NL Class of 1969

Class of 69
Class Trip to World Trade Center May 23, 1969

Today I had breakfast with around 25 or so of my classmates from the Northern Lebanon High School Class of 1969. It was a great time of renewing friendships and fellowshipping around the tables with those we haven’t seen for decades in some cases. We were a fairly large class for our district at around 200 students. We were broken down into Academic, Business, Agricultural and Industrial Arts studies. Some of us (like me) married our high school sweethearts. We all had great dreams and aspirations. As typical, a great many went on to further schooling earning degrees of one sort or another and many went right into the work-a-day world and some even started businesses of their own.

Life happened. Many of us married and started families with sons and daughters and grandchildren to ultimately follow. We lived in the greatest nation on earth and the opportunities for success were unlimited. We put in our days and nights of work at raising the next generation and making a living to feed the mouths around the table and the decades piled up and time flew by. Our waistlines grew, our hair turned gray and for some like me fell out all-together! But God was good as usual and we enjoyed the blessings of freedom and opportunity in America unlike in any other country on the face of the globe.

Our class is much smaller now, in fact the toll of life starting reducing our numbers within a month of graduation as a car crash took one of our young men even before his dreams could be realized. That’s the way life is. Didn’t our Lord Jesus’ brother James say “For ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”? (James 4:14)

Yes, many of our classmates are gone already having stepped from this world into eternity. How much then should we treasure the time we have together and the friendships which we can still foster in order to support and encourage each other as the golden years arrive? When we used to meet up with one another the question would often be asked, “Where are you working?” But now the question typically is, “Are you still working?” Ha ha! Yes, for those of us Class of 69’ers born in 1950-51 this year will see most of us finally reach that good old age of 65 when Americans have been programmed to tear up their time cards and spend time with the grandkids. Not a bad idea!

I would be remiss if I didn’t close with an encouragement to make your “faith” provisions now, so that the class of 1969 could spend eternity together rejoicing around the throne of heaven. For Jesus Himself said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Trust Him today and let’s be “Forever Friends”. See you next time Lord willing.

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Your Orders!

 

Tomb

Compliments of my good friend Dale Flynn retired Word of Life Missionary.

If you should visit Washington, D.C., you’re bound to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building. But there’s this one side trip to Northern Virginia that’s probably the most humbling stop you’ll make. It’s Arlington National Cemetery where this endless sea of white crosses reminds an American paid the high price of freedom. That price is beautifully dramatized every hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – with the Changing of the Guard.

Tomb Guard sentinels are from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, traditionally known as “The Old Guard.” These sentinels are considered to be the best of the elite regiment. In this elaborate but reverent ceremony, the Relief Commander and the relieving sentinel meet the retiring sentinel guard. The Relief Commander orders the relieved sentinel to “Pass on your orders.” The sentinel who is being relieved says, “Post and orders remain as directed.” To which the newly posted sentinel replies, “Orders acknowledged.

Two thousand years ago, on a hill overlooking Jerusalem, after His resurrection, Jesus rallied His disciples, gave them their marching orders. His final orders to these eleven men were to Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). John further reminds us … as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

The orders to Jesus’ first soldiers were clear. They were to pour their lives into getting the Good News about Him to as many people as possible. And the orders remain unchanged… even if the world we live in is very changed.

Even though we are surrounded by battles to fight: Pornography, abortion, family disintegration, immorality in the media, crises of character in the lives of our religious leaders, our political leaders, and our culture that has forgotten God… and that’s just the beginning of the list, some believers are so self-absorbed they’re just sleeping through the whole thing. Other believers just shake their heads in anger and disgust over the mess and lament the problems, “It doesn’t make any difference.
But this is a time for action, especially with the world looking more and more like the world Jesus said He would return to. It feels as if both armies—the armies of the light and the armies of darkness—are fully mobilized for what may be some of the last climactic battles for people’s lives. So, which battles shall we fight? And what weapons shall we use? Political action? Attacks on the evils of our culture?

The Master’s orders remain unchanged.Go and preach the Gospel. How did the first century believers do battle against the evils of their day? Little baby girls left in jars on street corners to die, people torn apart by animals for Sunday afternoon entertainment, Christians burned as torches in Nero’s gardens. You don’t find much of a trace of the original Christians mounting a campaign against the sins of their culture.

What you do find is the original believers presenting Jesus Christ wherever they could. And city after city was rocked by the impact of believers who knew their orders and understood that as the Bible says, the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The cultures are changed when individuals are changed by Jesus from the inside out! Politics is not the answer… the Gospel is!

Now, we need to be salt and light wherever God puts us, and stand against what breaks His heart. But we must never let our primary resources go to that which will, at best, bring about only temporary change—and leave people living better but still headed for a hopeless, Christless eternity.

Our moral outrage needs to be turned into more outreach!
Only new creations will change a dying culture!

So, as the orders have passed from Jesus to His first eleven soldiers, and now down through the centuries to us, Our Master’s Orders Remain Unchanged!

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The View from My Swing

Swing2

One of my favorite places is reclining with a good fiction book on my yard swing, especially at the end of the day. I must confess, I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately with my brother Pooch contracting cancer (he starts aggressive treatment next Monday) then adjusting to 6 hours of driving a day over hill and dale and through all kinds of traffic. Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m coming or going! Take this week so far for an example. The student I transport has two different schedules, a later one for Monday and Tuesday and an early one for Wednesday through Friday (a one hour difference). On Monday afternoon I left one hour too early and ended up parking at the Ephrata Cloisters to take a one hour nap! Then this afternoon I left one hour too late and realized it about 5 minutes into my ride and had to call the parent and he kindly agreed to go pick up his daughter because of my absentmindedness! I then put the schedule in BOLD characters on my refrigerator door and yes, Lord willing I will reach my 65th birthday this year! I bought my first Senior Fishing License!

Swing1

Back to my swing…. so then I took some R&R while reading a Louis La’Amour western to kick my brain into neutral or la la land (a habit I got from my big brother Pooch… the western books that is). I eventually dozed off (under a nice fleese blanket of course) and when I awoke I noticed all the creatures that had come alive all around me! I have a small pond tucked into the corner of our house just outside our living room window, complimented by a couple of bird feeders, and the assortment of birds swooping down to eat and/or take a bath was spell binding. The Robins were also hopping through the green spring grass around me busy worm hunting and a Mourning Dove was just above my head in my Maple tree’s branches just cooing away! I retrieved my iphone from under the blanket and began snapping pictures. The good ones are attached. Check out the Dove in the very corner of the house in almost an angel pose!

Years ago, I mean a LOT of years ago, I was sitting beside my wife’s brother-in-law on his patio one evening after a picnic. He was an unbeliever at the time. Meaning he had not yet come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His wife was a believer and so he had heard the Gospel, that Christ died for his sins, was crucified and buried, and then rose from the dead on the third day to be his Savior from sin. But John just couldn’t believe all that or make it personal for himself. We sat there looking up into the glorious evening sky. We weren’t even talking necessarily about the things of the Lord when John just blurted out as he waved his hand across the sky and said, “What about all of this? Where did it come from?” From somewhere deep inside of me came the words, “Well John, the Bible says The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows forth His handiwork!” That was it, nothing more was said. Just a shrug of the shoulders and the seed was planted into his heart. He would later tell me that was one of the turning points or links in the chain that brought him to salvation.

Swing3

We have a GREAT God! Amen? To think that the ONE who created the universe and a gazillion galaxies around us cared enough to become a man in human skin, live without sin, and then provide a way for us to know Him is just mind boggling! The Apostle Paul wrote about God’s creation and how that it preaches to the unbeliever. Check this out from Romans 1:20  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 

Then Jesus the Creator walked the earth and John the Baptist said of Him, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world!” Do you know Him? I mean really know Him. Not just following a set of rules or know a crede or two or have Sunday School attendance pins hanging to your shins! It is frightening to know there will come a day when Jesus will look at the crowds before him and say to many, “Depart from me, I never knew you!”

Will you join the creation in praising the Lord? I’ve been getting up very early lately and while it’s still dark, when I go out my front door, I hear the halelujah chorus of all of creation already praising Him! Have you heard it? Will you wake up and take your first step of real faith today and let Jesus the Savior and Creator come into your heart and life and complete His creation in you? “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those that believe on His name.” John 1:12

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A Simple Invite!

Jase & Family2

Back in 1972 my wife JoJo and I bought a little 2 bedroom mobile home and it wasn’t long until two men from a nearby Bible church stopped at our home and invited us to attend their services. It took two years but we eventually did decide to visit as the Lord put it in our hearts to begin to provide our two young sons Eric and Daniel, with some religious training. Those events were links in the providential chain which eventually brought us to faith in Jesus Christ. Our third son Jason who now pastors Life Church in Lancaster PA (see http://www.lifechurchlancaster.org) used our story to encourage his congregation to reach out, ahead of their recent Easter service, with invitations of their own.

Easter 1974 Changed Everything

It was Easter Sunday 1974 when a young couple in their early 20’s cautiously stepped into that church for the very first time.

Even though they never attended church they decided to visit on Easter as a result of an invitation from a friend.  Coming from divorced families impacted by alcoholism and abuse they brought with them their two young boys and a suitcase full of pain, personal struggles and family baggage

For them it was a massive step out of their comfort zone to show up that Easter Sunday.  When the service concluded they grabbed their boys, bolted for the door and left the church thinking they would never return again.

But Jesus had different plans.

About a year later through a series of relationships they found faith in Jesus!  Having become new creations through the power of Jesus they started attending that same church again.  They began using their gifts and became actively involved in serving and reaching the local community.

A few years later they had a third son.

I was that boy.

Born into a changed family because someone invited my parents to church on Easter Sunday 1974.

An invitation.
A visit on Easter Sunday.
The message of Jesus.
Caring relationships.
And a families story is changed for eternity.

Easter 2016 is almost here. So I invite and exhort you to take a step of faith in the coming weeks and extend some invitations to people Jesus has placed in your life and on your heart.

Invite your neighbor.
Invite a coworker.
Invite a friend.
Invite a family member.

We can not fully imagine the chain-reaction of events your good-hearted invitation may put into motion.

Godspeed,

Jason Wolfe
Lead Pastor

You never know what God will do when you step into His house! He may start a chain reaction which will have eternal results! Marriages will be saved, lives will be saved and transformed for God’s glory and for their own benefit! Succeeding generations will be blessed with the Gospel and for all eternity.

From Psalm 122: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

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The Book!

House Light

When men wanted to start our country and a civil society to where did they turn? To the Book! When people get married what does the pastor do? He reads from The Book! When people testify in court on what do they put their hand? The Book! When presidents are sworn in on what book do they put their hand? The Book! When people are in trouble with no where to turn where do they go? To The Book! When someone dies what is used to encourage the family? The Book! When someome need answers for life and the origin of life to where do they turn? To The Book! When a person is in prison with no hope of remediation what brings new life and new beginnings? The Book!

What is it about this Book? Why is it so critical to the human race? Why is it inserted in all of the important transactions and situations of life? Why? Because it is the Bible, God’s Holy Word, that is why! The Bible is trustworthy. The Bible has survived the attacks and onslaught of it’s governmental and spiritual enemies down through the ages. Men have tried to burn it out of existence. They have tried to legislate it out of circulation. They have made laws against it. They killed it’s writers and those who would have the audacity to preach it’s Words to the nations. But it lives and lives and lives and goes on and on and on because GOD is the Author and the One who protects His Word. It is HIS Word and therefore sacred and eternal.

Men, women, boys and girls would do well to read it daily, to study it, to meditate on it and to memorize it for it will change your life and prepare you for whatever lies ahead and ultimately for eternity!

Psalm 1 (KJV)

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

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Pray!

Pooch

Hello Friends, The other day I wrote a blog entitled Once Upon A Time and the lessons I shared have come home to roost in my own life. The summary portion of that blog said:

“Can we just admit there is a MUCH higher Sovereign Power to Whom we are all tied? [when things happen] We make a great mistake when we run the other direction away from Him. RUN TO HIM for the other direction is a much much darker place! You might not understand it all, but just RUN TO HIM and your “Once Upon A Time” story will give “God the Glory” and that is the ending for which we were made.”

Well, in recent days our family received the news that my oldest brother Warren (better known to us as “Pooch”) was discovered to have Melanoma Cancer. Pooch has had a tremendous impact on our family. He led me to the lord back in 1975. He led our family when our dad left us and he has been the Rock of Gibraltar in our family in a million ways. The lives he has touched and the reverberations of his life and testimony are huge for the Kingdom of God.

It is very early in his diagnosis and the plan for treatment is just now being created. Our family would greatly appreciate your prayers for Pooch and his dear wife Thelma plus for their two sons, their daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. The waters will be deep and so let us all RUN TO THE LORD JESUS with our prayers on their behalf for healing and for strength and wisdom for those who will minister to him in the coming critical days.

I close with Thelma’s comment in her initial message to us all:

“We are resting in the arms of Jesus. Your prayers are appreciated.”