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Confronting the King

Less than twenty-four hours after performing a ceremony for a homosexual couple, Mayor Greg Goodnight said that he had been confronted by several people in his city who were concerned about his involvement. Don Burris was one of those men and spoke to the mayor on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 2014, one day after the event. While talking with Don, the mayor was pleasant, yet unwavering. Don stated that the mayor’s misdirected compassion had blinded him to the sin of homosexuality as well as to his own sin as an accomplice. Don handed the mayor a personal copy of the article, “When a King Sins”, before it was posted online. Don considers the mayor to be a friend and not just a politician. He cares for the mayor as well as for the people of Kokomo and their relationship with God.

Don-1

Don Burris

Since it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, Don knew that his own role in confronting the mayor was limited to faithfully speaking the truth to him. The mayor didn’t yet see the difference between compassion for sinners versus condoning sin, or that ultimately sinners are harmed by friends and family who enable their ungodly behavior. The mayor may not realize that ‘faithful are the wounds of a friend’.[1] Although it is never easy to tell a friend that he has sinned, it is still the most loving thing to do for him at that time. The person’s feelings may be hurt; yet, rather than being harmed by the truth, the person is helped by it. Jesus Himself said that the truth will set you free.

The biblical story of John the Baptist is well-known, but there is no mention as to whether any other men confronted King Herod concerning his sin of adultery[2]. Also, even though John the Baptist was doing the right thing, it is assumed by most scholars that he was thunderous in his approach. Perhaps, instead, John the Baptist was speaking the truth with charity, even though his words were penetrating. He knew from the scriptures that iron sharpens iron as one man sharpens another.[3] It’s possible that he was fond of the king and wanted to see him succeed. So, John the Baptist may have begun his vocal opposition to the king’s sin with a respectful introduction beforehand such as, “Oh, king, live forever! Yet, I beseech thee to consider thy ways, which are an abomination unto Almighty God. It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.”

It is important to note that Biblical narratives such as this one have been played out again and again throughout the centuries in new eras, new places and new lives. These scriptural narratives are not merely dusty stories, but they are guiding examples for how people should-and should not-live. In a good way, history repeats itself when believers internalize scriptural truths from these narratives, because the Bible is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. Indeed, the Bible gives wisdom for the here and now.

Thus, throughout the ages, kings have sinned and have been confronted time after time. Some kings have repented, others have remained blinded and more than a few have rebelled. Today, God is still giving kings an opportunity to reign justly, and He is still calling believing men around the world to play the bold role of John the Baptist when sin needs confronting. Why? To be condemning? No! It is for the purpose of God’s truth to shine in the darkness so that sinners can repent and be saved.

It remains to be seen how many men will answer that call for boldness to confront the mayor by speaking truth to him. And, it is not yet known how the mayor, the king of Kokomo, will ultimately respond, whether by: 1) repenting, 2) remaining blinded, or 3) rebelling.

God is giving Mayor Greg Goodnight a choice while the city of Kokomo hangs in the balance of that choice.

 

[1] Proverbs 27:6

[2] Matthew 14:1-12

[3] Proverbs 27:17

 

 

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When a King Sins

The king of Kokomo is in the spotlight. Unfortunately it is for the sinful act of exchanging God’s truth regarding marriage for a lie, thus effectively showing approval for those practicing the sin of homosexuality. The suddenness of his action has jolted the city. There are those who support him, and there are those who are grieved in their spirits.

What is a king’s subject to do when his sovereign sins?

This was the question before John the Baptist, who learned that King Herod had committed adultery. John, however, did not need to mull over his choices for long. He knew that he could not ignore the sin. And, he knew that his mission was to prepare the way for the Lord by calling people to repentance. Therefore, he boldly and truthfully confronted his king[1], because it was the right thing to do.

It’s very possible that King Herod may not have had good counsel. His yes-men, those who blindly followed him, may have advised him to do the politically correct thing. And, for kings at that time, it was politically expedient to secure liaisons, even if through immorality. The king’s no-men, those who continually opposed him, may have simply turned their backs on the king and his indiscretion, in order to watch him step into a net (hoping that they could steal his throne). The king’s apathetic men, on the other hand, may have simply yawned, bored by it all. And, the king’s truly submitted men, those who understood God’s plan for rulers, may not have been close enough to the city gates to learn of this deviant lifestyle consideration in advance of its occurrence. So, their wisdom may not have reached the king’s ears in time to turn him away from his temptation. Or, it may simply be that King Herod decided to throw caution to the wind and to indulge in sin for a season.

Whatever the case, God ordained King Herod to reign. He had specific purposes in mind for Herod’s administration, including the confrontation of his sin by John the Baptist. God wanted this narrative told to set the record straight:

1)      the king sinned,

2)      his sin was revealed to him,

3)      he did not repent , and

4)      God recorded the account.

God records the stories of all kings, past and present, including some who did repent.[2] He does the same for the king of Kokomo. He set Mayor Greg Goodnight into place, and He sees both the right and wrong things which have been done during Goodnight’s administration.

Mayor Greg Goodnight performed a ceremony on June 27, 2014 between two homosexuals who requested a wedding. In reality, however, there is no such thing as a same-sex marriage. There is sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual depravity, etc. But, marriage, having been created by God, cannot be redefined, no matter whose names are on the paper certificate. Marriage can only be what God says it is and only for those whom God joins together[3]. His Word clearly demonstrates that a marriage is between a man and a woman, with certain limitations, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Anything else is a fraud, a mirage, a mistake, a counterfeit, a sin, but it cannot be a marriage, even if it is state sanctioned.

Genesis 2

Genesis 2:20b-25

A mayor cannot change God’s definition of marriage by presiding over a ceremony, nor can a federal judge do so by casting down a godly law. Straying congregations may teach unsound doctrine and gay activists might shake their fists towards heaven, but God will not be mocked. He will set the record straight. He is patient, though, not wanting any to perish. Yet, his longsuffering has a limit, since His righteousness never changes. His wrath is imminent. And, for that reason, He provides a way out of the bondage of sexual sin and the lies of Satan. Jesus is that Way.

God has recorded Mayor Goodnight’s approval[4] of those who practice the sin of homosexuality. He sees that Goodnight has exchanged the truth of God’s plan for marriage into a lie[5], by presiding over this ceremony. God’s Word tells us to pray for our rulers. Mayor Goodnight needs the prayers of God’s people now more than ever. And, he needs the wisdom that is from above.

Father, God, we pray for Mayor Greg Goodnight. Help him to understand the error of his way. We ask that You give him wise counselors who are submitted to You and not to any ungodly political agenda. We ask that You have mercy on him in his human frailty, but that also Your Holy Spirit’s conviction will enable him to humbly repent so that he can lead his city down the right path. We ask that you will give him moral courage to withstand those bent on destroying Kokomo. And, please protect him and his family.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] Matthew 14:4

[2] 2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51; Daniel 4

[3] Matthew 19:4-6

[4] Romans 1:32

[5] Romans 1:25

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The King of Kokomo, His Subjects and His Kingdom

God sets up kings and kingdoms. Throughout history He has put each ruler into place both for a specific and a general purpose. The specific purpose is either to bless a land or to discipline it. The general purpose is always to bring glory to God (either way).

Wise kings publicly acknowledge their Creator. They take seriously their role in protecting their city and bringing wrath on evildoers. The resulting peace is a blessing to all their people.

Foolish kings forget that their power comes from God Almighty. They become prideful. They do not maintain justice, and instead they protect wickedness.

For Kokomo, God has ordained the type of king that is called a mayor. The power of this type of ruler is limited, which means he cannot take credit for all of the good things that happen in his land, nor can he be blamed for all of the bad things that occur. As with all leaders, however, a mayor is remembered for how well he governed in the sight of God.

God has positioned Mayor Greg Goodnight into a second term at the helm of our city. In both of his terms, Mayor Goodnight has issued proclamations at the National Day of Prayer events and hosted yearly prayer breakfasts. Certainly God knows the mayor’s true heart even away from the cameras.  In fact, the Bible says that God directs the heart of the king.

Currently, here is Kokomo’s record. Some, though not all, city meetings still open with prayer to the one true God. The city ordinances still have language that addresses the morals of the community. The city leaders have courageously challenged businesses that have violations and are even considering stricter oversight. In addition, one instance of human trafficking by a Kokomo man was recently dealt with properly (by both the city and the county).

Regarding the citizens, or subjects, of any kingdom, there are four types. There are the yes-men, the no-men, the apathetic men and the submitted men. The yes-men play politics by blindly following their chosen candidate. The no-men play politics by stubbornly resisting their opponent. The apathetic men could care less. The submitted men follow God’s plan by honoring their ruler and speaking truth in his presence.

Mayor Goodnight deals with all four types of subjects in his kingdom, and yet his success depends in part on how many of the submitted type come forth. If he mainly has yes-men, no-men and apathetic men to work with, his wisdom will be greatly limited. God’s plan for Mayor Goodnight and his subjects is that they will submit to him by respectfully speaking truth and by working with him to bring all things into the light, so that Kokomo can have a peaceful prosperity.

God knows whether there will be a third term for Mayor Goodnight and what type of legacy he will ultimately leave behind. God’s eyes are also roaming the city for submitted subjects who have no ungodly political agenda and yet are bold enough to speak truth, even to a king. The final outcome from this king’s administration including the high or low percentage of submitted subjects in his kingdom will either be God’s blessing for Kokomo–or God’s discipline. Thus, Kokomo will either be exalted in righteousness–or it will be brought down low in reproach by its sinfulness.

Truly, God is giving Kokomo, including its leaders and citizens, a choice.

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December 2012 Kokomo Area Church Calendar

by Linda Burris

Thank you for praying for our Kokomo Area churches! To print the calendar, click on the link to the pdf, located below the image. If a church is not listed and would like to be placed on the calendar in the future, please contact Don and Linda Burris at splashkokomo@comcast.net.

Dec2012-Church Prayer Calendar

December 2012 Kokomo Area Church Calendar – for printing

December 2012 Kokomo/Howard County Governing Leaders Calendar

by Linda Burris

Thank you for praying for our Kokomo/Howard County Governing Leaders! To print the calendar, click on the link to the pdf, located below the image.

Dec2012-Leaders Prayer Calendar

December 2012 Kokomo/Howard County Governing Leaders Calendar – for printing

Kokomo was not built in a day

by Linda Burris

Downtown businesses and visitors enjoy the fact that ‘Kokomo was not built in a day’, because the architecture in the Courthouse Square Historic District consists of several beautiful styles from over many periods of time.

Businesses downtown have the privilege of being located in Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Neoclassical/Craftsman, Mediterranean, Art Deco and Contemporary structures.

Downtown shoppers are intrigued by the many arches, hipped roofs, window hoods, and decorated alleyways along Main, Buckeye, Sycamore, Walnut and Mulberry Streets.

Those transacting business downtown do so among beautiful columned porticos, pilasters and pediment openings.

And, employees on their lunch break can enjoy the small gazebo park on West Sycamore.

The Howard County Courthouse was rebuilt with the 1930’s Art Deco style. (The first courthouse, which was built in 1870 in the Second Empire style, had to be demolished in 1927 due to deterioration.)

Howard County Courthouse, c. 1927, Art Deco style

Two Neoclassical buildings are located across from the Courthouse at 105 and 107 North Buckeye Street, both c. 1915; the 107 address also has Craftsman elements.

Two Neoclassical buildings across from the Courthouse at 105 and 107 North Buckeye Street

There are even two Queen Anne properties downtown! (These are located at 107-9 West Mulberry Street, c. 1895, and 122-24 West Walnut Street, c. 1900).

Queen Anne style, 122-24 West Walnut Street, c. 1900

Dentilated brickwork and an arcaded parapet are featured in the Garritson Building, c. 1911, located at 121 West Sycamore Street.

Garritson Building, c. 1911, with dentilated brickwork and an arcaded parapet

Garritson Building, 121 West Sycamore Street, up close

The Maas Building, c. 1888, with its deliberately differentiated two-part structure is located at 105 East Sycamore Street. Its upper half is designed in the fortress-like Romanesque Revival style, as is the Wilson Block Building, c. 1890, at 114 North Main Street.

Wilson Block building, 114 North Main Street, Romanesque Revival, c. 1890

Artworks has relocated to 210 N. Main, in an Italianate style building, c. 1890. This building is absolutely beautiful inside, and there are many distinctive art shops here.

Artworks, 210 N. Main, in an Italianate style building, c. 1890. This building is absolutely beautiful inside.

Uniquely designed gifts are sold and art classes are taught at Angie Meyers Design Studio, which is located at 104 W. Walnut in a Romanesque Revival building, c. 1890.

Romanesque Revival buildings at 100-104 West Walnut Street; Angie Meyers Design Studio is on the bottom left

Parents, teachers and students who shop at Planet Mind at 108 North Main Street do so in a Mediterranean style building, which was renovated in 2000. Still, the high ceilings and meandering rooms add charm to the shopping experience.

Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe is located right next door and is even accessible through lovely French doors in the Planet Mind location. This building is also done in a Mediterranean style and has beautiful internal features as well.

There is much to see and do in downtown Kokomo…more than a day’s worth, that’s for sure!

That’s because Kokomo was not built in a day, but rather slowly over a period of time, and the same can be said about the great businesses that are located in its downtown district.

(Architectural information obtained from the Howard County Interim Report, Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory, May 2003.)

November 2012 Kokomo Area Church Prayer Calendar

by Linda Burris

Thank you for praying for our Kokomo Area churches! To print the calendar, click on the link to the pdf, located below the image. If a church is not listed and would like to be placed on the calendar in the future, please contact Don and Linda Burris at splashkokomo@comcast.net.

Kokomo Area Church Prayer Calendar

Bishop E. W. Jackson Message to Black Christians – Video

This, dear friends, is an important message for all of us.

Life in Kokomo – 2012 Life Banquet September 27

There is no cost to attend this banquet, but you will be given an opportunity to give financially at the end of the evening.

Please contact the Kokomo Pregnancy Resource Center to reserve your seats!
Call 765.454.5566 or email us at kokomo@hopeforafuture.com

About our speaker…
I was born Hoang-V-Long May 15, 1966 in Laos to a Vietnamese mother and unknown American father. At the age of 2 my mother and I moved to a village outside of Saigon, Vietnam. We lived there with my 78 years old grandmother until I was 7.  That was when my mother died. At that point my grandmother and I moved to Saigon.  Despite my grandmother  working multiple jobs, she couldn’t make enough money to take care of the two of us. In 1974 on my 8th year old birthday, my grandmother took me to the Holt International Orphanage. I lived there until 1975, when James and Mary Steiner adopted me. I corresponded to them through letters. As the war raged closer to Saigon, my departure date got moved up to April 6, 1975. I was on one of the last flights out. I flew by a commercial airliner, Pan Am, as part of a plan known as “Operation Baby Lift”. A flight to freedom. I met my adopted family at the airport in Chicago.  Jim and Mary gave me the American name Matthew which means a “gift from God”. Through adoption, I was given a 2nd chance at life. I not only became a US citizen, but more importantly a Christian. I am so grateful to my family for giving me so many wonderful opportunities. Most importantly, it gave me a family that I desperately wanted. God had his hand on me throughout the journey. I am truly blessed. I am now an Emergency Department physician, which has given me the opportunity to help so many people. My goal is to give other young children the same opportunity given to me through adoption. Matthew 18 :5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

Banquet Location: First Church of the Nazarene, 2734 S. Washington St, Kokomo, IN

Sponsored through Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center.

The (mysterious) birds of Kokomo – 2

We live right next door to a retention pond, so we see a lot of birds.

Ducks and geese come and go (thankfully they do not stay!).

I really love to hear the honking of the geese as they come in for a landing.

Don and I were sitting on our back porch late one night when a heron made quite an entrance. Usually, I see the heron early in the morning, so I am wondering if it stays at the pond all night?

We also see tree swallows as they dive and dip, dive and dip along the pond.

Red-winged blackbirds are common as well as other species.

And, sometimes we see a bird that we don’t recognize.

Do you know if this bird is an American bittern? (If you click on the picture, it will enlarge.)

Is this an American bittern?

The following pictures are not as clear since the bird was in motion (and I did not get my camera setting changed in time), but you can see its flying pose and how long its neck can extend, too:

In flight

At attention

On the hunt

The best I can figure, this is an American bittern. Does anyone know for sure?

The (mysterious) birds of Kokomo – 1

Does anyone know what type of bird this is…quail, pheasant? We found it along the eastern portion of Center Road (County Road 300 S):

Do you know what type of bird this is? Quail, pheasant…?

This is what it looks like while flying.

Here is a side view.

The Secret Gardens of Kokomo – The Ambrose Garden – Summer

Bandy surrounded by mature carpet roses.

Knock-out roses, up close and personal.

Knock-out roses adorn the top of a stone wall near the ‘beach’ patio.

Rose Campion, crown pink, mullein pink or dusty miller…all common names for Lychnis coronaria…real and Photoshopped

Coral bells, up close and personal.

This is a tri-colored birch, beautiful in the late afternoon sun.

Coral bells with pot

Can you see all three bird cages?

Can you see the hummingbird metal art?

Can you see the little girl, now surrounded by lush garden delights? (Remember, she was patiently awaiting summer in the spring Ambrose garden?)

The front yard, with the tri-colored birch, the carpet roses that surrounded Bandy and the joyful fountain couched in a fern bed.

A refreshing stop at the flowing fountain in the front yard.

Chameleon ground cover, in bloom.

Beautiful hosta in the cool shade garden.

Perky coreopsis.

This purple bell is a campanula.

You may find this hard to believe, but these purple spikes belong to a variety of lamb’s ear.

Hydrangea pathway with a birdbath on the far left and water barrels in the far center.

Hydrangeas in a variety of hues.

Choosing a hydrangea to bring indoors.

Hydrangeas brought inside and placed in a crystal bowl on the dining room table as a welcome greeting for guests.

Tall vase of outdoor blooms adorns an inside corner.

Purple ‘petunia’ cheer comes from these blue superbells that naturally take on a violet cast.

Backyard wonder.

The Seiberling of Kokomo – Spring

by Linda Burris

Kokomo is home to a special house–The Seiberling Mansion. Read more about its history (in Wikipedia) by clicking here. Following are several springtime pictures of this landmark in the City of Firsts.

The whole outside front of the Seiberling Mansion can easily be seen before the tree leaves mature.

View of the mansion from Kingston Road behind a magnolia tree in full bloom

View from the front gate

Peeking over the front gate

Left front corner with daffodils and red bud tree

Right front corner with daffodils and red bud tree

Back east corner with bell

Full view of the Carriage House on the north east side of the mansion; the home’s wrap-around porch is visible on the right.

View of Carriage House through pillars on wrap-around porch

Bay windows on the east side with magnolias gloriously in bloom

2nd and 3rd level windows (front view)

East side view of the open-air cupola

Dated insets on the east side

Upper level windows at the back of the mansion

More magnolias outside the east windows

Lantern on the east side of the mansion

Garden on the east side of the mansion with daffodils in full bloom

Life in Kokomo – Birthright gives hope during 25th Anniversary – May 20, 2012

by Linda Burris

Elaine Chmiel with her 25 roses, one for each year as Director of Birthright in Kokomo, Indiana.

Birthright of Kokomo celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 2 to 5 pm.

A program honoring volunteers was followed by a release of 70 Painted Lady butterflies.

Birthright is part of a larger international organization, whose guiding principle is “It is the right of every pregnant woman to give birth and the right of every child to be born.” Since 1987, 20,000 women across seventeen counties have turned to Birthright of Kokomo in order to gain support and guidance during uncertain times. Through an all-volunteer system, this organization has offered emotional and spiritual support as well as provided physical supplies, free of charge, for young mothers.

Birthright’s main sign at 3712 Southlea Drive in Kokomo, Indiana

Located at 3712 Southlea Drive, 765-453-4673, Birthright assists single and married women, regardless of age, race or religion, who are pregnant and in need of help while making decisions regarding the many options available to them–without scare tactics or pressure.

Birthright assists with free pregnancy testing, confidential and non-judgmental advice, friendship and emotional support, legal/medical/educational/housing/social agency referrals, prenatal information, maternity and baby clothes, and information on adoption.

All of Birthright’s services are free. A 24-hour free hotline is also available at 1-800-550-4900.

“At Birthright, a friend is waiting, as long as you need one.”

Following are pictures from Sunday’s joyous celebration of Life:

Pastor Greg Reed from Morning Star Church prayed for the service; he is a member of Birthright’s Board of Directors. Director Elaine Chmiel is in the center.

Over 50 people gathered for the beginning of the celebration, and others arrived later during the 2 to 5 pm time frame for the event.

Two former volunteers, Diana Culbertson and Judy VanDevender, spoke of their experience at Birthright.

A former volunteer, Mary Wood, spoke candidly about how she came to Birthright to serve others and actually received great help from Elaine in other ways in her own life. Mary is now the director of the Birthright of Peru.

The day was warmed from the sun and from the fellowship of sharing like values together.

Gail Ambrose, on behalf of the Birthright staff, honored Elaine with 25 roses, one for each year, and read statements about Elaine’s dedication from a letter by Marilyn Szorc, a former long-time volunteer and former board member.

Following is the letter read by Gail Ambrose from Marilyn Szorc, a former long-time volunteer and former board member:

Heart-felt congrats to all of the Birthright family from the Board members to the volunteers to everyone who supports Birthright, both prayerfully and financially, for 25 years of service to the Kokomo community.

25 years – it hardly seems possible and when you think about how many girls have walked through the doors, how many babies you’ve held, how many stories you’ve heard – it is somewhat overwhelming.

There have been so many examples of God’s hand being involved in Birthright: the multitude of gifts received in opening 25 years ago and making a major location move, and more importantly, the perpetual support to help clients on a daily basis.

Special recognition and thanks need to go to the Director Extraordinaire, Elaine, and the Supporter-in-Chief, Harry for their boundless support and sacrifice for Birthright. Many times Elaine demonstrates an extreme level of commitment to Birthright and provides an inspiration to volunteers. She encourages everyone, by both words and example, to go one step further and always keep the client’s welfare paramount.

Of course, you could not do any of this without a sense of humor and Elaine can always step back and smile about incidents: some of the lighthearted situations clients (and volunteers) find themselves in, the back-hoe operator puncturing a gas line during construction on Southlea (fortunately, it was obsolete, otherwise I shudder to think about the potential ramifications), and the gentleman who requested pregnancy tests.

May you continue to be blessed in your service to the Kokomo community.

Love,

Marilyn

The full list of board members of Birthright of Kokomo is as follows:
Board members:

Elaine Chmiel
Greg Reed
Delores Oberndorfer
Gail Ambrose
Lisa Hofmeyer
Marilyn Brown
Carri Lupini
Nancy Jones

Director Elaine Chmiel thanked all of the volunteers, staff and board members, and then she gave a special tribute to her dear husband Harry for how he has greatly encouraged her through the years.

Elaine gives her husband Harry a big hug of thanks while Pastor Greg Reed smiles in appreciation for Elaine and Harry’s faithfulness to each other and to Birthright.

Carrie Lupini ordered the 72 Painted Lady Butterflies which were over-nighted from Florida.

Carrie Lupini gave the following information about the butterfly release:

I purchased the butterflies online from a place called Cloverlawn Butterflies; they are located in Orlando, FL. Their web site is http://www.cloverlawnbutterlies.com.

Carrie read the following sentiments during the celebration:

We chose the butterfly as our theme for this anniversary celebration because the butterfly is a symbol of hope and new life. Whenever a woman or girl enters a Birthright, that is what she is always offered- hope- for her and for the new life within her. Let us now release these symbols of hope and new life!

72 Painted Lady butterflies were released as a symbol of hope and new life, and they landed softly on people and flowers and grass.

This butterfly seems especially grateful to be finally free.

Blending in with its surroundings, this butterfly looks for a new home.

Director Elaine Chmiel with three daughters: Maribeth, Barbara, and Kathy

Five current members of Birthright in Kokomo, Indiana: Dee Dee Jones; Diane Poisson; Delores Oberndorfer, Mary Helen Carey and Director Elaine Chmiel.

Four friends who met through volunteering at Birthright in Kokomo, Indiana: Diana Culbertson, Jane Brown, Judy VanDevender and Gail Ambrose.

Gail Ambrose, a volunteer and board member at Birthright, helped to prepare the landscaping for the event.

Celebration banners

Garden art gives a warm welcome to visitors coming into Birthright and relays an appropriate message of ‘confidentiality’, which is an important tenet of Birthright.

Beautiful paper butterflies were made by Delores Obernorfer, one of the faithful volunteers, to give out to others who serve the community through Birthright.

Baby clothes in all sizes are available for the clients of Birthright.

Maternity clothes are also available for expectant moms.

Several cheerful waiting areas are located throughout the center.

This is one of the rooms used to talk confidentially with clients.

A homey atmosphere is ever-present at Birthright to let clients know they are welcome.

A wonderful reminder greets the visitor as soon as they enter the door at Birthright; this is a painting showing ‘God’s’ hands as the Potter creating a precious masterpiece.

Please contact Birthright, 3712 Southlea Drive, Kokomo, Indiana at 765-453-4673 for questions or assistance with an unplanned pregnancy.

The Secret Gardens of Kokomo – Barbara’s Garden – Late Spring

by Linda Burris

Shade and sun gardens alternate in Barbara’s backyard, enticing the guest to meander from one pleasant area to the next.

God, as the true Master Gardener here, is daily creating wonders, and late Spring showcases His irises, poppies and columbine varieties as well as hostas and bleeding hearts.

Thank you, Barbara, for allowing us to share these beauties with you!

This is the view looking from the back door.

Homemade stepping stones lead the visitor throughout the shade garden filled with hostas.

Here is one of the stepping stones up close; stained glass is imbedded into a cement background.

Surprises abound in the shade garden; here is a bleeding heart peeking out from its foliage.

A delightful tangle of columbine; there are many varieties found throughout the garden.

Look closely, for you won’t want to miss the surprises which are tucked away here and there.

Blue irises are striking against the lawn in the background.

Tall blue flowers set against a field of poppies.

The poppies reflect the sun.

Delicate blooms.

This is the view looking towards the back door–with garden art galore!

National Day of Prayer in Kokomo, IN (May 3, 2012)

by Linda Burris

Pastor Chuck Griffith welcomed the hundreds of people gathered together in the heart of Kokomo, IN who had come to pray to God for their city, county and nation; for their families; for their schools and churches; and, for law and justice.

Griffith is a member of the Howard County National Day of Prayer Committee which organized the event, held on Thursday, May 3 at 12 noon on the east side of the courthouse.

Roads were blocked off while people listened to and sang praise music, heard exhortations to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and prayed en masse.

Mayor Greg Goodnight issued a stirring proclamation, as follows:

WHEREAS, our nation was founded by men and women who recognized the value of religious freedom and the expression of that freedom through prayer; and,

WHEREAS, prayer is regarded by millions as an integral part of the expression of religion; and,

WHEREAS, prayer has strengthened and aided us in times of thanksgiving as well as grieving; and,

WHEREAS, across our land today Americans are united in prayer for our nation, and their respective communities, as a way of securing and fortifying our nation, states and cities; and,

WHEREAS, this, the 60th Annual National Day of Prayer, focuses on the hope that prayer brings us, allowing us to carry on and accomplish the tasks that life puts before us, while knowing that better times are on the way; and,

WHEREAS, the theme of this Day is best embodied in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GREG GOODNIGHT, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF KOKOMO, INDIANA, do now declare Thursday, May 3, 2012, as a “DAY OF PRAYER”

in the City of Kokomo, Indiana, and invite all residents to seek the face of Almighty God to offer us hope and direct our paths in the days and years ahead.

DONE UNDER MY HAND, WITH THE GREAT SEAL OF THE CITY OF KOKOMO, INDIANA ATTACHED THIS 3RD DAY OF MAY 2012. GREG GOODNIGHT, MAYOR, CITY OF KOKOMO, INDIANA

Pastor Keith Treadway of Bible Baptist Church gave a thought-provoking message, reminding all in attendance that ‘we must be calling the right number in prayer…John 3:16′. Treadway said that we can not call the wrong number and expect the right results; we must be calling on the God of the Bible manifested to us through Jesus Christ.

Following are the pastor’s notes:

Text: Psalm 33

Proposition: If America wants the blessing of God, American must get connected back to God.

The Psalmist gives to us 3 ways to get and stay connected to God.

First: Make sure you are dialing the right number.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”

The only number that Heaven answers to is J-O-H-N 3-1-6 ( a personal relationship with Jesus Christ)

Second: Remove anything that disrupts your signal to God.

“No king is saved by the size of his army…”

-personal efforts and strength do not open lines of communication to God

-sin disrupts any signal with God

-repent and return to God

Third: Walk by Faith (33:20-22)

A faithful walk is one that waits: a spirit of dependence upon God (20)

A faithful walk is on that rejoices: a spirit of worship to God (21)

A faithful walk is one that hopes: a spirit of trust in God (22)

Conclusion: 236 years ago America declared independence from England. On this day, May 3rd, 2012, let America come together for another declaration, a full and complete declaration of our dependence upon God. For the blessing of God will only come to America, when America is connected to God. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”

Randy McCracken, Superintendent of the Western School Corporation, prayed as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and the opportunity to come to you in prayer. I pray God for your presence in our schools to stop the drug and alcohol use, the violence, the bullying, and the sexual activity. Lord, schools are a reflection of the community we live in; please make our schools safe places for children to learn and to gain the knowledge and values needed to change the world.

Dear God, thank you for public education and what it stands for, the opportunity that every child can receive a quality education. Lord, instill in our children the importance of a good education, because an education creates opportunities to change environments and to prevent poverty, homelessness, and hunger.

Dear God, be with our parents, so that every child has the support at home that is needed for success. Help the parents to instill values in their children and the desire to be lifelong learners. I pray Lord that every child receives the gift of literacy, and for all children to have parents that read to them, nurture them, and support them in all that they do.

Dear God, be with our educators. Bless the teachers and those that have a positive influence on our children every day. Give them the strength and wisdom to provide the instruction that can change lives, level the playing field, and give every child the opportunity to grow and to achieve to his or her full potential.

Dear God, be with our principals, administrators and School Boards, giving them the support, the resources and the authority to create positive learning environments. Lord, help them to create an atmosphere where every child is equal, every child matters, and every child can succeed.

Dear God, be with our legislators and law makers, help them to realize that education is not about competition between schools and businesses making a profit, but it is about providing the resources that all schools need so the students profit.

Dear God, be with our ministers and churches as they spread Your word. Give them the power to influence the morals of this community. Lord, help them to help us understand that we are one Nation under You, and that we need You in every walk of our lives, including our schools.

Dear God, I remember a plaque that my mom had in the kitchen when I was a kid that said, “Where there is God, there is no need”. Lord, we need Your influence, power and wisdom in all that we do.

Please be with us always.

In your Son’s name we pray, Amen

Rob Hoshaw, Principal of the Acacia Academy, dressed in period costume as George Washington. This was an important reminder to all present that our country’s heritage is based on Christian principals. Students from Acacia led in the Pledge of Allegiance and sang America the Beautiful.

Hoshaw’s prayer was as follows:

From William J. Johnson, George Washington, The Christian (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1919).

Almighty God, and most merciful father, who didst command the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day, receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee; I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of the day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou requirest of me, and since thou art a God of pure eyes, and wilt be sanctified in all who draw near unto thee, who doest not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts, pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense; and as thou wouldst hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Other participants in the National Day of Prayer are included in the images below.

Gail Ambrose (bottom left) and Eddie Johnson (bottom right picture) were two of the members of the Howard County National Day of Prayer Committee. Other members included: Bev Broeker, Sondra Bush, Chuck Griffith, Darlene Krieger, Crystal Sanburn, Phyllis Jean Smith and Van Taylor.

Howard County Commissioner Tyler Moore (center) participated in the National Day of Prayer in Kokomo, IN. Crystal Sanburn, a member of the Howard County National Day of Prayer Committee, is also pictured just to the left of Moore; she is wearing a sun visor and pink shirt.

Van Taylor, Executive Director of the Kokomo Rescue Mission and a member of the Howard County National Day of Prayer Committee, is pictured above in the left photo, and on the far right in a blue shirt. He is seated next to his daughter Susanna.

The Parks of Kokomo – Foster Park

by Linda Burris

Entrance sign to Foster Park. The gazebo and the Kokomo Arts Pavilion are seen in the background.

Foster Park has become the place for many outdoor performances at the Kokomo Arts Pavilion.

This US Army tank is a city landmark in Foster Park, Kokomo, IN. The Arts Pavilion is behind the tank on the right.

Families enjoy walking the path around Foster Park in Kokomo, IN.

Bicycling is also enjoyed, as the path is smoothly paved. This section is near the newly planted and installed 'wall sign'.

This woodpecker was noisily and busily working; it is either a downy or a spotted variety.

If you walk quietly along the path next to the Wildcat Creek in Foster Park, you may see quite a few turtles sunbathing on floating logs. The most I have seen are 13 at one time! Sometimes there may also be a duck sharing the 'raft' with them.

Heron also visit the Wildcat Creek next to Foster Park.

This squirrel seemed pleased to pose for the camera.

This squirrel, however, is making a mad dash away from the charging cyclist.

Geese standing at attention, ready to waddle away if need be.

Decorative gratings line a portion of the south side of the pathway.

Birdhouses dot the tree trunks throughout the park and are easily seen in the early spring before the leaves appear.

Foster Park also has bat houses. This one is located right along Washington Street.

Spring trees like to give a show.

Checkers, anyone? An inter-generational sculpture near the playground is quite inviting.

A large and friendly gorilla who is ready to hoist a child or two upon its back is located near the swings.

At the other end of the park, near the senior building, a sweet moment is captured in sculpture.

The Parks of Kokomo – Darrough Chapel and the Veteran’s Memorial

by Linda Burris

Darrough Chapel Park in Kokomo, IN has a beautiful and meaningful Veteran’s Memorial.

To read about the memorial, go to the City of Kokomo website.

The entrance view to Darrough Chapel Park, 602 S. Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN

Garden view of Veteran's Memorial in Kokomo, IN, at Darrough Chapel Park

Center monument of the Veteran's Memorial in Darrough Chapel Park, Kokomo, IN

The playground is located farther back in Darrough Chapel Park in Kokomo, IN.

There is also a covered picnic shelter at Darrough Chapel Park as well as a ball field.

Life in Kokomo: Why I Volunteer by Lynn Shaffer

by Lynn Shaffer

When someone asks me why I volunteer at the KokomoPregnancy Resource Center/Living Alternatives, I usually give them the ‘simple answer’:

I volunteer because I enjoy saving the lives of babies and bringing their mommies to the Lord.

This is very true. However, there is much more to it than this. Let me tell you a short story.

Many years ago as a young teenager, I felt the Lord tell me He wanted me to bring others into his Kingdom in a big way. I did not know what way that would be and so I prayed for His guidance and waited.

Since then, He brought me through many trials, temptations, perils and victories.

Every step of the way was ordered by the Lord, even when I did not understand where I was going, yet He was lighting my path to serve Him in this ministry.

God brought me from my knees as a teenager telling Him, “yes, I will follow you” halfway across the world and back again until He landed me right where he wanted me–in the front office of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Kokomo, Indiana in the summer of 2007.

At the end of that very long journey, I was literally compelled to enter the Pregnancy Resource Center and offer my hands and talents to the director.

I did not know a lot about the center at the time.

I did know the director as we had attended church together and she was a co-partner in the Great Banquet that I had attended a year or so before.

I knew that the Pregnancy Resource Center was a ministry opportunity to help young women in crisis pregnancies.

I also knew that the Lord called me to be there.

That is about all I knew.

Since that time, I have learned a lot.

I have learned what it means to many of the women in our community to have a crisis pregnancy.

I have learned about their fears and tears as well as their love and joy.

I have been able to get to know many of these young ladies and to ‘love them in the Lord’.

It is so amazing to see one of them walk into the center with their new baby in their arms and a smile on their face.

It is even more awesome when I know that this new mommy chose life because of our center. She might have chosen life as in saving the life of her child or she might have chosen life as she received her new Life in Christ. Either way, it makes my day to know that she has made such a wonderful decision.

Now, I have a new sister in Christ with a new little one who may even become another preacher, gospel singer or evangelist. God is so good!

Many babies have been saved from abortion through our centers since that fateful summer day in 2007, many women have come to know the Lord and many women have come in to our center just to reach out and find someone who cares.

I have many faces in my mind and names in my heart of new friends that I have made since walking into this Pregnancy Resource Center.

I know that many of them will join me in Heaven one day.

We can all sit around God’s throne and thank Him and praise Him for giving us life! His Life!

What a thing to look forward to… what a good reason to come into the center and volunteer.

It is no wonder that I enjoy coming into the center every week.

Praise God from whom all Blessings flow!

Praise Him all creatures here below.

Praise God for the Pregnancy Resource Center and all He does in our Lives!

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