Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Christmas Poem

The stabled oxen lend their ears
to hear the cries of our Savior’s birth.

His parents look in wonder at the miracle God has wrought,
fulfilling the promise men long have sought.

The stable’s gloom cannot o’ercome
the joy that floods that gloomy place.

On a nearby hill the shepherds quake,
as a choir of angels thunders with praise.

Come to the manger, of rough wood hewn.
Come and see the Messiah’s face.

Come this night to the empty tomb.
Grasp the joy of salvation’s grace.

Look expectantly, wait with hope.
Know that the Christ will return again.

All you whom God has named His ones,
praise His gift of heavenly love.

Dan Karroll Williamson


Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Poem

Lonely orb in the star-cast heavens,
Placed to herald the long-sought King.
Beams shine forth with Love’s Great Light,
Pointing the Way to Heaven’s Gate.

Did the shepherds see you first on the
Canopy above and wonder at your light,
Just before the Song of Angels
Pierced the Darkness with glorious sound?

Did the wise men see you first and know,
For they had watched with hopeful eyes,
Longing to learn of God’s redemption,
Waiting to honor the Savior’s birth?

Did Mary see your glow in her baby’s eyes,
And yield her heart to her son, her Lord?
And, what of us, as we wait for His return?
Do we follow your light ’til we find our King?

Dan Karroll Williamson


Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Loving Kindness:
Mary E. Nelson

Reading an obituary in the December 18, 2008 edition of the Bradford Journal reminded me of how simple acts of kindness can burn themselves so deeply into our memories that we can recall them many years later.

The obituary reported the death of Mary E. Nelson, 87, of Bradford, PA, on Thursday, December 11, 2008. My connection with Mrs. Nelson came through her twin daughters, Beverly N. Gallup and Barbara Appa. Beverly and Barbara were classmates of mine at the Sixth Ward Elementary School. As best as I can recall, except possibly for 5th grade, we shared a classroom from Kindergarten through 6th grade.

One day during the fall of 1954, the Nelson twins invited me to come to their home after school to play. Mrs. Nelson picked up her daughters, their friend Marilyn Evans, and me after school and drove us across town to her home in a relatively new section of the city. I remember being very impressed with the newness of the neighborhood. From my seven-year-old viewpoint very few “new” neighborhoods existed. Constitution Avenue was so new, that it only had a few houses on it. In fact, not far from the Nelson’s home, a large boulder sat in the middle of the street, marking the current end of the development. (I note from Google maps that the neighborhood has grown a great deal over the course of the intervening years.)

Part of the reason why this simple event made such an impression on me, that I can recall it some 54 years later, rests in the overwhelming kindness I felt from Mrs. Nelson. That she tolerated her daughters dragging home this decidedly much poorer kid would have been quite enough. But, I remember her being very gracious and kind to me.

I’m sure my visit must have only lasted an hour or two. Then, Mrs. Nelson drove me back across town to my home. But in those two hours, Mrs. Nelson made me feel welcomed, treated me with great generosity, and gave me a sense of value and worth that was quite remarkable.

This very special invitation was the first time I had ever been invited to someone’s home to play. Apart from the loving attention of my parents and grandmother, no other adult had ever shown such kindness to me. It created a memory that has lasted a lifetime.

As a storyteller, I wish I could report some lifelong grand connection between the Nelson twins and me. Alas, we came from two very different worlds. They soon became the center of a circle of friends that did not include someone like me. Likewise, I developed acquaintanceships with other individuals, mostly from my church. Our paths rarely crossed and never again connected.

In spite of this, I cannot deny the impact of Mrs. Nelson’s act of kindness towards me. I suspect she was simply being the kind and loving person that she had determined to be. I am also fairly certain that neither she, nor her daughters, would have even a glimmer of a memory of that long-ago event on a crisp fall day.

Make note of this: you may never know the impact you might have on someone just by showing kindness, gentleness, or generosity. Demonstrating the love of God that resides in your heart -- through the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ and through in-dwelling power of the Holy Spirit -- does not demand that you act in a particular way. Simply and naturally allowing the Light of Christ's Presence to show through your daily walk can have a life-changing impact.

So, from a distance, and with no expectation that any words of condolence I might offer would be welcomed, I offer my most sincere expression of sympathy on the passing of Mary E. Lehman Nelson. And, I shall pray that the God of All Comfort will lovingly and tenderly wipe away the tears of her family and often bring to their memory moments of great joy, as they celebrate the life of, what I am certain was, a most remarkable woman.
Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Long Time No Write...

Seems like a long time from April 1st to December 18th. I guess I fail as a blogger if I can only find a muse every eight months or so.

Update on Restoration and Renovation of the Sanctuary and Chapel at the church I attend: work continues on the Chancel; electricians continue to install conduit for the sound contractor; official date given for reoccupation of the Sanctuary -- Sunday, March 22, 2009. To say that the results of this nearly $2 million project "pop" presents the understatement of the year. Much congratulations due for key individuals who led this project and to the many workers who completed their tasts in such an exemplary manner.


No more roof problems at Magnolia Plantation for the intervening 8 months. Did have a significant plumbing problem. The 4-inch outflow pipe from the sump, downhill to the small creek that runs behind "Magnolia Plantation" either collapsed or was purposely crushed by an irate neighbor who has now moved away. I think it is the latter. I think he thought the pipe was on his property. It wasn't. Alas, we nearly had a flood in the basement. All has been repaired at considerable expense.

Since no one knows this blog exists, I guess it doesn't matter that I haven't written in 8 months.
Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The April Foolish Wind

Jesus told Nicodemus that "The wind blows where it wishes. You hear the sound it makes, but you cannot tell where it comes from of where it's going."

Well, the wind has blown again today. I suppose it's an appropriate April Fool's joke of sorts.

As it has in the past, the wind coming across Lake Erie and up the rise that extends southeastward from the Lake has reach gusts of over 40 mph. The wind blows across the peak of our roof and creates a vacuum on the leeward side of the house. Up spring some of the shingles!

Torn away by the gusts of wind, these sprightly shingles spin heavenward, only to fall to earth, usually in our backyard.

We almost have the telephone number for the roof repair company memorized. They were last here in January. Oh, well. Every three months isn't too bad. Or is it?

Alas. I think I may truly be the "April Fool."
Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 31, 2008

A New Beginning

Today marks a new beginning in the history of the church I currently attend.

Yesterday, at the end of each of the morning worship services, the congregation packed up the hymnbooks and pew Bibles. Then, they carried the 77-year-old pew cushions out to a dumpster (or took one home for a variety of uses).

This week, workers will begin the process of restoring and renovating the sanctuary and chapel. What excitement!

New beginnings always have a way of generating excitement. It is my hope that this time of new beginning will also have some symbolic significance in the life of this church. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this time of facility restoration and renovation could also be a time of restoration and renovation in the spiritual lives of the members and friends of the church?

I, for one, will be praying that God uses this time to move on us all in a spirit of true revival. He has placed us very purposefully in the heart of this city. May His mercy and grace overwhelm us and equip us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to do His work and to obey His will.
Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

We don't want to
miss the blessing!

In Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, published in 1970, he suggests that people need “islands of stability in times of rapid change.”

Where do you find your stability? Here’s a true story about where I find mine.

“Daddy, why do we always go to Church?” I had reached the ripe old age of seven. Spoiled beyond measure, as an only adopted child, I asked lots of questions. Dad always had lots of answers.

“We go to Church, Son, because God wants us to gather together to worship Him and serve Him. He wants us to go to Church prepared to reach out to the people He loves. Besides, we don’t want to miss the blessing.”

“Miss the blessing, Dad?”

“That’s right, Son. We never know when God might do something really spectacular at Church. We wouldn’t want to miss that, would we?”

Looking back on that conversation from my vantage point 53 years later, I realize how wise my father was. He understood that we attend church, first of all, to honor God.

When believers in the Lord Jesus Christ gather together for worship, the presence of the Holy Spirit, within the corporate body of believers, ignites a special “fire of grace.”

We believe that God has given very special and very particular spiritual gifts to each member of His body. When those gifts come together in one place—the Church—the power of the Spirit transcends the power available in any one person.

As those gifts begin to work in our midst, every person gathered for worship receives the blessing of those gifts. The power of the Living Christ to transform lives comes forth within the spiritual gifts of his devoted servants when they gather in one place for worship.

Secondly, we come to Church so we may stand ready to serve in helping meet the needs that our brothers and sisters might have. Because God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has filled us with His love, He wants us to let His love flow out from us and touch the lives of those around us.

What a better place for the spiritual gifts God has given us to find a place of service than in meeting the needs of our fellow Kingdom citizens.

God expects us to lovingly care for each other. As He brings healing to us, as a corporate body of believers, we can then use His equipping to reach out beyond our walls and touch people in our daily world who need His special grace.

Until we receive His healing, we cannot possibly expect to effectively minister to others.

Lastly, He wants us to gather together expectantly. He stands prepared to bless us in a new and fresh way every time we join in worship. If we do not take the opportunity He has provided for us to gather together in His house to worship Him, we might miss that blessing.

The Church, as a body of believers, exists to encourage and equip us for Kingdom work. God’s special blessing on our times of worship grants us a rejuvenation, a refreshing, a reviving that enables us to march out into the world, each week, prepared to allow God’s love within us to touch everyone who crosses our pathway.

All three of these reasons for attending weekly worship lay a foundation of stability. This means that our Church—our wonderful, magnificent, glorious, rejuvenating, refreshing, reviving body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ—can become our “island of stability in times of rapid change.”

When my dad told his seven-year-old son that we go to church to honor God, to be ready to serve our brothers and sisters in need, and to wait expectantly to see what God intends to do in our midst, he gave me a valuable lesson in stability that I carry with me to this day.

So, dear friends, why do you come to church? What can we do for you? How can we follow the pattern of our Lord and connect with you in a life-giving way?

If you prepare for bed on Saturday night and you stop to think about whether or not you intend to go to Church the next day, let me urge you to consider the words of the writer to the Hebrews: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

Looking for an island of stability in our rapidly changing world? Why not join us for worship?

Come to worship this Sunday. See if the sense of Christ’s Presence will bring you peace, comfort, stability, a sense of belonging, and inexpressible joy.
Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Never A Blogger, Never!

Okay. So I once said I would never, never create a blog.

I have finally given in to the burst of technology and risen to support this method of free speech.

For years, I sent out an almost daily e-mail newsletter to an ever-growing list of "friends." Some said they enjoyed what I had to say. Others followed the instructions I offered and asked to be removed from the e-mail list.

Now, I guess, it will be up to each reader to decided whether or not to return and see what has spilled out of my no-longer-so-fertile brain.

Did you wonder why I chose the name "Suppressing-the-Fire?" Starting from the age of 12 I have had an interest in fire protection. Until disability overcame me, I worked all of my adult life in the field of fire protection. Since it is likely that the majority of these posts will deal with spiritual matters, the title may seem somewhat strange. All the better to capture someone's interest, I suppose.

I have no grand plan laid out as I begin to wind my way through the blogosphere. If you wish to hop on board for a while, I extend a welcoming hand to help you up. Perhaps together we can share some moments that will prove beneficial to us both.
Copyright © 2008 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.