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Saturday, February 14, 2009

When a Blackberry Was Just a Black Berry

Do you remember when a blackberry was a black berry? You ate it; you didn’t “play” with it. And you didn’t have to use your thumbs. Now we have i-Pods, i-Tunes, i-Photos, i-Chats, IDVDs, and a host of other high-tech gadgets that make our heads swim. If you know your way around computers and other techie toys, you are either an adult with a uniquely wired brain or an average 12 year old. You are probabIy not a senior. I wonder how the world got so high tech and what quantum leaps lie ahead. I fear change, and I am too old to jump.

Even the purchase of a new telephone can lead us to the edge of a nervous breakdown. How do you set the date, day, and time? How do you adjust the ringer’s volume? Voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, and setting up a frequently-called numbers directory can produce night sweats and even nightmares. You can plop the receiver down almost anywhere in the house. It doesn’t have to remain on the base station. My wife and I recently bought new phones. And therefore had to move back to point zero on the learning curve.

Think back to “the good old days” . . . .

A manual typewriter hardly ever broke down. Occasionally, we had to clean the keys and roller and install a new ribbon, but we never had to rely on Geeks R Us to rescue us at $100 per hour.

If we wanted to make a phone call, we simply dialed the number. Either the person we called answered or didn’t. If no one answered, we called again later. We could call our doctor’s office and talk to a live person. That made scheduling an appointment or getting test results a lot easier than what we endure today. “Please listen to all options before making a selection. If this is a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and call 911. If you are calling from a physician’s office or a pharmacy, press 1 now. To refill a prescription, contact your pharmacy, and your pharmacist will call us. For a new prescription, press 2 now. To leave a message for a nurse or to inquire about test results, press 3 now. To schedule an appointment, press 4 now. For billing, press 5. For all other calls,please stay on the line and someone will assist you shortly. Bzzzzzzzzzzz!”

It seems high tech has gummed up most communication lines. A customer can’t even contact his telephone company without having to negotiate his way through a series of menu options that lead to a long hold followed by a response by someone who is struggling with the English language.

Fortunately, we don’t have to go high tech to reach God. Prayer gets us straight through to heaven from anywhere at any time. We never hear, “If this is a life-threatening emergency, hang up and call Michael the Archangel or Gabriel.”
God promised, “Call to me and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3). Now that may not be a high tech system, but it is user friendly, voice activated, and reliable. Prayer never crashes, never experiences a power outage, and never puts us on hold.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I need to take a break today from writing. I have been working against a tight deadline to write a VBS course for adults and another VBS course for 5th and 6th graders. I wrote VBS courses last year for both age levels, but I was younger then!!!

After a year and a half, my interim ministry at Penrose, Colorado, will end February 22. A full-time pastor will preach his first sermon there March 1.

The incoming pastor has been e-mailing me from his home in Georgia. He is looking forward to ministering and living in Colorado. I alerted him to the independent mindset he will find in Colorado. Coloradoans tend to resemble the mountains. No two are exactly alike. They value individualism and resist all attempts to make them conform to traditions and formality. Suits and ties are as scarce in our rural towns as an all-day rain.

I am scheduled to preach March 1st about 50 miles east of Colorado Springs. The church is not far from where Gloria and I purchased Molly, our Maltese, our “little dog on the prairie.” Currently, the church doesn’t have a pastor; so one Sunday of preaching may lead to additional Sundays. “Have Bible, will travel!”