October 12, 2014
It's Here in glorious B&W! 'Welcome to My Back Pew' A 115 page collection of BP cartoons is HERE
Trudging for Jesus
What a high calling. There is the Apostle Paul the first great missionary, Billy Graham the great evanglst of the Christian church, and Jeff.. the Trudger.
We may all aspire to accomplish GREAT THINGS for God, but most likely we will be simply faithful minions. I must admit I have personal aspirations that my Back Pew toons and writings be bigger than what they are. It is uniquely who I am but I am most certainly called to be faithful with my gifts and not worry if I am the Charles Schultz of Christian cartoons.
So Trudging for Jesus is what I will do. It is not really trudging except for the challenge of creating toon on days when I have CRAYOLA BLOCK (writers block for cartoonists). I enjoy what I do in fact I can't stop doing it. High calling? I don't know about that, but it is what I do. It is what I have done since I was 5 years old.
May God find each of us faithful to HIM with the gifts and abilities we each have. Your skills may be as a carptenter, doctor, nurse, or engineer. You may love sports, love kids, or have a heart for people in need. You may be an upfront speaker, musician, or a behind the scenes giver of your time and/or money. Maybe you are elderly and believe all you can do is pray.. well prayer is the powerful conduit to almighty God. Prayer is what we all need.
The church is one body, many parts.. let's all be faithful in God's call on our lives. Even if somedays we trudge.
Jeff (Trudger) Larson
October 10, 2014
I attended a funeral yesterday with my wife. The father of our good friend Bob passed away and we were blessed to attend this celebration of this good man.
I did not know this man, but the stories shared and the love and admiration in this church was obvious to all in attendance. Bob did a wonderful job speaking on behalf of the family regarding his dad. He was a quiet man of good character who was a loving husband, father, and friend. He was intelligent and a seeker of knowledge and with a strong faith in God as his compass.
So many times people have regrets at funerals. Death often comes to those who are estranged from their families, or are shadowed by sad memories of alcohol abuse, or family fights and/or tensions that all but destroy family intimacy.
This was not the case of Bob and his dad. Bob shared of his admiration for his dad and the man he was. You cannot take away these memories, and you cannot take away the positive impact his dad was on his family and those he was in contact with.
We are all called to be faithful in this life to God, family, and friends... Then Someday.. Heaven is the reward of those God calls his children. This eternal reward is not the result of anyone's relative goodness, but rather the perfect goodness of our loving Heavenly Father.
May God find in each of us that we love Him with all our hearts soul and mind and others as ourselves. Enjoy this life with the family and friends we are blessed with and leave the rest as less important details.. then someday Heaven.
Jeff (Back Pew) Larson
October 8, 2014
Uncluttered Faith & Eagles Wings (rewrite)
A favorite cartoon of one of my favorite cartoonists (me) is inspired by a Max Lucado's writing which I call Play Hard, Laugh Hard .
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Mt 18:2-3
note to self: PLAY HARD, LAUGH HARD, and..LEAVE THE WORRIES TO THE FATHER.
Growing up in rural Wisconsin my childhood worries were few and far between. I knew my mom and dad loved me and would keep me safe. This left me with the difficult (NOT) decisions of playing hard and laughing hard as prescribed by Max Lucado, and .. Jesus. I now observe my 4 year old grandson Everett living this same life described in Mt 18:2-3. He is loved and knows it. Life only becomes difficult when he needs a nap. <insert reflective pause here> hmmm.. this is ALSO much like his grandpa.
To go along with this UNCLUTTERED FAITH, I would like to share a similar message from the book of Isaiah referencing EAGLES WINGS.
They that wait upon the Lord.. shall mount up with wings as eagles Is 40:31
Eagles Wings for Jeff? Wo.. my wife worries I am sometimes a distracted driver so I am not sure she likes the idea of me flying anytime soon.
Seriously though, Isaiah 40:31 is a cornerstone truth in our Christian faith. As I learn to patiently wait upon the Lord, and trust him in all circumstances.. then I BELIEVE God will be my source, my provider, and my answer. He will renew my strength.
So.. let's keep it simple.
These bible truths do not mean life will be without problems. There will continue to be trials, bad days, sickness, death, and heartache.. BUT this is the result of a fallen/broken world. God's love as demonstated in the above scriptures is our only true HOPE.
remember.. GOD'S MATH
Our willingness + Our limitations + God's Love= UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES
May God bless us all with peace and love in ways that are truly supernatural.
May God find us faithful in our words in deeds.
May we PLAY HARD, LAUGH HARD, take Eagle Wings FLYING LESSONS and leave the worries to the Father as He intends.
Take the lid off of your life regarding what is possible, and live beyond our circumstances...
SMILE LOTS. Jeff (smilin lots) Larson
October 9, 2014
Don't mumble, don't grumble and ...
... stay out of the DARK lest ye STUMBLE!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philipians 4:4-8
Not much more to be said on the subject. When these words describe me I am content no matter my circumstance. When I drift into negativity with mumbling and grumbling (each which I have discovered are NOT fruits of the Spirit) I tend to stumble.
So words of wisdom here.. DON'T STUMBLE, DON'T GRUMBLE, and DON'T MUMBLE in any order! Smile Mon trusting God and finding your joy in Him.
Jeff (grumble n' mumble free lately) Larson
note: I live in a 2 story home, and once stepped out of my bedroom with a clothes basket full of dirty clothes stacked high, made an immediate right to go downstairs only to discover the top step was ALIVE! Well at least my dog baylie was laying on it covering it completely. I then proceeded to somehow slide down a flight of stairs bouncing on my heels from step to step (like a cartoon) and somehow when I reached the bottom MY NECK WAS NOT BROKEN. Well, I more than mumbled at Baylie all while she looked at me like "what was my problem". I am not sure why I shared this.. except it was EXTREME LITERAL STUMBLING followed by shouting, and the joy of the Lord was NOT with me.
October 6, 2014
A few year back I was in Jamaica during one of the stops on a cruise my wife and I took. We now describe it as the BUDGET BOAT from Norwegian Cruise lines. Just above the status of TUG BOAT.Ok, it was not that bad, but not really that great either.. BUT I DIGRESS. While in port in Jamaica I met up with a local 'mon' (man) who was trying to sell us a tie dye shirt as we stepped on shore for more than it was worth, BUT he was wearing a Green Bay Packer (my favorite team) shirt, and since I am from Wisconsin I felt we were kindred spirits. It was a sign :) from God.. and so I bought his overpriced shirt. Of course he had the good strong Island accent, a big smile, and he kept telling "dis is a very good shirt, 'mon'." with a real SMILE MON type of lingo.Now it has been many years since this cruise, but I drew a cartoon way back then called SMILE MON in recognition of my Jamacan Cheesehead acquantance and to go along with an apostle Paul attitude to be content in all circumstances.In this 24/7 rush hour fast paced life it is easy to lose sight of contentment and the only 'smile mon' you can muster is through clenched teeth.But my prayer for each of us is to trust in the Lord with all our hearts Pr 3:5 as our good shepherd Ps 23 then whatever the world throws in our path we are more than conquerors Ro 8:37.Blessings
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