Flapjacks For Firemen: Responding to a State of Emergency

barber wildfireThe raging wildfire that has devoured 72,000 acres of grass and farmland was the focus of an article I wrote last week.  That same fire is still burning this morning, and it has now consumed over 400,000 acres.

The snow that fell Easter Sunday has helped the fire-fighting efforts. Thanks to the hard work of firemen, ranchers, and volunteers from Kansas and the far corners of the USA, the fire is about 81% contained.

This fire has done much more than just burn grass, it has killed livestock, left houses in ash heaps, and zeroed the resources of many rural fire departments.  In an effort to respond to some of these needs, there will be a, Flapjacks for Firemen, benefit breakfast Saturday morning, April 2 from 8 to 10 in El Dorado, Kansas.

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To help respond to the needs of these first responders, you can attend the breakfast and make a donation, or you can give online or mail a donation to:

 

Flapjacks For Firemen

C/O First Christian Church

300 W Central

El Dorado, Kansas 670452

For more information, you can contact Stan at 316-321-2878.  Thanks for your help!

….Flapjacks for Firemen Updates will posted on Facebook ….

State of Emergency Declared: Heart of America Aflame

fdireSeveral years ago, Barber County, Kansas was home to me.  I lived in a spot in the road called Hazelton, and I was a frequent visitor of Anthony, Kiowa, and Medicine Lodge.  When I needed to stock up on groceries, I would drive to Alva, Oklahoma. Alva also had a tasty hamburger served at a café on the town square.

As I watched the news yesterday, I followed the raging prairie fire as it devoured rain-starved pastures and some 72,000 acres. I thought of my old friends in this rural pocket of Kansas, and I prayed for their safety and well-being.

The voracious appetite of a fire is a graphic illustration of some scripture found in James 3:6-10:

 A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!  It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.  This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!         ~The Message

The words you speak are ripe with the potential to be either healing or harmful. 

Think about the way you have spoken to people this week:  Have your words beaten them down and left them battered and bruised, or have you use the gift of language to encourage, instruct, and build them up?

If your tongue is in need of taming, it might help to ponder the principles below:

  • Foolish words cut like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18)
  • Pleasing words are like honey. They are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24)
  • A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth causes ruin (Proverbs 26:28)
  • Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29 ~The Voice).

Give some thought to the brute strength of your words: They can be as devastating as they are delightful, and even though they may be forgiven, they’re rarely forgotten.

Will people remember you for your soothing words that helped them to heal, or for language that was so heated it left them scorched and scarred…like the fires that have swept across the Kansas prairies?

Taking Care of the Small Stuff

In this blog and in other places, I have expressed my dislike for the asinine practice called Daylight Savings Time (DST).  In the Spring of each year, people throughout the USA lose one hour of sleep and their internal clock is in a state of confusion.  This toying with Mother Nature is actually detrimental to your health as well as your pocketbook.

The only benefit I see in DST is the manner in which Fire Departments and safety advocates use it.  Whenever we move our clocks forward in the Spring or back in the Fall, we are reminded to change the batteries in our smoke detectors.  This is a government program that actually makes sense.

Evidently Malaysia has no such program.  It is being reported that one reason Flight 370 has not been discovered in the past year is that the battery on the jet’s underwater locator beacon had expired.

I don’t mean that it had died and lost its charge in recent days before it took flight.  Not at all, the battery on the beacon attached to the Flight Data Recorder had expired in December of 2012.

Flight 370 was a Boeing 777 that had a price tag somewhere in the neighborhood of $261 million. Do you have any idea how much the battery cost?  Admittedly, the pilot or mechanic could not have stopped at a Walmart or Radio Shack and picked one up on the way to work, but it only cost $750.

While $750 isn’t exactly pocket change, it is a drop in the bucket compared to $261 million.  It is a small investment to make when you are trying to track a very expensive jet that is full of precious human cargo—mothers, fathers, sister, brothers, aunts, uncles, and children.

Neglecting small details can have catastrophic and costly results.  If you don’t put oil in your vehicle, the motor will seize-up and die.  If you don’t drink enough water it can lead to dehydration.

You may easily understand this fact when it’s discussed in the context of the mechanical or the physical, but the same is true for the spiritual.  If you fail to take the small steps, disaster may be lurking in the shadows.

alarm-clock-vector_GyJTaxwOOne of the secrets to the rapid growth of the early church, was they developed the habit of doing the simple things:  “They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).”

I do a very simple task every night before I get into bed.  I plug my cell phone into the charger, so it will be powered-up for the next day.  When I get up the next morning, I make a cup of coffee and sip it in while I power-up for the day ahead, and I recharge my spiritual battery by putting Acts 2:42 to practice.

I encourage you to plug into the God’s Word and to power-up through prayer—it will keep you flying when you encounter turbulence in your life.