To My Teachers

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As  I looked out my window on this rainy Sunday evening, I saw cars in our church parking lot. No, I’m not skipping services. The cars represent the teachers who are spending another evening in preparation for the students who will be arriving at Mayflower Heritage Christian School on Tuesday. They are a dedicated lot and strive to ensure that their students master their course work as well as develop a Christian worldview.

My daughter, Anna, relates her gratitude to those teachers who made a tremendous influence in her life through their “asks” and affirmations. To all my teacher friends, let me suggest these encouraging words to you at the following link: To My Teachers

Pass It On

After purchasing five items on a friend’s baby registry, I noticed that only one had been duly noted as a registry item on the receipt, resulting in only one gift receipt.  I took the receipt back to Target and went to the customer service desk. The employee was uncertain of how to handle it so she made a quick call, grasped the instructions and hung up. What took place next was fascinating to me. She called a nearby associate over and explained what had brought me back to Target. Next, she explained to the associate the steps she was going through to properly adjust both my receipt and the gift registry. I commented to her that she was doing a great job of training others. Now I don’t know if that is a company practice or just the employee’s. Nevertheless, it is exactly the practice that every follower of Christ should take.

Paul instructed his “son in the faith” in 2 Timothy 2:2:

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

That is the mandate of Christ in a nutshell. We are to make disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples ad infinitum. Each professing believer in Jesus Christ is expected to carry out that mandate…it’s not a preacher/missionary role…it’s a believer’s responsibility. So, what should be expected?

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus said:

19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The phrase “make disciples” is the only command and the other action steps support the command. The first question that needs to be answered is “who is a disciple?” Simply put a disciple is one who represents the master in every way…actions, attitudes, mindset, etc. So, Jesus wanted his disciples to make those who would be living, breathing examples of Christ in his absence following his ascension to heaven. Fortunately, his Spirit is available to help us accomplish that task. In Act 1:8 he promised:

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

So, making disciples under the power of the Holy Spirit is our mandate. How then do we do that? We are told to baptize them. Baptism signals the culmination of a radical enlistment into relationship with God through Christ Jesus. We might consider everything from our example of Christ-likeness that causes one to be attracted to Christ in the first place up to the point as which they profess Jesus as their Lord to be part of the initial disciple-making process. The saying, “You may be the only Bible some people read,” applies to the early stages of witnessing to others about our faith in Jesus. While we may call this evangelism (which literally means “good news-ing”), this is where discipleship begins. Timothy, while in the presence of Paul, repeatedly heard him tell the story of his own conversion and the way in which a person came to know Christ as his personal Savior. This is part of what Paul expected Timothy to “entrust to faithful men” as part of their witness.

However, once one comes into that personal relationship with Christ, the job of the disciple-maker is not finished. What parent abandons a child after delivering that new life? Certainly not one who cares and loves and understands the role of a parent. And while they may not know the full ramifications of parenthood, they still know the basics by what has been done for them by their own experiences of being raised by their parents/guardians. Now here is where we may get into trouble with the analogy because not all have had ideal examples, and their own parenting may be severely flawed and limited based upon their role models. However, here we look to the model of Christ, and there are an abundance of materials, foremost being the Bible, showing us how we should make disciples. The Gospels are full of examples of how Jesus taught his followers to obey his commands, so study carefully Christ’s example.

There is hardly a Christian who could not in some form or fashion take on a young believer and begin meeting with them to share what God has taught them from his Word about any number of disciplines of the Christian life (*see below for a list excerpted from Herb Hodges’ book Fox Fever). To not do so leaves many baby Christians to flounder for their own spiritual nourishment and growth.

Will you be one who gives a “bottle” of elementary teachings to a new born believer? Will you be the one who begins to spoon feed that young believer the solid food of God’s Word. Will you be the one who models to that growing believer what it takes to be a self-feeder by learning the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, fellowship, etc. Will you be the one to help them learn the “facts of life,” encouraging them in the multiplicative process of making disciples? Sometimes it is as simple as calling someone beside you after you have learned something new from the Lord and saying, “Look what I’ve just learned!”

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*Seven Categories of Truth to Teach a Disciple

Christian Themes Curriculum Development

  1. Devotional Category – training in the means and mechanics of a daily personal devotional life.
  • How to have an efficient and powerful Daily Quiet Time with God.
  • How to view the Bible structurally, how to read the Bible daily, how to study the Bible meaningfully, how to journal the Bible regularly, how to apply the Bible practically, how to teach the Bible captivatingly, how to incarnate the Bible personally, etc.
  • How to live a clean life, implementing the forgiveness of sins, daily cleansing, holiness of life, etc.
  1. Doctrinal Category – training in exploring and understanding the many doctrines of the Bible. “And the things that you have heard from me…, deposit exactly the same things into faithful men, who then must be enabled to teach OTHERS ALSO.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
  • The doctrine of God
  • The doctrine of creation
  • The doctrine of eternity
  • The doctrine of God’s eternal purpose
  • The doctrine of Satan
  • The doctrine of man
  • The doctrine of the Fall of man into sin
  • The doctrine of salvation, etc
  1. Dispositional Category – training the disciple to build a Christian disposition, “The fruit of the Spirit…self-control. (Galatians 5:23).
  • Personality types
  • Temperament types
  • Self-understanding for a Biblical standpoint
  • A Biblical understanding of personal self-worth
  • The taming of the tongue
  • Mastery over your personal disposition, including the conquest of such dispositional problems as anger, bitterness, negativism, frustration, depression, etc.
  1. Distress Category – training the disciple the lessons of facing and overcoming life’s distress factors.
  • The world as the Christian’s perennial enemy
  • The flesh as the Christian’s perennial enemy
  • The devil as the Christian’s perennial enemy
  • Fear as a Christian’s perennial threat
  • Doubt as a Christian’s perennial threat
  • Temptation as a Christian’s perennial threat
  • The trials of life as a Christian’s perennial threat
  1. Domestic Category – training on the Biblical foundations for marriage, the family and home.
  • The original pattern for marriage and the home (Genesis 1:18-25)
  • A model for affection and intimacy in marriage (Song of Solomon 4)
  • The roles of the individuals in a marriage and a family (Ephesians 5:18-32)
  1. Dedicational Category – Teachings of how to begin and maintain complete, consistent dedication to Jesus Christ and His Lordship.
  • How to be a completely sold-out Christian, living steadily under the personal administration of Jesus Christ as the Lord of his life.
  • The true meaning of Christ-likeness and how to develop it in his life
  • How to fulfill the personal responsibility to grow steadily in the spiritual life.
  1. Directional Category – training to see the strategy of Jesus for being a disciple, for building disciples, for impacting the vast world of men through the disciple-making process and how to implement these things strategically in his life.
  • The local and global fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission
  • The imperatives of evangelism and soul-winning
  • Personal involvement (by many means) in total world impact
  • The building and sharing of God’s inclusive vision
  • The process of disciple-making (which generates multi-generational multiplication)
  • Jesus’ training process with the Twelve Apostles – a s a strategic model of the training process we are to follow with our disciples.
  • All of the above – local and global fulfillment of the Great Commission… – all of these formulated into practical strategies and practically implemented in the lives of Christians.
  • Obviously, dependence upon the Holy Spirit and His empowerment in every area of life and performance is crucial for the implementation of these things.

Hodges, Herb, Fox Fever, Spiritual Life Ministries, p ii. (This is a great “how to” book available from the author HERE. Fox Fever is Herb’s sequel to Tally Ho the Fox, which lays out the foundational principles for making disciples, while Fox Fever relates to the practical side of disciple-making. Both are valuable resources.)

Creston Iowa’s Loss

Tom Young fam

Tom, Cindy and Aaron Young

I first met Dr. Tom Young when I came as Pastor of Crest Baptist Church in August of 1994. He had already been serving as a physician in Creston for five years. I was immediately impressed by his grasp of a wide range of disciplines beyond medicine. A voracious reader with the closest to a photographic memory that I’ve encountered, Tom’s ability to recall information, even citing the page of the book astounded me. Tom’s intellect and size (a former heavy-weight wrestler at Drake) caused some to be intimidated. As I’ve talked to a few that were intimidated by Tom’s wealth of knowledge, my response was always, “Don’t you want a smart doctor?” It’s been my personal observation that Tom was almost always the smartest person in the room at any gathering.

Tom Football

Church Harvest Party…putting the moves on the competition

I’m not naïve enough to think that he never used that intimidation factor to his advantage. I’ve faced him on a racquet ball court!  However, he was not one to “suffer a fool” in his profession of medicine. Because he was up on current research and procedures in medical practice through medical journals and seminars, he expected as much from other health care providers. But often, such intimidation was only the perception of those who did not really know Tom. When he encountered individuals, who were truly desirous of improving their own skills, Tom was a ready instructor.

Early in my ministry at Crest, I asked Tom if he had ever considered doing short-term medical missions. His response was that rural Southwest Iowa was his mission field. While he had the opportunity to practice in more affluent communities, Tom’s Christian compassion led him to come to an area that at the time was underserved by the internal medicine specialty. That concern kept him in our community all these years. And beyond the medical care he offered our area, he was a financial benefactor to many of the non-profits of our community, seeking to make Creston a better place in which to plant deep roots.

2008 Mission Trip

2008 Mission Trip to Venezuela

Tom’s attitude toward short-term medical missions changed, and he subsequently made numerous trips to Venezuela and Peru. Taking medical supplies, some donated but much secured at personal expense, he treated some of the poorest people, who subsisted from the resources gleaned from a city dump. But perhaps his greatest influence was on the indigenous health care providers as he gave instruction for their future diagnoses and treatment of illnesses they encountered.

You may have noticed that the references in this letter are in the past tense. This could be construed as a eulogy of Tom. It has been intentionally written in that way. Although Tom is in good health and is not retiring from medical practice, the closing of Internal Medicine Consultants was not by his choosing. And for that reason it symbolizes a death in our community. Many are mourning this announcement, and it is not settling well with most of us who have been served so well by Tom. It is the death of what many have found to be quality health care in which a doctor takes the extended time with you, has a history with you and prays with you if you are so inclined. It represents almost the last of independent primary care in our community, that while working in collaboration with the hospital, is not controlled by a business model that appears quota based. It represents the slow death of our national health care system that many of us have known all our lives as a personal relationship with one’s physician.

Farewell Dr. Tom and Cindy Young, Dr. Carey Wimer, Sherri Seago, and Holly Schutz. Your care and presence as medical providers in Union County will be sorely missed. Godspeed!

Chuck and Myra Spindler

New Year’s Resolutions

scrabble-resolutions.jpgWell, we are more than a week into the New Year. Many have made some type of resolution, most likely regarding self-improvement. According to a 2015 Nielsen poll, health and wellness are the typical top priorities for U.S. consumers.  “Staying fit and healthy” came in at 37%, with “lose weight” coming in a close second at 32%. Enjoying life, getting fiscally fit and spending more time with family and friends rounded out the top five. While some report that only about 41% of people even make resolutions, nearly 80% of them will fail in maintaining their resolutions by the second week of February.

Interestingly among the top ten resolutions, there is nothing overtly spiritual about them. As the Apostle Paul addressed his son in the faith, Timothy, he encouraged, “On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8, LB). If you are one who makes resolutions, do you focus only on the present life value of a resolution or do you think of the eternal life consequences, too. If you’re goal is to live a healthy and long life, what will be the eternal payoff for living longer here? Will you be spending that life building heavenly treasure or earthly treasure that will burn up? If your focus is on financial goals, are they focused on your own security or to benefit others and investing in ministries that will help people grow in their pursuit of God, as well?

It is easy to be temporal in our goals and resolutions. However, I was reminded of the long view as I reread a devotional passage last week. Over the years, I have used W Glyn Evans’ book, Daily with the King, as a daily prompt to prayer with my wife. The January 5th devotion was especially appropriate as one sets the course for his year, his life, and his eternal life, for that matter. Here are the points of his writings for that day (with the exception of the last two, scriptures are my addition).

I will, by God’s grace and power, keep the center of my life adjusted strictly to God’s will, and let God keep the periphery any way He desires. (Matthew 6:33)

I will seek holiness (which results in wholeness), without which no man can seek the Lord, at all times. Wholeness is God-centeredness, the “one thing needful,” the “one thing I desire and seek after,” the “one thing I do.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

I will not pray for peace, power, success, or fruit, for they are by-products of a relationship, not its conditions. They are God’s responsibility, not mine. (John 15:5)

Neither will I seek promotion, honors, recognition, or acclaim, for they also are by-products and therefore outside my sphere. Nor will I resent others to whom God gives these tokens, but I will praise God that His will has been done in them. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

I will no longer strive ambitiously for ends, for God’s purpose is process, not destiny. I never hope to arrive but rather to continue with God in an eternal adventure, the result of which is a continual knowing of Him who is the”end” God seeks for me. (Matthew 25:23, Galatians 4:9, Philippians 3:4-11)

I will accept the fact that the self-life is not only displeasing to God; it is His enemy. When self reigns, I am at war with God, and that leads to frustration, anxiety, and misery. I will therefore crucify the self-life and be at peace with God. (1 Peter 2:11-12)

I will realize that when all is said and done, I owe my daily overcoming to this one, solid fact: “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Therefore, I can say honestly, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

May God prosper you in your commitments this year, giving you perseverance to follow-through with the physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, financial and, most importantly, spiritual disciplines that will payoff in eternally rewarding ways.

Points to Ponder:

  • What steps do you need to take to center your life on God’s will?
  • Do you agree that peace, power, success and fruit are by-products of a relationship with God and not things for which to pray?
  • Are you seeking for “ends” or satisfied with being in the “process” of continually knowing God?
  • Where is self reigning in your life rather that God ruling?

Upside Down Photography

After taking a picture of a blue heron on a placid pond, I decided to flip the photo. That caused me to go on a search for others that might appear almost the same whether they were right side up or up side down. Here are a few.

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Blue Heron at Green Valley State Park Lake


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Fall Foliage at Green Valley State Park Lake


Upsidown ISS

International Space Station dashes over Green Valley State Park Lake


Upside down

Summit Lake


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Sunrise at Green Valley State Park Lake

On Sexism, Harassment, and Assault

Once again, reblogging my daughter’s words because she can speak to #MeToo better than I.

Anna Spindler Writes

I grew up in a family with 2 sisters, 2 girl dogs, 11 girl cousins (5 boy cousins), and 4 aunts. As you can imagine, we were a bit of a girl power kind of family. My dad, having grown up with 4 big sisters, was not at all thrown by our emotions and requests for tampons when he ran to the store. His mom and also my maternal grandmother had college degrees. So, in our home, being a girl was not a hindrance. It was who we were and we were cool with it. The men in my family were heroes, but taught us we could be, too.

But one time when I was a preschooler, my mom said someone told her that I ran like a girl. To which she replied “well, she is a girl.”

Do you see where it starts?

Sexism starts when our children are…

View original post 1,092 more words

On Partisan Divides, The Supreme Court, and Friendship

Reblogging my daughter’s words…because they’re good, y’all.

Source: On Partisan Divides, The Supreme Court, and Friendship

A Share of “On Football and Freedom”

Well, my Facebook news feed looks like the Fourth of July with all stars and stripes profile overlays, threats of boycotts and the occasional blast at Trump for inserting himself in the football fray. While I consider myself a proud U.S. citizen, I’m not changing my profile picture, because I think the whole NFL “take a knee” issue has been oversimplified to make it a patriotic issue. This should not be boiled down to an “America…love it or leave it” issue. This is an America…let’s love each other enough to give an ear and time to cut through the act of protest to get to the reason for the protest (which is quickly lost in a 140 character Presidential tweet). We can still appreciate all of those who have served our country, many of whom have given their lives to protect our freedoms and still respect the freedom of others to express views that are different than our own.

My daughter, Anna, speaks clearly about what OUR freedom allows us:

…you can worship (or not) as you please, without repercussions, and we won’t put you in a camp because of your genetic code, and we won’t make you flee your country on a boat in the ocean and you are safe here…

Please give it a read by clicking the link below!

You know what I spent my weekend doing? Catching up on the Mindy Project while my husband took my older kids to a college football game with his family. And then I binge read a library book (A Man Called Ove-two thumbs up) that was due to expire off my kindle at 1:30 yesterday afternoon. […]

via On Football and Freedom — Anna Spindler Writes

Responding to Racist Picture Originating from My Town.

Note: This is a copy of an email I sent to my church family following the viral picture of five Creston High School football players posing in a racially offensive manner.

Crest Baptist Church family and friends,

You have to have been totally disconnected from media and public engagement to not have heard about the picture that has circulated on local and international social, print and broadcast media of five Creston High School students with replicas of KKK hoods, a burning cross, Confederate flag and rifle. It is a shocking and embarrassing image, knowing that it originated in Creston. These are young men who serve as role models and representatives of their school and our community. The school has initiated disciplinary action against these young men and my prayer is that any further action (if necessary) will be appropriate and yet, understanding and merciful.

I spoke very pointedly to the church in the wake of the Charleston protests a few weeks ago  and our response to racism (go to 5:34 for that relevant portion: Our Witness in a Hostile World (1 Peter 3:8-17)

Regarding the minors who posed for this photo, I would surmise that they had no idea of how inflammatory their action would be. Regarding the families of these young men that I know, they are upstanding community leaders, who do not espouse and encourage racism in their children. If any of us were to be honest with ourselves and others, we would admit that adolescence was a time of trying out new thoughts and activities that previously were off-limits due to the nature of parental oversight. Even as a kid growing up in a Christian home, I failed in ways that were not in keeping with my training and out of bounds with my upbringing as I navigated the path of adolescence in the 60s-70s. Some of my actions are embarrassing to think about today. I would hate to be trying to navigate the teen years in today’s culture. All of this is to say…yes, what was done was wrong, but we need to exercise love and mercy, knowing that many of us did stupid things, and “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Let me address two sides of prejudice from my own family’s perspective. Most would say, “Pastor Chuck is not prejudiced.” Indeed, my daughter is married to an African-American, and I love my son-in-law and my two bi-racial grandchildren (and the one in heaven waiting to see Papa). However, because I grew up in the “dirty South,” I am amazed at how the observation of a black/white couple can resurrect feelings of prejudice and demeaning stereotypes. CRAZY! I did not have a family that taught me to be prejudice, but I grew up in a culture that was highly prejudicial. Some of that is still in me and raises its ugly head occasionally. I have to deal with that and confess that to God.

Secondly, those who have not been engaged in meaningful relationships with people from other cultures have no sensitivity to how it is to live as a Black, Asian, Hispanic, etc., in our culture. My son-in-law looks in the mirror everyday with the realization that he is a black man living in a white culture. I don’t think about my whiteness, but those of color feel racism explicitly and implicitly every day. My son-in-law is on staff at a private Texas university and working on his PhD. He is well-respected by his colleagues and is a sought after conference speaker. However, because of his minority status, it is not uncommon for white people on campus to ask if he is a student athlete. Now, a white man might think that is a great way to be identified. But, to my son-in-law it speaks of a system in which the first assumption is that the only reason a black man would be on such a elite campus is for his ability to perform before an audience of sports-crazed white people.

I write this first to say, keep your conversations loving and understanding. Don’t judge or condemn. Take the position of a peacemaker and not a flame thrower. Secondly, be in prayer! Pray for these young men (even if you don’t know their names). Pray for their emotional well-being as people take sides for and against them. Pray for their families to exercise continued wisdom and guidance. Pray for the school and community to know how to handle the topic of racism in our midst. Pray for yourself, knowing that even as much as we would deny it, there may be some resident prejudice that influences our interaction with those different than ourselves. Pray for our church, that we will be a beacon for racial harmony.

I love you, Crest family!

 

Turning Grief into Growth: Silas Project

When people asks me how many grandchildren I have, I say, “Seven with one in heaven.” My first grandson, Silas (represented by the pewter hand in the picture*), was born prematurely in the sixth month of pregnancy with a profound birth defect (acrania) and lived a brief six minutes outside his mother, my middle daughter, Katie. He was also born on my birthday, June 6. He would have been three today!wpid-wp-1420422207908.jpeg

His unexpected and untimely birth prevented my wife and me from being with our daughter and her husband at the delivery. While we traveled the 12 hours to be with our kids the next day it was only days later that we viewed Silas at the funeral home before he was cremated. There was no finger grasp photo which I’ve been able to capture with all my other grands. No time to hold him while he still had the warmth of life. We missed the opportunity to weep and share those immediate moments after Silas’ death with the grieving parents and our other daughters who live in the same city and were at the hospital to support their sister and her husband.

Even as I type this, I find myself grieving some things that I’ve never vocalized. And that’s the way grief is. It is unpredictable, coming in unexpected waves and catching you off guard. If you are fortunate, you aren’t knocked off your feet. There is a momentary, unbalanced stumble. Other times, however, you are swept into the ocean of despair in an undertow, and you wonder if you are going to make it back to the safety and normality of life as it was. The reality is that there is no “life as it was” and that’s okay. Healthy grief will cause growth and productivity, despite the pain and sorrow of loss. Lessons can be learned and shared. Help can be given to others. Comfort received can become comfort shared.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NASB)

Out of the experience of the loss of Silas, my youngest daughter, Laura, in collaboration with her sisters and some friends, have launched Silas Project, an online community to help parents who have suffered a pregnancy loss. Inspired by the challenges she observed her sister and brother-in-law go through in the death of Silas, as well as the challenge she experienced in understanding how best to help, Laura wanted a place that would:

  1. Connect parents through their stories and experiences.
  2. Encourage and foster healthy grief, healing and growth.
  3. Allow parents to experience the joy and pride of honoring these precious children
  4. AND to equip friends and family to walk through these seasons with tenderness and care.

So, if you have experienced a pregnancy loss, please check out this website and share it with others who have faced or are facing the potential loss of a child. Let your grief turn into something that brings growth and strength.

You will find Katie and Daren’s Written Story linked here. Their story is also in video format on the website. Below is Laura’s video giving the overview of the project.

Introducing Silas Project from Laura on Vimeo.

*The collage needs to be updated to include our seventh grandchild, Finn, Katie and Daren’s third child and second son.