Pooh Is Dangerous!

    Last week, my sister asked me to go to see Winnie the Pooh with her. I agreed as long as she consented to come see , Cowboys and Aliens with me. She said she wanted to see it anyway….So I was stuck.

     As we approached the ticket booth I felt my palms get a little sweaty as I realized I was going to have to tell the teenage ticket sales girl that I wanted tickets for the kiddie show. I handed her my money and felt slightly cheated by the fact that I was paying full price for a movie that was only half the length of every other show in the theater. But you can’t fight city hall as they say; So  I bought my Blue-ras-cherry slushy and my raisinets and prepared for an hour of cartoon frivolity.

     Little did I know Winnie the Pooh is dangerous!  Something happened to me in that show. I think I was hypnotized by subliminal messaging somewhere between the loss of Eeyore’s tail and the fight against the Backsun! I haven’t been able to stop looking up Pooh quotes since! They keep rattling around like fluff in an understuffed pillow!…See?!? I find myself going to the internet and looking up new Pooh thoughts  compulsively. I don’t know what I am going to do!

     Anyway I now realize that Pooh is a philosopher on an equal plain with Socrates and Plato and he makes better use of multi-media. Here is my favorite quote so far…

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
— Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Go ahead and see if you can find a better quote for an inspiring writer!

Nothing To Be Happy About


     The river of life runs through some interesting places…don’t it?

     I recently helped a female version of Puddleglum move to a new apartment in the city.

    Now,  I am decidedly not an oppressively happy person; My life is a bit to ironic for that. I do however try to keep an upbeat attitude, even if it is seasoned with a bit of sarcasm coming from a congenital defect in my left foot (see my post on the sarcasm bone)!

     Sweet Puddle, however, was enough to make even Pollyanna commit hara kiri.  Nothing we did was good enough. We weren’t working fast enough. We couldn’t give enough. She didn’t have enough this…that..or the other and a few days later the whole move was a stupid idea forced on her by people who were just plain mean. Needless to say I barely escaped with my life or my sanctification.

   In a conversation with her I tried to be encouraging. “At least you’re in. It’s a new place. Tell me one thing that has been good about this move.”

      Y’know I thought she would at least mention the team of people who had come to help her. What I got was, “Nothing…There is nothing to be happy about!”

      Like I said… interesting places.

      Through the years I have met many Puddleglums and wondered what it is that inspires them to see that there is nothing to be happy about. Recently I’ve been tempted to become one myself. In the process I’ve learned something: It’s not that there is nothing to be happy about; It’s that something  used to define happiness  has turned to nothing.

     In this lady who was forced to move, what blinded her to happiness was the removal of her familiar surroundings. The river was taking her somewhere she didn’t want to go. The river takes us all to places we would rather not go.

     We can choose to lose our joy.

     We can choose to say “There’s nothing to be happy about.”   

      We can also choose to realize, that statement is a lie and that nothing really has something inside of it if we just look deep enough…something we can be happy about. If nothing else being left with nothing gives us a chance to start a new adventure.

What new adventures are you on?

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Part 2

Here is part two of Pastor Wrinkles’ new series! Join in the fun! 🙂


Professor Reuben Hartwick taught Old Testament and Pentateuch when I went to Bible College. One of the exercises he required of us was called “Chapter Charting”. Professor Hartwick required us to break down each chapter of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) to come up with as many sermon topics/titles as possible. Points were awarded per chapter. Any chapter with less than three sermon topics received no points at all. Extra points were given for the most creative sermon ideas. 

It was a tough exercise but one well worth practicing! Here are  my chapter charts for Genesis 3 and 4.

Genesis chapter 3 sermon topics:

1. Putting Words in God’s Mouth Ge. 3:1-3

2. Blame Is Like a Game of Hot Potato Ge. 3: 8-13

3. When Not to Listen to Your Wife Ge. 3:17-19


Genesis Chapter 4 Sermon Topics:

1. Crouching Tiger Hidden Sin Ge. 4:1-6

2. He Already Knows! Just ‘Fess Up Ge. 4:8-10

3. When Prayer Began Ge. 4:26

All right, Pastor Wrinkles will be back next Wednesday. So you have a week to send your sermon ideas for Genesis 1-4. Let’s hear them!

Come back tomorrow for more “Reinventing the We’ll!”

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Part 1

Hey everyone, Pastor Wrinkles here! I’m back with a new series. Read on 🙂    

 Professor Reuben Hartwick taught Old Testament and Pentateuch when I went to Bible College. One of the exercises he required of us was called “Chapter Charting”. Professor Hartwick required us to break down each chapter of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) to come up with as many sermon topics/titles as possible. Points were awarded per chapter. Any chapter with less than three sermon topics received no points at all. Extra points were given for the most creative sermon ideas. 

It was a tough exercise but one well worth practicing! Here are  my chapter charts for Genesis 1 and 2.

Genesis 1 Sermon topics:

1.  An introduction to the theories of Creation Ge. 1

2.The Trinity Was In the Beginning Genesis 1:1,2

3. The Son Who Made the Sun Ge. 1:14

Genesis 2 Sermon Topics:

1. God Rested Why Can’t You? Ge. 2:2

2. What’s In a Bag Of Dust? Ge. 2:7

3. Why I Love Spare Ribs Ge 2:20-25

Come on join in the fun! Send me your chapter charts for Genesis 1 and 2. Be creative! 😉

JE’s Top Ten

     I keep a “brainstorming” notebook on me at all times; That way when I have “writer’s epiphany” I can jot the idea down so it’s not forgotten in my next writing session.

     One of the ideas I recently wrote down was, “Share  ten worship lyrics that have spoken to your heart.” I kept pushing it off in favor of other topics until I got this from one of my readers in response to a recent post. Angela wrote:

   “I believe there is a worship song for every season. And finding it can be an adventure and quite exciting. I know when there are hard times before me a “God appointed” song has helped carry me as i carry its tune. “

     Now I took that as a Holy Spirit clue that the time had come to share my top ten worship lyrics. So here they are:

10.  “When peace like a river attendeth my way when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say ‘It is well. It is well with my soul.” 

It Is Well,  Philip Bliss

9.  “Farther along we’ll know all about it. Farther along we’ll understand why. Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it all by and by.”  Farther Along,  W.B. Stevens

8. “A mighty fortress is our God. A sacred refuge is Your name. Your kingdom is unshakeable…” A Mighty Fortress, Christy and Nathan Nockels

7. “Let Your fragrance rest in this place as we gather to seek Your face.” Father of Creation, David Ruis

6. “All of my life in every season You are still God and I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship.” Desert Song , Brooke Fraser

5. “You are my desire. No one else will do. ’cause nothing else could take Your place, to feel the warmth of Your embrace. Help me find the way. Bring me back to You.” Draw Me Close, Kelly Carpenter

4. “You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say ‘Lord blessed be Your name!'” Blessed Be The Name, Matt and Beth Redman

3. “He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.” Amazing Grace, John Newton

2. “When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home what joy shall flood my heart. The I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim ‘My God How great Thou art!'” How Great Thou Art, Stuart Kline

1. “The Darling of Heaven crucified, worthy is the Lamb!” Worthy Is the Lamb, Darlene Zschech

What are your 10 favorite worship lyrics?

Passion: With All the Love That Is In Me

This is the end of my study through the sayings of Jesus on the night of His arrest! If you wish to read them all look in my archives under “Passion.”

“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”  John 17:25-26 NLT

     Something happened that night so long ago. I had spent six months denying I was a sinner in need of a Savior…Heck I thought I was the Savior!

     But that night as our pastor preached, something changed inside of me. I felt the conviction of the Holy Ghost. I knew in that moment what sin was, what righteousness was, and what judgment was. I knew I was a sinner; I knew Jesus alone was righteous; And I knew I was slated for judgment.

     Needless to say, I walked the aisle and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my heart. I don’t know how it happened. I can only say it was a God experience. I came crashing into Jesus. It wasn’t the words of a man that changed me. it was my confrontation with a spirit…The Spirit! He was there that night and He chose me…and then I chose Him.

     True to his words, Jesus revealed the Father to me. He put God’s love into me and He put himself into me! Since that day I have been possessed by God. You might not like that terminology but I find it the truest representation of the Scripture “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine!” Sng. 6:3 NIV

     I have found that  the occurrence of a sinner coming to Jesus is one of life’s defining moments…one of life’s powerful moments. I love to tell my story as far as I understand it. I would love to hear yours.

So…How did Jesus come to you? How did you come to Jesus?


     A reader encouraged me the other day to keep my eyes focused on the good and not the bad. It’s good advice. It’s hard to do. Good and bad exist in our world and let’s face it “bad” is the cranky kid who whines and usually gets the front seat in life. “Bad” news sells. “Bad” news gets us sympathy. It also kills our personality and sucks the joy out of everything around us.

    Meanwhile “good” is the child content with the back seat because it gives him a better view of the sky.

     Good understands that life is full of thorn bushes but he can only see the berries

     Good is the one making the most out of every opportunity, learning from past mistakes, and moving forward with anticipation to try something new.

Good is what Jesus would have me focus on.

Why do I struggle with that focus? Suggestions?

The Newness Of Wrinkles

     Old youth pastors never die they just….Well O.K. they do die. But

this old youth pastor named “Wrinkles” is not quite finished with his bucket thank you very much!

     I am, however slowly emptying my bucket of all things “youthy”. The young man who is my replacement is now fully in place! 🙂

The Replacement, Pastor Brad yay!!!!

     My new role while not yet fully defined will involve worship and the arts (hence the Cornerstone Christian Artist Community) and pastoral care. More music… more teaching… more visiting… and more team-building. This is going to be a blast!

I can’t wait to see what the newness of Wrinkles shall be!


Regret: The Good School Marm

     In Streeter Middle School where I was forced to go as a child (after all nobody chooses to go to Middle School) there was a teacher nobody wanted to have. We called her “Big Bad Bood”. Her real name was Mrs. Boudreau and she owned the reputation of being four and a half feet of pure mean. She taught algebra.

     I began having nightmares about her at the end of seventh grade which continued all through the summer right up until the time I started eighth grade in September. I dreamed about being hit with rulers because I couldn’t balance equations. I dreamed about being forced to inhale nose spray because I didn’t know the difference between positive and negative integers (I know weird :roll:).

    Anyway September came and I met “Big Bad Bood”. She passed out our algebra books and warned us that we would have them covered by next class or face detention. She gave us homework that day and told us how to do it. She taught with no-nonsense and gave us clear direction about what she expected. She answered questions directly and told us “The only stupid question is the one you never ask”.  I learned by the end of day one I had been frightened all summer of someone I actually liked! She was tough. She was a disciplinarian. But if you were willing to work you had nothing to fear.

      I am finding as I enter mid-life that regret is a lot like Mrs. Boudreau. As a young man I never wanted to have regret  just like I never wanted to have algebra. But I have found that regret is a part of life just like algebra is a part of eighth grade. You can’t get through life without it; That’s just part of being an imperfect human being.

    Regret is tough. Regret is a disciplinarian. Regret is a good school marm. It exists to teach us something. If we are willing to learn regret can become a friend rather than a foe. It’s when we sit and do nothing but curse our regret that she turns into four and a half feet of pure mean.

     Listen, we’ve all got regret. It’s how much you resist her teachings that determines how much pain she is going to cause!

What is your regret trying to teach you?


Artist’s Day Apart!

    Last Saturday our artist community was born!

    It was awesome!

   The time has come to breathe God back into the arts, to create a culture of worship to Him through them. 

      I believe that Christian artists need time and peace to create. So on Saturday we turned the church into an artist’s playground.

     Almost thirty artists from varying disciplines gathered to dedicate the day to God and His creation.   

     Rev. Brenda J. Lillie opened the day with a devotion regarding the artist’s need to draw creativity from the Creator rather than from the well-spring of flesh.

 In the morning our painters and sketch artists embraced the out doors under canopies. 

    Then hid from the afternoon heat while painting our monthly still life

     We opened our doors to wood carvers.

and instrumentalists.

Singers sang in choirs. Actors came to put together performance art. We had songwriters  and poets too!

     The goal of our artist’s day apart is three-fold:

1. To provide artists with a space in which they can practice their skills and seek God for inspiration.

2. To provide artists with an opportunity to create with outreach in mind. Our work and witness will be displayed for the community in an October art show entitled “Falling into Jesus”.

3. To raise up the next generation of artists within our community of faith.

     To that final end the main stage was given at day’s end to our youth worship team. Our youth worship leader has been charged with writing an original worship set.

I can’t wait to hear the finished product!