The Pastor Challenge

The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Monday, August 31, 2020


So I was sitting out on my sun porch on Saturday working on my sermon when this little guy flew into the glass . . . pretty hard!

At first, he was on his back, just moving his mouth. Then when I unlatched the door and began to move it, he flipped over to his feet and just sat there, stunned. I talked to him a little, took his picture, but he didn't move for a bit. Until it started raining! Then he hopped under a planter box we have on our deck for cover, though it looked like he either hurt a wing or was still a bit loopy. A while later, I saw one of our neighborhood foxes going by and looked to see if this little guy was still on the deck - but he was gone. Glad he seemed to have recovered. :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Devil's Bathtub

Catchy name, huh? :-)

Before leaving southwestern Virginia, we had to hike to the Devil's Bathtub. It's a loop hike - about a two mile hike in one direction (and crossing 10 streams or so), and about five miles for the rest of the loop. I wanted to do the whole loop, but signs warned us that the dry, five mile section of the hike is not much used and therefore not as well maintained. So if we didn't have a map and a compass (which we did not), we should do the two mile out and back. So we did. :-)

We went early in the morning, and boy are we glad we did! Not because of the heat, but because of the crowds! We passed one couple coming back on our way out, but we must have passed 20-30 groups while we were returning. It's not an easy hike, but well-known and a popular destination. We saw some people we knew wouldn't make it the whole way. Not hilly, but the creek crossings could be tricky.

Anyway, some pictures . . .

After this hike, there was another one we wanted to do - three waterfalls of decent size, all within one mile of the trailhead. It was a bit of a drive, but we found it. Unfortunately, my hiking boot thought we were done for the day . . .  It had started to come apart walking back from the Devil's Bathtub, but while on this little hike, it really become a problem! Then it started raining (really hard!) and I had to slog back to the car with a hiking boot that looked like this:

So, a trip to Wal-Mart, purchase some Shoo-Goo, and a repair job was next up. :-)  And good-bye to Natural Tunnel State Park . . .

Thursday, August 27, 2020


 In Morning Prayer today, we read the following words:

. . . if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules . . .

~ 1 Kings 9:4


How could God say such things of David? Doesn't He remember Bathsheba, the adultery, how David tried to cover it up, and then finally murdered her husband?

Well, no, actually, He doesn't remember! David was forgiven. That means those sins of his were separated from him as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Now, when the Lord looked at David, He did not see an awful sinner - He saw a forgiven son.

And that is how He looks at you, too! Your sin, your unworthiness, your shame, your guilt, all that would separate you from your heavenly Father has been put on Christ and taken away from you. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). With the forgiveness of sins, that is all gone. 

Pretty awesome, huh?  :-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

More Vacation . . .

After a couple of days in Shenandoah, we drove down to Roanoke and spent the weekend there. We went kayaking on the James River - no pictures, though, as I didn't want to risk getting my camera wet! But we went down the river for a few miles, including some rapids areas. A nice day.

We did get to see the "Roanoke Star" - a famous landmark there. 

Here it is up close.  :-)

We also ate at a place called "Awful Arthur's Seafood." And while Arthur may be awful, his food was pretty good.

We then traveled down to the far southwest corner of the state and stayed in Natural Tunnel State Park. As you can see, the cabins there are REALLY nice!

And the Natural Tunnel is cool, too. Here are some views from the top and bottom, and you can see how deep the gorge that it's in is!

View from the top.

From the bottom, looking into the tunnel.

And the size of the gorge!

We hiked throughout the park the days we were there, though we did get caught in the rain. The forest blocked a lot of the rain, but we still got pretty wet.

Here we are a bit waterlogged, sitting on the porch of the cabin.

While we always hoped to see some bears, we didn't get to see any. We did see a bunch of wild turkeys, though, which look really funny when they're running!

After this, on to Appamattox!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A "Little" VBS

So with all the Covid restrictions still in place, our VBS this year (as many are) is online. Craft packets were delivered to all the children ahead of time (thanks Jess!) and we can have some time together hearing God's Word in our WebEx room. Not ideal, but something, at least. A few pictures . . .

From the small chapel set up in my basement. From this chapel I did our Lenten midweek services after the closures went into place. This is where I do Noontime prayer as well. So seemed like the right place to have VBS opening, story, and prayers as well.

Lighting the candles.

Reading the Scriptures.

Turning water into wine!

The children seemed to have fun with it today. Hopefully that will continue. Trying to figure out how to have some kind of Sunday School for them in the Fall as well, since we are not expecting any relief from the current restrictions until next year. I hope I'm wrong! But I doubt it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

One Year Ago Today

2:17 am. August 12th. My father was called home to heaven. My sister, wife, and I at his bedside, holding his hands. Very hard day. I miss him every day. 

Since I was up in Pennsylvania on Sunday to preach, I stopped by the cemetery on my way home. I got him a little rose - he always loved roses. Always had them in the garden in front of his house. He was a fantastic gardener. I remember that he was always frustrated at the Japanese beetles eating his roses, and when they got blackspot disease. He taught me how to properly prune them, though I've forgotten now. Maybe one day I'll plant a rose bush around the house for him.

Looking forward to our reunion in Christ Jesus . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


A lot of the hikes we took were specifically to waterfalls. My wife got a book out of the library to direct us to them. So the first few days in Shenandoah were hiking to waterfalls. There was some rain and we did get wet, but it was all good. One thing that was disappointing was not be able to watch a good sunset because of the clouds.

Some pics . . .

In this last pic, if I didn't know that was my youngest daughter, I wouldn't be able to tell. Looks exactly like my older daughter!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Vacation Stop 1

I promised some vacation posts . . .

Our first stop was Shenandoah National Park. We decided that in this Covid time, this would be a largely outdoor vacation - lots of hiking and stuff. 

When we entered the park, we turned off at the first overlook and found a hiking trail up to a place called Mary's rock. A very good beginning. Pretty much uphill the whole way (and so downhill the whole way back!), but with a great view at the end.

On the way up.

At the top. Those roads you see? That's pretty close to where we started.  :-)

My wife told me about a cool app called "Map My Walk" (they also have one for biking called "Map My Ride") - so I tried it out on our hikes. Here's some of the data from this one:

These apps are from UnderArmour and track you on GPS. I haven't used the bike one yet, but am looking forward to it!

Another Visitor

Apparently, the chairs on our front porch are REALLY comfortable! Just a day or two after our other resting visitor (see previous post for that), we had another napper . . .

Now I wonder who will be next?  :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Back from Vacation

Back after a little R & R. Vacation. Or holiday if you're British. Walkabout if your Australian. I'll post some pictures and tell you what we did in the days to come. But all in all, a good detox from most technology for me. No computer, no iPad, though I did have my phone - though I tried not to use it very much. 

But this morning, our first morning "back at it," we had a welcome back from one of the neighborhood foxes. I've posted about them before. Here's one of the little fellas this morning:
He's just chillin' in one of the chairs on our front porch. :-)  Not sure if it's just plain comfy, or a good vantage point to watch for chipmunks! (They have a hole in the garden right under the plants in front on him.) He looked a little tired though, maybe from hunting all night. Maybe he'll get a little nap.