John Schmid Music

Author: Beth Miller

RANK STRANGERS – Song by Ralph Stanley

At a church picnic in mid August I was told that an old family friend was not healthy. This man and his family had farmed the land back our lane east of Moreland when I was a boy. The next Sunday I went to visit him. He was not home, but what I want to report is not about the health of my friend, but the state of my home town… uh… ‘home village’ of Moreland.

I drove east on County Road 77, now called Moreland Road, and I mentally named every family as I went past their farms and homes: Franklin School, Hoy, Ackerman, Schmid (us) Kaufman, Baker, Clark, White, Hoffman, Beegle, Bricker, Leeper…  In my mind I could see the people as I drove by. I was their paper boy and hired hand. I made hay on every field on that mile long road. I helped milk their cows and plow their fields. I could tell you what tractors they owned and what make (and year?) of pickup truck they drove.

About half way between Franklin School (my alma mater) and the Moreland Church, I started to realize: They’re all gone! Not one of the old neighbors in that mile stretch of “my” old road is still living! Only two of the farms are still in the same family: the Bakers and Whites. The second and third generations of Bakers and Whites are now living on those properties. All the other farms are owned by “newcomers.”

And wouldn’t you know? The next day my friend, Milt Helmuth (Illinois), sent a thought by a man named “Anon” that was exactly what I was muling over in my mind. Here it is:

In 100 years (2123 AD) we will all be buried with our relatives and friends. Strangers will live in the homes that we fought so hard to build and pay off. They will own everything we have today. All of our possessions will be gone: our homes, our land, our bank accounts, even our children. Our beautiful car will be scrap or in the museum of a collector.

Our descendants will hardly know who we were, nor will they remember us. (How many of us know our grandfather’s father?) After we die, we will be remembered for a few more years, then we are just a portrait on someone’s bookshelf, and a few years later our photos, deeds, activities and our stories will disappear in history’s oblivion. We won’t even be memories.

If we paused one day to analyze these thoughts, perhaps we would understand how ignorant and weak the dream to achieve it all was. If we could only think about this, surely our approaches and our thoughts would change, we would be different people. Are we always wanting more? Have we no time for what’s really valuable in this life…?

If I could, I would change all this to live and enjoy the walks I’ve never taken, the hugs I didn‘t give, those kisses for our children and our loved ones, the conversations we didn’t have time for. Those would certainly be the most beautiful moments to remember. After all, that’s what fills our lives with joy.  And here we are, wasting it day after day with busyness, worry, anxiousness, desire for more… We are missing what really matters.

This article from Milt sure hit home after the “Moreland Reminder” of how brief life is and how things change and what is really important in life.

Folks, life is short! Make every day count.

“What is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” -James 4:14         “Today is the day of salvation.” -2 Cor. 6:2
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever(!).”
Hebrews 13:8 

Only one life and soon ‘tis past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.


I left Washington D.C. on July 21 and started cycling on the C&O Towpath. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal starts in D.C. and goes to Cumberland, MD. It has been dufunct since 1924, but the towpath has been restored as a bicycle/hiking path from D.C. to Cumberland, MD. From Cumberland to Pittsburgh it’s the old P & LE RR (Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Rail Road). The old RR bed has been restored into a bicycle  trail.  333 miles total. I biked it in six days and then Lydia picked me up in Pittsburgh. A great time of refreshing, praying, clearing my head, exercise… and even some ministry along the way: a church service near Needmore, PA and several divine appointments along the trail. (See my FB for daily diary.)

After six days of almost 60 miles of biking a day, we took a trip out west to visit family and for six days I just sat around, eating and talking! :-/  Now I’m “back in the saddle again” in my office.

I was just in Washington, DC and I’m a musician, so allow me to share this unrelated true story:

In Washington DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. At about eight minutes, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and without stopping, continued to walk. At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.  For forty-five minutes the musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected $32. After one hour he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. He put his violin in the case.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played some of the most intricate pieces ever written while playing a 300 year old Stradivarius violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell played to a sold-out a theater in Boston where people paid $100 a seat to hear him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions: In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made… How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

                                     “What I to you, I say to everyone: Watch!” -Jesus


“I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory… I will make every effort to see… that you remember these things.”I Peter 1:12f

Memory. Most of my life I have been blessed with a good memory. And most of my memories are good. I grew up in the ‘50’s when America was the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Almost every friend my age grew up in a two parent home. Close to half of my class were from farm families. There were chores before and after school.

In my grade school of about 200 students, I can remember only one student in all eight grades who was from a divorced home. He was an anomaly in our community and in our era.

We had Bible reading and prayer every morning. In a public school!

I walked a quarter mile to the school. We lived half way back a half mile long lane just west of the school. It was a quarter mile to the road to catch the bus or a quarter mile through the fields to the school. Everyone of our teachers was from the community. Our fifth grade teacher, Virgil Yoder, lived the fartherest from the school: 5 miles! They all knew my family and we knew the teachers’ families. My eighth grade teacher taught my dad AND my grandfather! I was a third generation student for her.

Franklin Twp. School was closed by the Triway district two years ago and is now called Willing Hearts Workshop, a school for Amish Handicapped children. I went to their fund raiser on June 3, mainly to visit my old school. About 1000 people were there scattered among the four big tents with goods and auctioneers to raise funds. I wandered through the old schoolhouse where every room had a memory. The huge new gym is no longer huge and no is longer new. In fact, the whole school house seems to have shrunk.

I left the school auction and drove back the lane to visit my birthplace. No one was home, so I drove on back another quarter mile to the old stone house and the pond where I used to fish and where I learned to swim. No one was there, so I stood there and basked in the memories of my idyllic childhood. The picnics back here; the bass and bluegill we caught in the pond and cooked right there on the bank, or at home; the sled riding, the swimming, the hunting… the time our dog kept barking and running back and forth like Lassie on TV, so we finally followed her and discovered that little brother Steve had wandered off and was stuck in the freezing swamp. Our dog saved Steve’s life! 

We have been off the “farm” (it wasn’t really a farm) for over 50 years, but it is still my “home place.” The first eleven years of my life were there. I reminisced over how God has led me from the little boy who thought that “Bah, Bah Blacksheep” was written about him (“…one for the little boy who lived back the lane.”) to a prison minister/singer who has been to all 50 states and 45 countries and has met some very significant people and friends.

My Saturday jaunt to Franklin Twp. School and then back the lane where I started out was a reminder of how God has blessed me. I have visited countries where the people don’t seem to have a chance. What if I had been born there? Or what if I had been born in the inner city just 60 miles away? Or what if my parents had not been loving and encouraging…?

I thank God for my family, my heritage, my abilities… and that somewhere along the line I had enough sense to quit trying to make it on my own and look to God through Jesus to guide me. He has lead me to the right woman, the right “job” (if you can call it a job), He has given Lydia and me good children… I am blessed!

Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.  I remember my youth and thank my Creator!


When I can’t think of a good story, I tend to regress to the mundane act of sharing our schedule. (Truth is, I can always think of a good story, but in this letter, it should be true.)


The month of May started out with a Gospel Echoes banquet. Their three week banquet tour came through Holmes County (twice), so I joined them in Walnut Creek for a song, a good testimony, fellowship and some good Dutchman cooking.

The rest of that week I was in a studio recording my book, The Power of a Song, to be an Audio Book. If it’s recorded professionally well, it can be heard on If it doesn’t meet their standards, it can be obtained on our website or local bookstores.

While I was in the studio, I also read the story of The Hochstetler Massacre from The Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler by Harvey Hochstetler. This audio reading will be included on a CD to accompany the song, The Ballad of Jacob Hochstetler. It will be available at the Quinquennial Hochstetler Reunion in Arthur, IL, July 28 & 29.  If you don’t know what “quinquennial” means, join the club I use to belong to. It means, “every five years.”

I had three funerals, eight Bible studies, an auction, a 50th wedding anniversary celebration (Phil & Diane Sarlo), an Amish School year-end concert and an Amish School end-of-year picnic (Flat Ridge), many morning coffee meetings, two concerts, a Memorial Day service at the Butler-Morgan Cemetery, south of Moreland (where 3 revolutionary soldiers and Shawnee Chief Cornstalk’s daughter are buried) and one prison!

Speaking of prison: prisons are opening up, but our problem (that is, Common Ground Ministry’s problem) is a shortage of staff to answer the phone or our emails. Gospel Echoes president, Glendon Bender, reported that prisons are at 50% staffing, which means much overtime, tired officers, more danger, more attacks, more suicides among inmates… and who wants to apply for a job where safety is compromised?! There have been several riots because of staff shortage. It’s a dangerous spiral that is going down. The fewer staff there is, the more dangerous; the more dangerous, the harder it is to hire new staff. Pray for our prison system and prison workers; our prison ministry; our crime plagued nation.

Also: Over half of the chaplains that I knew, and had a long relationship with, retired during the stressful two years of COVID, with shut downs, isolation, no visitors, mask and testing mandates, sickness and death. Yesterday I finally got a return call from the new chaplain of a prison where we have ministered for over 30 years. “Now, who are you? And what is the name of your organization? And what do you do?” After 33 years, we are starting over in that institution.

It’s not that we have nothing to do. We still have chaplains who know us and welcome us to their facilities. Our schedule is full and useful with churches, concerts, banquets,, etc.  But our calling is to prisons. So, until we can get back on track with prisons, we will “occupy until He comes.” The fields are ripe for harvest.

We look forward to a busy, happy summer. We have trips planned to Maine, Illinois, Pa., Germany and…? We will sing and share wherever we can.

Have a great summer! Occupy until He comes! (Luke 19:13)


This devotional by former Asbury College president, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, was extra interesting to me after being in Jerusalem two months ago:

One of the criminals who hung there blasphemed Him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save Yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39)

The cross is the central fact of our faith. It is no accident that our thoughts continually bring us back to Golgotha. But the cross of Christ, though central, does not stand alone. That day there were two other crosses on that hill. The God of providence, who ordered all time and history to point to this scene, would never have allowed an accident here. Those two theives’ crosses each carry their messages for us, too.

On one of these crosses was a poor soul who tried to find some relief by cursing Jesus. He added his voice to those of others as they taunted and mocked the Lord. This man whom Jesus was dying to save poured out his bitter imprecations upon the One who was loving him until the death.

The striking lesson for us to learn here is how close a person can be to Jesus and still miss Him! This thief could not have been more than a few feet away from Him. He undoubtedly heard every whisper that came from the lips of Jesus. God had brought the thief this close to Jesus so that he might make peace with Him, yet the thief cursed.

It is possible to be this close to Christ and still miss Him! One of His apostles did. One can be in the church and miss Him. John Wesley did until he was thirty five years of age. You can even be in the ministry and miss Him. It was the chief priest who plotted His crucifixion. The supreme tragedy of human history is that many who are closest to Christ miss Him!


“Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

The thief on the other side of Jesus joined his voice to those of the crowd and his fellow thief as they cursed Jesus. His bitterness matched theirs. As the hours passed, though, he sensed a difference between Jesus and the others. He heard Jesus ask the Father to forgive those who were killing Him. That produced thoughts that were unthinkable to him. Forgiveness?! Could there be such for him?! As he listened to Christ and sensed the Spirit that moved within Him, he made a decision. He decided that if forgiveness was possible, he wanted it, and if anyone could give it, this strange One could. What did he have to lose? So he prayed to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The lessons here flood one on top of another. How far can you go in sin and still find forgiveness? How far from the church and its normal ministries can one be and still become a recipient of grace? How late can you wait before the hope of Christ’s pardon is gone? This story makes it clear that no one, no matter how far from God, is beyond the reach of the love of Christ as long as breath remains. Thank God for that thief’s cross as well as for the one in the middle, the cross of Christ; the cross of salvation.

Three crosses. Each one has a message. How close can you be and still miss Him? How far away can you be and still get in? How late can you wait? The middle cross: Salvation!

            “Now is the time of God’s favor; today is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2

            “This very night your life [may] be demanded from you” Luke 12:20

            “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6


(or… where have we been?)

November 2021 Newsletter

Amish Country Theater, Berlin Square, Round Lake Christian Camp, Rosco Village Methodist Church, Nazareth Man House in Goshen, Indiana, Logger’s Cook Off Church, Wayne County Fair, Plain City Annual Fund Raiser Concert, Fredericksburg Homecoming, CGM Annual Banquet, Smithville Ruritans, Changed Lives Ministries Banquet, Hochstetler Reunion, Berea Church Picnic, Longenecker Church, Crafter’s Fair in Shipshewana… and that was September!

Prisons are still closed to outside groups except for regular weekly Bible Study volunteers, and then only one or two people at at time may enter, but we are keeping busy with other events as you can see in the preceeding paragraph. This week I will again email as many prisons as I can to hint around that we are available. Chaplains have been overwhelmed and overworked for the last year and a half, so even if/when they open up, we want to keep our name on their front burner. Pray for the chaplains, the inmates and the outside groups that are ready and willing to go in.

The following thought, “The Hope of the World,” is from Dennis Kinlaw’s devotional, This Day With The Master, pg. Sept 24. Dr. Kinlaw was president of Asbury College when I attended there (in the last century). I thought of this because in our current world situation, I am tempted to look to the wrong places for help. Dr. Kinlaw reminds us that our only hope is in Jesus:


The hope of the world is not in power, position, or wisdom, and it is especially not in money. The hope of the world is in those people who are clean.

Isaiah 52:11 says,

Depart! Depart!…
Touch no unclean thing;
Go out from the midst of her,
Be clean,
You who bear the vessels of the LORD.

If you are to be the witness for Christ that He asks you to be, if you are to have a future with Him, you must be clean. The future and the hope of the world is wherever God is, and God dwells with and in His people when they are clean. He can get rid of our sins and take care of our failures and create in us a place in which He would feel comfortable living. Once we allow Him to do that, there is no end to what the Spirit can do with our lives.

You may be trying to possess Him. You may be trying to have Christ and keep some pollution in your heart. It will not work. If the future is to be realized, you must let Him cleanse you so you are clean, pure, and holy. He wants possession of every area of our lives, and if you surrender your life to Him, you will find yourself with a future.

What Christ receives He cleanses, and what He cleanses He fills, and what He fills He uses. The hope of the world lies in the people who give themselves to Him for cleansing and filling.


September 2021 Newsletter

The last year has been “fearful times.” It has caused me to think about the question in Ezekiel 33:10, “How shall we then live?” We have been mandated by the government and the medical community certain ways to live: what to wear; where to go; where to not go; what medicine to take; what not to take; what we can say and what we cannot say…

One thing I don’t want to be in this fearful time: Fearful.

The COVID pandemic has filled us with fear. There is reason for this fear. The pandemic is real. I have lost six friends and several aquaintances because of COVID. They may have had underlying health issues, but they would not have died if they had not contracted COVID. It’s serious.

But I have lost almost as many friends during this time because of car accidents, cancer, heart attacks and who knows what other reasons. This may sound calloused, but, death happens. Everyday. I grieve. I cry. It makes me sad. But fearful?! I refuse to live in fear. I have friends who have hardly left their homes since March 2020! Fear has ruled their lives for a year and a half! They are paralyzed.

When I built silos in 1975, many friends cautioned me: be careful, people fall from silos. (A friend fell and was killed that summer.) It’s dangerous. You are being foolish. You are tempting fate. So many people told me how dangerous it was that I decided to look for something “safer.” While the silo crew was working at a feed mill in Baltic, I noticed that a feed truck was sitting in the same place for several days. I went in the office and asked if they needed a driver. “Yes, we do! The driver of that truck swung the auger out on a farm last Tuesday and he hit an electric wire and was killed.”

Dude! I walked out of that office thinking that I’d just as soon die falling off of a silo as to be electrocuted operating a feed truck! (I even heard of a man who died from an infection that he got from a paper cut! Is any job “safe?”)

Our missionary staff in Costa Rica thought I was tempting death because I had a motorcycle. “You’re going to get killed!” “Costa Ricans drive like maniacs” (Fact check: partly true) “You have no regard for your life!” (Fact check: false). I finally told the staff that if I would have had the level of caution that they are telling me I should have, I never would have come to Costa Rica! I was told Costa Rica was dangerous (Fact check: probably not true). “People kill each other down there. Don’t you watch the news?!” “There are diseases there! Snakes! Sickness!” “We’ll never see you again!”

I heard the story of a very fearful, cautious man in Miami who was afraid to take a walk because of the dangerous, heavy traffic. He went to the tourist bureau and asked what was the safest time to walk in Miami? The answer? Sunday morning. Why? Because it’s not a work day; all the Catholics are in church; all the protestants are in bed and all the Jews are down at the beach. So, the man took a stroll during the safest hour of the week: Sunday morning. He was run over and killed by a Seventh Day Adventist! 🙂

Folks, living is hazardous to your health. Be cautious. Be diligent. Everyday something bad could happen. But fearful? We don’t have to live in fear. Silo builders have safety procedures. Feed trucks can be utilized safely. Cars have seat belts. Germs and viruses are in the very air I am breathing as I type this letter. There is danger all around us 24/7. These are perilous times. Sickness, accidents, wars, turmoil, family issues, church stuff… be concerned. But fearful?! Not me.

“Fear not,” occurs 365 times in scripture. That’s one for every day of the year.

“Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise…” Eph. 5:15 BUT! – “Fear not.” -Jesus


August 2021 Newsletter

From Showing Up, pg. 3 by John Schmid

“I don’t even know where my children are…” said Sue from her prison cell. Volunteer Brenda Duvendeck was trying to strike up a conversation with her during the Bill Glass Prison Weekend of Champions in Northwest Ohio back in 1994, but Sue was not in the mood to talk. To get a conversation going, Brenda asked if she had children.

“Yes, I have children, but I don’t even know where they are. They’re in a foster home somewhere.”
“I used to keep foster children,” Brenda said. “What are your children’s names?”
“Desiree, Lavon and Miranda,” said Sue.
“I kept three children with those names last year! We went to Lake Erie several weekends and the Cleveland Indians games,” Brenda offered.
“YES! They wrote to me that they went fishing! Are you Brenda?! Do you have any pictures of them?!”
“Yes, on my refrigerator! I’ll bring them tomorrow.”
“Please do,” Sue almost shouted.

The next morning Brenda returned to the NW Ohio Prison with the photos. She hurried through security went directly to Sue’s cell and showed her several photos of three happy looking children sitting in Brenda’s front yard after a fishing trip. Sue burst into tears.
“Oh my children, my children! Desiree, Lavon, Miranda! How big they’ve grown. They look so happy. Oh, my children, my children…” and then more sobs.

Coincidence? No. A divine encounter. God set this up so that hardened, depressed, down-and-out Sue could reconnect with her children, and who knows? Connect with God.

I never heard what happened next. Did Sue commit her life to Jesus? Did she become a Christian? Where is she now?

Twenty some years after this happened (2015?) I was singing at an outdoor event in Shipshewana when I noticed a woman in the crowd who looked like Brenda. I took a chance, and from the stage I said, “Brenda?” She looked up. It was Brenda, the prison volunteer! “Did you volunteer with Bill Glass in the ‘90’s?” She nodded.

Before I sang another song, I said, “Folks, let me tell you a story about this lady in the third row,” and I went on to tell about inmate Sue and how volunteer Brenda talked to her through prison bars and discovered that she had kept her children. When I finished the story, I asked, “Sue, did I get it right?” She nodded yes, that was real close. “Have you kept in touch with Sue?” I asked. She shook her head, ‘no’ with a touch of saddness. I still pray for Sue every now and then, when I think of this incident (like right now as I write this).

Bill Bright said, “A successful witnessing experience is when you present the claims of Christ to a person and then leave the results up to God.”

Since we don’t know what happen to Sue, we have no choice but to leave the results up to God. I think He can handle it. But He wants to use you and me to share His love and salvation with the world. “Go into all the world… and I will be with you…” Matt. 28:19


July 2021 Newsletter

I read the obituary of a friend last month. Here is the explanation: “…he died on Tuesday…” That’s all it said. No details, no reason for the death, no accidents or sickness… just simply, “…he died…” And then it went on to tell when he was born, who were his parents, when is the funeral, etc.

I was telling my daughter that it used to be different. They used to give details. We knew the cause of death by reading the obituary. Today everything is so private. I once called the hospital to see if my mom was still there. “Has Lorain Schmid been discharged?” I asked. “We can’t tell you,” was the response. I was slightly “irked,” so I said, “Ma’am, Let me rephrase that: I’d like to speak with Lorain Schmid.” “She is not here. She was discharged this morning.” (?!)

Part of this seemingly unwarranted (in my opinion) privacy kick is because of laws, some of which are there for good reason, others, you just have to wonder what in the world were they thinking?

I told my daughter about a 1937 obituary from my home area of Moreland, Ohio that told the whole story. Since nobody involved is still living, I will quote directly from the original obituary:

“Lester Burnett, 24, first Wayne County man to operate a passenger-carrying plane from a local airport, ended his life last midnight by firing a bullet from a .22 caliber rifle into his brain. Burnett shot himself at the home of his sweetheart, Myrtle Patterson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Patterson, near Moreland. Refusal of Miss Patterson to agree to marry him on her birthday anniversary in June had almost immediately preceeded the shooting.”

The article goes on to explain that Miss Patterson wanted Burnett to have a steady income before she agreed to marry him. Then it gets graphic again:

“Miss Patterson’s father found the young man’s body slumped down in the car seat. Blood flowed from a wound in the forehead. He had evidently shot himself while the girl went upstairs… The coroner pronounced death due to suicide.”

Dude! Can you imagine an obituary like that today?! I realize that death by suicide is horrible for those of us left behind and it is discretionary and kind to the family and survivors to not give details, but the pendulum has swung the other way, leaving us wondering what happened? Lack of details in an obituary makes me guess: Suicide? Drugs? Sickness? Homicide? Old age?

I just learned that a few of my friends have already written their own obituaries! Their reasoning is to spare their children the stress and burden. I haven’t written mine yet, but I learned that D.L. Moody, the famous evangelist, wrote about his obituary:

“Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal-a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.” -D.L. Moody

Friends, life is short; death is certain. Are you concerned about dying? Don’t. You will live forever! Your concern should be: Location, Location, Location.

If you believe in the name of the Son of God (commit your life to Jesus) you can know that you have eternal life.
-I John 5:13

And privacy? “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”
-Luke 12:2

“Be real, stay ready.” -Glendon Bender

“Christians live good and they die good.” – Steve Wingfield


June 2021 Newsletter

At a concert last week, a man came up to me, stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Reuben Wilson!” “Reuben Wilson! From college days?!”

Yes, I had not seen Reuben for 50 years! (I’m old!) He and his wife traveled to Holmes County from Columbus, Ohio just to hear our Tribute to Johnny Cash concert. He saw the advertisement while visiting and said, “I think I know that guy.” After the concert we sat in the hotel lobby and reminisced. How could it be 50 years?! We talked for an hour or so and then decided to have breakfast the next morning at Boyd & Wurthmann Restaurant here in Berlin.

On the way home after a long breakfast, I began to understand a statement that all the old fogies used to say: “Life is short.” My response was always, “Yeah, yeah, you old fogies are always thinking about the ‘good old days’ and how the younger generation doesn’t appreciate anything.”

Well, now that I am an old fogie, I realize that the older old fogies knew what they were talking about. They had experienced it. Life is short. Your children grow up fast. You grow old faster than your think. You can’t run as fast (if at all), there are aches and pains in places that you didn’t even know you had places… The fogies were trying to warn me. They didn’t use these phrases, but they were saying, “Redeem the time.” “Don’t miss life.” “Don’t mess around…” “Life is short!”

Which brings me to an amazing piece of time trivia that came to mind: I shook hands with a lady who shook hands with Abe Lincoln! Can you believe that?! Yes, I actually shook hands with a lady who shook hands with Abe Lincoln!

When I was a young boy, the farmer across the road was Jim Hoy. His mother, Kate, lived with him. She was born in 1859. In 1861 Abe Lincoln’s campaign train made whistle stops in Ohio. Jim Hoy said it stopped in Wooster. Local historians doubt that, but the train definitely stopped in Alliance. Kate’s father drove his horse and buggy to wherever it was to witness the event and Abe Lincoln reached out from his train car and shook little two year old Kate’s hand!

And 90 some years later, I shook Kate’s hand. (OK, I don’t remember actually “shaking her hand,” but I was in her living room enough remember that she patted me on the head a time or two.) The point is, I have a “physical connection” with a great president who was born over 200 years ago! And… is 200 years as long ago as I previously thought? Maybe Einstein was right: Time is relative.

Time. Sometimes it seems to drag. But no grandfather clock ever had “Time Drags” written on its face. Tempus fugit (Time flies) is the classic reminder. Don’t waste time. Life is short.

“Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.” -Charles Hummel

“The chief value of an anniversary is to call us to greater faithfulness in the time that is left.” -William Manning

“Redeem the time because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:16

“A thousand years are like a day.” -God (Ps. 90:4 and I Pet. 3:8)