Monday, July 30, 2007

Better Days Ahead

This was a day for treatments and doctor's visits. It started out with a visit to the ENT specialist to have Milbre's sutures removed and the packing taken out of the surgical area. I sat and watched as this procedure was administered and was amazed as he pulled a length of packing about 12-18" long out of her face. Needless to say, after that office visit, things were looking better. She could put her glasses on and see out of her left eye.

We humans are constructed in such a way as to be able to live past our problems and a few months or years from now, we will have a memory of them, but they won't seem as bad as they are when we are going through them. I believe the Creator has so made us so that we can cope with life and all it throws at us. I am thankful that he has given us the ability to "forget those things which are passed" and look forward with anticipation to a brighter future. "Without hope", the Apostle said, "We would be of all men, most miserable."

I trust you have that hope!

Don Howard
Auburn, WA

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The New And The Old

Getting prepared for Sunday Bible Class. Our lesson is in Matthew 13:51-52. In verse 52, this is what Jesus had to say:

52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Every scribe, teacher, student who is well trained will bring out of his storehouse new treasures as well as old. The one constant I have observed over the past 40 years or so of ministry is that in order to be relevant you have to articulate thoughts and teaching that register with the hearer. I think that which is "old" are those doctrines that we all are familiar with and rehearse on a regular basis. The storehouse of the teacher is his body of knowledge. If there is something "old" in there, it is because of past years of study. Conversely, in order to bring something "new", there must be a constant refreshing of your body of knowledge. The only way to do that is to study, read, and stay abreast of current events--in other words, keep something refreshing to bring from your "storehouse".

If I say, "Mimeograph", "Dictaphone", "IBM Selectric", I doubt that few young adults under 30 would have a clue of what those are. I remember the AB Dick mimeograph, the messy stencils, first a hand crank, and then an electric. I remember the Dictaphone, with the wire recorder and the IBM Selectric Typewriter and the Royal Manual Typewriter. I remember the unique invention of correcting tape. All those old technological devices are in my storehouse.

But in the early 1980's, Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed "Windows" computer software and brought the PC into prominence in the end of the 20th century.

One reason I have attempted to be literate with 21st century technology, is to be able to present an intelligent message that will capture the attention of those you teach. It is changing so quickly that, even though I think I am up-to-date, I realize that there is so much available that really I am a novice--but I won't quit trying! This blog is a recent adventure in that direction.

One might conjecture, that at my age of 68 years, "why bother". And then, I remember that a sweet little lady in her 90's, recently finished a book on her life, composed on her computer by herself. She has self-taught herself and became computer literate in her 80's. GO VELMA!

Just a few thoughts on Saturday night.

Don Howard
Auburn, WA

Friday, July 27, 2007


Most of my work this week has been in my office at home. While my sweetheart, Milbre, my wife of soon to be 47 years, has been recovering from her fall and surgery, I have been able to be close and still accomplish the work of ministry. Thrown into the mix has been a hospital visit for a friend who had a knee replacement, along with visits to take care of shopping chores that Milbre usually handles.

Yesterday and this morning where very difficult, as Milbre had a reaction to medications that prompted calls to physicians and new prescriptions. A long-time friend of ours, Erma Yadon, stopped by for a visit, and that was very uplifting. Tonight will be a better night!

Of ministry note, I received a CD with 10 volumes of Donald Grey Barnhouse on Romans. It is a classic and a welcome addition to my Logos Scholars Digital Library System, which now holds several hundred volumes of books.

The Logos Library has totally changed the way I study the Bible and do preparations for teaching and preaching. Many of the hardcover books in my library that I have treasured for many years are now included in digital format and any subject or topic is accessible with a click of the mouse. Almost any version of the Bible is available, alone or in parallel views. It is an incredible asset to ministry. At some point in my blog, I may go into greater detail, but if you are minister, student, Bible scholar, or just an avid fan of the Scriptures, I highly recommend Logos to you!

Don Howard
Auburn WA

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Wednesday's, as always, is Word Of Life Fellowship. Therefore, for us to not be there, seems strange and unusual. My message was ready, the power-point was on its way, but Milbre needed me today. Thanks to my good friend, Larry Martin, who was willing to step up and take the service on short notice. Thanks to all our friends who would have insisted that I be here for her.

Well, Thursday holds forth promise of new events. At 11:00 am, I will meet the family of Margaret Barnhill at Hillside Cemetery and celebrate her Home going. A wonderful lady who had lived a long, eventful life and has now laid down her burdens and cares. Memorials are always times of deep emotional swings of sadness and when someone has suffered with pain and illness for a long time, as she has, it can be viewed with joy.

As a side note, death, grief and bereavement are moments when a pastor truly can minister to families and loved ones of the departed. It is a time when they really need someone to come alongside and offer hope and solace. That is what we, as pastors, do. It is to those moments that we fulfill our calling. It is not all about pulpit ministry--yes that is important--but this is where we are able to demonstrate God's love in a personal way.

So, yes, I missed W.O.L.F. today, but we will be there next week, the Lord willing!

Don Howard
Auburn, WA

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Moving Right Along

As the Apostle Paul said, "Forgetting the things that are behind...we press toward the prize" Milbre has been a real trooper throughout this ordeal of injury, surgery and putting up with my nursing care! A visit to the doctor today was positive, though still very painful. His judgment was she was doing as well as could be expected. Another visit, next Monday, and he will remove a drain tube and packing. We are prayerful and hopeful for a positive outcome that the bones will have healed as they should and the area that was unstable will have stabilized.

We are thankful for a faith community that has her in their prayers. Where do you find friends such as this? Our neighbors have also been so caring and helpful.

Bentley and Vickers (our two poodles) know something is wrong with Mama, but not sure what yet! The challenge is keep them from jumping in her lap and wanting to kiss her...the last thing she needs is a dog kiss on her injuries.

I suspect that a year from now, we will have a vivid, but distant memory of these events. Isn't life much like that. Difficulties and trials that come unexpected, seem almost too much to handle, but they soon pass and we move on.

I think one lesson we might take from this, is don't despair, whatever the trial...God cares! He knows! And He will see us through!

I recommend Him to you.

Don Howard
Auburn, WA

Monday, July 23, 2007

Above and Beyond The Call

Today began early with a visit to see Milbre's doctor before her surgery this afternoon. We checked in to the hospital around 12:30 PM, and by 1:30 she was in pre-0p. Pastor Bullock stopped by before she went in and prayed for her (and me). It is so comforting to know that you have an entire community of faith holding you up in prayer.

The Doctor came out at 4:10PM and said there was good news and bad. (You know the line). The good news, some fractures were not as bad as he thought and the bad news, one area was really fractured, so much so, that he could not use a plate to repair it, and instead, resorted to a packing behind that fractured area in hopes that it will set and heal in the right position. We are thankful there were no serious complications so far...and should not be any.

For someone who has seen a lot of sickness, pain and dying, (I have a funeral service scheduled for Thursday) somehow it is different when it is your own. Blood seems redder, you seem to feel their pain, and yucky-poo, changing those bloody bandages. Why should an old pastor have to deal with such. That is above and beyond the call.

Somehow I hear a wedding vow spoken 47 years ago that went something like this--"For Better or for worse--In Sickness and in Health." And I said "I DO"! And so I DID and I AM!

I hope you picked up on the tongue-in-cheek. Bones will heal and we will be back to speed in no time. All the prayers that are being offered on Milbre's behalf will not fail.

Respectfully submitted,
Nurse (Pastor) Don

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Homegoings and Such

One of the interesting and challenging jobs for a minister is ministering to families who have just lost a loved one. This week has brought word that our friend Ralph Light passed away suddenly on Friday 13, of a heart attack. I just heard tonight that he had been to the doctor and they were doing some labs on him. The day he passed away of a heart attack, his labs came back and showed he had leukemia. What a strange twist! God sees the future and knows what is best.

Last evening, as I was thinking about the Sunday services and our class, I received a phone call from Kevin Barnhill that his mother, in Auburn hospital had taken a turn for the worse. I got dressed and headed down to the hospital to check on her. As I arrived on the fourth floor, her son was standing at the nurse's station, and shook his head and said, "she's gone". I couldn't believe it. So I went in her room and had prayer, but she wasn't there. She had already gone home. Needless to say, the emotions ran strong and deep, but felt that I was able to minister to her son and pray with him.

The Bible plainly says, "Who knows what a day will bring forth". I hope you are thinking about your eternal destiny in a way that doesn't put it off until the last minutes of your life. God loves you! He wants to be a part of your life now!

Don Howard
Auburn, WA

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Better Is One Day"

So goes the chorus, "....In His house than thousands elsewhere." Yesterday with our Word of Life Fellowship, was a good day in the House of the Lord. The testimonies of victory, healing and blessings were encouraging. We learned from Genesis 6, that "I am responsible for my choices" .

Milbre's visit to the doctor on Tuesday afternoon included good and bad news. As the doctor showed us the pictures of her injury from the fall, he indicated they showed a narrow escape from much worse damage. A fraction of an inch more, and she would have cut her optic nerve, which would have blinded her in one eye. That was the good news. The bad news was that she has four fractures in what he call the "tripod" and suggested surgery to repair the fractures and place a couple of very small plates to hold the bones in proper alignment.

Therefore, she has decided to have the surgery and it will take place next Monday, July 23, at the local hospital. There may be one overnight stay.

Even in those moments of hurt and pain, we can find things to be thankful for. I thank God for His hand upon Milbre and that she wasn't injured any more than she was.

Don Howard
Auburn WA

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

The rest of that quote goes something like this:..."of mice and men". Yesterday was a good day in the House of God. Our senior pastor, Dr. Warren Bullock, delivered an outstanding message from Luke 15, on the Prodigal.

Today, I began at 5:30 AM, with taking the dogs out for their first break, and then spent some time planning out the day. Milbre awakened early, feeling good, and was heading out for her daily walk at Game Farm Park. I had just gotten out of the shower and she returned home from her walk, after only 10 minutes. She was teary-eyed and I asked her what happened? She had tripped and fallen in the construction area of the new street paving, just down from our house. She had refused to allow the construction workers to call 911, insisting that she was alright. However, in a few minutes, she had a severe headache and we decided that she should go to ER. A CT scan showed an "acute facial fracture--tripod", and arm and knee abrasions. So after a few hours and med's., we returned home.

We are thankful that this was all that happened, she could have broken an arm or leg. A visit to her ENT doctor tomorrow will determine whether she needs surgery.

"Who knows what a day will bring forth..." so says the Scriptures.

The best advice would be from this experience---don't hesitate to call the EMT's . That's why we pay our taxes. That is the safest and best course.

Don Howard
Auburn WA

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday Night Fever

Saturday night--the night before the big day To a pastor, Sunday is always a big day. It is the day of the week. We think, plan and prepare for Sunday. It is the Lord's Day and worthy of our best for Him.

Of course, by now, I should be finished, prepared and ready--thankfully, tonight, I am. Those days when events, schedules and emergencies push back the clock, Saturday night is D-Day because ready or not, Sunday will be here in a few hours.

Teaching or preaching is what pastors love to do. It is our topping on the ice cream. Those times of crisis and necessary intervention or visits become the labor of love that we are called to. AH! But preaching is the fun part. It is a part of my calling that brings much joy and fulfillment.

I look forward to interaction with a wonderful, intergenerational class on Sunday mornings that challenges me each week. We are studying the parables of Matthew 13 this summer and they are proving to be as exciting as any I have taught.

Sunday Evening preaching rotation catches me this Sunday, so, the Lord willing, I will speak on "The Best Seat in The House". The mid-week Word of Life Fellowship continues this Wednesday, with our study in Genesis.

Don't ever feel sorry for a pastor who has a busy preaching and teaching schedule. It is like sweetness to a baby.

Don Howard
Auburn, WA

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

If You Think Its Hot Here!

It is amazing how our perspectives of the weather changes with where we live. I grew up along the Texas Gulf Coast along with three brothers and three sisters. A large house for our family in the 40's and 50's would be a 3 or 4 bedroom. We should have been so fortunate! Our first home that my family was able to purchase was a little "shotgun" house with 2 bedrooms. This was in the 1949-51 era, in Houston, Texas. If you are familiar with Houston can you say HOT AND HUMID?
It was in this little home that the ice man came daily, and left a block of ice in the box on the front porch for our "Ice Box". After World War II, most appliances, automobiles and such were in short supply. Air conditioning was not known to most middle and lower income households. It is amazing that this large family could live together in this small house and survive the awful, torrid heat of Houston in the summertime. The ironic thing is--we didn't know we were deprived. We had never had air-conditioning, so we didn't miss it.

How times change and we change. We can survive more that we think we can. Why am I writing this post today? We'll, we have been blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world -- the Puget Sound. Most of the time, we enjoy a 70-75 degrees in the summer. But today was an aberration The temperature topped 100 in our little town of Auburn today. Many of our friends and neighbors do not have air conditioning, so when the temp is 30 degrees above normal, it is painful. I suspect most will survive.

What makes the difference in today and when I was a boy? We were acclimated and didn't know any better.

My friends, in eternity the Bible describes a place called Hell where in Mark 9:48 "'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' (from New International Version)

It's all a matter of perspective. If you think it's hot here--there is a place that's hotter!

Don Howard
Auburn, Washiungton

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Yesterday and today I have been preparing my Bible studies for Wednesday and Sunday. When I was a youth (a few days ago), I belonged to a Boy Scout troop. Our Scoutmaster was the pastor of the local Friends Church. Of course, the motto we learned from the Scouts was "Be Prepared". I reflect on those long ago scout meetings and the fun they brought, the camaraderie, and other lessons of life they taught. One lesson that would not be politically correct today, was preparation for our inner person. The spiritual side of life. I can remember attending the little Friends Church and giving my heart to the Lord as a young teenager. Those days sowed seeds into my life that have served me well.

How much the pace of life has changed! Life seems so much more complicated, yet the necessity of preparation remains. I understand the necessity of being prepared to teach or preach. This week will be especially busy, since I will also speak in the Sunday evening worship service. But prepare I will, because those who will come to listen, to receive, deserve the best that I can give.

More importantly, I want to make sure the inner man is prepared.

Monday, July 9, 2007

"Looking Back"

It hasn't been that long ago (1997) at the age of 58, I purchased my first desktop computer. It was a highly techno-machine with 1.5 gigs and a 14.4 modem. The speed (or lack of) was phenomenal. But on that old Packard Bell I slowly learned how to navigate my way around the Web and how to use the Microsoft 3.0.

Ten years later, I routinely prepare my messages and Bible studies with my computer. (Small 32 gig, XP, LCD Monitor, etc. etc.)I have learned how to prepare my own power point, adding photos, movies, etc. It has revolutionized the way I prepare. I love the Logos Scholar Digital Library. I seldom crack a hard cover book--it is mostly digital.

Why bore you with such minutiae? To encourage those who have not begun to enter the information age, who are too fearful, who think they are too old. At 68, I find ministry much more fun, research much easier.

Much of my ministry these days are tending to Pastoral Care needs of our church and leading a group of 100 plus Seniors. And I thought I was challenged before?

Don Howard
Auburn WA