Pastor's Blog
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September 17, 2015, 12:00 AM


If you’ve listened to me preach for a week or two or read anything I’ve written through the years, you know that one of the places God shows up for me is in the ordinary experiences of life. Whether I’m at the beach, or in the woods, or in my office talking with a friend on the journey, I see and hear God’s presence in the breath by breath moments of life.  With that in mind, God has revealed himself over the past 10 days as I’ve gone through back surgery and recovery from that procedure. Let me share some of the things the Lord has shown me through this experience, beginning with the dominant theme of my life right now: waiting…

This back surgery journey began the week before Labor Day with a visit to Dr. Raymond Sekula, who looked at some recent MRI’s of my lower back, identified the problem, and then said, “I can help you, and here’s how.” He proceeded to describe the surgical option that would eliminate my pain and restore my mobility. It seemed like the best way to go, so I said yes and surgery was scheduled. Tuesday, September 8th arrived. I “surrendered” to anesthesiologists, nurses, surgeons, pain medications, and sleep. The next day – September 9 – reports from the day before suggested surgery was a great success, and that now we simply had to wait for healing to happen. Certain parts of that healing happened pretty rapidly: release from the chronic pain I was in, standing tall again, walking normally, management of the pain related to the surgery. But healing came – and continues to arrive - much more slowly in some other areas of my life: “internal plumbing” returning to normal function (understand?), getting up and down from a chair or the bed without some real pain, and most significantly, simple energy to function – the smallest things wear me out. I’ve been assured that healing in these places will come, but they cannot be rushed. They are systems of the body that just have to heal on their own schedule – in their time. All I can do is rest and move, move and rest as Andy (physical therapist) has directed, and wait for healing to happen.

Waiting for anything to happen has always been a challenge for me. My brother says my mother and I both have the patience of a gnat. That has proven true in this journey of recovery, especially as my mind and spirit are ready to reengage life and ministry, but my body says, No Way! I must simply wait for physical strength to catch up with mental and spiritual energy. When my mind and spirit say, “Let’s go!” but my body says “Sleep!” I crown the winner when I wake up from a nap. Sleep will not be denied these days. And all I can do is wait for the healing to happen.

As my frustration builds about waiting, God has reminded me that waiting is a good thing – something He has designed. Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV) says: II remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the lord.” And the New King James Version of one of my life verses reads this way: But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) The truth here? Waiting is not wasted time. It is, rather, trusting that in time God will act. Blessing will come, strength will be renewed, and weariness will be overcome. But God does the blessing, and the renewing, and the overcoming. My job – our job – is to wait. But waiting is not idle twiddling of our thumbs. Waiting exercises faith and chooses to trust that God will act in his time – in the right time – and the outcome will be far better than anything I or we try to create by rushing through things.

So, pray with me: “Teach me, Lord, to wait……” And as always…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.


09-18-2015 at 12:01 PM
Pat Mann
J. I, Packer, "Knowing God" wrote the following: "Wait on The Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time.
So as I agree with this, I'd say, wait, rest, reflect and may the Spirit of God continue to make known to you, his will, his word and his presence. Be blessed.
09-18-2015 at 9:18 AM
Stephanie Mills
Morning Pastor David! So true! I feel your frustration about just waiting. God gave Tracy Burkhart the verse, "Be still and know that I am God" a long time ago. I heard that loud and clear during my four weeks of no walking. How "funny" that when we had a painting party for Mary's birthday a few weeks ago, the picture was of a cross and that verse. Hmm. Even now though walking is great with a boot, I'm frustrated by not being able to do everything I want to do. Three more weeks of this boot and then a month of therapy. It will be well worth it, but the patience required is monumental. I've learned to not push too hard or you get setbacks. So, try to enjoy the small things, take it easy, and do what your doctors and body tell you to do. You are a man who rarely rests, so take this time to heal and spend time with your family. Praying for you!
09-18-2015 at 6:18 AM
Tom Young
While I hear what you are saying, my experience in "waiting" for the body to heal has always been a time for me to reflect and move forward with my mind. I has with GOD"S help come up with ideas change how I/ we will handle financial, family, organizational, and personal issues. I believe HE has planned for that to happen for me, and perhaps for you also. Take advantage of the opportunity, as once you are back into the swing of things, the window will have closed.
Tom Y..
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July 19, 2015, 12:00 AM

Nicole's Song...

Nicole sang today in worship – a song called “Lord, I Need You” with orchestral accompaniment via CD. Her voice was pure, on pitch, strong and faith-filled. The song she shared had become such a part of her that it flowed from the depths of her soul. The Lord spoke the message of encouragement and grace through her words and her worship.

It was not always so. Six or seven years ago, Nicole stood for the first time on the chancel of Christ Church with microphone in hand. Like most who use a gift the first time, she was trembling – in voice and body.  John  - our organist and her teacher – accompanied her on the piano – more like “led” her from the keyboard.  She was willing, but unsure. Sound was produced when she opened her mouth, but it was not always on pitch, and its strength was barely enough to move a feather. She knew of the Lord she sang about, but she, like a boy named Samuel (I Samuel 3), was not fluent in discerning the voice of God. That was then – today was now. An insecure and uncertain young girl from years ago had morphed into a confident young woman – a senior in high school - who is prayerfully listening for God’s direction about His will for her future.

As I listened to Nicole sing this morning, I thought about her journey to this moment – the place where she started and the years that have passed, the lessons she’s received and learned, the hours she spent practicing, the patience of her teachers, the constant encouraging voices of her parents and family, the gentle hand of God present in every note and word. And I gave God thanks for the way He works through the passage of time. We seem to be fixated on the now – on getting everything we want or think we need in an instant. We want to go from trembling child to Grammy winner in the blink of an eye.  But scripture suggests God works differently. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”  Psalm 90:4 says. God’s look is beyond where we happen to be at any given moment. God’s LOOK is LONG. God is working in and with and through the present moments, unfolding a purpose and design that began before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5) and stretches way beyond the end of our days here (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

That first morning when Nicole stood to sing? God saw today on that day. God has been working through her life experiences to bring her to now, and God already sees the ways her life may unfold from today onward. And you know what? So goes God’s work in your life and mine as well………thanks be to God!

Think on these things, and remember…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor David


07-22-2015 at 10:54 AM
DeWayne B. Greenlee
Amen.......Pure Joy!
07-19-2015 at 9:38 PM
Pat Mann
I've observed the Beauty O Christ in Nicole throughout this past year, and I've made it a point to send her a note to let her know how she has blessed my heart with her voice for the Lord. In speaking with Nicole, you have her undivided attention, and she is warm, pleasant, polite and compassionate. She takes compliments with humility, and just today sharing lunch with 3 of the Lord's chosen women in my life, when we spoke of Nicole, I had to say, I simply love her, "Thank You" and radiant smile that accompanies it. God Bless her in what He has for her future.
07-19-2015 at 7:52 PM
I remember a day a few years back when Nicole sang. And it was as Pastor Janz stated. She was young, unsure. But she certainly morphed into a young woman confident in her beautiful voice. Was a beautifully sung song today.
07-19-2015 at 7:44 PM
Was truly blessed to hear Nicole this am. When I walked into my classroom and she was practicing I truly thought we had a new cd on prior to the service. What a gift and what a blessing she is.
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June 25, 2015, 4:13 PM

What If?

I am sitting at my desk thinking about a blog entry. What shall I write about? The first thing that pops into my mind is the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. “But so many others have written profoundly about this event.” I think to myself. People – thinkers much deeper than me, and communicators much clearer than me – have provided a wide variety of perspectives on this tragedy. What else, Lord – if anything – could I say about it? The “Praise and Worship” station on my Pandora radio is on in the background, and a song from “Mercy Me” comes on:  “I'm finding myself at a loss for words. And the funny thing is its okay. The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what you would say.”  It’s the first line from a song called “Word of God Speak.” (Seriously, I’m NOT making this up!)

The lyrics caused me to sit up straight and listen more closely to the Spirit. “Wonder what God has to say about Charleston?” Not saying the others that have written about last week’s shootings have missed what God has said. Not saying if I listen closely God will give me the inside story about the mind and heart of God as they relate to last Wednesday’s events. Simply a simple question about what God would say about what happened, and the racially charged conversations that have occurred since.  As I pondered those questions, I remembered seeing a quote on Facebook from Sam Emory, an African American pastor: “There’s no such thing for me as a black church. There’s no such thing for me as a white church. The church don’t have no color. The only color the church is is red because of the blood of Jesus Christ.”  

Hmmmmmmm, what if that’s what God would say in response to Charleston? Not saying racism – individual and systemic – is not a real thing. Not trying to “water down” the racism that exists in ALL of us, more than ANY of us realize or want to admit. Not suggesting we should stop trying to eradicate ANY and ALL practices that give “privileged” status to any group over another.  I am simply saying Pastor Emory’s words strike a chord in my spirit. What if God really doesn’t see multiple groups when he looks at humankind? Groups that are formed based on the categories we have developed over the years? What if God sees only ALL of us standing in need of the grace of Jesus Christ, no matter what color or creed or ancestry or background or past mistakes or present struggles that stand there with us? What if the ground at the foot of the cross REALLY IS level, and we ALL stand shoulder to shoulder with each other seeking, praying for, and receiving the mercy and love that hangs there in the God-man Jesus Christ

And then………..

What if we – by the inspiration and power of God’s Spirit – worked at seeing each other – ALL OTHERS – as God sees us: as souls – persons for whom Jesus Christ died? What if there was no such thing as a black or white or Hispanic or Korean or……… church? What if there was simply THE CHURCH, redeemed by the obedience, faithfulness, grace and blood of Jesus Christ? What if Galatians 3:28 REALLY IS truth: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What if?

Think on these things, and remember…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.


06-25-2015 at 8:51 PM
Robyn Ohmer
What if? A great place to start! Thank you, Pastor, for keeping us thinking!
06-25-2015 at 6:52 PM
Laura Moore
Amen seems like the only fitting response.
06-25-2015 at 5:21 PM
Pat Mann
and......"What if" ..... we "all" just add our .....AMEN!!
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May 7, 2015, 12:00 AM

The Blanket Lady

So I just returned home from five days in the hospital. As is the case with all of the detour moments in my life, God uses the experience to show me more of who he is. I was in the hospital because pneumonia flared the MS I manage every day. When I get an infection and my temperature climbs above normal, lesions on my spinal cord become more active than usual causing my left leg to not function. Once I get a dose or two of steroids, the mobility returns and then I am encouraged to walk to keep things moving. When one is in the hospital tethered to an IV pole, the only place to walk is the hallway. 

As I walked past the rooms filled with folks fighting their own battles, I came to one with a very elderly lady laying alone in her room. She was looking out the door at those who walked by. Her TV was on, but she paid no attention to it. She held her hands on her chest, long boney fingers clasped together. Her eyes and my eyes met, and I saw again what I have seen countless times in the faces of people her age: she was present in the room, but was gone at the same time. Her gaunt face, her paper thin frame told me she had been fighting the illness a while, and was simply "waiting for God." 

She was covered in multiple blankets, but the one on top caused me to stop and look a little closer. It was checkered, dark blue and bright yellow - Mountaineer colors if you really want to know. As I looked at the blanket, it was quite obvious someone had made it for this dear one. Was it a member of her family? Was it a friend? Did it come from a group who simply gave their talents to create something to keep another warm? Questions without answers. What was clear that day is that even though she was alone in the room, even though she likely had no idea how many blankets she was under, even though she was present but gone at the same time, she was wrapped in love. The love from someone, somwhere lay upon her, keeping her warm and bringing brilliant color to an otherwise drab and depressing space.

Two thoughts formed in my mind as I walked on: "God, thank you for whoever made and gave that blanket to her"; and "God, save me from being where she is, but if I end up there, let me be wrapped in a blanket of love like she is." And the voice of the Lord came to me: "I am with you always. You will never be alone. I love with an evrlasting love. Do not be afraid." 

The love of God as the promise of his presence when no one else is around, as a blanket for warmth when cold winds of pain and uncertainty and change blow into life, as joyful colors filled with peace and hope for drab and depressing spaces - all from a little old lady wrapped in a blanket. Isn't God good............!

Keep Lookin' Up!
Pastor D.


05-09-2015 at 6:00 PM
Erika Drayer
Beautiful account! It's comforting to know that we are blanketed in His love, never alone. I love the way you write/tell a story; it makes me feel like I'm seeing it!
05-08-2015 at 11:36 PM
David Smith
Amen Brother Dave, thanks for sharing.
05-08-2015 at 9:42 AM
David Janz (Betsy)
Thanks, Chuck - wonderful words and images.
05-08-2015 at 9:36 AM
Chuck Porter
i spend a lot of time these days at The Caring Place with my Mother -in-law Joyce Greenlee. Yes, I am there to see Joyce, but with every visit God places other people in my path. So many lovely people just looking for a smile, or a kind word. Their faces light up with joy at the least little bit of attention, or even a warm smile directed at them. They appear so appreciative of even a little bit of attention. But I am the one God is blessing. He is touching my heart with every encounter, be it a bit of conversation, a "Hello" Or a hand on a frail shoulder accompanied by a warm smile. I know God has played a part in my being there for Joyce. You know how we get in the habit of saying "Love you" as we leave a loved one? Of course we mean it every time, but it becomes a habit saying it. Well, the other day I said "Love you" to Joyce after a little kiss on the cheek, and she echoed my words. Then, she took my hand, looked into my eyes, and said, "I really do, you know, I Love You!" My eyes were a little blurry as I exited the building that day... God is Good... All the Time...
05-08-2015 at 8:11 AM
Pat Mann
Reminds me of my 3rd gr-dtr. Anna, a CLA in Carilion Hospital in Roanoke, VA. As it is with Anna, she would have been sitting beside this "dear one" possibly holding her hand, praying with her, and of course, reading her scripture. Anna has been known to be asked by her Supervisor, "What took you so long, where were you?" I pray more like Anna will not only "walk" those hospital halls: but stop as the Lord directs. Glad to hear you're still "looking up." Blessings
05-07-2015 at 11:54 PM
Erika Drayer
Beautiful account! It's comforting to know that we are blanketed in His love, never alone. I love the way you write/tell a story; it makes me feel like I'm seeing it!
05-07-2015 at 10:50 PM
Sandy Homer
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
05-07-2015 at 10:26 PM
Sheryl Rodgers
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading this.
05-07-2015 at 9:51 PM
David Kanavy
I loved reading this too.Thank you for sharing.
05-07-2015 at 9:01 PM
Lois Carr
You wonder how many other folks walked past that woman's room and just saw a poor ,old ,thin frail woman. Not all the love that surrounded her. God's moments are there. We just need to slow down, look, and really pay attention. Wonderful story Pastor Janz!!
05-07-2015 at 8:53 PM
michelle weber
Loved reading this.
05-07-2015 at 8:44 PM
Mikki Chmiel
He is everywhere if we just take the time to stop and look and listen.
05-07-2015 at 8:38 PM
Kathy McClintock
God works in mysterious ways
05-07-2015 at 8:37 PM
Carolyn Evans
This is beautiful, each time I am in the hospital there always seems to be stories like this and memories of blessings in which He holds on to me so tight.....Thanks for sharing
05-07-2015 at 8:11 PM
Dick Shaner
The Holy Spirit leads! PTL!
05-07-2015 at 7:44 PM
Jocelyn Miller (DeWayne G
Amen! Enjoyed reading this blog and the thought provoking message within.
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March 26, 2015, 7:00 PM

Are You "Stuffocated?"

Who do you turn to for advice – about life, about work, about relationships, about money about ______ ?

I am blessed to call several people in my life “mentors” - people I turn to often for help with things like the issues above. One of them – Dr. Brian Bauknight – writes and distributes a monthly email to a list of clergy, and I am fortunate to be on his list. The latest edition of Shared Thoughts from Shared Acres arrived in my inbox a couple days ago. The title? Simpler Living? In this email Brian cites an article in a recent issue of TIME magazine focused on our “seemingly relentless accumulation of stuff.”  Brian writes:

How many garages are full of so many accumulated possessions that we can no longer put a car or cars inside? How many dining room tables are piled so high that we can no longer invite guests into our homes to share a meal? Then add the external storage facilities. The TIME article writer says that 48,500 storage facilities now exist in the U.S. – “outnumbering all the McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger Kings and Starbucks put together.”… Professional organizers now comprise a booming business helping (for a fee, of course) downsizing baby boomers dealing with a lifetime worth of stuff. Junk hauling businesses are flourishing. One person names our condition “hyperaquisition.” One book entitles the condition “Stuffocation.”

I read Brian’s email the same day I heard Bishop Tom Bickerton quote Thomas Merton – the insightful Catholic mystic – who said, “Everything you need in your life is already there.” These two combined have caused me to think more intensively about the stuff in my life. I am often times enticed by the latest piece of technology, or fishing accessory, or motor vehicle, or ministry strategy, or ___________. I hear the marketing promise the life altering impact this new thing will have on my living, and I respond like a thirsty man who finds a cool mountain stream. Drawing from 31 years of ministry experience, I know I’m not alone. J

We all seem drawn to the newest and the latest that suggests life will be incomplete without this particular “thing.” And so we pull money from savings, or from necessities, or break out “the plastic” to acquire what promises to completely change our lives like nothing else can. What happens to those purchases? Well, they are often quickly discarded because the newest and the latest thing that will change our lives like nothing else can arrives. The new becomes the old and ends up in an already packed full garage, or on a stacked high dining room table…….all in the blink of an eye.

Maybe that’s why Jesus – who knows humanity oh so well – said: “What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving… Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:30-33, The Message).

Think on these things, and remember…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.


03-28-2015 at 10:05 AM
Katie Aaron
I often we got to where we are. It takes time and money to mange all our "Stuff". That wonderful gift of CHOICE can put a lot of burden on us. What is important to one person may mean nothing to someone else. Discernment through prayer is available to us all the time...we don't have to order it... it is free and we don't even have to store it. What a deal! Allow God to be in charge. Don't forget to ask for His direction to help us keep our lives SIMPLE.
Thanks for the reminder on THIS aspect of our lives...STUFF.
03-27-2015 at 10:12 AM
Pat Mann
One of my favorite verses that Jesus said is: Matt 6:33, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. Jesus also said, He will provide what's necessary, food, clothing & shelter. Which makes me think of the cliche, "only what's done for God matters."
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