Writing from Northwest Indiana:

I have to admit, change can be a hard thing to get used to at times.  It’s hard to believe sometimes that we have not been in this part of the country, the part I grew up in, since last June…just a few days short of ten months.  Our lives have genuinely changed since we have last been at Fairhaven.  Looking back, I can recollect exactly when we first started noticing all of the change…

For my entire senior year of college, I still felt like I was in college.  Yes, I knew soon after graduating I would be married, and moving almost 700 miles away to the foreign state of Pennsylvania; but I never realized how much would be different–and at that, a GOOD different.  Even up until the point I was waiting at the altar for the door to open so I could catch a glimpse of my beautiful bride, everything still felt the same.  Nothing was changing yet.  Just another event in the life of Dustin Speckhals.  We said our vows, walked out of the auditorium, shook hands, cut the cake, took a few pictures…still the same.  The change hit me, though, at an interesting time.

After our pictures were done at the wedding, we walked back to the dining room where the reception was, and I told Andrea that I was going to carry her through the crowd (yes, I admit it was a show!).  So I picked her up, carried her through the cheering and jubilant wedding crowd, and into the limo that was going to take us to Chicago.  We got into the vehicle, the driver shut the door, and the change came.  The driver pulled away, and off we went.  It was finally here!  Life was completely different after that.  All of the family I loved, some of the best friends a man could ask for, the best college teachers and mentors–they all faded into the distance.  Soon the steeple of Fairhaven faded away too, and our new life began.

Even after we came back from our honeymoon to pack our stuff up for the move in a few days, so much seemed different.  It was just like God was moving us right along to our new life together!  It never seemed quite like home during those packing day.  At least for me, it was easy to move.

Now, ten months later, we return for a visit, and ironically, not much has changed!  Sure my parents live here now, there a few new people, new family, and a new status (we have a “real life” now–no more college!), but so much hasn’t changed!  It seems like home again…not our home, but a place where we love to be, and believe it or not, were people love to see us!  The best part of all is that some of the things that are different from when we were here are great changes!  After all of that,  though…here are some things I have noticed that are different or the same:


  • College students still sit in the same places in the auditorium
  • All of the verses of the songs are still sung…maybe a little bit slower tempo than our church too.
  • Same ol’ dating couples–minus a few of us who got married
  • Tom Almanza is still himself
  • Lindsey still wonders why there is no band or PE during candy sale
  • NW Indiana still looks as dilapidated as before


  • A great new mother-in-law
  • Two new houses for us to visit (Leslie and Murdock side)
  • I can hold my sweetheart’s hand walking down the path
  • A few folks that were struggling spiritually when we left are making HUGE steps for God!
  • The kids are getting taller, including by little brother and sister

It is great to be back to all of the memories and people, and we look forward to the rest of our short stay here.

Picking Up New Skills…

Over the slower winter months, I have made an attempt at two new skills: crocheting and knitting.  I am no professional, but have definitely enjoyed the experience.  I was taught both types of stitching several years ago, but lacked the time, interest, and practice to develop the skill.  Now, I made a blanket including both knitting (center piece) and crocheting (outer border), and have crocheted a few doilies.  How did I learn?  Well, what I remembered from before, combined with internet articles, video tutorials, a little thinking, and a lot of pulling it out and re-doing, has gotten me this far!  Here are my two completed projects:

My knitted/crocheted blanket
The doilies I crocheted

Monday Morning Randomness

Happy Monday to all of our readers! This is going to be one of the most random posts I have written, but I have quite a bit on my mind.

First of all, there was the historic vote on Obamacare last night. I admit, I can be a bit of a political junkie when I really want to. After church yesterday morning, I tuned in to to watch some of the political debates concerning the rules, bills, etc.  The whole process really amazes me.  One thing that I noticed was the utter shamelessness of the Democratic Party.  Not concerning the details of the bill, most of which I completely disagree with, the arrogance saddened me.  The Democrats all seek to tug on heartstrings of the “underprivileged,” a tactic taken right out of Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles’ play book.  After church, then a snack afterwards, I watched the rest of the debate, and the votes themselves up until 11:oopm or later.  I could say a good bit more, but I will say that I am looking forward to voting conservative in November, and voting out our flip-flopping Senator Arlen Spector.  There were also a few Republican congressman that impressed me, and if the future of conservative politicians is in them, I think they are in good hands.  The first is the House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor of Virginia.  He is eloquent, intelligent, and commanding.  The other is the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.  I think he would be good presidential material sometime in the future, and I have heard others say similar.  Overall, though, I can’t wait to fire Nancy Pelosi from Speaker of the House in the next elections.

On a completely different note, our four-way election of a wall photograph has a winner!  The picture-elect is B–Turquoise Water and White Cliffs. When it will be inaugurated to our wall, I do not know.  I think I’ll place the order for it sometime at the beginning of next month, pending if the company has a good deal then.  We will post a picture of the picture when it is officially “in office.”

Also, we have just a few short days before we make our way back to the Midwest for a six day visit.  We are leaving early, early Wednesday morning, and plan on being there sometime in the early afternoon.  We are excited about being able to see our families and friends, as well as be able to enjoy some Chicago-style street food!  Well, the food is not that important, but George’s in Chesterton sure does sound delicious right about now!

And I cannot forget that the Michigan State Spartans made it past Maryland to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the third year in a row.  It also looks like they have a bit of an easier path to the Final Four since Kansas was shocked by Northern Iowa.  MSU-Northern Iowa should be a good game this coming weekend…

The game winning shot against Maryland!

The New Face of Fundamentalist Christianity–Part III

Volunteer or Reasonable Servant?

I don’t think I have ever read anything concerning this subject before, but I have been pondering about it a decent amount lately.  In fact, this article is about ten years in the making.  I think it started with my parents, and some of their very wise opinion and advice in this area.  I believe that this subject is biblical, and without it, service to God can become sold out to materialism and selfishness.

Thankfully as I was growing up, I was taught a good bit about service to God: what it is and what it is not.  I believe that many in fundamental Baptist churches today are confused about what it means to be God’s servant.  Often you may hear the term “volunteer” to describe someone who does some kind of service in the church.  However, we should know that our service to Christ has nothing to do with being a volunteer.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is good to volunteer your time: for a good political cause, for an elderly neighbor, or for your community spring cleaning day–but not for your church.  “What are you getting at?”, you may ask.

Webster’s dictionary describes the word volunteer this way: “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service.”  So why do we not volunteer our time at church.  The answer is simple: service in our church is not voluntary at all.  It is mandatory.

Romans 12:11 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

We know that our salvation from sin and hell has nothing to do with our works.  We can never do enough good works to please a holy God.  After being born again and becoming a child of God, we are officially enlisted into Christ’s service.  And every service to God must be done through your local church.  That is why you cannot volunteer yourself to God or your church.  As the above verse clearly states, our lives are a sacrifice to God: everything is for Him.  We surrendered all of our rights on the cross of Calvary.

A problem with many churches today, or rather many of the people in them, is that they honestly think that the church owes them something.  If the pastor does not preach on what they want to hear, they get mad at him.  If the church’s schedule does not match your schedule, then it is the church’s fault.  If the church does not give you some kind of incentive (food, recognition, etc) to come to a work night, then you just are not going to come.  What ever happened to being enlisted in God’s service.  I think one of the problems is the attitude of “volunteerism.”  Instead of imparting to God what is already his with our time, we hold it back and expect some kind of incentive.  Granted, I don’t know many people who would expect a check from the church for their giving of time; but in a more subtle way, they honestly think that they are owed something from the church, and essentially, God Himself.

The attitude we must have instead is that of a reasonable service to God.  Every hour of witnessing, ever nail that is hammered, every bathroom that is cleaned, every carpet that is shampooed: it is all our mandatory service to the Lord.  Now, all of this may sound somewhat harsh; but it is not at all!  It is a true joy when you are serving God without any strings attached!

One example many of the men from our church experience just a few weeks ago.  We had record amounts of snowfall in southeast Pennsylvania this past winter, and by the time it started melting, our gymnasium building of Mt. Zion Baptist Church started developing some leaks on the roof.  Now, it wasn’t that bad, but enough to concern the stewards (the men who are in charge of taking care of the property) of our church.  I received a call at about 1:00 in the afternoon from our head steward, asking to help shovel off the foot or more of snow off of the roof in a few hours.  And believe me–it is not a small building!  That evening I arrived at church earlier than what was planned, but already, already there were at least a dozen men there on top of the annex building, shoveling away.  For the next few hours, at least twenty of us men got most of the snow off the building.  It was great!  The best part of all, I think, is that the fathers brought there young sons to help too.  True, they did not make much of a dent in the snow, but they learned that when the church needs help, you are there.  It was pretty hard work, but we had a blast doing it too!  Working for God is genuinely a joy!  I don’t think that one of the men considered themselves a volunteer.  That is one of the reasons I like the term steward–the caretakers of God’s things, and in our case, the church buildings.  It is just part of being at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and serving God all the way through it–not because of something we get, but because of all that Christ did for us.

The main point that I would like to get across is that if your church needs your service, find every way possible not to get paid for it.  Be as generous as you can!  You will not regret it.  Volunteering is something that someone from outside of your church does when they may give time or materials, without making the church pay.  Reasonable service is for those in the church, all because it is what God demands.  If you have a talent or trade, give it to God!  Use it in your local church!

Ephesians 6:77 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: