Monday, September 24, 2012

It's a small world

Last  Sunday, we talked about compassion at church. Pastor Paul shared with us how compassion is attractive and active.  He then told the story of Jesus in Mark chapter 1; how he took compassion on the leper who was attracted to him. Jesus reached out and touched him before he healed him. We were encouraged to reach out and be imitators of Christ and let his compassion flow through us.  It was a good sermon and I prayed that God would make me more compassionate.   However, like so often,  I forgot about the sermon and went about my Sunday like every other day, being caught up with myself. 

Monday morning, I found myself at the airport waiting to go to the International Mining Show in Las Vegas. Over the last 15 years I have traveled literally hundreds of thousands of miles, but have not really traveled in the last 5 years, so i was a little nervous. That coupled with my always early "gift", I found myself at the airport plenty early and the gate was not yet open.  I sat down across from an older man, who to be honest, was not very clean and did not smell the best.  I also noticed he had an artificial leg, crutches, and a duffle bag.  He made some small talk as I checked my email and proceeded to be busy. When the gates were open he asked if we could go in and I said we could.  I offered to help him with his bag and carried it up to the gate for him. 

He had some issues at the gate with his leg and all and them making him give up his water bottle, so I went ahead and he came and sat behind me in the waiting area, on the other side of security. He said "they took away my  water bottle." I said "they do that now days" and told him he could buy another in the store. He said "not without money. "

We continued to talk off and on and he shared with me how he was hurt in a work accident and was being sent down to MPLS to be looked at by the insurance company's doctor.   He figured they were looking to get out of paying for his work accident. He pointed to his aluminum, chaplain hook, peg leg, complete with shoe, and said " pretty hard to get out of this. "

I excused myself and went and got him a bottled water. I gave it to him and he said "Oh you did not need to do that." I said " I know, but I wanted to." He accepted it and told me how this water was not as good as the one he had. Oh it was good and he was glad to have it, but the other one was pure mountain water.  We talked some more as we were seated back to back.  He told me about his wife dying . About his kids  and his two cats that he had to leave at home.  He was worried about them, they were his companions now.  He told me about in the 60's how he went to UND to play football. He was a walk on, but ended up making the team and lettering. He was very proud of this. 

He asked where I lived and we found out that he had relatives that were my neighbor, and one I use to work with when I was in college. Also found out he had other relatives who were my father-in-laws neighbors in Webster where my father-in-law grew up. "It's a small world" he said. One of his relatives was a Logie. I said I had relatives by that name also, to which he again said "It's a small world."

It was getting close to boarding and I got up to use the restroom.  When I came back someone had taken my seat but there was one across from him so I sat down and we talked some more. I asked him how long ago his wife died and he told me in the spring of 2011. He told me how she died. She had come home sick from work and insisted he go to work and how that was the last time he spoke to her. He shared how she had loved roses and had just purchased two that she was planning on planting, but never got to do.   As he leaned closer and with his eyes welling with tears he shared how he planted those two bushes and each one produced a single rose that year.  This year they both produced 7 roses that bloomed on Father's Day. He figured it was his gift from her. 

It came time to board and I checked his ticket and told him he should early board, as it would give him the time he needed. He thanked me and proceeded to the gate. I handed him my card as I walked by in the plane and wished him a safe journey. 

As I think back there was so much more I could and should have done for him. I did very little other than show some kindness to an older gentleman. I got him a water and let him talk, which he needed, but I think I needed more.  I over looked his appearance, his arthritic deformed hands, and his peg leg and just listened to his story. 

After sitting down in the plane I realized that God had done what I prayed he would do. I also came away realizing lIfe is short and we need to live it for Jesus and show compassion like he does.  That is our role as followers of Christ - to reach out with the love of Jesus Christ to touch the unclean, to show compassion on them. Too often we get all caught up in our life, in making money, in our kids, our stuff (yeah even motorcycles). We put off our calling until the end, and then it is the end, and maybe too late. 

I pray that Erwin makes it okay to the Doctor and home. I pray for his loneliness, and that God would place someone else in his path who can further help him, who will love him like Jesus does. I pray that Erwin knows Jesus' love. And i thank God, how he can take a little prayer on a Sunday and turn this great big world into such a small world!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have been posting on facebook a verse everyday through lent. I reread the verse I posted today and realized that I sometimes don't know if we all understand the religious language of my first post so I posted it again out of The Message. It really hit me. We have all been bought with a price. Even if we choose not to accept it Christ died for us. What a price to pay. He died for someone as unworthy as me. Thank you Jesus, I accept your gift!

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried-our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he'd never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn't true. (Isaiah 53:2-9 The Message)

Friday, February 3, 2012

To whom much is given much is required

Okay I am really getting tired of the politicians using our Christian faith. I am a conservative and vote republican. Not that I think they have it all together! But for a few simple reason that I believe are fundamental.

The first and foremost is the abortion issues. Since the legalization of Roe vs Wade we have aborted over 50 million babies in the USA! This is simply unbelievable and as Chris Yunker said at church, a couple of Sundays ago. This is our Holocaust in America.

Secondly, I am not now, nor have I ever been rich, at least not in worldly money standards. I am rich spiritually and God has blessed me richly with a wife who loves me, and 3 wonderful children who follow after Him. So even If I do not follow into the media and democratic view of rich republicans, I still believe that letting people keep as much control of their money is far better then letting the government disperse the money. I’m tired of liberals thinking they know more and better how to spend money and give it away then I do. Time and time again when they are forced to reveal their taxes, it only shows that they take advantage of every loophole that they big bad Republicans do. I have been astounded at what some of the Liberals give to charity. You would expect republicans who care nothing for the poor and down trodden to give little (That was sarcasm on my part) but democrats, who only care for the poor, wouldn’t they give more? I give to my church and others as I feel God leads me. I truly believe that how I give will help people. If I really thought that the government was the best way to help the poor, I would give money above my taxes. If this is what liberal’s believe why do they not demonstrate it with their own money.

I know Jesus says give to Caesar what is his (Mark 12:17) and I do and will pay my taxes. I just feel that we as a society would be much better served, if we Americans had more of our money to use and give as we feel, and not how the government with all their waste and abuse feels it should be used.

So all this leads me to why I chose to write this update. I’m not the best at blogging in a consistent way. I usually only post when something really hits me, and this one did.

Yesterday president Obama used the bible to share at the national prayer breakfast why he feels we should pay more in taxes. The partial verse he quoted was taken from Luke 12:48 and says; But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

President Obama used to whom much is given much is demanded. If you go back and read this whole chapter you will find that while wealth is talked about, the verse is referring to knowledge. Knowledge of what the master wants us to do, and doing it. Now the master is not the Government, the master is God!

In fact you could argue that this same verse could be applied to President Obama and his views on abortion. The bible clearly says in Matthew 25: 40 …’Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

How much more least can you get then a baby in a mothers womb. Psalms 139:13-16 says; For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praised you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

This clearly states that life begins even before conception. If God new us before he even knit us together, how can it not be life!

A far better verse for President Obama to have used, would have been the Mark 12:17 verse. Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”

All of my money is God’s! I still struggle with this from time to time. God will take care of us not the republicans and not the democrats and most certainly not our Government. As for me, I will put my faith in Him.

I’m still voting for the most conservative candidate come election time. We need to get back to the America that we once were and once again put our trust in God!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

To My Dad

I guess every three years a post on the blog, I need to get better I guess. My dad passed away on November 8th, 2011. My sister Cyndi and I gave a eulogy at the funeral. Here is mine. My sisters can be read at the following

Many of you may only have known my dad for the last several years and I wanted to share with you the dad I knew and some of what I learned from him.

As a young child, as many young children do, I put my dad on a pedestal. He was larger then life to me. I am told and vaguely remember riding around Minneapolis saying my Daddy built this house and my daddy built that building. I don’t know if he did! To me it did not matter if my dad actually built the particular building or not. But my Dad was a builder, he created things and he could have built it.

In 1976, Dad, Mom, and I moved to ND. At the ripe age of 13 my dad negotiated with the owner of a home that he was putting a large addition on to hire me as a gopher. I had no idea what it meant to be a gopher. All I knew was that I was getting paid and I wanted a new motorcycle and this would help me get it.

So that summer Dad took me in the lumber store and we purchased a hammer and a nail apron that I still have to this day. I’m not sure if dad got the new ones and I got his old one, but this is the hammer. It is worn and actually has a crack in it. Today it hangs in a spot of honor in my wood shop as a reminder of my dad and those years I worked for him.

That first summer is still like it was yesterday in my mind. I learned how to pour footings, to set up a block wall. I became the chief mortar mixer. I learned how to layout a floor and build walls. How to set rafters and lay wooden shakes. I learned everyone hates drywalling for a reason. But I learned so much more.

Like the time that I brought up a small brown bag of special nails that my dad needed to the second level of the scaffolding. The owner’s young grand child was watching and she ask my dad what you got in the bag. My dad (teasing her said Candy) to which she replied with out missing a beat that Jesus does not want you to lie.

I learned that my dad who grew up talking Norwegian could still speak it with the owner even though he said he couldn’t. I also learned that jokes told in Norwegian, which would cause them to laugh for hours, were not very funny when translated into English.

I learned stories that I still tell today. Like the guy who worked with my dad who could spend the whole day looking busy with a sawhorse, a board, and a framing square but never really did anything. Dad told me its important to keep busy not just look busy.

One time when reciting recent measurements that we had just taken I once said “good enough” after dad repeated the measurement. Dad took me aside and told me that the owners never want to hear good enough when you are building their home they want to know that it was perfect and it was from then on it was.

For the next 7 summers I worked for my dad. I went from a gopher to someone my dad could count on. Someone he could give projects to, not just help with. At an age when I thought I knew everything I learned that my dad still knew more.

Like while taking a half hour lunch break , you could eat your food in 15 minutes and take a 15 minute nap and be more refreshed then listening to music in the truck.

That a circular saw can be used for so much more then just cutting. Mind you I do not think OSHA or the manufactures would approve of my dads alternate techniques but he was an artist when it came to using the circular saw.

Okay Grand children, my nieces and nephews, my kids listen up to this one. That while stubbornness is not a personal trait to aspire too, It comes in handy when there is something that needs to be done that seems impossible or that there are two few to do.

That sticking your tongue out the side of you mouth really does help you think and concentrate.

That daunting task that overwhelm you to the point of not knowing where to start of if you will ever finish are not that daunting if you just start doing what you can do.

That when you get good at driving a nail with a hammer and no longer get teased about hitting the little round thing on the end, that it hurts then when you miss and hit your finger. That if you miss once you’re more then likely going to hit it again real soon and that it hurts much worse the second time. That a framing hammer with its waffle end pretty much will rip all of the skin off your finger. And through all this smashing of your finger beyond recognition, you can still not react with cursing or swearing! And in the end that electrical and duct tape makes pretty good bandages.

All this and so much more I learned from my dad from spending time with him, from observing. I told him that those years of working along side of him meant more to me then all of my other education. I have used those skills so much in my life and have tried to pass them on to my children. Dad instilled in me a love to create things that is a lot of what I am about today.

But I would be missing the most important thing I learned if I did not share with you about my Dads love for Jesus and his relationship with him. While it is sad to see Dad gone and out of our life, We know that we will see him again in heaven. Dad was not perfect and just like I am not, he made many mistakes but dad had faith in Jesus Christ. He had faith that Jesus already paid for his sins, for his imperfections when Jesus died on the cross. That Jesus stood before him, on Tuesday when he met his Creator and through Jesus Dad was Holy and perfect. Dad was never an up front person. About the only time we saw him up front at church was when he was a pallbearer. Which was actually quite often. We always teased him that he would make a great professional pallbearer, because he could stand there with the perfect expression. But I got to hear and witness the side of dad that interacted with people, that made people act differently around him, as they knew he was different. That difference was Jesus.

Maybe your one of those people, I do not know, but this same faith that was in my dad from a young boy can be in you. The bible says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. A wage is something we earn. Like the $1.25 an hour I earned when I started working for my dad as a gopher. We all sin and this verse says our sin earns us death, But the gift of God is eternal life. A gift is like Christmas or your birthday it’s a gift! We don’t earn it. Its not about what we did or are going to do its about receiving it. Opening it up. Its our prayer for you that if you have not received and opened this gift that you will. God is there holding out eternal life to all of us. He will not force it on us. He wishes for all of us to accept it but in the end its up to us to reach out and receive it.

My dad was a builder, a creator. When you drive out of the church today you will see the church right east of New Hope. When you drive by it you to can look at that church and Say Phil Haaland built that church. Unlike the place I use to point out as a child, he actually did build it! In fact he fell off it and broke his arm. You see my dad was a builder and while he built that church and so many other buildings over his life, The most important thing he built was a relationship with Jesus. He along with my mom shared their faith with my sisters and I. Their faith became our faith. That is why we can be here today with sadness at his passing but with Joy in the knowledge that someday we will see him again when we go to heaven and Jesus stand before us as we meet the creator.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spreading the Wealth

I stopped on my way out of Target and gave some money to a guy begging for money on the corner. This is the first time I have done this in, I do not remember when. You see, I have a real problem in my mind that I have been struggling with for some time.

About 12 years ago I did a drama at church. It consisted of a guy (me) standing on a dark street waiting for someone when all of the sudden I hear someone calling for help down a dark ally. In the drama I justify with God why surely He does not mean me. Surely God does not want or expect me to help this person. There were many ways in the drama I justified why I should not do this.

We were having company after church that day, so I needed to run home between services to put stuff in the oven. On my way home, there was a guy standing on the corner with a sign that said “will to work for food. God Bless.” As I drove by, I was reminded how much this was like my drama. I instantly pleaded with God, surely you do not mean me? What can I do. I already have people coming for dinner. I got home and really felt convicted about it and decided if he was still there I would ask him to come to church and then dinner. He was gone.

I have struggled all these years with people who do not seem to want to work and for whatever reason do not, but can beg for money on the side of the road. I remember once in Chicago seeing a very crippled person sitting on the street begging for money. One morning my wife and I were going to eat and we saw that person being dropped off in a Limo. Then I heard a 60 minutes program on just how much some of these people make and how people actually pimp them to make money.

I have also always been told if you give them money they will just buy drugs or alcohol. Not wanting to support their bad habits or illegal activities I chose not to give to them at all.

My sister was in San Francisco when a homeless hit her and my nephew up for some cash. My sister said that she does not give cash, but would rather buy a meal. The homeless person quickly pointed out a McDonalds. So my sister said “Ok I will bye you a Big Mac and fries. Do you want a Coke or a Sprite?” The homeless person said “How about a chocolate malt?” My sister, feeling she was being taken advantaged of, was quick to point out the old saying ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’ and ask again if he wanted a Coke or Sprite. I think even the homeless guy laughed and my sister purchased him a meal. I have this same feeling of being taken advantage of in situations like this, and just do not want to deal with it.

Then I remember walking around in Cambridge, England. I was all alone and checking out the city. The homeless were everywhere. One young man dropped to his knees and pleaded with a couple coming out of a restaurant with a bag of what looked like leftovers. My heart sunk with the look of desperation in this man. With his lack of humiliation he pleaded openly in a crowded street for this bag of food until the couple gave it to him. It bothered me so much that I went back to my room and spent the rest of the evening where I would not have to see and deal with these images

I have driven in cities and have had someone come up and start cleaning my windshield then asking for money. I quickly say no. I try to avoid eye contact and overall try to avoid these situations all together.

Each time, I have been convicted that I need to be doing something. Oh, I am quick to point out to God that He surely does not mean me. I justify that they will just use this money for drugs or alcohol or that these people can get a job anywhere in this town and if they really wanted to work they could work. I will say like my sister does that I will buy them a meal but not give them money, but in reality, I do nothing I avoid the situation often driving out a different route to avoid them.

So today as I was going to Target I saw this person at the corner and again I was convicted. I went in and purchased a sandwich for me and made sure I had some money that I could give this person. Man, I struggled to do this. I almost talked myself out of it, but in the end I stopped and gave this young man some money. I would like to tell you that I shared the good news with him, but I did not. I had a hard time even looking at him. I pulled over and handed him some money and said here you go. He said God Bless You and I drove away.

Now this man may go out and blow it on drugs or alcohol or get picked up in his limo, but it does not matter. You see this was not about the beggar or the money I gave him, it was about me and my heart.

Matthew 35-40

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

God is not saying in this passage that the Government should be doing this, He is talking about his sheep. He is talking about you and me, his bride, his church. It is our heart and our actions that he is talking about. I am not talking about wealth redistribution or huge sums of money. I am not saying that this will not continue to be a struggle for me. I don’t like being taken advantage of, but this is more then that; this is about my heart and doing what I am called – and I am working on listening to God.