Category Archives: Inspirational

A Shadow’s Viewpoint of His Dad

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“Roy, where’s your shadow?” the tractor salesman asked Dad.

And with that statement, I received a nickname that stayed with me for quite a few years. I was Dad’s shadow, his tag along little boy, who traveled with him when he went to town or a neighbor’s place or Uncle Bob’s farm or the Haldane Elevator or wherever.

Of course, being Dad’s shadow had its unique benefits because he was a softie and I could always squeeze a dime or fifteen cents out of his pockets. This was more than enough to buy an ice-cold Nehi Cream Soda and a Baby Ruth candy bar at Donaldson’s Grocery Store in Haldane or a Pepsi and a handful of peanuts at Gentry’s Farm Implement in Polo.

As his shadow, I watched Dad climb Gene Bolen’s and Matt DeWall’s silos up to the top so that a new crop of silage could be stored in them. He was the fearless neighborhood Spiderman and unafraid of heights. I also saw him help Lawrence Zumdahl, Walter Paul, and Doc Link with their projects. Dad always had time to help neighbors and also drink their coffee. “Black please, no sugar or cream,” he always answered on how he liked his coffee.

And of course, there was Uncle Bob Duncan. Dad farmed with Uncle Bob for thirty plus years and never once did this shadow ever hear Dad speak an angry word at Uncle Bob or vice versa. Both treated each other with the highest mutual respect.

When I was six years old, Dad put his shadow (me) to work for the first time, driving a tractor which pulled the hay fork into the barn. It was an easy job. All I had to do was pay attention to him and push in the clutch when he waved his arms at me. But as youngsters sometimes do, I anticipated his commands and stopped early a few too many times. At last, Dad said to me, “From now on, watch me. If you don’t see me waving my hands, keep on going…even if you end up in the orchard. Do you understand?”

His voice alerted me to the importance of his commands.

All went well for a few hours.

Then, Mom showed up and talked with him while we were working. The load of hay moved up into the barn and I continued driving the tractor, waiting for the waving of his hands. But he continued talking with Mom. I drove past every one of my earlier stopping points and headed for the orchard. Finally, I saw him frantically waving his hands. I stopped.

He ran toward me. His face was red and he held his hat in his hand. “Sonny, I am so mad…but it’s not your fault…it’s mine. But I am so mad! You pulled the backdoor out of the barn with the hayforks. I’m so mad! But it’s not your fault. Honest, Sonny, it’s not your fault, but I am so mad!”

I can still see him standing there next to the tractor tire, shifting his weight from one foot to the other in his agitation, so angry and yet so careful not to hurt my feelings. He eventually helped me off the tractor and gave me a hug. All was well between Dad and his shadow even though his barn door was busted to pieces.

And this is how Dad treated me his whole life. It is called love.

A few days before Dad’s death, a nurse asked me, “What was your dad like?”

“He was a good guy who wore a white hat and sat on a tall white charger. He always arrived at the scene just in the nick of time with a few dollars in his pocket, a hammer and a pair of pliers in his hands and words of encouragement in his mouth for his loved ones and neighbors. He was my hero,” I said.

And I believed every word of it.

(Excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

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Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Dad's Day, Inspirational, Kindle, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Publishing, spiritual warfare, Writing

“Lord, I’m So Lonely”

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In the autumn of 1994, I stood on the bottom rung of my Christian life. Too many mistakes and too much pride had dropped me to that level. My inner faith reservoir offered little help as I tried to pray that morning.

“Lord, I am so lonely,” I muttered through my tears.

Then, I immediately heard these words: “Larry, it was lonely at the cross.”

I would like to to say that I nodded my head and said, “Yes, Lord,” but that would be a lie. Instead, His words angered me.

“That’s not fair, Lord. You’re God and I’m this lousy piece of flesh…”

My words trailed off because even in my low mental state, I understood the ridiculousness of my position. How could I possibly be angry at the one Person who understood my pain because He took all of my hurts, all of my sins, all of my bad days, and all of my emotions on His shoulders at the cross?

It wasn’t long before I laughed aloud at my foolishness.

He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14 NLT)

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How Big is our God?

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The following is a true story about a MyGFA campaign and a dad who involved his children in the campaign decision:

Dad: “For Christmas this year what do you think about our family helping raise support for a Jesus Well?”

Kids: “YEAH!!! That sounds great!”

Dad: “How many wells should we raise support for?” (Dad quietly thinking possibly five wells, because anything is possible with God!)

Kids: “How much does a Jesus Well cost?”

Dad: “One thousand four hundred dollars.”

Kids: “Ok. Let’s raise support for one thousand four hundred Jesus Wells.”

Dad: Humbled. “Do you know how much money that would take? We would need to involve everyone we know and then they would have to involve everyone they know and on and on and on…”

Kids: “Daddy, How big is our God?”

Dad: “One thousand four hundred Jesus Wells sounds like the perfect God inspired number. Now let’s get ready to watch God move!”

This is your invitation to become a part of the story to personally see how God can use anyone with a willing heart to accomplish His will. (You can read the rest of the campaign article here.)

To date, the family has raised $2867, which means they still need $1,957,133 to meet their campaign goal. Why not help them out? You can do that by clicking here.

After all, how big is our God?

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Filed under 10/40 Window, Christianity, Christmas, Church, Faith, Gospel For Asia, India, Inspirational, Kingdom of God, Poverty, Prayer

29 Years Ago…

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I started a farm publishing company in Louisville, Kentucky, but from its shoestring beginning, it always needed more money. Hot Line, Inc. purchased the company in 1981. My wife, our two children, and I moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, in the spring of 1982, purchasing a brick home on Sixth Avenue North. There I managed the new Farm Blue Division for Hot Line.

After a year with Hot Line, I left and started a new publication, still chasing my dreams of being wealthy, as in stinking rich. But it all came crashing down in 1985 because I needed thousands of dollars to start a new publishing company and bail my family out of debt. Our financial resources were maxed out. My inner reservoir was empty and I was finished.

Our only untouched asset was a $125,000 life insurance policy on me. The solution seemed obvious: suicide.

Suicide posed no moral obstacles for me because I was an agnostic. No God equaled zero problems with eternal judgment after carrying out a final business decision. My plan was to enjoy the family for the weekend and commit suicide on the following Monday.

May 20, 1985, arrived with me figuring this was the end of the line. I was not jittery about the decision, but instead I finished up a few loose ends in the morning. I ate leftovers for lunch along with drinking cups of coffee. Later that afternoon, I drove downtown to visit an insurance agent.

Bill Sheridan and I knew each other, but we were not intimate friends. His son played on a youth baseball team, which I had coached the year before. Our relationship was built on after-game conversations, standing in parking lots next to baseball diamonds. He was not even my life insurance agent.

Why did I stop to see him that day? I do not really know for sure, but I think a business partner of mine, suggested I should see him for some reason.

Bill invited me into his office. He sat in a chair behind his desk while I sat in a chair opposite him. We discussed sports and the prospects for our son’s upcoming baseball seasons. In the middle of our conversation, he stared at me.

“You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?” he said, his eyes zeroing in on mine.

His words hit like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday for my family. Words fluttered around my brain, but failed to connect with my tongue. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind showing my old Chevy Vega ramming into a viaduct and killing me. I wept, and although attempting to regain composure, I could not.

“How did you know?” I asked through sobs.

“Oh, the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

His words shattered my unbelief because I realized that God was alive and cared about me. We continued talking and he gave me a book: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers. Bill eventually shook my hand and said one more explosive comment before I left.

“I speak in tongues,” he said.

Walking to my car, I thought, this God-stuff is real. It’s not hocus-pocus tomfoolery after all. I wept all the way home.

I walked into our empty house and sat down on the loveseat in the living room, facing the fireplace. I began reading Power in Praise. Each page seemed to have been written with me in mind. After twenty-five pages, I put the book down on the coffee table and walked into the downstairs bathroom. I locked the door behind me. There I knelt on the floor in front of the bathroom sink, using it as an altar for my hands. My reflection in the mirror revealed a desperate man.

“Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”

Instantly, I knew Jesus was alive and now lived inside of me. I wept for joy, knowing He loved me. I worshipped Him and prayed verbatim Footprints in the Sand as a personal prayer, but I added a new twist for its ending.

“Lord, I’m never climbing out of Your arms because You’re always going to have to carry me. I’m too weak.”

(The above excerpt is from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, Amazon eBook,  © 2014 by Larry Nevenhoven)

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Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime?

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One day the Lord got my attention while I was standing at a busy street corner in India waiting for the light to turn green. There were little children everywhere, a common sight at many busy corners in Bombay. Tourists are cautioned not to give them anything because once you do, the others will all mob you.

While I was at this corner, feeling a bit annoyed by little hands grabbing at me, I heard from behind me the voice of a young girl.

“Sahib, Sir, my father died. My mother is sick. She can’t beg anymore. And I have a little brother, who is very hungry. Would you please give me a few pennies so I can buy some bread and take it to him?”

The light turned green, and everybody hurried on. But I couldn’t move. What she said pierced my heart, I turned around and saw this young girl, not yet 10 years old. I will never forget her face − one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen on a child. She had big brown eyes, thick black hair almost the length of her body, dirty fingernails, and dust mingled with sweat running down her face. She was barefoot and in rags. She just stood there with her hand extended.

I put my hands in my pocket and took all the money I could find and gave it to her. Then, I walked on.

Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, I felt an unseen stranger joined me on this emotional walk. “So, what do you think about the little girl you just met? Is her life as valuable and precious as…” and the face of another young girl appeared in my mind’s eye. I didn’t know the name of the girl on the street, but I for certain knew the name of this new face; it was my own little daughter, Sarah.

I certainly don’t want anyone to feel guilty about lovingly caring for our own children and grandchildren. But the question remains: Is there room in our hearts for one or two of the world’s suffering children, and can we also care for them in Jesus’ name? Can we see them as Jesus does, so special to Him, their worth like jewels beyond compare?

(Excerpts from No Longer A Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan, © 2011, pages 69-72. Order your copy here.)

When I read No Longer A Slumdog, I saw the face of my daughter, Susan, and became a sponsor in Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope ministry. I pray this happens to thousands and thousands of Americans, maybe even you. (Larry Who)

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Do You Really Believe The Gospel?

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Charlie Peace was a criminal. Laws of God or man curbed him not. Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death. On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses. The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. “The Consolations of Religion,” was the replay. Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase with a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings”? All this was too much for Charlie Peace. So he preached. Listen to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon:

“Sir,” addressing the preacher, “if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!” (Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill, ©1959, 1987, Behtany House, Page 32.)

Do we really believe the Gospel? Do we really believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus?

If so, what are we going to do with our beliefs? Will we continue sleep walking like the prison chaplain, ignoring the people around us who are facing an eternity in Hell? Or are we willing to crawl on our hands and knees over broken glass to save one soul from Hell?

The answers to these questions reveal the depths of our love for Jesus.

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Struggling as a Christian Writer?

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A  lifetime ago, I normally preached three times per week. Although I wasn’t a pastor of a church, I preached wherever a door opened.

Once, I taught a series on Christian business practices in a small Iowa town hall. On the second evening, I sat alone, wondering if anyone would show up. At five minutes till seven, a woman walked in and sat down in the middle of fifty chairs. The clock creeped forward, but no one else showed up.

“Sir,” said the woman, “will you be starting on time?”

I nodded my head. “Sure,” I replied, moving toward the stage.

At seven o’clock, I prayed and began teaching to an audience of one. My teaching lasted forty-five minutes and a few others arrived in the last five minutes of it.

I closed the meeting and asked the lady if she needed personal prayer. She did. When I prayed, she received a physical healing for a long term ailment.

Another time, I held breakfast meetings in a restaurant where I gave ten minute teachings. A discussion followed the teachings.

No one showed up on one morning. So there I was in the middle of a restaurant, a preacher with a Bible, a teaching, and no audience. I picked up the menu to check it out when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “I’m here. Start your teaching.”

I opened with prayer and taught my message while all the other customers in the restaurant looked on, probably thinking, “That guy’s a nut!”

Not exactly a successful prototype for others to follow, right?

Yet, I learned a valuable lesson through these efforts. I learned who I needed to please: Jesus. My calling, my ministry, and my life must be focused on pleasing Him. If others are blessed, it will be because I first pleased Him.

So, when the Lord told me to write books and blogs, I did. And of course, I’d love to sell thousands of books, but that is a distant second to pleasing Him.

Now here’s a nugget for us writers: “If an author is willing to go through the various dry seasons of being humbled before God and man, God will eventually reveal mysteries and secrets to the person which may catapult the author onto a gigantic stage.”

Yet, it all begins with just pleasing Him.

Are you willing to pay the price?

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