Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Black 'n Angus

How to tell when your anchor man is a city boy...


(if you don't see a video above)

Thanks to Bill Henderson for sharing this!

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Teen Challenge Banquet 2008

Last night Margaret and I attended the 2008 Teen Challenge of Philadelphia Annual Banquet (view post from last year's banquet).  As before, the event was held in the Hilton ballroom. We went to be with Volunteer Chaplain Alan Graham who volunteers with Teen Challenge in addition to his work on the TFC Elkton chapel.

This year is extra special for Teen Challenge because it marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Teen Challenge International by Dave Wilkerson. Last night we had the opportunity to view part of a special anniversary DVD the ministry has produced.

Teen Challenge 1

Cover of the evening's program

Teen Challenge 3

Chaplain Alan Graham and Margaret

Teen Challenge 5

Little Austin sat next to Alan and they had fun together before the program started

Teen Challenge 7

Austin and his mom, Tomika, who is on the Teen Challenge of Philadelphia full-time staff

Teen Challenge 8

The opening ceremony was a processional of current participants in the Philadelphia program.  The guys had flags and the gals were in front with various percussion instruments...all were singing.

Teen Challenge 9

Other than hearing the great testimonies, the highlight of the program for me is listing to the choir, led by Sherry McMillan.  Choir members are all current or past program participants. Sister Sherry has been involved in this ministry for 20 years.  They do a fantastic job!

Teen Challenge 10

No one sits when the choir sings!  We were all standing and praising the Lord!!
(view a flickr slide show of all of the pictures)

It is always inspiring to hear the personal testimonies of how God has delivered so many people from addictions.  We serve and AWESOME God!

(A special Thank You to Chaplain Ron Jones who kept the chapel open while we were at the banquet!)

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Making A Difference

This is a very good video about making a difference in other peoples' lives.  Well worth watching!


(if you don't see a video above)

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Monday, April 14, 2008

Non-Christians View of Christians

What do non-Christians think about Christians?


(if you don't see a video above)

As Christians, we have a lot of work to do in order to focus more on positive
interactions with unbelievers without diluting the message.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Margaret's 60th Birthday (post script)

I forgot a very important part of the celebration at home.  After everyone else had left, Patrick Sean said he had something special for Meme.


Patrick Sean had picked out a special birthday cake for Margaret.


While Sheri was giving Margaret the cake, we all sang Happy Birthday with Patrick Sean playing the song for us.
He had learned the tune for the occasion. That was his special gift to Meme.

New Neighbors

The weather was mild Saturday morning so I opened most of the windows at home to air out our house.  Early in the afternoon, Margaret motioned me to quietly come to the doorway of our spare room.  When there, she pointed to the open window.  In the sand berry bush, just outside the window, was a mother robin sitting on her nest.

I had seen the nest when I opened the window that morning but there was no bird sitting in it then.  The bush is still bare and it didn't occur to me that the nest could be in use.


The flowers in the lower right are part of an arrangement of artificial flowers in a basket inside the window.
We probably wont be able to see the nest once the bush blooms.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Margaret's 60th Birthday

Margaret's birthday is April 14.  Back in February of this year she told me that she had never had a surprise birthday party.  I decided that her 60th birthday would be an ideal time for her first surprise party!lightbulb

The first challenge was how to organize this without her realizing what was going on.  After all, we not only live together, we also work together.  Normally that's one of the blessings of our being in the same ministry.  It's a major problem though for something like this.  I needed someone who was sneaky and devious to help plan and coordinate this project without Margaret finding out.

My first choice for the job was Sharon Orshaw, our Pastor's wife.  She was not sure if my asking her was a compliment or not.  She did like the idea, though, and agreed to take on the job.  She in turn enlisted two more gals from church to help her — Sharon Daniels and Sharon Cahall.  These three did a great job of organizing all of the details for the surprise party.  We kept in touch with email and IM (instant messaging).  We chose 3:00 PM, Saturday, April 12, in the church fellowship hall, to have the party.

I began inviting folks to attend via a Windows Live Event website (setup so Margaret could not access it) plus a church emailing sent out by our church secretary, Marnie.  Folks without email were invited by phone or in person.  Obviously, we could not put this in the church bulletin!

It worked!  The party was this Saturday and Margaret had no clue what was coming.  I had told her not to make any plans for that afternoon because we were going out for her birthday.  She jumped to the conclusion that we were going out to eat.  After we got into the car, I told her we needed to first stop at the church because the Pastor had something to give us. (Thanks Marnie for coming up with that idea!)

The fellowship hall at the church is downstairs.  I parked in front of the church, so she couldn't see the church parking lot, and went in the front door.  (I found out later that a number of folks had parked elsewhere so she wouldn't see their cars in the lot.) She finally got suspicious when we got to the top of the stairway to the fellowship hall.  She could hear the voices of a lot of folks downstairs.  She looked at me and said, "You didn't?!".

Everyone there shouted "SURPRISE!" when we opened the door to the hall. What followed was one emotional high after another as Margaret recognized unexpected out-of-town friends and family one at a time.  She was so excited and surprised she actually walked right past our daughter and two grandsons the first time without even noticing them.  It was great.  A number of folks remarked that it was the first time they had ever known Margaret to be at a loss for words. smile_regular


Margaret finally realized daughter Sheri, and grandsons Jonathan and Patrick Sean were here from Virginia


left to right: Chaplain Tom Kramer; Chaplain Don Jaggers; and his wife Carol


Charlotte , Margaret, and Kenzel
Pastor Kevin Wall from Chesapeake City, MD, back left, and Sharon Orshaw way back in the kitchen
(that's the ribbon on a balloon in front of Margaret's face)


Lorraine, Thelma, Janice, and Tootsie - ladies from our church


very dear friends, Gordon and Edwina, who came all the way from western PA


Jessica with baby Danny, Pastor Kevin Wall and wife Dawn


front, left to right: Chaplain David Weaver, Linda Kramer, and husband Chaplain Tom Kramer
daughter Sheri is standing behind Margaret
(Chaplain Ron Jones was also there but didn't make it into any of my pictures)


Margaret with the three Sharons, left to right: Sharon Orshaw, Sharon Daniels, and Sharon Cahall
They are showing Margaret the birthday cake made by Sharon Cahall


The Pooh cake.  Half of the cake is lemon, for Margaret, the other half is chocolate, for the rest of us


Pastor Dan Orshaw, and his wife Sharon, and their granddaughter, Emelyn


Margaret posing for pictures with her cake


Of course the kids were first in line for cake and ice cream!


A Pooh piƱata filled with candy.
You don't hit this one with a bat to break it open.  Instead you pull the ribbons on the bottom, one at a time.
Only one of the ribbons opens the bottom to let the candy spill out.


Margaret and the kids took turns pulling out a ribbon until the right one was pulled


That's our grandson, Patrick Sean, on the left


The last activity at the church was Margaret opening presents. I think the kids were as excited as she was.
Notice the country girl without shoes — can't take her anywhere!


Some of the folks had time to come to our house and visit after the party.
(including Charlotte, on the left, and Patty, on the right)
Patty worked with Margaret and me years ago in ministry in Virginia.  She now lives in NJ.


Sheri and her two sons spent the night at our house.
We had breakfast together at a local restaurant, the Wagon Wheel, Sunday morning and
then they had to get back to VA for Sheri's father-in-law's birthday party.
(Patrick Sean is hiding)

The last birthday weekend activity was lunch at the TA in Elkton, MD. with Chaplain David Weaver, Chaplain Tom and Linda Kramer, Gordon and Edwina, and driver Greg.  Margaret and I drove to the TA after attending church in Smyrna to meet up with the others.  We had a great time of fellowship there.  No pictures though...I didn't have the camera with me.smile_sad

You can watch a Flickr slide show of all of the pictures here.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Famous (Infamous) James Ossuary

The Bible Places Blog, one of my favorite blogs, has a good post about the James Ossuary, including a short video from the 60 Minutes television program.  The post is a good reminder that we should not place much stock in most of the news coverage of Biblical issues.
The Easter story for "60 Minutes" this year is about the bonebox inscribed with "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." view the entire post...

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins