Please support local businesses that do this

exxon_sign_44326It’s been a while since I’ve posted…well, anything, but especially about a local business standing up for Christianity.  Well, here’s a reason to top off your tank or get your morning coffee at I-94 Exxon, the one on the north side of the Centennial overpass along I-94.

 

exxon_sign_44327In case you’re a firebreathing fundamentalist and the first sign was a little too milquetoast for you, here’s the other side.  Right on.

 

The last I recall is Dairy Queen in Mandan declaring “Christ is Risen” on Easter weekend. Awesome.  Clearly these businesses understand their customers, not nationally driven agendas funded by minute groups of activists.
Along those same lines, you may have seen this local ad run during the Christmas season for the past few years:

With so many national businesses trying to eschew the Christian faith while championing those who wish to attack it, I’m thankful to see local businesses who aren’t so out-of-touch and are willing to make a declaration for their customers.  Thank you, I-94 Exxon and Dvorak Motors, for adding your voices to the Christmas season.

PS: Try the White Chocolate Caramel cappuccino.  Just sayin’.

Waitin’ around pays off

bethel_church_43477-9_hdrI camped out by this former church in Morton County to allow the sunset to do its thing.  A row of storms had just moved through, and I had correctly guessed that the clouds tagging along the tail end of those storms would provide a lot of color to the sunset.  I was correct.  But I wasn’t done just then…

 

bethel_church_43550Waiting for the sun to go down and the moon to come up gave me the opportunity to capture some different clouds, albeit with stars sprinkled in as well.   To top it all off, my friend Zach and I headed out to a different prairie church, the one I wrote about a couple of days ago.

Starlight steeple

starlight_church_43558I don’t even remember how I located this old church, but it had to do with Google Earth and Garmin Mapsource.  This little church is in the middle of nowhere, not on a main road, surrounded by trees, and absolutely wonderful.  I had another old church to explore at sunset, so this one became a twilight target.

 

starlight_church_43555It’s a remarkable little building…while not fenced or posted, it looks privately owned.  I didn’t even consider going inside, although looking through the windows showed an intact structure with a choir loft, pews, and everything.  How fortunate the owner must feel!

 

starlight_steeple_43563After some long exposure shots it was time to head home.  I had a flat tire in my near future, a blowout actually, but I didn’t know it.  Thankfully that waited until I was in city limits, although still on I-94.  That made for a later night than planned, but I’m sure glad I was able to explore this awesome find!

Clouds over St. Vincent’s

st_vincents_church_40177-9_hdrI actually took this photo a month ago while roaming Morton County.  I was on my way back into town and found myself northwest of Mandan, so I decided to stop over and catch some shots of this church before bouncing down a section line.  The clouds were pretty remarkable, giving an excellent background to this place of worship.

 

st_vincents_church_40204-6_hdrI’d had a fruitful day with the camera, but when I had the combination of this church and this sky to play with, this was one of the most fun stops of my entire day!

Easter kudos for Scheels

scheels_easter_ip_1416I went to Scheels to look at ammunition yesterday and was pleased to find these signs around the store.  It’s nice to see a business which still regards the most important Christmas holiday!  It was actually a thrill to see a regional business stand up to pressure against Christianity in public.  In the future I won’t even consider going to another sporting goods store (especially one that doesn’t even carry handguns, ahem).

 

scheels_easter_ip_1417The greatest news ever given.  I was elated to see it proclaimed at Scheel’s.  Not only is the company giving its employees to celebrate as they wish, but they’re also proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ – good news that I’m willing to bet is enjoyed by the majority of Scheels’ customers.

Thanks again to Scheels and other North Dakota businesses who support people of faith and stand up for what’s right!

The four most important words you’ll hear this Christmas


Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.

One ubiquitous Christmas holiday phrase is “Peace on Earth.” As the hymn above shows, that is entirely appropriate; however, we tend to assign an earthly context to it by mistake. It’s not about peace between men at all; rather, it means peace between men and God. Those four most important words I alluded to in the title are the last four in the verse above: “God and sinners reconciled.” That is the source of peace on earth.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14)

That peace and good will didn’t transmit from man to man; it came from God to all men. Since the fall of Adam, that peace between God and men did not exist. By giving the gift of His son, however, God was offering that peace and good will to men once again:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

There’s your peace…

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18)

Repeatedly in the Old and New Testaments, the Bible reminds us that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:23 points out that “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We need as Savior, one whose birth we celebrate each Christmas. As the angel told Joseph:

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20)

This was the Savior foretold by the prophets. For example:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

God’s desire is to restore that fellowship and peace, reconciling (see those four important words once again) us to Him through his Son:

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled…”

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I believe what Jesus says in the Bible: “you must be born again.” He means that in order to be forgiven and assured a place in heaven, you must put your faith and trust in Him. We can not do anything to assuage the sin that we carry in our lives; only He can.

By placing your belief and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, acknowledging that He made the only sufficient sacrifice for them on the cross, you can be saved. Only then will you be able to truly partake in that “peace on earth” that the angel of the Lord spoke of when declaring good news to those shepherds.

I love the spirit of Christmas as much as, if not more than, the next guy… but the joy, the spirit, the family time, the celebrations, the lights, the gifts… those are all simply a by-product and a shadow of the joy that God extends to each and every person through His son, the one through whom we enjoy unspeakable joy and peace each Christmas and throughout the year.

A brief missive on Thankfulness

I was pondering thankfulness today, which is nothing new. Given the calamities of our little family over the past couple of years, and the way in which God has brought us through our trials, I think on thankfulness daily. Anyway, I put those thoughts into a little graphic I hope you’ll share.

thankfulness_18409I know the font is cliche’, but aren’t these inspirational pieces supposed to have corny font?

Happy Thanksgiving!  Let gratitude and humility be our theme every day of the year.

Let the Day begin


Here’s to the babies in a brand new world,
Here’s to the beauty of the stars…
Here’s to the travelers of the open road,
Here’s to the dreamers and the bards…
Here’s to the soldiers on the desert dunes,
Here’s to the farmers in the fields…
Here’s to the preachers of the sacred Word,
Here’s to the loving God who heals…
Here’s to you, my little loves, with blessing from above, now let the Day begin.

Just sharing a friendly good morning and a now-historic photo of the windmill which used to stand near Farmer’s Livestock southeast of Bismarck (it’s a parking lot now).  Lyrics modified from one of my favorite songs by The Call.

It’s no secret that I’ve been posting very little lately.  Naturally that’s because I haven’t been out with my camera lately.  I’m hoping to rectify that, but it’s going to take a little bit yet.  I have good reason:

  • As you’ve probably discerned, nearly everyone in my little family has had a very serious medical predicament.  No two have been alike.  I myself have had to make multiple trips to Mayo Clinic for complicated surgeries, the first of which failed.
  • In the midst of all that, we gave up our house and were homeless briefly.  Thanks to friends from church, we had a place to stay while we hunted for a new place.  Then it was a stretch as apartment dwellers, with most of our lives in bins as we awaited the next stage of life.  Now we’re in a new home, and it is wonderful – but time consuming.

I’ve learned a LOT over the past two years.  God has brought us through many serious situations.  He’s sent a lot of people our way to provide assistance.  We’re humbled as we look back over the past two years and, although we’re not out of the woods completely, we’re excited to see what He has in store for us.

Resurrection Day 2015

not_my_will_33573I caught this photo just after sunrise Saturday morning, and I think it’s rather appropriate for Resurrection Sunday.  This is the day Jesus made good on His mission to atone for the sins of the world.  No other person in history could have made that sacrifice on our behalf, providing a way for us to get to Heaven to join a sinless God who so loved a world full of sinners.

As I decompress from having to defend the faith upon which our nation was founded, a la SB2279, I feel it’s very important to point out one thing: these deviant sexual behaviors, while certainly sin, are no worse than any other sin.  Yes, that’s right.  In 21st century terms, sin is digital.  It’s a 1 or a 0, and NO sin can enter heaven.

The Bible points out that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  That’s why we need a savior, and today’s the day we celebrate that selfless act He performed on our behalf.

Amen.

Fargo Forum proves that SB2279 was about intimidation

260748399-The-Forum-Friday-April-3-cover-originalThis is the “objective journalism” we get from the birdcage liner known as the Fargo Forum.  It proves what I’ve been saying all along: SB2279 is about intimidation.  Here they attempt to “shame” legislators who voted against this abomination for their vote to uphold religious liberty.

Rep. Boschee also made a veiled threat during the floor debate in the House chamber today, when he pointed toward the homofascist attacks on Indiana and Arkansas in the wake of religious liberty legislation being passed in those states.  He implied that the same sort of thing would befall North Dakota if they didn’t fall into lockstep with the other states currently being bullied and extorted into catering to 2.3% of the US population.

This is the “love” and “equality” you find from the sexually disoriented.  They talk a good game when they emote their way through committee hearings and even floor discussion, but what it comes down to is unparalleled vindictiveness.  That’s what SB2279 was all about.

So, I hopped into Photoshop to correct the cover of the Forum:

260748399-The-Forum-Friday-April-3-cover-accurateSB2279 had so many problems simply in its mechanics or lack thereof, but the “big picture” really is that this legislation has a well-documented track record as a blunt instrument used to persecute persons of faith.  The proponents tried to make it about “housing and employment”, but this legislation is most prominently used to go after Grandma when the convictions of her faith lead her to decline providing flowers for a homosexual “wedding”.

Stay classy, Fargo Forum.  No wonder you’re a dying breed.