Thursday, March 24, 2016

Living Lesson: Our Gift

Living Lessons: Our Gift
By: Christopher Wiles

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me."  Aretha Franklin attracted droves of followers with these lyrics in her passionate pop plea for honorable treatment.  As you look through Aretha's 1967 lyrics, you do indeed find out her meaning of respect.  Respect seems to be giving Mrs. Franklin her "propers" for the fact that she's worked hard for her spouse.  Respect is being maritally faithful in extracurricular activities for this icon's lover.  Respect to Aretha even entails honesty.  As we endeavor to find out what this modern broad term of respect means to Aretha, it begins to be defined much the same as another word that shows up frequently in the Bible. 

HONOR & RESPECT - Biblical honor means to give something weight, attention, priority, nobility, or richness; much like the way we use the word "respect," today.  Honor is something we typically give to our parents, spouses, and leaders, but Jesus came to show us a better way.  In the Bible we are told not only  to "You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man,"  (Lev 19:32a) and "Honor your father and mother,” (Eph6:2a) but we are also told, "Honor everyone." (1 Pet 2:17a

Back in the day, when I knew everything and was convinced I was the smartest on my Facebook friends list, I didn't think  going to funerals and visitations was a worthwhile endeavor.  For a young, smart, strong, strapping lad like myself, I didn't believe I had anything to offer a family who was grieving and I especially didn't have anything to offer anyone who had already passed away.  In that moment, I couldn't teach them math, preach a sermon, fix their car, or build a picnic table.  There was nothing I could give from my naive perspective.  I'm glad today to say that Jesus has shown me what I have to offer.
Jesus came to show us that EVERYONE deserves our honor and respect.  In our culture, it is a gift deserved by all but given by few.  While at the funeral for Meredith Myers this past week, I realized, that not everyone in that packed church building knew Meredith, but they all had something to give to her and her family.  Very few had any words to say to family that hadn't already been said.   Very few could have an active part in the service or burial that would make a significant impact.  Yet each of us was there giving a gift and collectively making a difference in the life of this family.  We stood then walked by in honor while the family remained sitting at the close of the service.  We quietly stood out of respect while the pall bearers bore the casket to the cemetery.  Our simple presence and the acts of standing, of giving this moment weight, of making this time a priority, of treating Drew's deceased mother with nobility, of showing our undivided attention, was a gift of HONOR and RESPECT.  Yes, this day we have something to offer to someone who deserves it.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, this is what it means to me. 

"Show proper respect to everyone." (1 Peter 2:17a NIV)
"Honor everyone." (1 Peter2:17a ESV)

Moose Lodge Photos

There were plenty of eggs, plenty of children, and plenty of fun to be enjoyed by all at the 2016 Moose Lodge 1080 Egg Hunt.

If you want to download higher resolution files, you can find them through my recent blog post at or you can go directly to my Picasa Web Album here:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Please Stop Pecking Yourself

Living Lesson: Please Stop Pecking Yourself
By: Christopher Wiles
     On Wednesday evening I arrived at the Wiles residence at 10:30pm after late night hospital and home visits.  Although I was tired and my family was already asleep, I went through my usual nightly wind down rituals, which includes emptying all my pockets on the kitchen table and feeding our eight new baby chicks. This night, the contents of my pockets included something out of the ordinary: a high powered green laser pointer that is used for presentations at church.  A laser pointer and chickens were both sitting before me; you smarties out there can probably guess where this is going.

     After 5 minutes of watching chicks run in circles pecking the bedding as they chase this wayward green dot, I got the bright idea of putting the dot on the side of a chick.  This chick wasn’t about to ignore the wing I was highlighting and it began furiously pecking itself trying to removed the intangible object it thought was on its wing.  Realizing the potential harm this animal could do to itself as a flurry of beaks, wings, and feathers flew about,  I put the laser pointer away and ruminated on what I witnessed.

     We are not all that different from this chick.  How many times has our culture highlighted a harmless, natural, and normal part of us driving us to “peck” at ourselves inflicting self harm?   The world says it doesn’t like your size, your hair color, your body shape, and your skin tones, so we die our gray hair with harsh chemicals, change our skin tones with harsh tanning beds, and develop destructive eating disorders.  So many of these activities have been proven to be harmful to men and women’s health, yet we continue to peck away at our natural selves with these activities year after year, rather than being content with what God created us to be.  Even I struggle at times with the pasty white skin leading to farmer’s tan lines before going to the beach, the thought of dying my hair as I find more gray encroaching, or finding unnatural ways to improve my physique before we going on vacations. 

     We could all find perfectly normal areas of our lives to peck away at as we try to appease the culture gods of modern media, but like these chicks, we would do more harm than good in removing what is unique to us.  I want to encourage you today to remember that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  Remember that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance of a person but "the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).  Remind yourself that you don’t need to change your appearance to be a “new you” but follow Christ, “for if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold,  the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Help Wanted: Leadership - Message Minute

Good morning, this is Topher from Washington Church of Christ bringing you your message minute. 

Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  One of the common complaints I hear in churches and communities is that our leaders are diminishing while our couch potatoes, deficients, and people expecting only to be served is increasing.  To combat this crisis, leadership training programs are cropping up all over the United States.  

You can see it in Washington High Schools with the CEO class, Beta Club, or National Honor Society.  You see it within the city’s adult community with the Leadership Training Program hosted by Purdue Extension.  You saw it yesterday as many of the areas leaders gathered at East Side Park to collaborate in improving the county’s public spaces.  You’ll see it this Sunday at Washington Church of Christ as we host a “Leadership Summit” with SteveDiggs of the “No Debt No Sweat Seminar.”  (P.S. You’re Invited, 3 Sessions, 9:30am, 5pm, 6pm.)

All over our area, we have seen the need to build leaders that we can remember, leaders that we can consider, and leaders that we can imitate.  It’s time to step up, because we need good leaders.  Would you like to become one in your home, family, or community?  I’m happy to help. Contact me through, you’ll be glad you did.

Message Minutes are sponsored by  Washington Church of Christ and recorded for the public 107.9 The Memories WAMW morning radio program.  They air at approximately 7:35am on Weekday Mornings.

To find more of the Message Minutes that have been uploaded to this blog CLICK HERE.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

You Can't Win Em All - Message Minute

Good morning, this is Topher from Washington Church of Christ bringing you your Message Minute.

Last night was a tough 1 point loss for the Hatchets in the sectional basketball tournament (click here to listen to the game on WAMW).  My heart goes out to those students, parents, and coaches that gave it their all.  My own highschool sports career saw many ups and downs playing baseball, wrestling, and serving from 1st seed on the tennis team.  My favorite memory was a sectional tennis tournament on my birthday where I received a standing ovation from the crowd of coaches, parents, and players who gathered to watch an epic battle.

Even though I lost my best match 19 years ago ending my highschool career, I look back with fondness  on the memory because of the wisdom I’ve gained.  I know now that how I played, how I shook hands, and the relationships I made during the season, meant so much more than the score of that match.  It's nice to be the winner, but no one wins all the time, and over time, most of us do realize there's a whole lot more important things to dwell on than winning and losing. 
FFHE Racquet Club in 2015
As a dad who still plays and coaches competitive sports (click here to see a few of the teams I've coached), I know that I won't win them all.  But I take special comfort in a Psalm that helps carry me through when the losses come.  Psalm 37:23-24 says, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in the Lord’s way, though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. "

Above all the winning and losing, focus on delighting on the Lord, and the God we created heaven and earth will pick you up when you fall.  

Message Minutes are sponsored by  Washington Church of Christ and recorded for the public 107.9 The Memories WAMW morning radio program.  They air at approximately 7:35am on Weekday Mornings.

To find more of the Message Minutes that have been uploaded to this blog CLICK HERE.