A Sample of Gayle Rhoads' Presentation,
Historical, & Devotional Notes & Sermons

Most of Gayle's earlier presentations, talks, devotionals, and sermons were written longhand, and precious few of those made it into the computer. This page references his later work. Gayle took a modular approach to his devotional talks-- many of his notes consisted of short stories or historical illustrations that could be used in longer sermons when needed. On this page, the shorter, modular presentation material is listed first; full length presentations and sermons are toward the bottom of the page.

Bishop Wright [File Date February 1999]

About the turn of this century, a Bishop of the United Brethren Church was commenting on the possibility of humans flying, "Blasphemy! Utter blasphemy! God intends only his angels to fly." That comment was made by Bishop Milton Wright, the Father of Wilbur and Orville Wright. In 1910, Milton Wright finally flew in a plane piloted by Orville above an Ohio prairie. The Bishop was 81 years old at the time, and Orville feared the experience might unnerve the old minister. But the bishop shouted above the combined roar of engine, propellers, and slipstream: "Higher, Orville, Higher!"

Martha Taft, Brownie

When Martha Taft was in elementary school in Cincinnati she was asked to introduce herself. She said, "My name is Martha Bowers Taft. My great-grandfather was President of the United States. My grand father was a United States senator. My daddy is ambassador to Ireland. And I am a Brownie."
[File Date December 1997]

Pickup in the Rain [File Dated July 1998]

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her-generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away.

Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant combination console color TV and stereo record player were delivered to his home. A special note was attached.

The note read: "Dear Mr. James: Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me unselfishly and serving others. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole".


Prov. 16:2 - All the ways if a man are pure in his own eyes...

Two great American patriots - John Adams - Federalist Thomas Jefferson - Republican ( present Democrat?) Adams the senior

Very good friends Adams, ambassador to England Jefferson, ambassador to France

Washington, President 1789 - 1797 Adams, Vice-President Jefferson, Secretary of State Jefferson observed Adams, thought he acted like a king Did not suit Jefferson at all

J and A two very different people Consider two contemporary comments: Adams: "We have no Americans in America. The Federalists have been no more American than the Antis (Republicans)".

Jefferson: "The steady character of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely moor".

They became suspicious of one another Adams- Would be king - believed men every where corrupt Jefferson - would give the country to a mob - would duplicate the French Revolution

Adams followed Washington as President in 1797 Jefferson was Vice President Each man convinced of his own wisdom and correctness Jefferson was "shut out"

Eventually the two would not speak to one another Fellow patriots Former close friends Brilliant, perceptive minds but mutual belligerents

The climate complicated by journalistic custom People wrote for newspapers under pseudonyms

Both A and J wrote some disguised articles, but quite controlled Others wrote vitriolic pieces

A and J thought each other writing these

The relationship languished Jefferson became President

Eleven (11) years went by

Benjamin Rush, a friend of both, Kept teasing for reconciliation

Edward Coles - another mutual friend, visited Adams He spoke warmly of Jefferson's respect and affection for Adams Adams confided, "I have always loved Jefferson, and I love him still".

Cole to Monticello - reported Adams comment Jefferson - "This is enough for me. I only needed this knowledge to revive toward him all the affections of the most cordial moments of our lives".

Sept. 10, 1816 - Adams wrote, "You and I ought not to die before we explain ourselves to each other".

Over the next 10 years l58 letters were exchanged

Authors, to gain an audience, published material seeking to create a fude

Both brushed aside the embarrassments as of no consequence

The two old gentlemen comforted and consoled each other in old age

July 4, l826 - 50th anniversary of signing Declaration of Independence Adams on death bed, "Thomas Jefferson still survives". - - but of course he did not - Jefferson died the same day

Stupid Chickens!

Gayle liked to tell a story he called "Stupid Chickens." It came from a humble little event he observed in his neighbor's yard during the early Lodi days. The Dawes family had raised a few chickens in their back yard. One day, Marion Dawes sent her little boy Todd to the hen house to collect eggs. He opened up the gate to the chicken pen, went to the nests, scooped up all the eggs he could carry, and headed back out. But when he got to the gate, he didn't have enough fingers to hang onto the eggs, and open the gate at the same time. When he tried to do both, he lost his grip on all his eggs and they tumbled to the ground. As he stood looking at the mess of broken eggs at his feet, Gayle heard Todd say to himself, "Stupid Chickens!"

Dr. David Livingstone / Mr. Samuel Johnson
[From a file titled: Service, The Satisfaction of]

David Livingstone and Ben Johnson

Matt. 23:12 - Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Westminister Abby - where the great of England are buried. Two grave markers of special interest. They mark the resting places of two English boys who attended the same school (though in different eras). One is about 12"x12", on a side isle, as I remember. The other is in the center isle of the cathedral, about 6' long and 3' wide. The small one marks the grave of one, Ben Johnson. He was a writer, actor and composer of modest success. "Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes." He accumulated some wealth, and climbed in the social stratas of London society. He coveted the adoration of the best people of the city.

When he was old he scolicited the assurances of the king, James I, that he would be laid to rest in the Abby. His request was denied. He was inturred outside the building. But after his death, some influential friends importuned the king, and eventually he was granted a small space in which he was buried standing up.

And the other - One hundred years later a grave of royal dimension was opened In the very center of the cathedral. The remains of a man were placed here who by nature would never have thought of being so honored. A man who at 20, as he said, ". . .resolved to devote my life to the alleviation of human misery", Who went to Africa after graduating from medicine, without pay, Who told school children of his native Scotland that his motto was "Fear God and work hard".

Who observed the sources of the then rampant slave trade and identified it as "the great open sore of the world". His reports were eventually instrumental in bringing its end. He was appointed Roving Consul by the British government.

Who on May 1, 1873, in his 60th year was found by his men, dead, kneeling in prayer beside his cot, having given his life to the task of "lighting the dark continent". They removed his heart and buried it in Africa. Then preserved his body in salt, shipped it to England, and buried him with great pomp

David Livingstone, Scottsman, Medical Doctor, explorer, humanitarian. 1813-1873

Ben Johnson and David Livingstone, - a study in contrasts.

Misconceptions [File Dated September 1998]

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president's outer office of Harvard University.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She frowned mockingly at them.

"We want to see the president," the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied. For hours,the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do. "Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, They'll leave," she told him. And he sighed in exasperation and nodded.

Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern faced and filled with superiority, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus." The president wasn't touched, he was shocked and angry. "Madam !!!" he said gruffly, "We can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died! If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly, "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard." The president rolled his eyes. He mockingly glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant alone at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now. But then the lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. And Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the University that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. Stanford University.

Abraham Lincoln - Marfan's Syndrome
Research by Dr. Harold Schwartz, USC, 1959
[Notes Dated November 1996]

Tom Lincoln, Nancy Hanks Lincoln/(Sarah Bush Lincoln).
Gawky, angular, tall
Genetic disorder - Marfan's syndrome
Arms, legs, hands, feet - disproportionately long
First bone of middle finger 1/2 inch longer than normal hand
Habitual squint of the left eye.
Distant relatives today have Marfan's Syndrome
Lincoln's gene traced back to England through 4 centuries of the Lincoln family tree.
Picture taken in 1853, left foot out of focus
Left foot throbbed - Aortic Regurgitation
A pulse so strong it shook the lower part of the leg
Incurable, complications make it ultimately fatal.
Lincoln would have been dead in about a year if not assassinated.
Assassins bullet, this dark incident of history, came at the most
auspicious moment. Has given Lincoln an almost God-like aura.

Edison, Thomas Alva [Notes from March 1999]

Born 11 Feb 1847/ Died 18 Oct l931/ 84 yrs.
Laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J./ moved to Dearborn, Mich.
Spent $40,000 in fruitless experiments trying to create an incandescent lamp.
It was reported the failed experimental materials were thrown out the second story window, and created a pile of discarded material reaching the second floor level.
Eventually, (after experimenting for 13 months), he found carbonized cotton thread worked.
Glowed for more than 40 hours on 21 Oct 1879.
Patented 1093 inventions. (The standing world record).
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 90% persperation".
During light experiments had a boy employed to clean and help. When first bulb was completed, Edison handed it to him and asked him to take it upstairs to the electrical room. The boy missed the last step, dropped the bulb, and broke it. Edison remade the bulb, and gave it to the same boy to take upstairs. He knew people were more valuable than things.
Edison was quite deaf. An employer had boxed his ears and deafened him.
He was a newsboy who had ideas to sell a volume of papers. When major battles of the civil war took place, he would buy hundreds of papers, and move from station to station on the train with the earliest editions for his many customers.

James A. Garfield -
James Abram Garfield - b. 1831 (about 1850)
1849 - Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Jim - 18 yrs. old, looking for work
S. E. corner of barn


On to Erie Canal Father congratulates himself His quick action has saved daughter from marital disaster, Himself from public humiliation.Thirty-two (32) years pass quickly. 1881 - Things going well on the farm The brush with domestic disaster all but forgotten. Time to build a new barn Wrecking crew tearing down the old barn Crew interest in a rafter near SE corner of barn "James Abram Garfield"

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these, "That it might have been".

JHLLA 31Jan 92 EL/LLA 2&4 Sept 96 - Chan & Christoffel 6th grade

St Francis of Assisi

Out of the stifling darkness of the Middle Ages, (476-1463 - between Came a devout young man antiqity and Renaissance) From the little city of Assisi.

His name was Francisco. As with many devout, intelligent, young men of his day, He was a priest, - a monk. But he was different from the others. He was not satisfied with exclusiveness, selfishness, or the corrupted monastic life. He went out of the monastery To address himself to the common people, To their needs, - in their language. It was a most distressing thing for a priest to do. It was off-beat, it was unscholarly. It was pronounced degrading. But in Francisco's mind, it was right.

He organized the Orders Fratos Minories, (the order of the Little Brothers), Dedicated to humble, loving service. In the order of things, and with the passage of time, His ideas were seen as right, and the church embraced them. And him. He was sainted as San Francisco or Saint Francis of Assisi.

From his pen came this prayer.

"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled As to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, It is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."

The Purple Heart

The first American military award for bravery was called "The Badge of Military Merit". It was in fact, a "purple heart" fashioned of purple silk cloth edged with narrow lace or binding, and worn on the recipients left lapel.

It was authorized and established by General George Washington from his Head Quarters at Newburgh, N. Y. on 7 August 1782.

There were three original recipients: Sgt. Elijah Churchill - 2nd Regiment, Light Dragoons Sgt. William Brown - 5th Connecticut Regiment Sgt. Daniel Bissell - 2nd Connecticut Regiment.

Washington's orders were: "The General, ever desirous to cherish a virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military merit, directs that whenever and singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings, over his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth, or silk, edged with a narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of gallantry, but also o f extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward. . . .

"The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all. This order is also to have retrospect to the earliest days of the war, and to be considered as a permanent one."

Not withstanding the General's injunction that the Badge of Military Merit was "to be considered as a permanent one," it was allowed to fall into disuse.

On February 22, 1932, the 200th anniversary of Washington's bi rth, the War Department announced: "By order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart established by General George Washington at Newburgh, New York, . . . is hereby revived out of respect to his memory and military achievements."

All Army personnel wounded as a result of enemy action, and requiring the services of a Medical officer, were to be awarded the Purple Heart. In December 1942 the award was approved for personnel of all the United States military services.

The qualifications Washington originally intended for receiving the Purple Heart, i.e., "Military Merit' and 'singularly meritorious action", was transferred to The Order of the Legion of Merit.

The current Purple Heart was designed by Elizabeth Will.

History of the Chaplaincy

Martin of Tours - 4th Century. Met shivering beggar, cut his cloak in two. Martin wore his half as a cape. Dreamed Christ wearing his other half cloak. Martin's half cloak known as a "cappa." It was kept in a container known as a "cappella." The keepers of the "cappa" were called "chappelains." Literally, "keepers of the cloak (or cape)".

Later the term was applied to clergy who went to war with the soldiers to encourage and console to the troops, and to those who give aid and comfort in any time of need. Chaplains are referred to in records of American colonial settlement.

Legal Origin, American Military: Continental Congress resolution, 29 July 1775. Officially recognized chaplains as part of the army. By 1783 all chaplains had been discharged (US Army consisted of 80 men). In the redesign of the military in 1796, Chaplains were omitted. In 1796 provision was made for 4 chaplains. After War of 1812 the Army had one chaplain,
Stationed at West Point. 1838 a system of Post Chaplains was established. Chosen by the Post Officers. He was to be Chaplain and Schoolmaster. 20 Chaplains were allowed, increasing to 30 in 1849. In 1848 the position of a Brigade Chaplain was established. (Mexican War)

The Civil War brought the Chaplaincy in very high repute. The interest in religion was a remarkable feature of this fraticidal conflict, both North and South. Here Chaplains became involved in more than teaching and religious services. They became responsible for the comfort, welfare and convenience of the troops and eventually commanders held them largely responsible for morale of the troops. The title "chaplain" became offficial, and regular reports were required.

1861 - Required to be ordained minister of a recognized denomination.
1862 - Ecclesiastical endorsment required.
1862 - Rank without command and monthly reports.

Freedom is never free
Date: Friday, July 02, 1999 5:16 PM

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.

These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted...We shouldn't. So, take a couple of minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Dr. Ruth Murdoch Story

From time to time we see an elderly lady in a wheel chair. She has lost none of the dignity she radiated years ago when she was a professor and we were students at Andrews University. We never see her but we remember a story she related. We addressed Dr. Ruth Murdoch as "Dr. Ruth". Her husband, Dr. W. G. C. Murdoch was also a professor at the university. Dr. Ruth and her husband began their lives together, as I remember, in England, where he was a young pastor. The membership of their church included an elderly couple who were recognized in the congregation and in the community as a most compatible pair. Comments were often passed as to their obvious affection for one another, their visible pleasure in being together, and the positive quality of their relationship. Sadly, in the span of the Murdoch's pastorate, the old gentlelady became ill and died. The community came together to mark her passing and to console the widower. Pastor Murdoch spoke words of comfort, but all recognized that a singular love had come to its close. Mrs. Murdoch, as the pastor's wife, made it her duty to visit the old gentleman often, to take food to him, and to give the greatest gift of all,--time to talk and express his grief and loneliness. One day as they were visiting together Mrs. Murdoch shared with the old gentleman the perception that he and his late wife had been ideal partners, and their relationship had been a model within the community. He acknowledged their mutual affection. Mrs. Murdoch asked, "What was the secret of your lives together? How do you account for your long love and friendship"? The old man sat silent, looking at the floor. Then lifting his eyes to meet Mrs. Murdoch's gaze, he stated, "I am going to tell you something I have never told to anyone". "When I was a young man I was in love with a beautiful young woman. We were engaged to be married, but just prior to our wedding day, she changed her mind, broke the engagement and quickly married another. I was devastated". "But I was determined I would not let this experience destroy me. Indeed, I would show her and all that I had other opportunities, and in a short time I had formed an alliance with another young woman, and quickly married. Within two weeks after the wedding I realized, however, that I had made a terrible mistake". "Now began a time of confusion and disillusionment. I wondered what I could and what I should do. Eventually I concluded that I would never reveal my disappointment and doubts, but that I would always treat my wife as if she were the one I loved. This was my policy and my practice". "About two years later my wife's mother became ill, and she had to go home to nurse her for several days. And while she was away" Mrs. Murdoch, "it was that it came to me that she was the one I loved".

Elem Staff LLA - 3 Sept 96

You Ask The Impossible -

Ps. 101:3,4 I will not see any base thing - know, nothing evil . . .
Matt. 5:27 To lust is to commit adultery
Matt. 5:38-42 Turn the cheek, go two miles
Matt. 5:44 Love enemies and persecutors
Matt. 7:1, 2 Judge not
Matt. 6:19 Do not lay up treasures for self on earth
Matt. 6:25 do not be anxious about your life
Matt. 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of heaven

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding
God does this for us. He pretends we are like Jesus. (Mere Christianity, p. 166)
A mother teaches her babe to talk by talking to him.
Teaches to walk by walking him/her.
This is how the higher always raises the lower.
Voth made me a principal by pretending I was one.
Dad taught me to drive by pretending I could drive.
Dick taught me to fly by pretending I could fly.

If I Were Young...

[This is another file discovered in the "If I Were Young" computer folder. Titled "Topic List," it was also dated October 1998. It's likely Gayle's notes for a devotional presentation to young people.]

I’d Choose My Friends Carefully
Prov. 24:1 - Don’t envy the wicked and don’t try to make friends with them. . . Ps. 1
Prov. 17:12 - Better to meet a mother bear robbed of her cubs than to become involved with a fool.

I’d Be Trustworthy
Prov. 25:19 - Relying on someone untrustworthy in times of trouble is like trying to chew with a loose tooth or walk on a broken foot. - CW

I’d Cultivate a Bit of Humility
Benjamin Franklin - Prov. 26:12 (CW) - More hope for a fool than a know-it-all
Arrogance - Prov. 18:12 - Pride preceeds a fall

I’d Be Kind
Waldorf Astoria manager - See: Stories > Stewart Stories - Parents, Siblings, Spouse

I’d Honor My Parents
Prov. 23:24 & 25 - 5th Commandment

I’d Accept Responsibility For My Choices / Actions
Prov. 13:13 (CW) - By stupid decisions . . .

I’d Think About Consequences
The found derringer - The man and the transcript

I’d Not Waste My Opportunities
The girl who broke my nose - Samson
Eccl. 11:4 - Whoever waits for perfect weather will never go out and plant
See: Stories>Stewart Stories

I’d Find Solitude
Rising up a great while before day, He went into a solitary place and their prayed.

I’d Be Faithful
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Fidelity in marriage. I’d Do It Over Again. Vocation by God’s direction. Thou shalt here a voice behind thee saying, this is the way, walk in it.

I’d Be Aware
Of the presence of God. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their sheep. . . This is the house of God, and I knew it not.

I’d Give Room (for others mistakes).

Little Things

Zech. 4:10 - ". . . who hath despised the day of small things?"
Hauling mulch in LLA truck, corner of Redlands Blvd and Waterman.
Barney Oldfield and Ford 999 (circular track at Corona, CA ?)
The garbage truck at Keene, Texas
Master cylinder kit

15 Jan 1953 "The Federal Express" Left Boston early AM Stops in New York, Philadelphia, Washington. Passed 15 mile marker cresting a slight rise. The engineer reduced power, let 'er drift Now gently applied brakes - the sensation of speeding up. Dropped brake lever to "Emergency Stop" The train flashed ahead. The engineer reached for his mobile phone. "No brakes - Estimate 5 minutes from the station." The loud speakers in the Washington station boomed, "Clear the concourse"!

Moments later the "Express" roared into the station, Through the steel and concrete abutments Across the concourse, Into that massive, vacant waiting room. It shattered the massive floor joists, and plunged heavily into the basement! An "O" ring in the master brake mechanism.

Philip Brooks - "Greatness is not so much a certain size, as a certain quality in human lives. It may be present in lives whose range is very small."

Bruce Barton - "Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things. . ., I am tempted to think . . . there are no little things."

Eph. 6:13 - Therefore put on the full armor of God... Barney Oldfield - Ford 999

Keene garbage truck/ LLA Chevrolet P/U - mastercylinder kit

Longer Presentations & Sermons

Loma Linda Academy Graduation 1996

For 50 years have participated in graduations. It is exhilarating time of celebration and release. But I have noticed through these experiences, a certain regret, a hesitation, a touch of apprehension, a camouflaged uneasiness. It is as if the anticipation of the goal, was proving to be greater than its actual realization.

Tonight there is new understanding in my heart. Your uneasiness mixed with determined joy is clear to me. I am a 1996 graduate of Loma Linda Academy as are you. I share with you an uncertainty, a hesitancy, a reluctance to be free. But we cannot turn back. Achievement, maturity and mission compel us to go forward. The door closes behind us. The lock snaps. The past is prologue. But, there is a door before us!

As the wilderness door closed behind Israel, the Lord said to Joshua, "Only be strong, and very courageous." The familiar, the expected, was ending. There would be no more manna, no more cloud of shade by day, no more pillar of fire by night, no more water from the rocks. The door before them led to a new independence and accountability. And God said, "Only be strong, and very courageous."

The door that opens before us leads us into a world of contrasts. It is a world of creativity, a world of beauty, a world of new experiences, excitement and change. A world of romance and adventure.

But at the same time it is a broken world that needs fixing. It is a world divided. It is splintered, tribalized, and balkanized. It is a world that sometimes seems to have lost its collective mind. It is a difficult, --even vicious world.

IT NEEDS YOU! It needs your energy, your vitality, your talent. But more than these: It needs your vision, your understanding, your thoughtfulness. And yet more than these: it needs the wisdom of your example, as those who take seriously the ideas and ideals of The Man from Galilee. The world awaits your gentle, caring touch of love.


Alumni Sermon, PVA

April l991/
CAP Chaplains Conf.1996? (first part)/
Alumni, Lodi, 12 April 1997/
Scripture Reading: Phil. 2:1-5

In Isa. 43 we twice read that God's people are to be His witnesses They are to witness that "beside me there is no savior" (vs. 11) He says, "everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory" (vs.7), exists that he "might declare my praise" (vs. 21).

An unknown prophet in I Chron. 16:23-25 says, "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised."

And in the book of Revelation we find this theme, "And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth . . .and all therein saying, 'To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!' "

Peter admonishes us to "grow in grace" and to grow in "knowledge of our Lord and Savior" (2 Peter 3:18). He tells us we are "destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory" (vs. 12).

Christianity embraces far more than personal salvation, as wonderful and vital as that is; true Christianity requires that the believer honor God with his life.

Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, says: "I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to His saints,

To them God chose to make known, how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:25-27)

We usually think of the incarnation in terms of God becoming man in the form of Christ, being born in a manger, growing to manhood in Nazareth, and living as a man among men.

The Gospel suggests there is another dimension to incarnation, that being the reality of Christ moving in the sphere of our daily activities, being " in you", and thus glorifying God.

We may thus honor God by reflecting some bit if His character.

In the process of supporting and affirming one another, the incarnation may find reality and substance in the Christians daily existence.

Paupau,New Guinea

Anthropologist working in that area

Marriage arrangements, one , two or perhaps even three cows dowry. (although unusual)

Natives spoke of distant, isolated village, where there was reported to be an eight cow wife.

He went, found the husband of the eight cow wife, managed a dinner invitation to his home.

Other village women had come to assist with the meal. When a very beautiful and stately lady came into the room, the husband said with pride,"That is my eight cow wife".

She was regal in her bearing, no taller than the other women, but somehow of a different stature. The other women gave deference to her.

The husband told the anthropologist," As we grew up I knew she was a very special woman, even though she was a girl of less privilege. I could not see her as an ordinary woman, and I could not think of her living her life as a 1,2, or 3 cow wife. When I inherited eight cows, I offered her father all eight of them for her. Look at her, she is indeed an eight cow wife".

Dr. Ruth Murdoch

The Ideal Couple- "I will always treat her as if she were the girl I loved".

Dr. David Augsburger- Affirmation

Southern Africa--Babimba tribe

In this African tribe, when a tribal member commits an infraction of tribal rule,

All work stops, 1, 2, 3 days if necessary

The entire tribe comes together and forms a seated circle about the offender.

Then one by one the members of the tribe who know this person, without exaggeration or falsehood, stand and tell the good things the offender has done during his or her lifetime,- from childhood to the present .

When the wrongdoer has been flooded with affirmation, and reinstated in the tribe,in the tribe, work. they dismiss and go back to work.

-- Rabbinic Story- Mt Moriah --

Rabbinic Story - David W. Augsburger, Prof. of Pastoral Care, Fuller Theological Seminary

In the Rabbinic tradition, a story of faith is equal to a prayer of faith.


A young couple went to their Rabbi to ask him to pray for them that they might have children.

"I will pray for you, but first I will tell you a story".-because a story of God's blessing is equal in blessing to a prayer.

There were three students in a little Polish village, who daily studied the Talmud together. (Torah)

They often talked of how they would love to go to Lublin to hear the great Rabbis on a holy day. It seemed impossible, - the distance was so great, and they had no money.

One of them read in the Talmud, that the longest journey is accomplished by one step at a time. They discussed this possibility and determined to go to Lublin.

They gathered what little food they could, took their best clothing, and started off.

Days later they ran out of food. They were weak and ill. They recognized they could not go on. They sat down beside the road and spoke to one another of death by starvation in a strange environment. One of them wept openly.

Then one said, "I would never practice deceit nor do a dishonest thing, but we are speaking of life and death. Does not the Talmud say that it is lawful to save life? Could we not rearrange our clothing so one of us might appear to be a Rabbi? Then people would give food to us!

They rationalized this deception, and the two older students selected the youngest to be the subject of the disguise. They adjusted their clothing and made a fair representation of a Rabbi of their young comrade. Then they started weakly toward the next village.

As they approached the village, the children who had been playing along the road ran before them into the public square shouting that a Rabbi was coming. The whole village turned out to welcome the Rabbi and his companions, ushered them to the inn and set food and drink before them. They sat down and ate hungrily and gratefully.

While they were eating, the youngest was tapped on the shoulder. It was the innkeeper. "God in His kind providence has sent you here today Rabbi. My child is very ill and dying. Now you are here that you may pray for him and he will be made well".

The imposter looked helplessly at his companions.

They signaled him, - Go ahead, go ahead!

So he accompanied the innkeeper up to his apartment and entered the room where the innkeepers wife hovered over the dying child. He took in the scene, turned his face upward for a few moments. - and then he lifted his hands and prayed, - not a Rabbi's prayer, but the best a poor student could pray.

And the innkeeper smiled, and the innkeepers wife smiled through tears of concern and relief and said, "How good God is to have sent you here today, Rabbi, to pray this prayer that our child may be healed. We know he will be well now".

Then the innkeeper ordered his servant to fetch his wagon and team, to take the Rabbi and his companions to Lublin that they might be there for the Holy Week.

A week later the three students boarded the wagon to return to the village. In their ecstasy of worship they had forgotten that they must return, and as the miles rolled, their apprehension mounted, till as they came to the village they were in great distress.

As they pulled into the village, every one was again in the square to greet them. They saw the innkeeper, agitated, waving his arms, and as the wagon stopped he reached up and pulled the youngest student from the wagon.

The innkeeper said, "O Rabbi, within the hour of your prayer our son began to mend, and in only a few hours he was much improved, asking for food, -and here he is, a well boy".

And they entered the inn and participated in a feast of thanksgiving. They received gifts of food. And then they walked down the road toward their home.

Now when they had left the village well behind them, the two older students turned to the young student and asked, "What did you do? How can this be? Have you really been a Rabbi all the time, and haven't told us?"

The young man explained, "I went to the innkeepers apartment and entered the room. There was the sick child,- oh so sick,- and there were his father and mother looking at me with tear filled, but hopeful eyes.

And so I lifted my eyes to God, and silently said to Him,

'Oh God, I am just an imposter, I am nothing. But because of who You are, And because of their need, And because of their faith, What would it hurt?'

And then I lifted my hands, and I prayed for the sick child.

Then the Rabbi to whom the young Polish couple had come, said to them, "You ask me to pray for you that you may have children, and now I will do that for you".

So he lifted his hands and said, "Oh God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I am but an imposter, I am nothing. But because of who you are, Because of their need, And because of their faith, What would it hurt?"

And then he offered a fervent prayer for the young, childless couple.

Ten months later, so the story goes, the young couple returned to the synagogue, that the Rabbi might pronounce a blessing on their new born child.

Those about you, your families, your friends, your neighbors, look to you as a representative of God. We can never match the beauty, - or the power,- or the goodness of God. But God has given each of us the ability to reflect Him in some little way, To somehow give reality to the incarnation,

That Christ might be "in you, the hope of glory".

We are only imposters, But because of who you are, O God, And because of their ( our) need and because of their (our) faith, What would it hurt?

Lodi - Alumni Weekend, [12] April 97

What We Do - We Are/Our Selves Defining
What we are - We do
Prov. 23:7- For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
In every act of life, we define ourselves

Men are of two kinds, and he
Was the kind I'd like to be.
Some preach their virtues, and a few
Express their lives by what they do;
That sort was he. No flowery phrase
Or glibly spoken word of praise
Won friends for him. He wasn't cheap,
Or shallow, but his course ran deep,
And it was pure. You know the kind.
Not many in life you find
Whose deeds outrun their words so far
That more than what they seem, they are.

Robert Burns, 1759-1796
(sans the Old Scottish dialect)
To a Louse
"on seeing one on a ladies bonnet at church"

O would some Power the gift but give us,
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many - a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.
What airs in dress and walk would leave us,
And even devotion!

Came to Lodi in '64 at 33.
33 years later you have honored us by
asking us to return again.
A few years later I was the neophyte principal.
For us, those were good years.
Somehow sensed that we were at "the best school".
This community extended a quality of support not quite duplicated.
The Adventist community in Lodi "owned the school".
The Lodi community at large gave generous support.
Recently, at an Alumni weekend at our present location,
A young woman approached me, introduced herself.
Well married, A Registered Nurse, a Lodi Academy Graduate.
Dayonira Viramontes.
Those were the "Generous Years". We thank you for them.
Sometimes those who observe us can help us define ourselves.
The students who have attended this school have likely been unaware of
the dynamics that have driven this school through the years.
Lodi people have not always agreed, but they have worked together.
It is a defining quality of this community that people care
for one another, - and they care deeply.
When those outside Lodi determined to close this school in 1966,
The Lodi community picked up the gauntlet,
In the form of an old, out-dated school,
And built, "the finest school in North America".
Because they cared! They cared about their children, and who their
children would become, and where they were going.
They cared about their churches.
They cared about what they believed God cares about.
They looked and reached beyond themselves.`
Christianity embraces far more than personal salvation.
As wonderful and vital as that is;
True Christianity requires that the believer honor God with his life.
Clear Word paraphrase- (Col 1:26,27)

All through the ages and from generation to generation, the
good news has never changed, but it was partially hidden
until now, and you are the first to see it in its fullness,
which makes you special.
God wants you to attract others to Him with the glorious
riches of this now revealed mystery: Christ in you, the living
hope of a glorious future.

We usually think of the incarnation in terms of God becoming man in
the form of Christ, being born in a manger, growing to manhood in
Nazareth, and living as a man among men.
The Gospel suggests there is another dimension to incarnation,
That being the reality of Christ moving in the sphere of our daily activities,
Being "in you", and thus glorifying God.
We may thus honor God by reflecting some bit if His character.
In the process of supporting and affirming one another, the
Cincarnation may find reality and substance in the Christians daily existence.
CDA 357 - Jesus continues: As you confess Me before men, so I will
confess you before God and the Holy angels. You are to be My witnesses
upon earth, channels through which My grace can flow for the healing of
the world. . . . . . . He who would confess Christ must have Christ abiding in
him. . . . . . . The mission of Christ's servants is a high honor, a sacred trust.
N2T 262 - Aim to honor God in everything, always and everywhere. . . . . . Let
Bevery purpose you form, every work in which you engage, and every
pleasure you enjoy, be to the glory of God.

Rabbinic Story
Mt. Moriah, through all recorded and verbal history, was a threshing floor.
Mt. Moriah is sacred because it was here on this great rock that
Abraham believed God to the point he was ready to offer the son of
promise, his only son, Isaac.
And it was also sacred because it was here the angel stood still and
ended his destructive work when King David arrogantly took a
military census contrary to God's command.
But some rabbis say it is most sacred because some time after these
Two brothers lived beside this great stone threshing
floor in their separate houses.
They farmed the fields around the holy mount and together brought
their grain to the rock for threshing.
When the days harvest was threshed,
They divided the grain in two equal piles, put it in sacks,
and carried it home to put in their respective storage bins.
Then the one brother would awaken in the night and think.
"This is not right, it is not just!
My brother and his wife have 12 children.
He has 14 mouths to feed while I have no wife, no children.
I cannot take half of the harvest as he insists".
Then he would get up and go to his granary, and in the depth of night
cross the rock and place a sack or two of grain in his brothers bins.
On the other side of the rock the other brother would toss on his bed
at night and think,"Here is injustice.We work together all day,
We thresh our grain, And I receive half of the harvest at his insistence.
But I have 12 children to care for me in my old age; He has none!
My brother needs something to lay in store for his old age".
So he would get up, and in the darkness go to his granary and take a
sack of grain to his brothers granary.
But one night their timing was not good.
Perhaps there was a comet or an eclipse!
As each was transporting grain to the other,
They ran into each other out there in the darkness on that great, flat rock.
Both were carrying a bag of grain.
And when they had each explained to the other what was going
on, they threw their arms about one another and wept.

And God said, "That is where my temple shall be built, for it shall be
a symbol, a representation, of My love and care".
So my dear friends,
Let us

2T 262 - Aim to honor God in everything, always and everywhere. . . .
Let every purpose you form, every work in which you engage, and
every pleasure you enjoy, be to the glory of God.
God wants you to attract others to Him with the glorious
riches of this now revealed mystery: Christ in you, the living
hope of a glorious future.

Lodi Alumni Weekend-12 April 97

Lodi - Solutions

A Person Ordered of God

For three weeks SS lessons have dealt with the life of a gifted child. An only child,- strong, clever, poetic, literary ability.

Here is a message for parents of gifted children. Even more it is a message to gifted children.

Your child is special, a miracle of God's love and creativity. You, dear parent, are the same. To God who watches at a distance, I think there are no mistakes, no accidents, no surprises. "Before you were born, I knew you".

Samson was certainly no accident. He was a special lad. A miracle child. All children are miracle children, but he was in the category of Isaac, Samuel, and John the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

A Person of His Age - A Sensation

Samson's life is strikingly relevant to the moods and methods of modern society. He would have fit right in to the soap opera society, the TV and the moving picture set. Vigorous, Strong, Handsome, Youthful, Daring in achievement, Sensual in indulgence, Samson lived in the fast lane.

A Natural Person

Temptation is universal. It is in the very nature of things. It is part of "the perverseness of the world". Temptation harasses every person.

Samson responded to temptation in a very natural way. He not only enjoyed it, he courted it.

Scripture records that Samson grew, and that God blessed him. The Spirit of God moved upon Samson "at times". KJV "began to stir him". NIV He had the best parents, who did their best, the best prospects, a guaranteed future.

Then Samson went to Timnah. If only he had avoided Timnah!

In spite of God's blessing, God's moving, God's plan, God's hope, God's miracle working, - The final, deciding mind was Samson's. He went to Timnah! It was lust at first sight! The woman was a delight to the eye.

Samson was open minded. Some of these Philistines were not bad at all.

There was a betrothal under protest. There was a wedding feast. There was immediate estrangement, and indebtedness - 30 suits of clothing for his deceptive friends.

Samson procured the suits by killing 30 Philistines, And when he went back to claim his bride she had run off with another man; his" best" friend, it seems.

Someone has said he was a "Judge with a Grudge". In vengeance he finds a unique way to arson the Philistine grain fields. The Philistines couldn't deal with Samson, so they dealt with his former wife and inlaws.

His vengeance is to kill 1000 Philistines.

Samson had become a one man guerilla operative. His actions were based upon pride and personal revenge. He reacted hit and miss in response to personal anger. He did not respond under the direction of God. He did not act to defend God's reputation, - or His people.

He was engaged in "face saving actions", a most selfish use of God - given power.


If we are still thinking of a "Wild Young Samson", we need to make a paradigm shift. This is now "Wild Middle-aged Samson".

Not a foolish youngster, but a foolish middle-aged person.

In his mid-life crisis he visits a Philistine prostitute at Gaza.

They are watching for him, so at midnight he takes out the gates, the gate posts, leaves a gaping hole in the wall, drops the unit on a nearby hill, and goes home.

We are tempted to think, in our modern way, "What a Man!", but we must remember we are dealing with belligerent, at risk, behavior.

Finally he goes to Sorah. (Sorah was the wine district of Palestine.) Here it happens again. He is enamored by a woman. She is not a harlot, but an eligible woman, a person of easy morals.

Her name is Delilah, which means "Coquette" or "Flirt". She is an enchantress, and this is a "fatal attraction".

We wonder, how could this mature man, with the experience of half a century,---
How could Samson, with all the incoming signals of betrayal and duplicity make such errors in judgment?

Human behavior is not fragmentary or capricious, It is consistent and predictable!

. . . Except for the grace of God.

When a teenager, in our town, fully half the homes displayed little flags in their windows.

They were white, with a red border, and displayed one or more blue stars on them.

I remember the pain I used to feel, when one day passing by a house I would notice a blue star had been replaced by one of gold.

I also remember a little poem I heard at that time. Somehow it burrowed into my memory.

"Some men die in battle, Some go down in flames, But most go down inch by inch, In play at little games".

But now for the good news, now for the "rest of the story". There in Hebrews, chapter 11, listed in God's roster of Faith Heros Is the name Samson.

God had recorded the unvarnished truth about Samson. No revisionistic Biblical historians can produce a more scandalous story.

God did not approve his behavior, But God did approve his repentance, when he was chained, and desperate, and blind, and lost.

There are no hopeless cases with God.

Gary Thompson - Craig Newborn Elder Newborn, talking to an acquaintance who had placed himself in an untenable position. He described his situation of ruin to him.

"It's time to turn to the Lazarus story".

During the night I awakened, lay there thinking of my friend in prison. I thought of Elder Newborn's words, "It's time to turn to the Lazarus story".

Lazarus was beyond help. He was dead. He was four days in the grave, He was a rotting corpse, Utterly useless, a liability, Ruined.

But then Jesus came. "Take away the stone". (John 11: 38) "Oh, no", they said. "Take away the stone". "It's a hopeless case", they said. "Take away the stone".

They took away the stone, and Jesus spoke the solution.


Third Grade = "I AM SOMEBODY' Few years ago - Enhancement of the Individual Later, the concept of self worth Now - a great need for Self Esteem

I think I always knew I was somebody. My parents talked to me, they gave me chores to do. The washing, helping Dad build the garage, mow the lawn.

I guess we do all want to be somebody, -- to be noticed, -- and later to be remembered. College - "The Wheels", "The Gifted and Talented" A's Musical Speakers Athletic The beautiful The brilliant -"Sleepy"

They were going to be "Somebody"

Last time in Dallas - The Collum Building - as in Harold Collum.

1859- a French and Swiss business collaboration developed. Swiss banking firm, Algerian wheatlands, French bakeries. The idea was to establish flour mills in North Africa.

Success dependent upon approval and blessing of Napoleon.

Jean Henri Dunant, young, successful, selected by banks to present the proposal.

Napoleon not presently in Paris, but with the King of Sardenia and their armies, to drive Austrians from Italy.

Two weeks of travel - a hill above the Plain of SOLFERINO in the Piedmont. Below he beheld two armies - French and Austrian Heard trumpets blow in the morning air Beheld the chaos as men hurled themselves into bloody battle He stood transfixed by what he saw - 40,000 dead or dying on the plain.

Dazed, Henri wandered down into the village below. As he passed a church they were throwing two wounded enemy soldiers into the street. "Stop that! We are all brothers!"

Dunant went back to Paris and Geneva a changed man. Organized care for helpless and wounded = "Red Cross" Organized the Geneva Conventions He was as a man obsessed - promoting the Red Cross with such vigor people began to avoid him.

For 15 years he was forgotten. Newspaper reporter discovered Dunant in an almshouse.

Awarded FIRST NOBEL PEACE PRIZE - 1901 He could have lived comfortably, but chose to give his prize away to support his beloved Red Cross.

Dunant died shortly, in poverty.

We may question the wisdom of some of his choices. We may wonder at Dunant's eccentricities and extreme self abnegation, But we must acknowledge that he made the world a better place.

J.B. Phillips - Luke 18:14 Everyone who sets himself up as somebody will become a nobody, And the man who makes himself nobody will become somebody.

Jesus is not promoting laziness or negativity. Not the idea. Jesus presented Energy, Enthusiasm, Competence, Efficiency, as virtues. (His stories and selected companions)

But He used a new criterion by which to judge what it means to be SOMEBODY.


Jesus said - "Whoever will be chiefst among you, shall be the servant of all.

(Prime minister - head of cabinet and chief executive of a parliamentary democracy)

Christ's definition of "somebody" can include all. The academically brilliant The athletic and graceful The beautiful and the wealthy

But it also includes those who may be excluded from carefully hedged social groups. The average The awkward The poor and the disadvantaged.

ALL may be "somebody" by Christ's definition. Those persons HUMANELY USEFUL Those, willing to serve.

It is refreshing to be in the company of people " who are not all the time panting and puffing, proclaiming their importance". G. Anderson

Carl Sandburg met two ladies at a party. He said to one, "I'm surprised that you are an actress. You look more like a person". To which she replied, "I hope I'm both." He then turned to the other woman and asked, "And who are you?" She answered, "I'm nobody." Mr. Sandburg immediately replied, "Well, I'm your brother."

William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette , Standing in line to receive honorary Ph.d. at Columbia University The man standing in front of him asked where he was from. White replied, "I guess I don't belong here, I'm just a country editor from Kansas." To which the questioner responded, "Well, I'm just a country doctor from Minnesota." (William J. Mayo)

In the final count, it is the nobodies who are more willing to share their skill and interests with their fellow men, than to establish themselves as important figures, who become genuine "somebodies".

It is also good to remember that the nobodies are really the somebodies in the book that rates above Who's Who in America.

It's a celestial volume called The Lamb's Book of Life. Matthew 25 - "I was hungry and your fed me." "They were such unimportant nobodies that they had plenty of time to give a lift to others, And they did not even remember having done it".

Centuries ago, young nobleman renounced the wealth and power of his world, To follow Jesus, and find his vocation in humble service.

From his pen came a prayer that should be the guiding petition of all who are willing to be cheerful, helpful nobodies.

"O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much week to be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen."

Who Am I ?

Some identify self by saying, I am what I do. I am what people say about me. I am what I have. (My life is represented by a short line.) When I die I am not any of the above or concerned about any of the above. I’m dead! Satan’s wilderness temptations of Jesus Illustrate the above.Who am I? I am loved. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” “Before you were born I knew you.” etc.

I am loved not for what I do, or for what people say about me, or for what I have.

Christmas 2004