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Friday, August 31, 2012

Best Dating Quote Ever

I have no idea who Jefferson Bethke is, but I am now following him (I stole this from a retweet from Matt Chandler)...this is a fantastic perspective, and the best brief commentary on dating ever:

"Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. U either leave unhappy or take something that isn't yours."

Blue Moon

Another evening walk...stopped by the Bethel Cemetery on the way back,and tried to get creative with the blue moon...won't be another one for over a year...and, yes, it is the moon...not the sun...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Missouri Treat

Jacob and I went to the Missouri Regional Conservation headquarters on the campus of Missouri Western University for a program on black bears. Never knew this place was there..many displays, lots of information, great program.

Here's a couple shots:
                                             The skull of a black bear draws mixed reaction
                              A of many displays

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Apologies to (Potential) Commenters

A great friend just made the time to let me know the "word verification" previously required for those who wanted to post comments has been a pain.

If you've been frustrated by this, I ask for your forgiveness, and want you to know I have disabled that function. I can deal with potential spam; would rather make it easier for I can grow in understanding through your comments.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Preach It, Lady!

Absolutely stunning stuff...I am first amazed, blessed, and challenged by the content; and, a distant second, flabbergasted that she memorized this poem. The delivery, and the fact that the speaker is a woman, may cloud your thinking; shake your head, open your heart, and watch this....(and, yes, some of the secondary content is directly applicable to African/Americans...but it all applies to us...)

Lord, Help Me Not To Be Like Lucy

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Struck by the many "unknown soldier" headstones at the Springfield, Missouri National Cemetery; especially this one...I assume these soldiers were from one of the battles around Springfield during the Civil War (what a ridiculous name for a war!)...but wonder...about their story, individually and collectively; why they were buried together (could be gruesome); if their loved ones ever knew of their resting place...and confident that the Lord knew each by name...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Civil Cemetery

I took a few walks around the Springfield (Mo) National Cemetery while we Hagers had a mini-vacation. A brochure at the hotel says this is the only national cemetery that has warriors from both the Union and the Confederacy buried.

Here's some shots:

                                   639 unknowns...amazing...sad...

                    Gotta do some research and find out why this guy got buried in the States?

Help Wanted...

I do not want this to turn into an argument between calvinists and armenians.

But I continue to be perplexed; and risk opening the proverbial can of worms.

Some of you will know to whom I refer. I ask you NOT to mention his name on this public forum.

Decades ago I served with a young man who was a phenomenal preacher of the Word. Hundreds came to Christ under his include a staff member with whom I now serve. He officiated the wedding of another staff member.

Then he was caught in homosexual sin.

He disappeared.

Then he showed up pastoring a small church. A friend stumbled into this situation, and learned that the "pastor" had told the church that he was out of the ministry for a while because of his wife's death. He left.

Later he showed up at a Metropolitan Community "Church" in Kansas City and later "married" his long time partner.

Now he pastors an, according to their website, "open and affirming" "church" near Kansas City.

Question: How does (or does)  First John 2.19 apply? "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us."

Was he ever a Christian? Or did God simply bless the message rather than the messenger? If your theology allows, did he "lose" his salvation? Can he be a genuine Christian and live in ongoing sin as a lifestyle? Even if you believe "once saved always saved," is it possible for a genuine Christian to give up his salvation? ("No man can pluck them out of My hand" says Jesus, but can you jump?)

This individual serves as an example of all too many I've known over the years. Then, for those who remember, we have Ray Boltz and Jennifer Knapp.

As homosexual practice (as opposed to temptation) continued to become a huge focal point in the professing church, maybe I'm not the only one who is trying to biblically, and thus logically, work through this stuff?

What thinkest thou?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lucys are in Your Life

And mine...I saw this today and it reminded me that there are a whole lot of folks who don't need a Bible verse, a Christian cliche, or a new book to read...

They simply need someone to listen....

Will I (you?) be the one?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tree Trio

This Sunday afternoon we all went hiking in the woods across from our dry...still has its own beauty...spotted these three trees...

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Jacob and I spent the morning near and in the Remington Nature Center, one of St Joseph's treasures. The "Landis Battery" of Civil War reenactors had a cannon; shot it; discussed it. We then went inside the Center and saw an amazing display of arrowheads, axes, and much more. These collectors are there this weekend only; most of the stuff was found locally. Incredible! One of those few hour trips that cost nothing and educated much. Thankful...
                                           Jacob and the boys relaxing after firing cannon...

                                   This man gave Jacob part of the fuse puller...

                              Jacob, the Colonel, and the horse (General Lee)

                                  Of give me a (museum) where the buffalo (don't) roam...

                                              Yes, I am rather glad I got the burst...
   Jacob, the cannon, and the Big Muddy (Missouri River)

                                  One of dozens of displays inside the Remington Center...

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Quick heads-up...

More than likely someone is going to kick

Probably nothing you did to "deserve" it; nothing you can do to prevent it.

You can do something now to determine how you'll respond...You probably know what that is, yes?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Advice for Camp Directors

Seven or eight weeks of camp ministry this summer.

Over 200 weeks throughout the ministry to which the Lord has called me (I am not now, never have been, and never will be a "numbers" person)

In Indianapolis waiting for my friend Chris and son Jacob to wake up so we can continue the journey home. It has been a great season, marvelous to watch Spirit work...

A few reflective observations, suggestions if you will, for those who oversee Christian camps.

In no particular order...

1) Good and healthy food. If you can't afford to do this, don't do camp. Find a way to provide salad bar for lunch and dinner, or at a minimum one of them. Lousy food, or unhealthy food (no matter how "good" it tastes) makes grumpy and/or sluggish campers. Sucks.

2) Great counselors. Committed to the Lord, ready to sacrificially minister to kids, not "only" during camp, but as long as ex campers stay in possibly for life. Not committed to "decisions," as in pushing campers to make a "decision" for Christ, to "pray the prayer" etc...Counselors who will hang with the goofy kid, the unwashed kid, as well as the "cool" and good looking campers. Counselors who will spend time, sit with, eat with the campers rather than the staff or other counselors

3) Speakers/teachers who will bring it...what?...the gospel, and how it is not "just" how we get saved, but "as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him."

4) Think through evening programming. Do we really need a "big" event after the worship/preaching sessions? All too often there is a move of Spirit of God but counseling is cut short because we "have" to get to the big game. Oh, but some kids will be disappointed (or is it the staff who will be disappointed?) Too bad. At a minimum allow adequate time for counseling/prayer after the evening teaching/preaching session.

5) Unless it particularly fits the "theme" or whatever, don't introduce new songs at camp. It is hard enough to get teens to sing the first few days anyway; use some songs (meaningful, biblical songs) that most know rather than try to teach new stuff...

6) Not suggesting burkas or however you spell that, but publish clothing guidelines and ENFORCE them..not "only" at the pool. Hard to teach on modesty etc when too much is hanging out and otherwise exposed. And enforce it for counselors (and staff) as well as campers!

7) Touched on earlier, but needs to be stressed..have counselors/staff sit among the campers, not among each other. Don't make the speaker be the cop.

There is more, but I'll work on it more before venting.

These are simply observations. The camps I was at this summer, for the most part, were excellent in administration, ministry, and so much more.

But we can all do better...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Korea Kamp to Philly to York, Pa

Year 23 preaching at "Korean Kamp" for Pioneers for Christ ended around noon today (Saturday). Chris Davison, son Jacob and I traveled into Philadelphia to play tourist; got stuck in some demonstration by 30,000 union workers (gee, wonder who they will vote for?), so didn't get to spend as much time as hoped; but did see a bit of the sites, went through Chinatown, enjoyed philly steaks...then drove as far as York, Pa..Jane pricelined us a fantastic old hotel in the middle of town..the Yorktowne...very cool. Posting photos before hitting the horizontal...
                                                         A guest list impresses..our name will soon be on it (not)
                                                             The Yorktowne in York, Pa

                                              Jacob's favorite part of Philly Chinatown.

                                     While paying toll enroute to Philly a northbound vehicle had a serious problem, responders got there as we pulled out, no idea what happened...

                                Hopefully they will see places like this only from the outside...

                                                 Lots of interesting architecture in York, Pa

                                         Kevin Ro was Chris' counselor, a long time friend of mine
                                                        and a new friend of Jacob!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Telling the Story of the Gospel

Yet another great writing from Tim Keller:

"At some point you need to tell the Christian story in a way that addressses the things that people most want for their own lives, the things that they are trying to find outside of Christianity, and show how Christianity can give it to them.

Alasdair MacIntrye said this about narratival apologetics, 'That narrative prevails over its rivals which is able to include its rivals within it, not only to retell their stories as episodes within its story, but to tell the story of the telling of their stories as such episodes.' Read that sentence again.

There is a way of telling the gospel that makes people say, ' I don't believe it's true, but I wish it were.' You have to get to the beauty of it, and then go back to the reasons for it. Only then, when you show that it takes more faith to doubt it than to believe it; when the thigns you see out there in the world are better explained by the Christian account of things than the secular account of things; and when they experience a community in which they actually do see Christianity embodied, in healthy Christian lives and solid Christian community, that many will believe."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Brief but Powerful

Tim Keller:

"If two spouses each say, 'I'm going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,' you have the prospect of a truly great marriage."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Don't, Snoopy!

Ah, Snoopy.

Nothing good is going to come of this.

You can't do anything about the first look.

But you can do something about the second.

Bounce your eyes! Look away! Take a cold shower! Do something...just don't..oops...too took the second look.

Yeah, there's a lesson here amid the amazing simple drawings of Schultz:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Don't let the title fool you.

I am saddened that yet another mega-church pastor has fallen. If you do not know about this one, I'll not mentioned his name, except that he traveled in, ah, "Independent" circles...and his predecessor (and father-in-law) was Jack Hyles...

On my morning walk I prayed for the situation (my brother-in-law is a pastor in the same church) and those involved.

About that time a young lady jogged towards me. She was drop-dead gorgeous and, sadly, not wearing a whole lot.

I :"bounced-my-eyes" and by His grace and my discipline did not bounce back...

But I thought about the pastor, so many others I've known or known of who have crashed and burned. Brought Casting Crowns "Slow Fade" (if you've never seen the 'official' video; or it has been a while, make the time to watch) to my mind and heart.

Then I thought back to the "independent" pastor.

And again recognized that legalism is not only a disgrace to the gospel...but it doesn't "work."

This pastor was from the school of "thought" that preached any type of music with a beat was wrong, girls/women must always wear dresses (or skorts), virtually all movies and tv were of-the-devil, etc etc etc.

And the pastor gets busted for a sexual relationship with a "young woman" in the congregation (and the FBI is investigating.

I take no joy in this. But I do make the observation...legalism is not only asinine, it doesn't work.

"Flee youthful lusts" "Pursue holiness" "Whatsoever things are pure..."

These "work" as we keep asking the Spirit of God to fill us (as opposed to "thrill us") and do all we can to "fix our eyes on Jesus."

And a regular prayer of mine, for myself first and others also, is:

Psalm 69.6, "Let not those who hope in You be put to shame through me, O Lord God of hosts;
                    Let not those who seek You be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wichita Star Wars

"Exploration Place" in Wichita is a 3 1/2 hour drive from the Hager home. Early this morning Jacob and I drove into town to pick up Nick Davison, Jacob's buddy and made the journey.

Why that length of trip when Kansas City's "Science Center" is just a short drive?

A traveling Star Wars exhibit!

My first camp of the year, Horn Creek in Colorado, was fantastic, in large part because of "Brother/Sister," a band (who also serve as counselors) from Central Christian College in McPherson, Ks. Jaime, the drummer, really connected with all of us, perhaps especially a few days ago I let him know of our journey and he met us at the museum...much to Jacob's delight....who had no idea he was coming (he lives about 45 minutes away from the museum).

It was a great, after having Chinese delivered, we are about to swim the day away...made nicer since it is about 105 outside.

Here's perhaps too many photos...but, hey, now they are on line forever..or so...

                                                              No, we did not buy it!
                                                 Jaime observes Jacob simulating flight
                                              Jaime and Jacob doing some learning!
                                    Jacob and Nick in another simulator
                                Thankfully the (real) Force is ALWAYS with us...
                                              Yeah, they are a bit crazy after 3 1/2 hrs in car...
                                                 Who knows?
                                        The program is here until mid September...
                                               Jacob trying to imitate Chewy
                                     Lots of models and guns and equipment and other props

                                    Nick successfully programmed a computerized robot...

                                              My favorite..Jacob says because we are both old (ancient)
                                           Nick, Jacob, Jamie
                                                  A good bat..
                                            Nick imitates one of the Wilber brothers...or is it Wilbur?
                              What's this?'s the Pits and the Pendulum...