A good man dies and a little man is born!

>> Saturday, October 23, 2010

My father-in-law Ralph Ridder died on Thursday evening at 7:13 p.m. It was a mix of great sadness and incredible joy all at the same time.

At 6:30 p.m. those family who had come to the hosptial on that evening gathered in his ICU room for prayers and encouragement and singing. I believe there were eighteen of us standing around his bed in the intensive care room. His breathing and his pulse were getting weaker and weaker. He had been unconscious for the past 5 days. Just that afternoon we had been told his medical prognosis was not good.

Ralph had been a committed and very involved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was a member and very active attender here at Orchard. Walt Rogers prayed. His three grandchildren who are worship leaders (Alli Rogers, Michael Rogers, Ben Bartlett) led the singing. I often talk about holy moments. This was one of those very holy moments where God is present and real. We prayed and we sang and we talked with Ralph.

My son Jeremy arrived at about 7:00 p.m. to say goodbye to his grandpa. Ben led the whole group in singing In Christ Alone....the final lines are something like....Till he returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

At the conclusion of the song Ralph had been called to heaven. Someone this morning said he simply moved from one choir to another. He did love all kinds of music. Two knee replacements in this earthly body and now he's probably dancing in heaven. Within 45 minutes his family had moved to the waiting area to think about how to celebrate his life at his funeral service.

He was a very good man. He finished well. He left a huge legacy of family who loved him and want to live their lives for Jesus.

Today his 19th great grandchild was born: Joseph Thomsen Majerus. He'll be buried on Tuesday and on Friday or Saturday his 20th great grandchild will be born. Life goes on. He'll be missed! One day there will be another family reunion in heaven. What stories we'll tell.

It was Jesus who said, "I go to prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you."


Enouragement and Support Really Matter!

>> Monday, October 18, 2010

Yesterday began early as I drove across Des Moines to set up for the short marathon worship service. At 7:30 it was crisp and cool. Enrique Ochoa led a couple of worship songs. We read scripture and prayed for the runners and the opportunity to be salt and light in this environment called the IMT Des Moines Marathon.
Some of the other 8,000 runners listened and watched as we spent this time together honoring our God. Many nodded in agreement with what we were doing. The officials of the marathon interviewed Don Williams, our coach, and encouraged people to donate to our cause of building a school in Mozambique. Many people understood and appreciated what we were doing.
Then the race began! Eight thousands runners and many more people who were there to encourage and cheer began to engage in the race. It was very moving to watch runners crosss the finish line to reach a goal they had set for themselves. So many were crossing a marathon finish line for the first time and doing it for a cause that is much bigger than any one of us.
The one theme I continually heard from the runners was that the marathon support team (wearing green shirts), who cheered and encouraged, made a huge difference. They said there were green shirts everywhere. People who stood with us, encouraged and cheered us. They said every time they were getting tired or down there would be more green shirts cheering them on during this very hard race. The green shirts played a key role
Life is like a marathon. I ended yesterday in a hospital waiting room with many of my extended family. My wife's dad, Ralph Ridder, is in intensive care and not doing well at all. He has been unconscious since Saturday and I watched as our family encouraged each other and especially his wife Bev. Some of our family drove in from out of town to sit together, to pray and to be an encouragement to each other and to Bev.
As I reflected upon our family gathered, I wanted to put green shirts on each of them because they were so important as an encouragement during a very difficult part of this race called life. It is so very true that we need each other whether running a marathon or sitting in a hospital waiting room. We need each other for encouragement and for help.
Yesterday began with scripture and prayer in a park with several hundred people in the middle of a marathon environment. Yesterday ended with scripture and prayer around a hospital bed with 16 family members. In both cases, people desperately needed each other for encouragement and support.


Another Powerful Sunday!

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

Forty-one Receive Bibles
Forty-one 2nd graders received a Bible from Orchard Hill Church yesterday in the 11:00 a.m. service. What a great picture of our desire to influence young people for Jesus Christ!
Forty-one were present to receive their Bibles and 18 were unable to attend. God has given us the privilege and responsibility to help 59 2nd graders choose to become fully devoted followers of Christ. What an awesome responsibility.
New Members
Yesterday, we also met for the second time with our current new members class where approximately 30 people are choosing to join the mission of Orchard. As they shared their stories with us, we had the privilege to hear how God has been at work in their lives. It is so affirming and encouraging to hear their thoughts and hopes for their involvement with Orchard and their growth in Jesus Christ.
God is Trustworthy
Yesterday, I also taught at the Cedar Falls campus in the series ViewFinder and on the topic of: God is Trustworthy. During the morning I interacted with many people who are in all kinds of pain and struggles. It again reminded me that God is trustworthy on both my best and worst day in this life.
I just received this in an email which included this:
And the truth is that if He is only trustworthy when things are going my way then He is not trustworthy at all. He either has to be trustworthy on the worst day as well as the best day or He is not trustworthy.”
Dave, these 2 highlighted sentences from your Sunday’s sermon spoke profoundly to me.


Busy Weekends

>> Monday, October 4, 2010

This past weekend was busy but outstanding!

Our entire family was home for a couple of days. It was so fun to watch our grandchildren playing together in the back yard. Five of them slept in tents and all nine brought smiles to Linda and I. We stopped for this quick picture on our deck. I watched several grandkids participating in our Great Adventure program on Sunday. Family working well is an amazing gift of God! We expect grandchild number 10 in late October.

Have you noticed how busy weekends are for people these days? There’s football, soccer, family commitments, music, weddings, church services, concerts, travel, yard work and the list goes on and on.

Orchard has a strong committed group of staff people whose weekends include all of the above, plus many ministry events! I want this blog post to be a strong affirmation of our staff people who serve our church in a very committed way and especially serve on the weekends. Thank you to the staff of Orchard. You are amazing.

This past weekend included: a wedding, a rehearsal dinner, communion at 6 worship services, a CD release concert by Sky Like Fire, a new members class, Picnic in the Park, baby shower, Boy Scout Retreat, small group meetings, volleyball, basketball, a community worship choir and all of our regular Sunday morning events. Wow. That’s a lot of opportunities for ministry in one weekend.

I hope that you had a great fall weekend! I hope that you are finding ways to draw near to Christ during this busy fall season.


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