest sins and being told that if you were a good parent, your child wouldn’t be acting this way, wouldn’t it be nice if someone would just say, “I notice you're having a hard time. Can I help?” 

Peter puts it this way: “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing” (1 Peter 3:8–9).

I learned something from the Super Bowl. Sometimes lessons come from the least likely places. This is one lesson I hope I don’t forget. Maybe you’ll remember it, too.



I’m a member of a Facebook group for Christian women. A couple of weeks ago, the administrator asked several of the members, including me, to write a short post on what the joy of the Lord means to me in my life. I thought I would share what I wrote here. It’s nothing profound, just what came to mind as I pondered the request.

Joy is a gift from God. We can have it and we can lose it. According to a number of Bible texts, we have joy when we are keeping God’s commandments, doing His will, and serving Him. We lose our joy when we turn away from God. The joy in the Lord that I have carries me through the chaos, catastrophe, evil, and sin in this world, allowing me to look forward to the time when Jesus will come and destroy sin and death. I may not always feel happy, but I have joy and peace knowing that despite the latitude God gives Satan to show the universe his true character, He, God, is still in control. When Jesus comes again, “They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isa. 35:10, NIV). This is our “blessed hope”!