3 guys

Three guys….

Why do so many jokes start with 3 guys?

The next thing I will say here is no joke.

On this day about 2 thousand years ago three guys hung from crosses on a hill outside of Jerusalem. They weren’t tied to the cross, they were nailed, through the hands and feet. Two of them were thieves, the third was a man named Jesus.

We have a record of his Jesus’ last words. The last thing he said was, ” it is finished ”

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (Jn 19:30)

What did he mean?

He meant that the job of paying for all of the sin in the world, all the wrongs, all the hurts and hates, the stains on the souls of men that could not be removed by men had been removed by God.

This is no ordinary man this guy Jesus. He is the very, the only son of God.

Much to our relief he did not stay dead. 3 days later he rose from the dead. He is alive! Jesus is alive.

He died to finish the plan of our salvation and he rose from the dead to give us eternal life.

Three guys hung on crosses to their deaths. One guy said “It is finished”. And so it is.

All we gotta do is ask.

A letter from our dad

Not everyone has a dad but wouldn’t it be cool to find a long love letter addressed to you from your father? Even if you didn’t know him, he knew you?Something that not only gushed words of love but gave you instructions on how to live the best life possible? A letter that showed that life and the world and even world events had been all arranged just so you could be born and live. A description of the purpose of your life. The letters end with a promise to return to you and reunite with you.

This letter exists. It exists for each one of us. This letter is the Bible. The Bible is a love letter from our father. Our father is the being who created not just us but every thing that exists including time and space and light and darkness.

Because of misuse and abuse some of us discount or discredit the Bible. We call it many things, we malign it, we return abuse on it, or worse, we ignore it.

I was born into 20th century America and I now live in 21st century America. We are being called a post Christian society. We have forgotten about our fathers love letter to us.

One of my goals in life is to reacquaint my contemporaries, the people I live and work with, the folks and families, those people who my kids and my grandkids will be living and working with after I’m gone, to know about the letter, the love letter that my Father, our father has written to us all.

There a line in the letter that sums up the message succinctly.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17

God not only proclaims his love for us he has shown it by sending his son Jesus to pay the price that is required by God to reconcile us back to Himself. Why do we need to be reconciled?God does loves us but we have been separated from him by a thing called sin. Sin isn’t just bad things we do, but it’s in our very nature. We can’t get rid of it or do good to appease him for it. We are powerless, but God, being God could sacrifice himself by offering up his one and only son Jesus to die in our place. This one act covered all people for all time. All that is left to do is to accept the gift.

In another place in God’s love letter to us it says this in order to explain how to grab hold of this wonderful offer; “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”’

Romans 10:9-11

Bloom where you’re planted, unless you are dead.

John 11

Bloom where you are planted, unless you are dead.

“17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”’

This week some famous people died. George Beverly Shea, 104. Chyna, 46. Prince, 57. My uncle Delvin passed away recently. He was buried next to my parents who both died in 2003, January and June. I stood on the ground that covers my parents remains.

Most people once dead stay dead.

Or do we?

“25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”’

This is the question we all must ask ourselves: Do we believe this?

Jesus will show his authority over death by raising Lazarus. And it won’t be long in our reading of John before Jesus himself is put to death. But death couldn’t hold him.

The questions remain.

Who is this Jesus?

Do we believe him?

I do.

Note: yesterday I posted a picture of myself in front of my truck Rusty. Both of us, Rusty and were dead, but brought back to life. I was clinically dead after being in a car accident. With Rusty it’s s figure if speech with me it’s a fact. Miraculously I came back to life.

Jesus remembers us.

John 11

Wait, what?

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”’

There are a couple of things that happen here that make me scratch my head.

Jesus said that the sickness wouldn’t end in death but Lazarus dies. But it doesn’t end there.

Lord willing I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

The second thing is that John mentions a thing about Mary washing and anointing Jesus’ feet as if he had already told us about it but it doesn’t get written in until the next chapter.

I have often felt that in the story of my life I only play a minor supporting role. In the credits of “Peters life, the movie” towards the end, right before they thank the caterers and the city of Ephrata there will be “and Peter Loeffelbein”.

I think lazarus’ sister Mary may have felt that way about her life but her simple act of ministering to Jesus was so well known that John could reference it before he had written it.

I think this says our service to Jesus may be more significant than we know. He remembers it all.

Do the right thing and do it for the right reason and for the right person.

Do it for Jesus. And keep doing it because he remembers it all. Keep serving him. Love people. Serve people. Keep going. He remembers it. He remembers us. It is significant.

We are significant to him.

God’s kids

I am a Father and a grandfather. My children are now having families of their own. To these little people, I am not the disciplinarian bringing the spanking spoon, I am the treats and gifts toting snuggle and play person.

It may be strange to think about this but God has no grand children. Each generation born must be born again into his family.

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”

1 John 2:28-3:3

Each generation much choose to follow Jesus on their own. God becomes the father of my children and he is becoming the father of my Grandkids as they receive Jesus as their personal savior and give their lives to him.

Last night we had a family crisis and we prayed together with our kids but we prayed as God’s kids. We were 2 generations and yet We prayed to our Father and their Father and their children’s Father. He answered in a way that is better than I could have hoped for.

Thank you Father for hearing our prayers and answering. Thank you that you take us, each person where we are, that you forgive our mistakes and accept us into your family as your children. And thank you for loving us lavishly which includes discipline and correction.

The Rusty Story

(Throughout my blogs you may hear me refer to a truck, my truck, my 57 Chevy rust-O-ration project truck that I named Rusty. In honor of what would’ve been my Dad’s 87th birthday, I am re-posting what I think is a miraculous story, that emphasizes God’s goodness and his listening skills, his timing and his joy in blessing us, his kids. My Dad and my uncle Jerry figure prominently in this story).

img_6130img_5399This is the story of how I grew a 57 Chevy pickup from a horn button.

If this were a movie I would start out with a view of Rusty (my pickups name) in his current state and then I would do a fade out to me as a 15 year old checking out my dad’s 55 Chevy 2-ton flatbed. That is how my story started.

My dad worked in auto salvage. Growing up we were never allowed to call his place of business a junk yard, it was a wrecking yard. He never made a lot of money but the one thing he did do was provide each of his kids with a car, our first car, (or truck as the case may be).

My oldest sister was first. She got a 62 Buick Skylark. Next was my brother. His first was a 64 Chevelle Malibu. Sweet ride. My second oldest sister had some trouble with her cars. Her first was a 59 Fiat four door sedan. It had a bent drive shaft so instead my dad got her a 72 Fiat but it kept catching on fire. On a scale of one to ten, that’s not good. Her final first car was a 68 Mustang notch back. This where people start to wonder what this has to do with a truck and a horn button. Well I was next. I am the fourth of five kids and after I turned 15 I knew what was coming. I started looking around for a vehicle that I would like to drive. At the time my dad had a 55 Chevy 2-ton flatbed truck. I really liked the way it looked but I realized that it would be really hard to parallel park so I asked my dad if Chevy made a pickup that looked like his truck. He enthusiastically said yes. I will always cherish the memory of stepping into my dads world and getting him excited about something that we would share and the look on his face. It was a look that said, “You have chosen well my son”. I didn’t get a lot of those looks so this memory stands out.

My dad was working out of town at the time but it only took a couple of weeks before he called to tell me about the great truck he had found. It was a 57 3100 I/2 ton short wheel base. It had a 283 V8, a four speed tranny and it was a deluxe package truck which meant that it came with the better heater, stainless steel trim around the windows, chrome grill and front bumper. But wait, there’s more, it also had a tube style AM radio, the kind that you turn on and it takes so long to warm up the tubes and start making noise that you forget about it and jump out of your skin when it finally starts working. One draw back was the color, it was construction yellow. It was another couple of weeks before dad could bring the truck home. In the meantime he tried to clean it up by taking a pressure washer to it, inside and out. He found out pretty quickly that not all of the yellow paint was of the permanent variety, it started peeling in sheets. when he was done the truck was clean but it was also about 7 different colors.

It was a Saturday morning when I first saw it. The morning was bright and sunny and the truck? It was looking leprous. I walked around not sure how I was going to tell my dad that I didn’t want it. He had me get in, the seat was shiny black naugahyde with a wide red stripe up the middle. It was getting better. Dad said to start it. A funny thing happens to a young man when he is suddenly in control of something that is powerful. The truck roared to life and then settled down to a growly purring idle. Something stirred in my chest. I was in love. I kept the truck

It would take me 2 years to get around to refurbishing the poor thing. I ended up painting the interior and exterior, installing a new wiring harness from JC Whitney, adding some chrome to the engine compartment that my dad had salvaged from a Corvette and throwing on some new tires and wheels. The outside I painted a metallic rootbeer color and the inside I just took it back to the original gray with a brown dash. I put nylon covered black 72 T-bird bucket seats in it. The drivers had 6-way but I didn’t get a chance to connect it to power.

I didn’t think to take pictures of the finished product. I guess I just assumed that this truck and I would always be together. Unfortunately just two weeks after the paint dried a friend borrowed the truck to do some errands and totaled it. He ran off the road into a ditch and did a rolling flip. The only parts left that were salvageable were the left front fender, the right rear fender and the drive train. Even the frame was bent.

I was devastated and my family and friends mourned my loss along with me. Even my ex-girlfriend (now my wife) was sad for me. My dad immediately started trying to locate parts to rebuild. We found two 57 Chevy parts trucks along with some other assorted parts. The cab proved the most difficult. My cab had been pristine, no rust, no dents, door hinges good but the roll had tweaked it in a spiral where nothing was straight. Finally we found a GMC cab but the dashboard was different so my brother, brothers-in-law, dad and friends set about sectioning a Chevy front half and GMC back half. We were successful. After the surgery the doors opened and closed and all the body pieces fit back together.

I had a roughly assembled shell but I just couldn’t get excited about getting it back on the road. It frustrated my dad so he eventually he started looking for a different truck for me. First he found a 58 1/2 ton with a tired 6 cylinder and a 3 three on the tree. We nick-named him Gus. Gus was very cancerous, the sheet metal resembled Swiss cheese. I decided Gus wouldn’t do. My dad kept him but he kept looking for a suitable replacement. Next he found a 55 Cameo that had had the drive train replaced with early 70’s Chevelle parts, 350 small block and a 3 speed along with the rear-end. I bought this one but it wasn’t really what I was hoping for either.

Eventually my soon to be wife’s cousin offered to buy my original truck and I reluctantly agreed. Maybe a new owner would give it the life it deserved. So I had the Cameo and dad had Gus.

I got married and we got pregnant on the honeymoon. I was attending college at the time so I decided to sell the Cameo to pay for the doctor bill for our firstborn. All I had left of my 57 was a horn button and a hood ornament and I’m not exactly sure how I ended up with those.

We moved several times, had 3 more kids and everywhere we went I took along the horn button and the hood ornament. My kids would ask what they were and would explain that they were off of a truck that I used to have and that they were seeds. Their next question was always “why are you keeping them?” my answer was , “some day I’m going to grow a truck from that horn button”.

Many years passed, the kids went away to college, the girls all found husbands and during the last daughters reception at our house my uncle Jerry saw my “truck seed” horn button sitting on my garage work bench. He got very excited. At the time he was building a 57 Chevy LCF (Low cab forward, aka COE) flatbed to haul his homemade airplane. He had purchased a parts truck to complete his project but both his parts truck and the project truck were missing a horn button. He asked if he could buy it the button, I told him what is was and why I had it and I gave it to him. I thought that that was the end of my 57 Chevy pickup dreams.

Another few years passed and just before my 50th birthday I received a letter from uncle Jerry. He had completed his LCF truck and wanted to get rid of his parts truck. He wanted to give it to me. It was a 57 Chevy 2 ton 6500 with a 261 inline 6 cylinder and a 5 speed with a 2 speed rear end. It was almost complete, he had taken off the light switch, the glovebox door latch and of course it was missing the horn button. I gladly accepted, (my wife not so much). We arranged a weekend to tow it from his place in Cashmere Washington to my house in Ephrata. My son and I showed up and before we chained the truck to the tow rig uncle Jerry took me into his palatial garage and handed me a round silver object. It was my horn button. He had found another one and didn’t need mine.

After towing it home I realized what a big job it would be to get my behemoth bock on the road. The tires alone would cost a small fortune. Months turned into years as I vacillated between selling and keeping the truck. I advertised it several times on Craigslist and on Stovebolt but no takers. As I pondered what to do my wife was getting increasingly impatient for me to get it moving, either driving or towed away.

In order to make any improvements on my truck, (I named him Elmer) I was going to have to come up with some sort of currency. I have never had a lot of extra cash to spend on hobbies but one day I came upon a brilliant solution, I would try to trade for stuff. I went onto Craigslist and found a guy selling a rolling 55 Chevy SWB frame. I had some guns that I didn’t need and my wife didn’t want around so I offered to trade. He took the bait and soon I was the proud owner of 55 frame.When he arrived I immediately notice that the rims were 5 lug, the front hubs and the rear end had been updated. This was a shock but I wasn’t going to let that deter me. I knew from the internet that many guys had mounted their trucks on other frames, like S-10s but that required fabrication and I am short on fab skills. I saw this frame as the perfect solution. The cab and front sheet metal would be a direct transfer along with the drive train.

I called around and found someone who would recycle the big frame and even offered to help move the cab over from the old frame to the new. A good friend, Steve Argo offered to help swap over the drive train and then a couple weeks later my brother-in-law Kelly Ledgerwood and the recycler team lifted off the cab and switched the frames. A couple of weeks after the parts moving around the frame was hauled off to be turned into 5 or 6 Hyundais and maybe a Kia or two.

The next issue was that the steering column wasn’t going to fit, the big truck parts were just too big. I went back to craigslist and found a steering column. Again short on cash I offered to trade an acoustic base guitar that I had sitting around. The guy went for it. the column had recently been rebuilt and worked well. I had to buy the electrical stuff, horn and signal light switch (thanks LMC) but I soon had a complete steering column and the crowning piece was the seed that I had used to grow a 57 Chevy pickup, a horn button. I renamed my newly created 57 Chevy pickup Rusty. And he is all of that.

There is still much to do. I recently purchased all new wheels and tires from Les Schwab and mounted them. I have a refurbished gas tank that I also found on Craigslist that is awaiting final mounting and connection. (Done that) The seat has to be rebuilt (Found buckets seats from a Yukon).and someone somewhere will have to help me build a driveline but it’s coming together. (Drive line was built by Chris at Pioneer Metal works in Quincy WA). I have the brake system all connected and bled. I’m using the slightly larger master cylinder from the Big truck and had to concoct a connector to the brake lines but its all there and doesn’t leak.

I plan to leave the paint alone for awhile and also leave the 22000 gross weight signs on the doors. Eventually I would like to find pickup front fenders to replace the large wheel well units from the big truck and find a pickup bed. (Found it and it is on there) If I ever find the fenders I also found a pickup grill with upper and lower valances on Craigslist, (of course) to go with them. . My goal is to have it drivable by June so I can parade it in our town’s annual summer festival. (Didn’t make the parade but I’m driving Him now, that’s what really matters).

Kind of like the old French fable Stone Soup where an enterprising young soldier makes soup from a stone and the town’s people all proclaim, “soup from a stone, imagine that”, I want to proclaim, “a truck from a horn button, imagine that”.

UPDATE: 1/09/2015
I didn’t make the parade deadline. All vehicles needed to be licensed and insured. I did everything I could but fell a few days short. He’s licensed and insured now.

Another difficulty came with bolting a car rear end to a truck transmission. I had Chris from pioneer Metal Works in Quincy WA fabricate a driveline out the 3 pieces of truck driveline. It works great.

I found bucket seats out of a 90’s out a Yukon at a wrecking yard in moses lake.
They are tan. The driver 6-way works.

I bought some indoor/outdoor carpet at Home Depot. It’s blue. Meh.

I’ve replaced the windshield (thanks Steve Horner) and the window glass.

The gauges mostly work. Speedo is off by 50%. Gas gauge and voltmeter are erratic.

I’ve replaced the door gasket on the drivers side. I’ve painted the door interiors. (I know, now they’re not rusty anymore but they look nice).

Currently I’m rebuilding the heater. I’m waiting for parts and time and an inertia busting event (TBA) to complete that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you stop by and meet Rusty The truck from a horn button.

Cop shows and Christmas time

I was at church this morning helping the worship team set up. We sat down to pray, and I was suddenly remembering a Barney Miller episode. It was the one where the sweet older lady was arrested for writing bad checks. She was in the early stages of dementia. She was confused about why she had been arrested. One of the officers patiently explained to her that she owed several thousands of dollars to various people and businesses. She acted as though she understood and said, “well let’s take care of that right now, I’ll just write you a check….”

That is where we all are morally. We are bankrupt but keep writing checks, asking for something or someone to cover us. We think that doing good deeds fills our checking account but according to the Bible, in God’s eyes our good deeds are like, this is kind of gross, like used menstrual clothes, used sanitary devices. Our good deeds are worthless to God, yet we hope to fill up our moral checking account with them, to balance the bad we do with some good deeds. It doesn’t work. It’s like writing a check on an overdrawn account to cover the overdrafts.

There is good news in all this. God himself has said that he can and will and has completely covered our debt. He did this in Jesus, in his death and resurrection. That is why his coming to earth is so important. It continues God’s plan forward.

The apostle Paul said this in his letter to the Christians in Rome, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:6-11

He says this later in the same letter, “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Romans 10:8-11

At this time, no matter what the season God is waiting and wanting all of us to receive his gift, the best gift ever, forgiveness of sins, welcome into family and eternal life with him in a place where there are no tears or pain, only love and joy.

I originally posted this on Facebook at Christmas time. God’s gift to us is available 24/7/365. Will you receive his gift to us, to you, today?