Feeling All Alone? (2)

August 30, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

As I read through the Psalms, I see that I am not alonethe first or the last to have that depressing all alone feeling. David felt alone many times often crying out of his self imposed cave. In Psalms 43:2 he says “You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

The Bible is full of accounts of those who knew that all alone feeling. Jonah knew it as he rode in the belly of the whale (Jonah 1:17); Job knew it (Job 19); Naomi experienced it when she was alone in a strange land after the death of her husband and two son (Ruth 1:3-5); Sampson knew it after Delilah had his head shaved (Judges 16:20).

However, the most incomprehensible of all was that of a lonely Man hanging on a cross with His body bruised and bleeding when He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:45).

This was not the first time Jesus felt this loneliness. He had experience it when He was first seized. In Matthew 26:56 we read, “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” He felt it when Peter denied Him and when the disciples chose to sleep rather than watch and pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Why did Jesus endure all of this? It was that we might take shelter and comfort in His promises, knowing that He experienced a feeling of all aloneness far greater than we will ever be called to endure. His promises are true to those who believe. We can take courage in the words of Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in everyway, just as we are – yet without sin.”

So, if you are feeling all alone, look out of your cave and dare to look into the sunlight of God’s love and promises. No matter how fiercely the storm clouds are rolling, He has promised “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4).

Join John next time when we seek to locate your “cave”.

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

Feeling All Alone? (1)

August 28, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

In I Kings 19:14 we read of Prophet Elijah’s conversationalone with God about his plight. This was even after Elijah had performed several miracles at God’s instruction and after he had been fed by ravens in the desert.

Elijah tells God that he is the only righteous one left in all of Israel and charges God with trying to kill him. He was feeling alone and forsaken by God. What a pity party it must have been.

Have you ever felt that way? I have. I have experienced that ‘me against the world’ loneliness. I’ve been hiding in my own cave, and it has taken me a while to hear God say, as He said to Elijah, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

And where did I hear God’s voice to me? It was in a book shared by a friend entitled Hope Rising (crystalpeaksyouthranch.org). She did not know of my need but God did.

My cave was dark and cold. The storms were howling in my world. However, Hope Rising was the opening God provided so I could see the opening of the cave. I caught a glimpse of just a few of those “who had not bowed a knee to Baal.” It was enough—just as the raven’s food had been enough to sustain Elijah.

So when you are tucked away in a cave of your own making—having a private pity party, feeling all alone in a lonely uncaring world, and perhaps feeling that even God has forsaken you—remember to look out from your cave into God’s promises which proclaim “surely I am with your always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Join John next week for part 2 of this series, when we will discover still others who felt all alone.

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

Tips to Increase Engine Life

August 25, 2010

by Mark Polk
Mark is a regular contributing author

Today we’re going to talk about some easy ways to increase the life of your tow vehicle or motor home’s engine. Actually there are many ways to to increaseGM-Vortec-8100-engine engine life in a vehicle, but I want to narrow the list to what I consider the most important. When all you hear every day is how poorly the economy is doing, it only makes sense to buckle down and take better care of what you already own.

A little bit of preventive maintenance (PM) now can pay big dividends in the long run. What’s that old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! So, what can we do to extend the life of your tow vehicle, motorhome, or your automobile engine? Let’s take a look.

Routine Oil and Oil Filter Changes
This is number one on my list. I have known people who I think change their engine oil and filter more frequently than it is needed, but it is usually the other way around. You should follow the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines for changing the engine oil and filter. If at all possible try to change the oil and oil filter prior to any long-term storage. Acids accumulate in used oil and can corrode the engine bearings. Don’t forget the generator oil and filter, too.

Help your Engine Breathe
A dirty or clogged air filter can rob life from your engine. When the engine can breathe properly it not only lasts longer but is more fuel efficient. Recommendations for checking and replacing air filters are normally based on driving conditions. It only takes a couple of minutes to check the air filter. I check mine when I change the engine oil, and the filter gets replaced if it’s dirty.

Pay Attention to Service Intervals
The manufacturer recommends service intervals for a reason. You guessed it, to maximize efficiency and extend the life of the engine. Whether it’s a diesel or gasoline engine it’s important that you pay attention to, and follow these recommended service intervals. If you don’t perform your own routine maintenance, find a local dealership or repair shop you can trust and put the vehicle on a routine service schedule.

Keep it Running Cool
Just as clean engine oil lubricates moving parts and extends the engine’s life, clean engine antifreeze helps the major components of the engine stay cool and extends the engine’s life. Follow the engine manufacturer’s guidelines for flushing and replacing the coolant (make sure to use the proper type of coolant for the engine). Every time you lift the hood, check the coolant level and inspect coolant hoses for damage. Coolant hoses deteriorate from the inside out. Inspect all hoses for wear, cracks, soft spots, brittle areas and leaks. Replace any damaged hoses or clamps as required.

Perform Pre-Trip Checks
Before moving the tow vehicle or RV, make the following checks concerning the engine. Check all fluid levels in the power steering resevoir, engine coolant, engine oil, windshield washer and brake fluid. Check the transmission fluid while you are at it. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual for proper procedures to check and add fluids. Start the engine, allow it to reach operating temperature and check for proper readings on all gauges. Look under the vehicle for signs of leaks. Have any leaks checked out and repaired before using the vehicle.

Driving is Important, Too
Smart drivers can extend the life of their vehicle engine. Watching RPMs, knowing when to shift gears and monitoring gauges all contribute to extending the life of your engine. Always warm an engine up before driving. Don’t race a cold engine; accelerate slowly until the engine is up to operating temperature. Avoid quick starts and fast stops whenever possible. Always monitor your gauges. If a gauge is reading outside of the normal operating range, pull over when it is safe and have it checked/repaired.

Proper Storage Procedures
Proper storage procedures can extend the life of your engine, whereas improper procedures can harm the life of your engine. I already mentioned that changing the oil and oil filter prior to long-term storage (say three or more months) can help your engine. Acids accumulate in used oil and can corrode the engine bearings. Start the engine periodically when the motorhome is in storage and run it until it reaches operating temperature. Fill the fuel tank and add a fuel preservative to the tank. Run the engine and generator long enough to get the preservative through the fuel system.

Protect the engine compartment from critters. Squirrels and mice love to chew on plastic, rubber and anything else they can find, and a vehicle engine compartment makes a safe and cozy winter home. If the motorhome is stored outside I recommend starting the engine more often to deter these critters from calling it home.

If the RV has a generator exercise it on a regular basis. When you run the generator make sure there is at least a ½-rated load on it. Check your generator owner’s manual for instructions on exercising it.

I mentioned earlier that there are many other factors that can extend the life of your engine, but I think these are some of the most important. If any one of these items is not properly maintained it could end up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. Maintaining your vehicles engine is not that difficult to do, and in times of uncertainty it is what I would call cheap insurance.

Happy Camping,
Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

The Doctrine of The Trinity? (2)

August 24, 2010

By Matt Perman

January 23, 2006

Is the Trinity Contradictory?
This leads us to investigate more closely a very matt_permanhelpful definition of the Trinity which I mentioned earlier: God is one in essence, but three in Person. This formulation can show us why there are not three Gods, and why the Trinity is not a contradiction.

In order for something to be contradictory, it must violate the law of noncontradiction. This law states that A cannot be both A (what it is) and non-A (what it is not) at the same time and in the same relationship. In other words, you have contradicted yourself if you affirm and deny the same statement. For example, if I say that the moon is made entirely of cheese but then also say that the moon is not made entirely of cheese, I have contradicted myself.

Other statements may at first seem contradictory but are really not. Theologian R.C. Sproul cites as an example Dickens’ famous line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Obviously this is a contradiction if Dickens means that it was the best of times in the same way that it was the worst of times. But he avoids contradiction with this statement because he means that in one sense it was the best of times, but in another sense it was the worst of times.

Carrying this concept over to the Trinity, it is not a contradiction for God to be both three and one because He is not three and one in the same way. He is three in a different way than He is one. Thus, we are not speaking with a forked tongue-we are not saying that God is one and then denying that He is one by saying that He is three. This is very important: God is one and three at the same time, but not in the same way.

How is God one? He is one in essence. How is God three? He is three in Person. Essence and person are not the same thing. God is one in a certain way (essence) and three in a different way (person). Since God is one in a different way than He is three, the Trinity is not a contradiction. There would only be a contradiction if we said that God is three in the same way that He is one.

So a closer look at the fact that God is one in essence but three in person has helped to show why the Trinity is not a contradiction. But how does it show us why there is only one God instead of three? It is very simple: All three Persons are one God because, as we saw above, they are all the same essence. Essence means the same thing as “being.” Thus, since God is only one essence, He is only one being-not three. This should make it clear why it is so important to understand that all three Persons are the same essence. For if we deny this, we have denied God’s unity and affirmed that there is more than one being of God (i.e., that there is more than one God).

What we have seen so far provides a good basic understanding of the Trinity. But it is possible to go deeper. If we can understand more precisely what is meant by essence and person, how these two terms differ, and how they relate, we will then have a more complete understanding of the Trinity.

Essence and Person
Essence. What does essence mean? As I said earlier, it means the same thing as being. God’s essence is His being. To be even more precise, essence is what you are. At the risk of sounding too physical, essence can be understood as the “stuff” that you “consist of.” Of course we are speaking by analogy here, for we cannot understand this in a physical way about God. “God is spirit” (John 4:24). Further, we clearly should not think of God as “consisting of” anything other than divinity. The “substance” of God is God, not a bunch of “ingredients” that taken together yield deity.

Person. In regards to the Trinity, we use the term “Person” differently than we generally use it in everyday life. Therefore it is often difficult to have a concrete definition of Person as we use it in regards to the Trinity. What we do not mean by Person is an “independent individual” in the sense that both I and another human are separate, independent individuals who can exist apart from one another.

What we do mean by Person is something that regards himself as “I” and others as “You.” So the Father, for example, is a different Person from the Son because He regards the Son as a “You,” even though He regards Himself as “I.” Thus, in regards to the Trinity, we can say that “Person” means a distinct subject which regards Himself as an “I” and the other two as a “You.” These distinct subjects are not a division within the being of God, but “a form of personal existence other than a difference in being.”[3]

How do they relate? The relationship between essence and Person, then, is as follows. Within God’s one, undivided being is an “unfolding” into three personal distinctions. These personal distinctions are modes of existence within the divine being, but are not divisions of the divine being. They are personal forms of existence other than a difference in being. The late theologian Herman Bavinck has stated something very helpful at this point: “The persons are modes of existence within the being; accordingly, the Persons differ among themselves as the one mode of existence differs from the other, and-using a common illustration-as the open palm differs from a closed fist.”[4]

Because each of these “forms of existence” are relational (and thus are Persons), they are each a distinct center of consciousness, with each center of consciousness regarding Himself as “I” and the others as “You.” Nonetheless, these three Persons all “consist of” the same “stuff” (that is, the same “what,” or essence). As theologian and apologist Norman Geisler has explained it, while essence is what you are, person is who you are. So God is one “what” but three “whos.”

The divine essence is thus not something that exists “above” or “separate from” the three Persons, but the divine essence is the being of the three Persons. Neither should we think of the Persons as being defined by attributes added on to the being of God. Wayne Grudem explains:

But if each person is fully God and has all of God’s being, then we also should not think that the personal distinctions are any kind of additional attributes added on to the being of God . . . Rather, each person of the Trinity has all of the attributes of God, and no one Person has any attributes that are not possessed by the others. On the other hand, we must say that the Persons are real, that they are not just different ways of looking at the one being of God…the only way it seems possible to do this is to say that the distinction between the persons is not a difference of `being’ but a difference of `relationships.’ This is something far removed from our human experience, where every different human `person’ is a different being as well. Somehow God’s being is so much greater than ours that within his one undivided being there can be an unfolding into interpersonal relationships, so that there can be three distinct persons.[5]

Trinitarian Illustrations?
There are many illustrations which have been offered to help us understand the Trinity. While there are some illustrations which are helpful, we should recognize that no illustration is perfect. Unfortunately, there are many illustrations which are not simply imperfect, but in error. One illustration to beware of is the one which says “I am one person, but I am a student, son, and brother. This explains how God can be both one and three.” The problem with this is that it reflects a heresy called modalism. God is not one person who plays three different roles, as this illustration suggests. He is one Being in three Persons (centers of consciousness), not merely three roles. This analogy ignores the personal distinctions within God and mitigates them to mere roles.

Summary
Let us quickly review what we have seen.

1. The Trinity is not belief in three gods. There is only one God, and we must never stray from this.

2. This one God exists as three Persons.

3. The three Persons are not each part of God, but are each fully God and equally God. Within God’s one undivided being there is an unfolding into three interpersonal relationships such that there are three Persons. The distinctions within the Godhead are not distinctions of His essence and neither are they something added on to His essence, but they are the unfolding of God’s one, undivided being into three interpersonal relationships such that there are three real Persons.

4. God is not one person who took three consecutive roles. That is the heresy of modalism. The Father did not become the Son and then the Holy Spirit. Instead, there have always been and always will be three distinct persons in the Godhead.

5. The Trinity is not a contradiction because God is not three in the same way that He is one. God is one in essence, three in Person.

Application
The Trinity is first of all important because God is important. To understand more fully what God is like is a way of honoring God. Further, we should allow the fact that God is triune to deepen our worship. We exist to worship God. And God seeks people to worship Him in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Therefore we must always endeavor to deepen our worship of God-in truth as well as in our hearts.

The Trinity has a very significant application to prayer. The general pattern of prayer in the Bible is to pray to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). Our fellowship with God should be enhanced by consciously knowing that we are relating to a tri-personal God!

Awareness of the distinct role that each Person of the Trinity has in our salvation can especially serve to give us greater comfort and appreciation for God in our prayers, as well as helping us to be specific in directing our prayers. Nonetheless, while recognizing the distinct roles that each Person has, we should never think of their roles as so separate that the other Persons are not involved. Rather, everything that one Person is involved in, the other two are also involved in, one way or another.

John Piper. © Desiring God. www.desiringGod.org

The Doctine of The Trinity? (1)

August 22, 2010

By Matt Perman

January 23, 2006

The doctrine of the Trinity is foundational to the Christian faith. It is matt_permancrucial for properly understanding what God is like, how He relates to us, and how we should relate to Him. But it also raises many difficult questions. How can God be both one and three? Is the Trinity a contradiction? If Jesus is God, why do the Gospels record instances where He prayed to God?

While we cannot fully understand everything about the Trinity (or anything else), it is possible to answer questions like these and come to a solid grasp of what it means for God to be three in one.

What Does it Mean That God is a Trinity?
The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (2) each Person is fully God, (3) there is only one God.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Phil. 1:2), Jesus as God (Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4). Are these just three different ways of looking at God, or simply ways of referring to three different roles that God plays?

The answer must be no, because the Bible also indicates that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. For example, since the Father sent the Son into the world (John 3:16), He cannot be the same person as the Son. Likewise, after the Son returned to the Father (John 16:10), the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world (John 14:26; Acts 2:33). Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be distinct from the Father and the Son.

In the baptism of Jesus, we see the Father speaking from heaven and the Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove as Jesus comes out of the water (Mark 1:10-11). In John 1:1 it is affirmed that Jesus is God and, at the same time, that He was “with God”-thereby indicating that Jesus is a distinct Person from God the Father (cf. also 1:18). And in John 16:13-15 we see that although there is a close unity between them all, the Holy Spirit is also distinct from the Father and the Son.

The fact that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons means, in other words, that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. Jesus is God, but He is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, but He is not the Son or the Father. They are different Persons, not three different ways of looking at God.

The personhood of each member of the Trinity means that each Person has a distinct center of consciousness. Thus, they relate to each other personally–the Father regards Himself as “I,” while He regards the Son and Holy Spirit as “You.” Likewise the Son regards Himself as “I,” but the Father and the Holy Spirit as “You.”

Often it is objected that “If Jesus is God, then he must have prayed to himself while he was on earth.” But the answer to this objection lies in simply applying what we have already seen. While Jesus and the Father are both God, they are different Persons. Thus, Jesus prayed to God the Father without praying to Himself. In fact, it is precisely the continuing dialog between the Father and the Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 5:19; 11:41-42; 17:1ff) which furnishes the best evidence that they are distinct Persons with distinct centers of consciousness.

Sometimes the Personhood of the Father and Son is appreciated, but the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is neglected. Sometimes the Spirit is treated more like a “force” than a Person. But the Holy Spirit is not an it, but a He (see John 14:26; 16:7-15; Acts 8:16). The fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal force (like gravity), is also shown by the fact that He speaks (Hebrews 3:7), reasons (Acts 15:28), thinks and understands (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), wills (1 Corinthians 12:11), feels (Ephesians 4:30), and gives personal fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:14). These are all qualities of personhood. In addition to these texts, the others we mentioned above make clear that the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Personhood of the Son and the Father. They are three real persons, not three roles God plays.

Another serious error people have made is to think that the Father became the Son, who then became the Holy Spirit. Contrary to this, the passages we have seen imply that God always was and always will be three Persons. There was never a time when one of the Persons of the Godhead did not exist. They are all eternal.

While the three members of the Trinity are distinct, this does not mean that any is inferior to the other. Instead, they are all identical in attributes. They are equal in power, love, mercy, justice, holiness, knowledge, and all other qualities.

Each Person is fully God. If God is three Persons, does this mean that each Person is “one-third” of God? Does the Trinity mean that God is divided into three parts?

The Trinity does not divide God into three parts. The Bible is clear that all three Persons are each one hundred percent God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all fully God. For example, it says of Christ that “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). We should not think of God as like a “pie” cut into three pieces, each piece representing a Person. This would make each Person less than fully God and thus not God at all. Rather, “the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God.”[1] The divine essence is not something that is divided between the three persons, but is fully in all three persons without being divided into “parts.”

Thus, the Son is not one-third of the being of God, He is all of the being of God. The Father is not one-third of the being of God, He is all of the being of God. And likewise with the Holy Spirit. Thus, as Wayne Grudem writes, “When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together we are not speaking of any greater being than when we speak of the Father alone, the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone.”[2]

There is only one God. If each Person of the Trinity is distinct and yet fully God, then should we conclude that there is more than one God? Obviously we cannot, for Scripture is clear that there is only one God: “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21-22; see also 44:6-8; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4-5; 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Kings 8:60).

Having seen that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, that they are each fully God, and that there is nonetheless only one God, we must conclude that all three Persons are the same God. In other words, there is one God who exists as three distinct Persons.

If there is one passage which most clearly brings all of this together, it is Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished as distinct Persons. We baptize into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, notice that each Person must be deity because they are all placed on the same level. In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature? Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into whose name we are to be baptized must be deity. Third, notice that although the three divine Persons are distinct, we are baptized into their name (singular), not names (plural). The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute one name. This can only be if they share one essence.

…. read more in Part 2 of this series

John Piper. © Desiring God. www.desiringGod.org

RV Chaplains; Circuit-Riding Preachers

August 22, 2010

by Robert Ruesch

Bob and his wife Barb are members of our Ambassador Club


(as written for the Dallas Baptist Standard on December 31, 2008)

Circuit-riding preachers in the 19th century journeyed through uncharted wilderness to spread the gospel in any available setting-family cabins, courthouses, meetinghouses or open fields. They traveled with few possessions, carrying only what would fit in their saddlebags.

As the 21st century heirs to the circuit riders’ mantle, resort ministry chaplains likewise travel light and cover plenty of ground. But they make their journeys in air-conditioned vehicles and live in motor homes or trailers, moving from one RV park to another. Chaplains sometimes serve a particular location for up to six months before journeying to the next location, offering a seasonal ministry with eternal impact.

Chaplain Don Baker talks to one of the residents at an RV resort after a church service. During the season, besides holding church services, chaplains will travel to the local hospital three times a week and visit 10 to 15 couples.

Chaplain Gordon Thomas and General Manager Dennis Maloney talk (at right). Chaplains meet once a month for fellowship, sharing and support. Meetings are held in varied RV resorts so the host chaplain can share the resort with the chaplains and the visiting chaplains can see different resorts. (Photos by Robert Ruesch)

“I never thought I would be doing chaplain work,” said Ed Bevill of Kentucky, who serves as a chaplain for Winter Texans. “I came to Texas and this resort to retire and enjoy the winter weather of the Rio Grande Valley.”

Bevill lives in Palmdale RV Resort, between Harlingen and Brownsville, where he preaches. He also leads Sunday services at Holiday Out RV Resort, about 5 miles down the road.

Bevill recalled how he and his wife, Patty, were “walking down the road in the RV resort one night, minding our own business, when the chaplain of the resort we were staying at came up and talked to us. We became friends, attended the RV church services and then, he suggested that I consider becoming a chaplain.”

For the next year, Bevill was in contact with the resort chaplain. The next January, he found himself pressed into service.

“The chaplain was supposed to be here for the winter, but an auto accident prevented that happening, so he volunteered me for a few weeks that turned into a season, and now I am in my second season,” he said.

Bevill works as a chaplain with Christian Resort Ministries. Chaplains are assigned to RV resorts seasonally to share the gospel and minister to needs of guests.

“God has a plan for all of us. We either follow it or not. It’s a choice. Yet, when we are in his will and not in his way, things happen-great things happen,” said Dennis Maloney, general director of Christian Resort Ministries.

Many chaplains with Christian Resort Ministries serve as Mission Service Corps volunteers, endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.

Chaplain Don Baker talks to one of the residents at an RV resort after a church service. During the season, besides holding church services, chaplains will travel to the local hospital three times a week and visit 10 to 15 couples.

Chaplain Don Baker talks to one of the residents at an RV resort after a church service. During the season, besides holding church services, chaplains will travel to the local hospital three times a week and visit 10 to 15 couples.

Since Christian Resort Ministries’ creation in a San Antonio hotel lobby in 2002, the ministry has grown from two chaplains to more than 30 chaplains in eight states.

“God is responsible for the work we do. We just come alongside him, follow his will and here we go,” Maloney said.

Once a chaplain is placed in a resort, nondenominational Sunday worship services are scheduled, along with a full platform of other services for the residents and the management team.

Chaplains often schedule professional Christian music concerts, and they offer ongoing small-group Bible studies.

They also provide crisis care. Christian Resort Ministries receive Hands on Ministry training, and many also are certified in biblical counseling, critical-incident crisis management and intervention skills.

“The chaplains of CRM are prepared for what we need to do”, said Don Baker, who served as a corporate chaplain before traveling to Arizona to be a chaplain at an RV resort.

Other duties a resort chaplain performs range from serving as master of ceremonies for a local talent show to helping resort guests align satellite TV dishes.

Chaplains always take time to teach and listen to the residents of the RV resort. Most of the residents are seasonal for either the summer or the winter months and will share their concerns and cares with the RV chaplain.

Chaplains always take time to teach and listen to the residents of the RV resort. Most of the residents are seasonal for either the summer or the winter months and will share their concerns and cares with the RV chaplain.

Many RV park managers are supportive of a chaplain program in their resorts as they see the value in the family-friendly faith-based programs they offer.

“With a chaplain on the grounds, I can manage the park; the chaplain helps with a religious view that brings a wholeness to a situation or question,” one park manager said.

“When I hear someone has gone to the hospital, I know the chaplain will be visiting them. The chaplain will be looking out for the individual needs, as I address resort management issues. We are a great team.”

RV resort chaplains must raise their own support from personal financial resources and reliance on gifts from churches, families and friends, along with some contributions from grateful resort residents and RV park owners.

“We are faith-based, just like the early circuit-riding saddlebag preachers,” Bevill observed. “We really are doing the same work-just in modern times.”

Robert N. Ruesch is a pastor and chaplain, serving the campground and RV resort ministry for eight years and having been involved with resort ministry more than 40 years. He regularly contributes articles to RVchurchesUSA.

Visit Bob’s site at www.CRMintl.org or contact him [email protected]

Article reprinted with expressed permission from both Robert Ruesch and the Dallas Baptist Standard – 2009

One Tank Trip for Iowa Camping

August 17, 2010

by Woodalls Editorial Staff

Iowa camping trip route map

Iowa is thought by many to be at the center of America’s heartland, and they would be right; this is where the American ideal is alive and well. The Hawkeye State’s people are warm and friendly, who understand that you get a day’s wage for a day’s work.

A great many farms run through this region, producing a sizable portion of America’s output of corn and soybeans, but there’s a lot more to Iowa than just cornfields and farming. Make Iowa your one tank trips destination and come see for yourself.

Cedar Rapids is a perfect place to start off your vacation, as it provides a blend of city and country living. You’ve got the theaters, nightlife, and fine dining opportunities available in any big city, but there’s a small town feel at work here that gives Cedar Rapids a charm all its own. There are city parks, state parks, and wide-open county parks within Cedar Rapids, providing you with plenty of places to park the rig and sit for a spell. The Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor is a hiker’s dream, with a maze-like network of interconnected trails that run through the city and countryside. There are car and motorcycle museums in town to attract even the most casual automotive enthusiast, and don’t forget to cruise through the local wine country and sample the incredible vintages they’ve got for sale.

Getting back on the road, head south on the I-380 for close to 20 miles until you pull into Coralville, a town that definitely rolls out a warm welcome to the RVer. You’ll have no trouble finding a place to hook up the rig for some convenient Iowa camping. The town’s got plenty of activities to keep you occupied for as long as you care to stay, with museums and galleries and nearby Coralville Lake. Spend a day or so by the water, and be sure to investigate the Devonian Fossil Gorge, where you’ll be able to get a close-up look at the fossilized remains of a 375-million year old ocean floor. This is definitely not something you see every day, nor will you forget it once you’ve visited.

From Coralville, drive west on the US-6 for 11 miles to your next stop, Oxford. In addition to providing ample opportunities for camping and sightseeing, there’s a very active golf community here with several courses that range from fairly basic to challenging. Whether you are on the Pro Tour, or if you’ve never picked up a club before, spend a day at any of these peaceful golf retreats and relax in the fresh air and sunshine.

Continuing west on the US-6, it’s another 5 miles before you reach Amana, site of the fascinating and historic Amana Colonies. This area is composed of buildings whose construction dates back to the mid 1800s, with wood fences and fruit trees in the yards. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped through a doorway into a simpler, slower-paced age. Pay a visit to the Amana Heritage Society Museum, where you’ll learn about the German immigrants who colonized this area in the mid-19th century. A blacksmith, general store, and original one-room schoolhouse still stand to honor those souls who settled the area. You can rent a bike and tour the surrounding area, maybe pack a picnic lunch and sit out in the middle of nowhere and just simply be. This charming town will no doubt win your heart as it has for so many who’ve come before.

History is alive and well in Marengo, your last stop on this one tank trips adventure through the Hawkeye State, which lies another 8 miles west on the US-6. Here you’ll find the Pioneer Heritage Museum, which showcases buildings from the mid 1800s into the 1930s, including log cabins, a railroad depot, and a gas station from the late 20s.

When it’s time to point the rig toward home, hopefully you’ll have seen that Iowa camping is where the past meets the present; its feet firmly planted in the old world and the new.

This One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory

How Does the Bible Define “Justice”?

August 15, 2010

by Andy
blogger for Cospel.com

Justice has been on my mind this morning since Cambodia Genocide TribunalI read about the conviction of Khmer Rouge torturer/executioner Kaing Guek Eav.

Is a 19-year prison sentence “just”? Does the extent of his crimes merit a harsher sentence, or should his regret and guilty plea earn him a lighter one?

Those are questions that will be much discussed in Cambodia over the next few months, you can be sure. But today’s Words of Hope devotional, about the Christian understanding of justice, seems timely. What does justice look like through the Bible’s eyes, and should a Christian’s definition of justice differ from a non-Christian’s?

There is a great debate in legal and philosophical circles about the nature of justice. The ancients defined justice as giving others their due. Modern theories of justice often talk about fairness and equality.

In Micah 6:8, God calls us to be agents of his justice on earth. But doing this requires deep, prayerful humility. Christian justice has no place for vengeance, self-righteousness, or “getting even.” Instead, justice requires us to seek the good of others, even those who have wronged us. And though that may still require us to take legal action against wrong-doing, we are called to do it in a spirit of love and mercy.

Read the full devotional at Words of Hope.

This quiet and humble approach is a far cry from the “justice” regularly presented in our popular entertainment and in the day-to-day news cycle. What do you think? Does your Christian concept of justice ever conflict with your instincts, and if so, how do you resolve that tension?

Originally published at Gospel.com. Reprinted with permission

Court Nixes Permit Rule for National Park Speech

August 15, 2010

By Annie Youderian

(CN) – The D.C. Circuit struck down a longstanding National Park Service requirement that missionaries and political activists obtain permits to demonstrate, hand out brochures or engage in other “expressive activities” in national parks.

“These regulations penalize a substantial amount of speech that does not impinge on the government’s interests,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the three-judge panel in Washington, D.C.

The ruling has been hailed as a significant First Amendment victory for Michael Boardley, who claimed he was blocked in 2007 from distributing Christian materials in the Mount Rushmore National Park in South Dakota.

“Requiring individuals and small groups to obtain permits before engaging in expressive activities within designated ‘free speech areas’ (and other public forums within national parks) violates the First Amendment,” Brown wrote.

“We have no choice but to hold the regulations unconstitutional in their entirety.”

as appeared on Courthouse News Service

Barbie-pink Dunkin’ Donuts RV

August 13, 2010

jaimie_bruzenak

by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
as appeared on RV Home Yet? August 7 , 2010

Dunkin Donuts RVYou can’t miss this RV! It’s a shocking pink – Barbie pink. Dunkin’ Donuts is bringing it to the Northwest.

The pink RV will be in Edmunds, WA August 15-16 giving dunkin_rvaway free coffee and coupons for Dunkin’ Donut coffee beans in grocery stores.

Dunkin’ Donut stores used to be in the Northwest, but closed down a few years ago.

If you are in the area, take advantage of the offer and get a cup of coffee.

Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks?

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Please add your comment below or email Jamie at [email protected]

reprinted with permission

Riding High in Nova Scotia

August 11, 2010

Image

By Lorraine Sommerfeld Living Reporter

Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia—“Now, you’ll be wantin’ to hold onto the ropes real tight,” said Trevor.

RVing across Canada may be the best way to see the country, because you can get out of the cities and still enjoy comfortable amenities. Lorraine Sommerfeld photo/for the Toronto Star

This was the rugged young man who would be
piloting the dinghy his Nova Scotian lilt sneaking in on some broadened vowels. Six of us sat in the inflatable rubber boat, staring mutely at our feet that were encased in several kilograms of rapidly hardening red mud.

We’d descended the banks of the Shubenacadie River in central Nova Scotia. It’s the largest river in the province, but as I could safely see the other side, as well as several sandbars, I tumbled into the boat and anticipated a nice couple of hours on the water on a lovely day.

Instead, I had the most amazing experience of my life.

Shubenacadie Tidal Bore Rafting Park is one of several companies offering Tidal Bore rafting on the river. Daily from June to the end of September, groups head out to meet the incoming tide. As the sea water rushes in, it mixes with the fresh river water. In a mind bending visual that challenges all you know, one layer of water races atop another as the two combine to create one of nature’s greatest feats: a tidal bore.

The ensuing turbulence is “read” by river guides who then pilot the boats into the heart of the bore. Into. At strongest tides (we had a good moon—waves were about eight metres), you blast upriver into the cresting waves. The boat is nearly vertical as water pours over you from all directions, and it crashes to safety only to be filled with the raging river.

You get soaked. There is no way around it. This is a rodeo on the river, with the river bucking every way to toss you. Clutching the ropes and boat handles, I asked what happens if someone falls in. “Oh, it’s fine, I’ll just pop you back into the boat,” he said, unworried. Two hours later as we approached the dock, it felt like we’d been gone 10 minutes. Our shoes now clean from the pounding water, we headed for the showers.

Nova Scotia is the only place in the world you can do this. With prices starting at $55 for a two-hour tour, if you’re old enough to hold on tight and young enough to still get soaked this experience is not to be missed.

We were trekking through Nova Scotia in an RV; it’s still one of my favourite ways to see Canada, with the ability to leave the beaten path of the cities, but leave none of the comforts behind. With a series of classic trails (we were following the Lighthouse Trail), Nova Scotia is incredibly tourist friendly. And while it may not be hard to get lost in Nova Scotia, it’s definitely hard to stay that way. You can literally ask anyone, anywhere, for help, and be back on your way. Doing a multi-point turn in a 10-metre rig may be cause for concern elsewhere, but not here in the laid-back nest of lobsters, fishing boats and endless shores.

If you’re new to campgrounds or RV parks, reading between the lines of amenities can be overwhelming. Each destination has its strengths; larger grounds will have pools, parks for kids and larger showers and washrooms. In-town sites might feature more concrete than trees, but are frequently provincially run and more modern. My favourite? Hands-down the small, family-owned sites that often don’t translate in the splashy advertisements.

If you’ve never considered an RV holiday, much has changed from even 10 years ago. New units are marvels of space-saving configuration. Pop-outs on some units feature bunk beds, head space has been increased in higher sleeping areas, hot-water tanks are bigger, steps are automatic and even things like outlets are where they need to be. For $150 a day, the large unit we had let us take in the winding roads of Nova Scotia, cook, camp and vacation in comfort. We spent $250 on gas during six days; hardly exhorbitant.

Our first night on the road was minutes from Peggy’s Cove. Situated in a tiny perfect arc of Indian Harbour, King Neptune’s Campground is run by Kay Richardson and her family. As we packed up the barbecue and prepared to take in a promised glorious sunset, Kay rounded the corner of her home with a tray. Homemade gingerbread cake, whipped cream, coffee and tea. Here was our Nova Scotia welcome mat, in the form of a tiny white-haired lady who treated guests at her campground like guests in her home.

The following morning, she led me into her white frame house. An ancient wood stove dominated the living room. “It’s the only heat source in the house,” she said.

Deep in the heart of Kejumkujik National Park, you can bed down in the towering forest, and tour the efforts of experts and volunteers in protecting endangered species of turtles and birds.

We ate cod we’d caught while deep sea fishing; lobster we’d selected from the Bay of Fundy at Hall’s Harbour; a raw scallop that had been clacking at us moments before, on a dock overlooking a gorgeous golf course at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, a town of 2,300. And every night we gathered around a campfire, listened to the surf and marvelled at the star fields.

In a world of false promises, bait-and-switch and not-exactly-as-shown, Nova Scotia truly is better than advertised.

Lorraine Sommerfeld is a freelance writer based in Burlington. Her trip was subsidized by GoRVing Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture & Heritage.

Not Just For Seniors

August 4, 2010

by Hoby
As appeared on Woodall’s camping Blog

I wanted to share what I consider an excellent precaution that everyone should take when traveling or camping in their RV and have a medical condition or take medications.  While this project is designed for Seniors, it would be beneficial for any family member.  When traveling, anything can happen, so you should take precautions and be prepared.

This project was brought to my attention by the Safety Committee in Retama Village (an adult living community for RVers down in the Rio Grande Valley) after one of the residents experienced medical issues that required calling 911.  The Committee recommended it as a standard for all residents and their RVs.

The specific item I’m referring to is called the Vial of Life Project (sponsored by Senior Safety.com).  The goal of the project is to ensure all Seniors have the Vial of Life kits in their homes.  It also makes sense, though, to have them in your RV (for some of us the RV and home are the same) and even your car.

Medical Form

Vial for Life packet

The way the system works is that you receive a kit, which contains 2 stickers and a medical information form for each person.  The form contains basic medical information that covers everything from hearing and vision to medical conditions and medications to doctor and insurance information.

Once you receive the kit, you fill out the form for each person, and you put the completed form into a zip-lock bag.  You place one sticker on the bag and then tape it to your refrigerator door (remember not to cover it with all those magnets or artwork from the kids).

Vial of Life Sticker

Sticker for door

You then place the other sticker at eye level at your front door.  This notifies any rescue workers that might enter your RV that there is medical information available on the refrigerator.  For the car, you might put one sticker on the windshield and the other on the glove compartment with the medical information.
This is a simple effort that may seem like a waste of time.  And, nobody wants an ugly zip-lock bag with a red sticker on their refrigerator.  However, in an emergency situation, ensuring that the responders have as much information as possible can help save your life.  A secondary benefit is that this information can help reduce unnecessary medical tests at the hospital (which could be expensive, delay your treatment, and is stressful on the body).

Please contact the Vial of Life Project if you are interested in taking advantage of this easy way to be prepared for an emergency.

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Members serve as mentors to campground owners desiring to start on-site worship services by connecting them to churches within the owner's local area. Networking is vital to this ministry.