Sunday, July 30, 2006


The Moorhead Manse has been on the market for two weeks now. This continues to be a rather difficult trial; a test of faith. Humanly speaking, it hasn’t gone well.

We had our first open house last Sunday, 23 July. Our realtor told us not to come home from church until after 3:00. It was a miserably hot day. We couldn’t just go into a restaurant and sit because we had to have the dog with us. He wasn’t allowed in the house during the open time. Caspian is a white standard poodle. (My wife’s!) He would turn into some French fricassee if we left in him the family minivan on such a hot day. The realtor said she had five families go through. We never heard from any of them again.

Then last Wednesday she called a said another realtor had a client who wanted to see our house that evening between 7:00 and 8:00. Perfect! I was teaching that night and it wouldn’t be hard to get everyone out of the house. That realtor told our realtor that ours was the shabbiest house he showed this family. He had a list of complaints as long as my hand! Picky, picky, picky! I was suspicious that this family was setting us up to make a low bid. I decided on the spot that I wouldn’t sell it to them even if they offered our price. “No. I would hate for you to have to live in such a dump. I’ll save you that humiliation.”

We had our second open house this afternoon. Today was even hotter than last Sunday! I thought, “No one is going out house hunting in this heat!” Well, I didn’t have to worry. Around 1:00 the skies opened up and it rained until about 2:00! The temperature dropped 15 degrees in about 10 minutes! But no one would want to go out in a downpour! Our realtor reported that a lot of people went through the house but she thinks they were all our neighbors on our cul-de-sac. Too bad they never wanted to come over when we were home! No nibbles.

The realtor wants to lower the asking price before the next open house. This is killing me!

Can God arrange for the sale of my house? Yes, of course. Can he do it this week? Yes, of course. Would I be happy? Yes, of course. If he doesn’t arrange the sale of the house for a month, or two, or three, is he still good? Yes, of course. If we lose the house we put a bid on is God still good? Yes, of course. So what’s the struggle? Good question. Thanks for asking. I think I’m pretty stuck on having things go my way. The struggle is telling God to do what is best for us and really meaning it.

I have preached for years, “It’s not about you; it’s about God.” Preacher, hear thyself!

Thanks for listening. You guys are really great!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


“Hey, Pastor Dave! When will you schedule a trip to the Holy Land for our church people?” I can’t tell you how many times over the last 22 years I’ve heard that question. Here’s my answer, yes, my final answer: “Never!” You would have to be nuts to voluntarily go to Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, et al, these days. I really don’t care if you have relatives over there or not. Stay away. Why? Because there is going to be a war! When? Anytime now! And then when the war that we all knew was going to happen actually starts, Americans in Lebanon start complaining that the US government didn’t have a good enough plan to get them out of there. You guys know I’m not a flag-waving, patriotic, America-love-it-or-leave-it kind of guy, but if you’re going to go to Lebanon or Israel or Palestine you better have a plan B to get out! I just don’t think you should expect the government to come to the rescue of the terminally stupid!

“Hey, Pastor Dave! Don’t hold back! Tell us what you really think!” OK. The Lebanese government knew Hezbollah was using their country as a base. They knew Hezbollah is committed to the destruction of Israel. They knew Israel would never put up with that. They knew Israel’s history of dealing with countries that threatened them or that gave aid to groups that threatened them. I’m sorry but the government of Lebanon saw this coming and didn’t do anything about it. They had plenty of warnings from Israel. I doubt they are surprised.

“Hey, Pastor Dave! Does that mean you support Israel and what they’re doing?” No. I’m just saying it was inevitable. It’s just a fact. When you have a group of terrorists openly threatening Israel and the Israelis find out where they are, what do you think is going to happen? They never asked for my support or my opinion. You know whom I feel sorry for? The Lebanese citizens. Thousands of them are homeless today because their government was stupid. They have no airport because their government was stupid. They have no power or water because their government was stupid. I feel so bad for the common person in Lebanon that I would like to send a bunch of cruise liners over there and just say, “Hey! You guys want to get out of here? We’ll drop you off in France if you want.” I read a quote from an American fleeing Lebanon. She said, “This war is unfair! It’s unfair if you see buildings fall and there are people inside.” Sorry. I’m sure Israel intended to fight a fair war.

“Hey, Pastor Dave! What’s the answer to stopping war?” This is really a lot easier than you might think. War will come to an end when all the nations of the earth sit down together and promise never to take any land that belongs to another nation. War will come to an end when they all promise not to hate people because of their religion or cultural differences. War will come to an end when people promise not to pursue personal power anymore. Got it? Not complicated. Just impossible! I, for one, decided over thirty years ago that I would never have any part of it. The governments of this world can do what they want but they’re going to have to do it without me! I’m too busy with assignments from my King to mess around with their squabbles.

My heart really goes out to the people who are suffering as a result of this war. Either side of the border over there. I wish I could do something for them. They are the ones my King is concerned about.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for stopping by.

(Written from the Essential Bean coffee shop in lovely, suburban Caledonia. I am identifying with the homeless right now. My realtor kicked me out of the house while she takes pictures and shows it to her colleagues from her office. I prefer my version of homelessness.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006


We bought our house on July 18, 2002. The sign went up in the front yard today, July 15, 2006. Interesting providence, isn’t it?

We have been working like maniacs for the last month. Almost every inch of the interior has been painted. The basement was officially finished today. There is so little furniture left in our house that it is sparser (is that a word? more sparse?) than a model home. It looks spacious and clean.

I was supposed to be at a men’s seminar today. Mia called me just as it began and said our realtor was coming at 1:00 to get the house listed and there was too much for her to do at the last minute to get it done. So I left just minutes after the seminar began. I hope the presenters didn’t think I got offended so quickly! (Actually, I wrote a long note of explanation and gave it to them so they wouldn’t feel I just walked out on them.) Mia’s had a three-day migraine and there was no way she could get everything ready in time. I figured my place was to help her so I went home.

We dashed around the house putting all the finishing touches on cleaning and straightening. I sat down mere minutes before our realtor walked in. We took her around the house. I was so proud! Then she started… “You better touch this up. Is this fingernail polish? What are you going to do about this wall? (She didn’t like my taping job in the basement!) You need to put some beadboard over it! (Beadboard? Where the heck do you buy beadboard?) What about that hornet’s nest?” I guess we’re not quite finished.

Nevertheless, she loved what we had done to the house. She has an open house scheduled already for next Sunday (the 23rd). She is optimistic that the house will move quickly. (We have until October 10 to close on the Arts and Crafts house.) The price and the selling strategy were agreed upon and the sign went up in the yard! Elizabeth got so excited! She said, “Dad! It’s even a cool looking sign!”

So, now we are already feeling like we are living in someone else’s house. I’ve turned into the “Neat Dragon.” Anybody leaves anything out and I’m on them like flies on manure. Mia and I think it would be best if we just got out of here for a month or so. You know, just load up the old family van and take off. Do any of you have a hankering to host a family of eight for a week or two? Look at it this way, I have an associate pastor, a worship guy who can preach, and an intern. I’m sure they could handle things even better than I could!

It’s 9:50 pm and the sky is orange out of the window of my study. I’m glad I’m not out in my garage! It’s still 88 degrees outside and I’m sure the garage has to be around 100. And you know Michigan, it’s not a dry heat! I’m going to go over my sermon notes and then sleep the sleep of the dead. Perhaps the stress will be gone in the morning!

You guys are great! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


In my previous post, Moving Blues Part 2, June 28, I mentioned that we found another very promising home. I said it was an Arts and Crafts bungalow built in the ‘30s. Turns out it was built in 1920. We’ve been through it three times now. Last Monday we had a good friend who is a contractor go through it with us. He pronounced it very solid and said we could move into it just like it is. It will take some work. For example, it only has one bathroom; but we can add one in the basement easily enough. Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s there was little appreciation for the beauty of the Mission style of architecture so the owner put in drop ceilings and paneled the entire interior of the house. Pretty soon we will want to fix that up. Also, we should put a new electrical service in and get rid of the old fuses and stuff. But this is almost all cosmetic and we can take our time doing it. (Except for the bathroom! We need that yesterday!)

The house is for sale by owner. We met with the owner’s daughter-in-law who is handling the sale on Friday and made an offer on the house. It was significantly less than their asking price but there is a lot that has to be done and we don’t think we can pay their price. We offered a generous earnest money payment. The lady said she would stop showing it and give us six months to sell our house. I thought that was generous and fair.

She called us Friday night to let us know what her mother-in-law said. She accepted our price with the condition that they be allowed to continue to show the house and give us a chance to match an offer. Also, they only wanted to hold the house for three months. I was just a little disappointed but I honestly think this is still pretty fair. After all, we don’t even have our home on the market yet!

Well, here’s my point. I’m having an interesting time praying about this. I really want this house. I want it for Mia most of all. It’s like her dream house. It’s in a nicer neighborhood than the Victorian we were looking at and this house would fit our family much better. Yes, I really want this house. I keep telling the Lord that I would really like it if he would work it out for us to have it. He keeps NOT promising it to me. I’m happy she accepted our offer but she didn’t TOTALLY accept it.

I tell the Lord that most of all I want to be in the house he wants us in. If this isn’t the one then I don’t want it. After all, our personal comfort may not be the most important thing to him. He may want us in another house for completely different reasons than what we like. He may want us to meet other neighbors in another neighborhood completely.

I tell the Lord that things are out of my hands and I am entrusting the whole matter to him. I don’t have the energy to keep trying to figure out all the various possibilities and what we should do in each of them.

I find it takes a lot of effort to not take matters into my own hands. I find it consumes energy to not worry. I find it physically exhausting to intentionally yield my own will to his. It actually reminds me of how I was feeling so tired when Roz was dying. Waiting just wore me out and it’s wearing me out now!

So, my friends, do you have any advice for me? I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do for us. At the same time, we’re going through an interesting period of the testing of our faith. If you know how to pray for us, I invite you to do so.

Lord, the truth is, I really want this house!

You’re all great! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Well, gentle readers, it’s about time we finished up that basement project, wouldn’t you say? Seems it’s been dragging on long enough. Problems galore! If you refer back to my blog on May 11 I sarcastically said I hate do-it-yourself jobs because three day jobs turn into three month jobs. It looks like it might come in at just under two months. Should I be glad?

After taping and mudding and sanding and mudding and sanding and mudding the floor looked like a flock of 500 pigeons had flown in and taken up housekeeping. That’s when the real disaster hit. My lovely wife decided that a drop ceiling was really unnecessary, and for this I will always be grateful. She said, “Hey! I’ve got an idea! Let’s just spray paint the joists and pipes and wires and ductwork all black like a coffee house!” I thought this was a wonderful idea! So we got some black paint at Home Depot and went to rent the sprayer. They didn’t have the regular old domestic sprayers, only the industrial strength, heavy duty sprayers. I didn’t care. I was hot to trot to get this job done! So I took the high test sprayer. To make a long, miserable story short and miserable, the darn thing was so powerful that it sprayed way too much paint everywhere and the floor suddenly looked like all my pigeons had some terrible form of rectal cancer! That sprayer was so strong that I could have painted a 747 from the ground!

OK. No problem. We just put Kilz all over the walls and started painting. It started to look like a real room! Sadly, an amateur taping job can look absolutely wonderful until you start putting color on the walls! I was mortified! Places leaped out at me where it appeared no one had sanded at all! Pock marks! I thought I might be sick.

Press on! The lovely wife rescued me again. “Hey! I’ve got an idea! Instead of trying to trim this with the usual white trim, let’s do it like a coffee house! You know, four-inch strips of composite board around the ceiling, floor, doors, and windows!” Great idea! That would be easy!

Here’s where the power tools come in! Remember Tim Allen’s show, Home Improvement? Remember the manly sounds he used to make whenever he was showing off his power tools? They started emerging from my inner soul! What I needed was a skil saw! Caleb said, “No, Dad, you need a circular saw.” I said, “Don’t tell me what I need! I need a skil saw!” “No, Dad. Skil is a brand name, like Kleenex. There are lots of circular saws.” “Oh.”

So off we went to Lowes again. Caleb worked in construction last summer so he knew what we were looking for. He picked out a circular saw, a brand I had never heard of. A Porter something or other. Remember how my Black and Decker drill battery or charger had died on me? I thought I could get a new battery for it. The tool dude just laughed at me! They don’t make that kind of battery anymore. Just like Detroit. Planned obsolescence! Oh well. I was on a roll. I bought another drill too. I needed just one more thing…a tool belt! I tried one on but I couldn’t figure out what I would do with all the pockets. I ended up buying a nice leather belt with attachable hammer hanger and leather nail pouch. Oo-oo-oo!

Caleb and I set up in the garage. (Yes, Mr. Smoking Christian, there is something else you can do in your garage!) Got the saw horses set up. Put a sheet of composite board on them and fired up the old Porter something or other! Caleb cut the strips at four inches each. I started rounding off the edges with my power sander. The testosterone was flying all over the place! I worked until 10:00 last night putting the polyurethane on the trim strips.

Today was the day! Caleb and I got a good start. Those strips of trim were going up so fast I was amazed! They looked good! Mia was thrilled. I felt manly. My friends are all teasing me about my tool belt. They’re just jealous, I think. I’m pretty proud of myself. But deep down inside I just love to say, “Yeah, I got a new circular saw and drill the other day.” But it’s hard not to smile just a little bit when I say it!

Happy Fourth of July! Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, July 03, 2006


Last night Caledonia celebrated Canada Day with a magnificent show of fireworks. It was July 1, Canada Day. We must have been celebrating Canada Day because I’m pretty sure American Independence Day is July 4. I was on the phone to my folks in Temecula, CA and they were chuckling at the fact that we were having our fireworks on the 1st. I told them I just figured that since we live so far north, so near to Canada, that we were just supporting our neighbors to the north. “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee…”

It was really a wonderful fireworks display. Unfortunately, I missed the 4th of July parade in beautiful, downtown Caledonia on Saturday afternoon. I could hear the sirens of the fire trucks leading the parade. I understand this parade lasted nine minutes; one minute longer than the Memorial Day parade.

Anyway, they shoot the fireworks from the Caledonia High School football stadium. (Home of the 2005 State Champion Fighting Scots!) The stadium is just on the other side of the water tower from our home in lovely Glen Valley Estates which was very recently a farmer’s field and therefore is treeless. We are able to go out and set up our lawn chairs in the driveway and get a perfect view of the fireworks. It’s very convenient if you need to run in for a beverage or ice cream or to use the facilities.

We ventured outside at 10:00. The first warning fireworks had just gone up. They give you several warning shots so you can get your drinks and snacks and be ready for the real show. It was strange weather. Very hot. Very humid. And very windy! The heat and humidity are not usually accompanied by such wind. My lovely wife covered her feet and ankles with mosquito repellent because of a recent unfortunate evening in a friend’s garden where she got bitten over fifteen times on each foot! No need for the Off! The wind was so strong that I don’t think a fighter jet could have maneuvered in it, let alone a mosquito.

The real fireworks show started at 10:15. (It stays light very late up north!) It really was outstanding! We pay good tax money for our patriotism and we want a good show! But the wind was wreaking havoc with the fireworks! Instead of being big, huge, round, blooms of fireworks, they quickly morphed into a kind of ovate shape because the wind was blowing so hard! Some of the rockets couldn’t get as high as they were supposed to because of the wind which created somewhat of a fire hazard for the homes in lovely Glen Valley Estates! In fact, we were watching large chunks of burning paper being blown long distances. Mia promptly dubbed them “floaties” and we found ourselves watching them more than the fireworks! I suspected that some farmer’s silo was going to go up in flames because of some of the floaties!

It started to rain right before the grand finale. We hurried up onto the porch to watch it. When it was over you could hear a rousing cheer from all the people sitting in the grocery store parking lot, half a mile away. Must have been a bunch of Canadians, eh?

You guys are great! Thanks for stopping by!