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Time For Chamber Members To Step Up
Thursday, June 25, 2015
It was a sad day… a sad funeral.

The local business men and women whom you would expect to at least make an appearance, signing the guest register before sneaking out prior to the service’s conclusion, were likewise absent from the gathering at the cemetery.

It’s hard to hold a burial when no one bothers to attend and lend a hand with the shovel.

If you asked one of them, they undoubtedly thought someone else would be there to fill in for the filling, but their absence at the end resembled all too much their absence before the death.

Whether it was through apathy or disgruntled feelings, each and every one of them had a part in the death. There were other events they planned to attend… other friends and family members to whom they’d made promises.

When one of the few remaining friends stood to deliver a eulogy, she did so to a silent, empty hall, and a tear trickled down her cheek as she remembered the past… a time when the community remembered, and came together to celebrate.

For those who are unaware, the Muleshoe Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture appears to be on the verge of its own death.

Forget about thriving, the organization that is the heart of Muleshoe’s business community seems to lack even the leadership it needs to continue.

From what we understand, no one wants to attend its business meetings, or assist with planning and carrying out the annual events it has traditionally sponsored.

There was a time when the annual chamber banquet was one of the biggest social events in Muleshoe. There was a time when being selected as employee or business of the month brought together chamber board members eager to congratulate the recipient. There was a time when the chamber leadership joined together to greet new members of the local business community.

Unfortunately, those days appear to be lost in the dust and wind of West Texas.

Something has to be done to revitalize the chamber leadership and its membership.

If it requires increasing the dues and hiring a chamber director… someone to cheer on the chamber, just as the chamber should be cheering on the business community and indeed the entire community of Muleshoe, than do it.

When the chamber of commerce stagnates, the local business community won’t be far behind.

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It’s Human Nature Not To Turn On The Light
Thursday, June 11, 2015
During the early morning hours recently, as thunderstorms were rolling into the Muleshoe area, I awakened and decided to take a look outside.

While I prefer to leave a bit of light on in the house at night, the light from the kitchen doesn’t reflect into the livingroom, which as one would expect was dark… very dark, in fact.

I hate stubbing my toe in a darkened room. Of course, I also hate stubbing my toe in a room that has a light on.

Anyway, on that morning, with all the lights off in the house, I made the slow — potentially painful — across the living room to the front door. Why didn’t I turn on the livingroom light with the switch by the dining room, you ask? Well, that’s not human nature.

It is mankind’s nature to stumble in the dark… to avoid turning on the light. That’s why the Holy Spirit reaches out to us, touching our hearts and giving us that spark of light that helps man realize he’s been lost in darkness and yearn for the true light of God.

At the end of the Book of Joshua, we see where Joshua is nearing the end of his days. It won’t be long, he tells the leaders of Israel, before the one who had been charged with protecting the light switch since the death of Moses would be gone. And so, he gathers the leaders of his nation around him and tells them what they would need to do to keep the light on.

Christopher Green once said, “Too often, Christians forget that they should not spiritually walk around in the dark. Not only should they avoid the darkness, they should also be a light that exposes the evil that is found in darkness.”

The last two chapters of Joshua are about remaining faithful to God. They contain warnings to the Children of Israel should they stray, reminders of God’s faithfulness to his promises and principals to insure spiritual success that were as important to the Israelites as they are for us today.

The first is mentioned in Joshua 23:3, where he says, “You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you.”

By reminding the Israelites who was the author of their success, Joshua reminds all Christians that God is the source of our victories as well.

Throughout our lives, God reaches down and pushes us out of danger, lifts us up when we’ve fallen, and like the Israelites, gives us victory in our lives.

In 23:6, Joshua says, “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left,” reminding us of the importance of God’s word in our lives.

As Joshua reminded the leaders of Israel, we need the weapon of God’s word in our hand help us in our spiritual battles.

Someone once said, “Study the Bible to be wise, believe in it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.”

In verse eight, Joshua reminded Israel to “hold fast to the Lord your God…” To cling to him, consecrating ourselves to his service as the Bride of Christ.

In the Book of Joshua, it talks about two covenants of the people of Israel. One is their covenant with God, but the other was with the Gibeonites — which was rooted in deception and Israel’s failure to seek God’s face.

Just as Joshua warned, we should be sure that the things to which we cling lift us up rather than drag us down.

And in 23:11, Joshua says, “So be very careful to love the Lord your God,” reminding us that we should love God above all things.

The first of God’s 10 commandments to the Israelites was “you shall have no other gods before me.”And as members of the Bride of Christ, we are commanded to do no different.

How are you doing today? Are you doing what is necessary to be spiritually successful, or do you keep stubbing your toe in the dark?

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In Music And In Life, The Last Note Is The Longest
Friday, February 27, 2015
In music and in life, the last note is always the longest. Whenever I’m teaching a new audio/video volunteer at church how to punch the buttons, play the songs, set the levels, I always warn them at some point about “audio whiplash.”

Punching “stop” or “pause” while the music is still playing does to folks’ ears what slamming on the brakes in a car does to our necks. It hurts!

So you always wait for the music to come to a “full and complete stop,” as flight attendants redundantly warn airline passengers, or you slowly fade it out. Either way, you let us land slowly, gently.

Waiting is always hard, and, yes, waiting for that last note to play out is hardest of all. It’s hard for me, too. It’s all I can do to force myself to wait, wait, wait to punch the “stop” button so as not to chop off even the slightest audio reverberation.

I need to talk some good audio engineer friends about this, but I figure they have some descriptive term for that last note, waiting for it, and what happens if you don’t. Maybe cutting it off is such a rookie mistake that professionals aren’t even tempted to, but I would be!

When I’m behind the mike in the sound booth, I know (usually) to be still and wait even after I’ve sung the last note of a song or a phrase or re-take. Wait for the silence. Then wait to hear in my headphones the voices of the engineer and producer from the control room, so I know it’s safe for me to talk, too.

But sitting behind the engineer in the control room as the musicians are recording tracks gives another point of view. I’m utterly amazed at their skill. I’m listening. I’m watching. I’m loving it. Sometimes I’m holding a mike and singing the “scratch track” to serve as a reference and for them to “play to.”

But then comes the last note. My last note ends before the musicians.’ And invariably my eyes go to the computer monitors in front of the engineer.

I’m watching the audio wave files on the screens. Though it’s okay to breathe, I’m probably not. Usually, I’m holding my breath, staring a hole through the monitor as that last line levels out and the very last reverberations, echoes, overtones, all fade to silence.

And I’m marveling at the engineer’s patience as he waits, waits, waits to stop recording.

It doesn’t matter how long it really is, that last note is the longest of all. Waiting for it to fade takes almost forever.

Dear Lord, give us the strength to wait for that last note to play out. If it’s a note of joy, beauty, love, or laughter, may we take it all in and wait for the sweet silence that will make our whispered “thank you” richer, deeper.

If it’s a note of pain and suffering, help us still to drink it in, wait for it to fade, and open our hands to receive what you’ll give us in the silence.

Whatever its tone, help us to hear it all, wait for the silence, and find waiting to meet us again your sweet hope, your real presence.

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