May 7, 2008

Flattering photo of DonB!

Today I was informed that I appear on a website, with a non-flattering photo of me during a show.

I am also told that the photos change constantly, so it may not be there tomorrow.

Here's the website: Willmar Assembly of God Church


Ministry Report

Last week was a nice week. It was the first shows I've had after a really slow April.

On April 29th, Mike Norton and I presented a version of the "Grin Doctors" show in Garrison, MN, as a fundraiser for the Senior Community Alliance. It is a group of people that raise money to help folks in the community that need a little extra funding, or need manual labor help to complete work on thier homes or in their commmunity. We presented the show at the Blue Goose Inn, located on the shores of Lake Mille Lacs. The turn-out wasn't what they were hoping for, but they raised about $1000.00 for their projects. The show was organized by Pastor Mike Paulkie, a friend of our from the Garrison Alliance Church. He had the same vision as we did: the program was a way to show the good that the community, and the local churches, can do for the people of Garrison. It was a success according to Pastor Mike.

On May 1st I drove up to Fargo, North Dakota, and presented the "Professional Goofball Show" for Oak Grove Lutheran School. I had the opportunity to use the program to show how God really does have a special plan for each of our lives, and that when we choose to include God in our life, he can do amazing things beyond anything we could ever expect or imagine. The program was the last thing of the day at the school, so many kids stayed around for about 45 minnutes talking and asking questions. Kids are so cool with the questions and ideas they have. I then ended up signing about 70 autographs. So much fun.

That evening, Jim Sanders, from Century Financial Advisors, invited me to perform and speak at his client appreciation dinner (he also sponsored the school show in the afternoon). The neat thing was that Jim is a firm Christian and asked me to present my testimony and a challenge to the attendees at the dinner. I told them about my short time on the circus, and how it led me to become a Christian. I challenged the folks that within all aspects of their own lives, to include God, and the free gift that he offers of his Son, Jesus Christ, the goals and objectives have a much deeper meaning and purpose. It was a very fun group of people, and responsive to all parts that I talked about. Thanks, Jim, for the opportunity to share my faith with kids and adults, all within the same day. God is good. All the time.

After the Fargo evening program, I packed up and drove the 4.5 hours down to Minneapolis. I slept for 3 hours and then headed for the airport to catch a 6 AM flight to Bloomington, Illinois. Because of lightning, I was delayed in Chicago for 4 hours, arriving in Bloomington with just enough time to get set-up and ready for a show there. Bloomington Evangelical Free Church has built a beautiful new multi-purpose sanctuary/gymnasium, and I was asked to be the opening night speaker/entertainer. 200 people were expected, but I think there were closer to 300-350 in attendance, all sitting on the floor around the front of the new stage. I did a 50 minute program, including my testimony, emphasizing the personal invite that was given to me at 19 years old, to attend church with some friends, and how it was because of that invitation that I heard the Gospel presented in a way that I understood it. I encouraged those that were visitors that night to come back again and hear more about Christianity in its simplest form. Click HERE to read more, in another newsletter posting.

I then flew back to Minnesota and rested, but not for long.

Last night, Mike Norton & I tried something brand new. In preparation for the upcoming Music Boat Cruise we are both working on, we did a program for the seniors in our church, and presented all brand new routines and material. These were routines that neither of us had ever done in front of a live audience. Ever. And, yes, we were both a little nervous. The good thing about the program was that our audience was probably the most forgiving one ever. The funny parts got the laughs, the singing got the oohs and aahs (I didn't do the singing), the bowling ball got gasps of surprise, and Mike and I were able to test out some new stuff. I think we both learned some details about the routines that we presented. Some routines worked great, while others still need a little tweaking in order to be fully ready for our shows. Overall, it was a great night of potluck food, great fellowship with the folks in our church, and one step closer to adding in new material to our shows.

God is good. All the time. Whether we acknowledge it, or accept it, is up to us.

Blessings to you all.


For Origami Interests

While searching for a particular origami figure, I found this website: Origami Club. You can download diagrams for folding, or you can watch a simple animation, showing how each item is folded. Very handy for those that are new to origami. Check it out, and fold something out of that paper you no longer use.

May 6, 2008

Preacher Don's Sermon-for-the-Day

I'm really not a preacher. I'm not a religious person. I'm not an activist. There are just some things that get talked about over and over and I never respond to them. Here's my response to the latest one:
"You can't do that in here!"
What should our church be?

"Oh, you can't do THAT at church."

"You're having a JUGGLER at your CHURCH?!?"

There is a lot of talk about what church should and should not be. "Should we have this music, or should we have this other kind of music?" "Should kids attend the main service with their parents, or is a children's church best?" "Can a church have an entertainer as a drawing factor to get people into a new church facility in their neighborhood?"

Well, I hear questions like that all of the time while I am on the road. My answer would be this: Is the Gospel being presented? If it is, then these questions become external, legalistic details. For example, the Bible does not say that a kid should hear the Gospel in the main service. Let's face it, a kid can hear the Gospel from his parents, his friends, in children's church, at kid's club, from a song on the radio, in Sunday school, and "YES", even from a juggler like me.

The crucial question is not HOW he hears the Gospel, but THAT HE HEARS IT. Period.

No matter how much we might hope for it, your neighbor may never show up at your church to hear a guest pastor speak, to listen to a Gospel quartet sing, or to hear the missionary report from Uruguay. But they may come out of their comfort zone to see what they believe will be a fun time with their family at an entertainment show. Then, when they are comfortable with me as an entertainer, I can then present the message in a way that is comfortable, but hits them straight where they're at.

Jesus told parables. Jesus spoke directly to someone's sin. Jesus stood quietly. Jesus overturned the tables in the temple. Jesus used various ways to share His message, and I know that I can use the situations that God has given me to share Jesus' message also.

I love the opportunities that I have had to sit down, face to face at a table with someone and talk about the Gospel. But those times don't happen as often as I'd like? So, it is important to take advantage of every moment and opportunity that God lays before us to share his Good News. That means that whether you are a doctor, a house wife, a plumber or a teacher, God will bring people into your life that need to hear the Gospel in a friendly way. My challenge is to be ready in all circumstances to share the faith and hope you have.

1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,..." NIV

Notice the "with gentleness and respect" part. Through my programs, I believe that God has led me to a place where I can present the Gospel with "gentleness and respect". Let me be straight: I am not soft on sin, nor am I a respecter of persons. But sharing the Gospel does not have to come at people like a punch to the face. The Gospel is a Gospel of love, not a Gospel of hate and forcefulness. We don't have to shove it down the throats of everyone we meet, but when God brings someone into our lives that needs to hear the truth, we had better be ready to tell it to them. Not watered down, not lovey-dovey feel-good stuff. But the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

So, what is important?

Who is God? Who are we? What is sin? Who is Jesus? What does His death and resurrection mean for us? These are the questions that need to be answered when someone asks us about that truth we have within us.

Skip the denominational stuff. Skip the stereotypical televangelist stuff. Skip the contemporary/traditional debate. Skip the legal-eze, and share the Gospel, the WHOLE Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel.

Preacher Don, checking out of the pulpit now.