God Running

Haiti – 16 Year Old Girl Rescued From Rubble – Video

Perhaps the best Haiti video to date. After she spent 15 days trapped under a collapsed building, rescue workers extricate sixteen year old Darline Etienne from the rubble.

Warning for parents: Parts of this video are not appropriate for young viewers — parents please preview it before deciding whether or not you’ll allow your children to watch.

For more information about Darline’s rescue go to ABC’s article, Amid Earthquake Devastation, Miracles in Haiti .

After 15 days!

Praise God.

Your Life:

Hope. Don’t let go of it. An experiment was conducted where a group of mice were placed in a bucket of water — they’d swim until after 30 minutes or so they’d become too fatigued to continue and drown. A second group was also placed in a bucket of water but just before 30 minutes was up the mice in this group were rescued. Days, weeks, or even months later this second group of mice, when placed in a bucket of water, would swim for hours before drowning. No feeling is more destructive than the feeling of helplessness. Despair is a killer. Cling to hope in the Lord at all costs no matter how difficult your circumstances. (from GoArticles)

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Psalm 33:18

(Anecdote originally heard from Jon Courson at Applegate Christian Fellowship)

Life’s an Adventure

So around 7:30 pm last night Kathy gets off the phone and tells me, “A tree fell on our house, our rental house in California.”

“What?! A tree can’t fall on our house right now. We can’t afford a tree guy and I have things to do at work tomorrow that can’t wait.” I say, calmly (not!)

The weather in California has been terrible lately, flooding, high winds — just nasty. So we pray about it, I call the boss who graciously allows me the time off, we throw some stuff in the truck and head up to my parent’s house to load up a couple of chainsaws. (that they graciously loaned us) It’s already 11 pm by the time we ‘re heading South on I-5 to Cali. When we hit Mt. Shasta City it’s all snow and slush, we’re both fading out, but I want to push through the snowy part of the drive in case it gets worse over night. We make it down the hill and as far as Lake Head, at the North end of Lake Shasta, where we pull into a motel. It’s 1:30 am. The poor guy running the motel — I ring the bell and he staggers out in his bath robe, more than half asleep. He can’t get the computer to work, he can’t get the credit card machine to work. I can’t tell if they really don’t work or if it’s because the guy is still half asleep. Finally I give him cash and he gives me a receipt scribbled out on a piece of paper that he tore off the corner of a legal pad. We go to our room — what a dive! Looks like they haven’t redecorated since FDR was president. The paint is peeling, the linoleum in the bathroom is curling up. We don’t care, we’re so tired we just crash. After a solid 5.5 hours of sleep Kathy’s alarm goes off, we throw on our clothes and off we go. I call the office a little before 8 am and make some arrangements to accomodate our unexpected trip.

We pull into the driveway, walk around the back and low and behold there it is, a big tree on top of our roof. So I fire up the chain saw and cut the bottom off the partially unearthed root ball. Then I climb up onto the snow covered roof with the saw and do a balancing act across to the tree. Surprisingly I have decent traction on the snow and feel like I have a 70/30 or so chance of not falling off and breaking my neck. I fire up the saw and work for a 1/2 hour taking a couple of sections off the top. As I’m precariously perched on the edge of the snow covered roof, trying not to slip and cut off my arm, I hear a faint peeping noise, “what in the heck is that?” I think to myself. I turn off the saw, look down, and realize it’s my wife spouting off bits of important advice like, “don’t fall off the roof” and, “be careful not to cut off your arm.” Lucky she said something because I was just about to do both of those things just moments before she warned me. I fire the saw back up and continue for a minute or two but then the chain gets a piece of wood stuck in it and binds. So I head back across the roof but what’s this? Somebody changed the rules from the first time I crossed the roof. In the last forty minutes it started raining instead of snowing and the snow on the roof has transformed into slush that’s slicker than snot. I give myself a 30/70 chance of not falling off and breaking my neck. By God’s grace I make it, my neighbor offers his shop to fiddle with the saw. We get it fixed and finish the job.

The gutters are trashed, Doug the gutter guy tells me it’s going to cost plenty to fix it, I burned a day off, I have a day’s worth of work waiting for me tomorrow to clean up the mess, but hey, the tree’s on the ground, no one is hurt. I see God’s grace in it all.

Your Life:

Whatever you’re going through, you have a choice: you can take inventory on the good or you can take inventory on the bad. Your life can be a great adventure that you travel through with God, or, it can be a bummer. It’s your choice.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Life’s an adventure.

Jon Courson / Applegate Christian Fellowship

California Storm Causes Tree to Fall on House — My House

No post today — we’re experiencing some high winds in the Yosemite area. A good sized tree fell on our house there. We’ll be working on it tonight and tomorrow. More to follow. What we’re dealing with is nothing compared to Haiti or even the situation in this video. Pray for the Haitians, then pray for us.

In Him,


Haiti Earthquake — Haitians Don’t Lose Hope

A UK online news outlet called MailOnline has run a great story about some of the successful rescues that are occurring in Haiti, including the story of a two year old boy named Redjeson who was trapped in the rubble of his collapsed home for almost three days. Check out MailOnline and see this little guy. He was trapped for days calling out to his parents but as time wore on his cries became weaker and weaker but then… MailOnline . His face broke into a smile when he finally saw his mother as rescue workers carried him from the rubble.

This is just one example. Many lives have been successfully saved including the one pictured here being saved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

100114-G-1330O-104 Coast Guard crew evacuates injured from Haiti by US Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Your Life:

Hope. Don’t let go of it. An experiment was conducted where a group of mice were placed in a bucket of water — they’d swim until after 30 minutes or so they’d become too fatigued to continue and drown. A second group was also placed in a bucket of water but just before 30 minutes was up the mice in this group were rescued. Days, weeks, or even months later this second group of mice, when placed in a bucket of water, would swim for hours before drowning. No feeling is more destructive than the feeling of helplessness. Despair is a killer. Cling to hope in the Lord at all costs no matter how difficult your circumstances. (from GoArticles)

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

Jeremiah 17:7

(Anecdote originally heard from Jon Courson at Applegate Christian Fellowship)

Haiti Earthquake Aftermath – Video

The video from the Miami Herald is the first one I’ve seen that really tells the story of the quake aftermath in Haiti.

Your Life:

1) A good place to donate to the cause in Haiti is Samaritan’s Purse. I worked for these folks in New York City after 9/11. They’re run by Franklin Graham and in my experience have proven to be a solid charity.

“You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.”

Exodus 25:2

2) Go. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Go?! Are you crazy?” If you feel led by the Holy Spirit to do it, hook up with a church group, or lead your own church group, buy a plane ticket, and go. It can be done. I’ve seen church groups do it. I’ve done it myself and it always happens that when you go to bless someone else you wind up being blessed beyond what you thought possible yourself. That has been my experience and the experience of anyone I’ve ever spoken with who has taken that plunge. You can do it!

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:14-17

3) Pray — as always. Pray for the people of Haiti. Remember that God is in the business of producing beautiful and fruitful things from tragedy.

Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

4) It’s good to give however don’t give to the exclusion of your church family or biological family. Most of the scriptures about giving are in the context of helping those in your own faith. Jesus said,

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

John 13:34


“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”


“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

John 15:12


“These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

John 15:17

Haiti 7.0 Earthquake — Link to Local Missionary Family twitter

The video is from a news broadcast covering the Haiti 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The strength of the quake in combination with building construction practices there have resulted in widespread devastation. 9.7 million people live in Haiti.

Your Life:

For information about how you can help and for updates from a missionary family who lives there go to http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/ .

For up to the minute twitter updates from same family go to http://twitter.com/troylivesay .

9.7 million people…   pray.

Parents Arrested for Home Schooling

OK, so these parents, Richard and Mary Cressy of Glen, NY, didn’t follow the law and register their four home schooled children or their curriculum with the local school district. But having them arrested? Really? Check out the CBS story at: http://www.cbs6albany.com/news/district-1269895-school-county.html

Perhaps I’m missing something. Couldn’t the school district send out a representative to educate the Cressys about their responsibility rather than sending out the sheriff to arrest them?


Your Life: This story really irks me. Treating decent people like criminals… And what makes it worse is that our society sometimes treats dangerous criminals like hotel guests. While it may be quite a tough pill to swallow, I believe the answer to how you or I should respond in such a situation is found in Matthew 22:20-22. When the Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus into either breaking the Roman law or going against the sentiment of the people by paying tribute, Jesus handled it this way:

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Unless it would violate God’s law, we need to obey those in authority over us. Even when the authorities are, well, less than charming.

A Miracle: Mother and Baby Back From The Dead

At the hospital Tracy Hermanstorfer was in labor with her third child. Her first two deliveries were perfectly normal and there was no reason to believe that this delivery would be any different. Shortly after she received a local anesthetic she said that she felt the need to “rest her eyes.” Suddenly she went into cardiac arrest. A quick assessment revealed that she was clinically dead! Her doctor and medical team tried to resuscitate her but the deceased mother didn’t respond, so the they turned their attention to the life of the baby. In desperation an emergency C-section was performed but when the baby was delivered he was limp showing no sign of life.

The rest of the story is told in this excerpt from Times On Line, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6972008.ece .

“We are both believers . . . but this right here, even a nonbeliever — you explain to me how this happened,” Mr Hermanstorfer, 37, said. “There is no other explanation.”

Mrs Hermanstorfer, 33, was in labour and had just received a local anaesthetic with her husband by her side when she began to feel sleepy and lay back in the bed.

“I was holding her hand when we realised she was gone,” Mr Hermanstorfer said. “My entire life just rolled out.”

Dr Stephanie Martin, a specialist in maternal-foetal medicine at Memorial Hospital who rushed to the bedside, said: “She had no signs of life. No heartbeat, no blood pressure, she wasn’t breathing.”

Doctors told Mr Hermanstorfer: “We’re going to take your son out now. We have been unable to revive her, and we’re going to take your son out,” he said.

After the emergency Caesarean section without anaesthetic, staff rushed his wife to the operating theatre to complete the procedure while the others attended to the baby.

“They handed him to me, he’s absolutely lifeless,” said Mr Hermanstorfer. The doctors attempted to save the newborn as Mr Hermanstorfer held him, and soon he began to breathe.

“His life began in my hands,” the father said. “That’s a feeling like none other. Life actually began in the palm of my hands.”

Mrs Hermanstorfer’s pulse returned even before she was wheeled out of the room and into the operating theatre.

Mother and baby were able to leave the hospital on Monday after tests showed them to be in good health. However, they failed to reveal the reason for Mrs Hermanstorfer’s heart attack and recovery.

Mrs Hermanstorfer remembers getting sleepy and closing her eyes in her hospital bed, then awakening in intensive care. “I just felt like I was asleep,” she said.

Tracy’s physician, Dr Martin said, “I don’t have a great explanation. From my personal perspective, I will take help wherever I can get it.”

What did God do here? Was it a miracle?

I think that while the frequency of miracles today is not the same as when Christ walked the earth — And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? John 7:31 — God still intervenes on our behalf, He still loves us, He still does miracles as He did for the family in our story.

Leadership Take-away: I believe this to be a genuine miracle. The mother was without a pulse or blood pressure for 4 minutes! In my 28 years in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services I have never heard of anything like this happening before. A genuine miracle — that means that this was a work of the Holy Spirit. Do you want more of God’s power in your life? Do you want to be more effective as a mother, father, coach, or supervisor? Then ask God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon you. Ask him every day. Jesus said, If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13

Consider the following excerpt from Traveler and the Chaplain:

“How is asking for the Holy Spirit going to increase my level of enthusiasm?” Traveler asked.

“The Bible says that when the Philistines came against Samson…”

…the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. Judges 15:14

Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit Samson then went on to defeat 1,000 of the enemy by himself!  When you receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit your passion increases, among other things.  You said that you wanted more enthusiasm?”


“Interesting word.  We get our word enthusiasm from the Greek word en-theos which means full of God’s spirit.”

“Hmm,” Traveler said.  He was beginning to understand.  “So how do I get it, or Him?  The Holy Spirit?”

“You ask God,” the Chaplain replied.

“I just ask God?”

“Jesus said,”

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13

“So, pray,” the Chaplain said.  “Just ask God.  Ask Him for the Holy Spirit, every day.”

Helping the Poor

Just returned from church, Applegate Christian Fellowship, http://www.applegatefellowship.org/ , where I heard a most profound teaching from Matthew 25. The most intriguing part of Pastor Jon Courson’s, http://joncourson.com/ , teaching came when he reached the section of scripture that addresses the sheep and the goats. Jesus said,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Matthew 25:31-45

Many interpret this passage to mean that we should give to the indigent. However, pastor Jon believes that the idea here is that we should give to each other. Not that we should ignore giving to the indigent. In Mike Yankoski’s excellent book, Under the Overpass, http://www.undertheoverpass.com/uop/home.php , Mike and a friend spend five months on the street, homeless, in six U.S. cities. By the end of his adventure Yankoski is filled with compassion for the people on the street, however, even he says that we should use great discretion in our giving, avoiding cash, and offering food. And where is the emphasis in Jesus’ teachings? Did He not say, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34 and “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” and “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12 and “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:17

Leadership Take-away: Lead with love. Upon examination of Jesus’ commandment it seems pretty clear what we are to do. In these difficult economic times some of us are really hurting, and some of us still have some ability to help. No Christian should go without during this trying economic season. If you can help, love your brother by giving what you can. And show some initiative, ask your church leadership who is hurting. Most people in your church family aren’t going to approach you with their hand out. Help them find work if you can, offer to pay a bill, or invite their family over for a meal.

Yes we should, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and with discernment, help those in need on the street, but let’s heed the commandment of Jesus first, “…love one another.” John 15:17

5 Alarm Apartment Fire

My fire department fought a fire last night. It came in around 8pm as a fire in an apartment. When our first engine arrived there was heavy involvement on the first floor with significant extension into the second floor. When I arrived there was heavy fire venting from the roof. At that point I would have bet that we would lose another two or three apartments in addition to the original fire apartment. One of the occupants suffered smoke inhalation — she was treated at the hospital and released.

The Incident Commander and the firefighters who fought this fire did a phenomenal job. They confined the fire to the apartment of origin with some relatively minor water damage to the 2 apartments adjacent on either side. No firefighters were injured.

Leadership take-away:

One sign of good leadership is how your followers perform when you’re gone. The Medford Fire-Rescue Fire Chief was visiting family 1,000 miles away for Christmas yet his fire department did a great job handling a 5 alarm structure fire.

Consider the following excerpt from Traveler and the Chaplain:

Traveler said, “So my mission for God here on earth doesn’t end then after I die.  I’m supposed to grow future leaders to carry on what I’ve been doing while I’m alive.”

“Not just carry on but even exceed!” the Chaplain said with great enthusiasm.  “Look at what Jesus’ followers have accomplished since his death.  There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world today.  2.1 billion.  That’s a lot of fruit!  If you started counting Jesus’ followers out loud, one per second, after 31 years and 8 months, you would still be less than half way to finishing!  And of course during that 31 years and 8 months more people would be accepting Christ at an exponentially expanding rate.  So really, it would be impossible to keep up with the pace at which Jesus is bearing fruit for God’s kingdom.”

Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit — Wow, this video is like something out of a Hollywood movie — only it’s not — it’s real. Seems like the U.S. should help to free this guy.

From Wiki:

Gilad Shalit (Hebrew: גלעד שליט‎, born 28 August 1986) is an Israeli soldier who was captured[2] on 25 June 2006 by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid. He was abducted[3] through the Kerem Shalom crossing (in Israel), and has been held as aprisoner in the Gaza Strip by Hamas since.

Shalit, 19 years old at the time of his capture, held the rank of corporal in the IDF’sArmor Corps at the time of his abduction, but has since been promoted to staff sergeant.[1]

He was the first Israeli soldier captured[4][5] by Palestinian militants since Nachshon Wachsman in 1994.[6] Shalit holds French citizenship, a fact that encouraged France and the European Union to be involved to some extent in efforts to release him.[7] He also received Italian citizenship after his abduction.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Hamas has refused requests from the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow the ICRC to visit Shalit. Several human rights organizations have stated that the terms and conditions of Shalit’s detention are contrary to international humanitarian law. In exchange for his release, Hamas is demanding the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, including many convicted of deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which released a report in September 2009, called for Shalit to be released.[22]

If you were held by terrorists and had the opportunity to be released, but, it would mean the release of 1,000 imprisoned terrorists, would you tell your government to make the deal?

My take is that this is one of those situations where you don’t know how you’d react until you were in that actual circumstance. I would hope that I would have the courage to find a way to tell my government to hold fast and not make the deal.

In the words of Jesus, Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

I have to believe that if 1,000 terrorists were to be released, odds are that people are going to die at their hands. I doubt that Gilad would encourage such a deal.

Leadership take-away: To be a good leader we must put the needs and welfare  of other people ahead of ourselves. As soon as you put yourself before others, things go downhill fast. Jesus first — Others second — Yourself third.

Please remember Gilad Shalit in your prayers.

%d bloggers like this: