Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"We Are One in the Spirit, We Are One in the Lord"

What a weekend we had in Hays celebrating the cities 150th anniversary. After a street dance, car show and sidewalk sale on the bricks downtown, the churches of Ellis county along with the Downtown Hays Development Corporation put on a combined worship service at Municipal Park called “Praise in the Park". After the service and some greetings and salutations from elected officials, there was a picnic lunch with BBQ and birthday cake, free admission to the Hays Aquatic Park, and bounce houses for the kids. C3’s own Sara Bloom was the organizer of the event.
Thirteen churches were represented as we heard about the early history of Hays churches. It was then a joy to combined our voices in songs of praise before we prayed for our families, our churches, our community, our nation and for those who have not yet come into a faith filled relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Ever since I became a believer over 30 years ago, I have been saddened by the division that denominational differences have caused within the body of Christ. I have long felt in my heart of hearts that God’s heart breaks when one church will not fellowship with another because of divergent understandings of scriptures or varied practices in worship style and content. I have always firmly held the belief that no one really should ever claim that they are a Methodist, or a Presbyterian, or a Baptist or even a Catholic shocking as that may seem. I believe that if we profess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior then we are “Christians” who worship at a particular church of our choosing.
Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “that our Christlike love for each other will show the world that we are his disciples”. But when people outside of the church see jealousy and division between churches, it does not attract them, instead the reverse occurs.
I was the President of the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance when we began the joint venture with The Hays Daily News called ONE magazine. The monthly insert is intended to focus on our unity while accepting our diversity as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Here is what I wrote as the Welcome in the inaugural issue of ONE in December of 2007.
“As President of ECMA this year it is my desire to encourage the churches of Ellis County to take seriously Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21.”
The Ellis County Ministerial Alliance’s participation in “Praise in the Park” is another example of letting the community of Hays know, like the camp song many of us used to sing, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they know we are Christians by our love”.
We are better together,
Your pastor and partner in ministry,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Just one week ago I presided at my brother Eddie’s funeral service. He lived life to the fullest for what the Book of Proverbs say, ”three score and ten and then another ten years”. He was a born the eldest of four sons of an Armenian Father and an Irish/German mother both fun loving and sociable people. He grew up in Chicago loving his family, the Cubs, the Bears and the hot dog vendors who sold their wears out of baby buggy carts around Wrigley Field. In a Boulder Camera newspaper article about him in 1999 he said "I grew up a mile from Cub's Park. "Some kids want to be policemen. Some kids want to be firemen. I always wanted to have my own hot dog stand."
Eddie worked as a sales and marketing manager for Anheuser Busch for 40 years in Chicago, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Lafayette La, Kansas City and then Santa Cruz California. Whenever I asked him where his favorite place to reside was, he would always say, “wherever he was”. That was the kind of positive attitude that personified Eddie.
His wife Nancy made his lifelong wish come true by buying Eddie his first hot dog cart when he was 50 and in 1994 they moved to Boulder where “Fast Eddies World Famous Hot Dogs’ became an iconic fixture on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. When they retired to Arizona five years ago Eddie blessed me with that original hotdog cart.
Eddie will be remembered as a man with a gregarious personality, a generous spirit, and a zest for life and good friends to share it with. He blessed people beyond measure without ever expecting reciprocity. From giving away hot dogs to all of those who could not afford one, to blessing those around him with ball game tickets, t-shirts, hats, travel bags and fanny packs, whatever he had available. He always Made whomever he was with feel special. He was always the biggest man in the room, a big personality, a big voice, and an even bigger heart.
At his memorial service, I read letters from folks whose lives were forever elevated because of Eddie. Nancy, his wife of 40 years also received letters of condolences from his favorite sports teams, the Bears and the Cubs. He even had the great honor bestowed upon him by being inducted into the Vienna Beef Company Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Ever since I was a kid I have said, “when I grow up I want to be like my BIG brother Eddie”… at age 65 I still say that.
Eddie Ermoian lived three score and ten and for good measure he lived another ten. And he lived them all with passion and with purpose and as all of us mortal men, he didn’t live them perfectly. But Eddie lived and he loved and he laughed out loud. There were many times I remember Eddie sitting back after a good meal with a Budweiser in one hand and a good cigar in the other and say the words… “It just doesn’t get any better than this”.
But I’m here to share with you the good news that right now Eddie is experiencing a place that is infinitely better than anything he experienced on earth.
I have every confidence that my brother is now residing in God’s perfect heaven…not because he was a loving husband, not because he was a devoted father, not because he was a hard worker, an affable fellow, or because he was a generous giver. Eddie is in heaven today for one reason only: He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He made that choice and I hope you have too.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th Of July

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…" Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776
Today, the 4th of July. For me it is a day to rest and intentionally remember and honor our nation’s beginnings. Every year on this day I seek to renew my faith in what I believe to be America’s Godly heritage. I usually watch the movie musical “1776”. Sometimes I view a David Barton documentary from www.Wallbuilders.com.
This year I also plan on watching the first couple of installments of the HBO Miniseries “John Adams”.
Thinking about the person of John Adams I find it amazing that on the very day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, Adams was already foreseeing that their actions would be celebrated by future generations. Adams contemplated whether it would be proper to hold such celebrations, but then concluded that the day should be commemorated – but in a particular manner and with a specific spirit. As he wrote to his wife Abigail:
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

John Adams believed that the 4th of July should become a religious holiday – a day when we remembered God's hand in deliverance and a day of religious activities when we committed ourselves to Him.
America truly has a Godly heritage and though we can see a disconnecting from the God who has so richly blessed America, I proudly affirm Lee Greenwood sings, “I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God Bless the U.S.A.”
Proud to be an American and your pastor and partner in ministry,