Dear friends of Vital Signs Ministries,                                      July 2023

I had kinda’ planned to use this month’s letter as a presentation on one of the subjects I’ve recently been studying: the dire need to protect one’s reputation (and to pray fervently against attacks on the reputations of other believers); the great dangers to the Body of Christ posed by “very draining persons” (gossips, braggarts, and those who consistently demonstrate a contrary spirit); or the opportunity/responsibility Christians have to be, like John Mark was to Paul, “useful” and “profitable” for ministry. But with this July letter, since I know you also want to stay informed about what’s happening with Vital Signs, I’ve decided on a different route. I will conclude my studies on the subjects I mentioned, but I’ll post them on Vital Signs Blog instead of this month’s letter. You can read them on the blog in a few weeks. And since June was so full of ministry action, I’ll write more of a literal “news” letter this time around. Okay?

* Speaking and Writing. On May 28 I taught the adult Sunday School class and then preached the morning service at Wellspring Lutheran Church. I did the same procedure (with different texts) at Herman Community Church on June 4. And, of course, every Sunday afternoon I preach a brief sermon at our church services at Aksarben Village Senior Living. Other recent engagements? I gave a talk for the Nebraskans Embracing Life banquet in Bellevue on June 24th and then on June 30 Claire and I teamed up for a wide-ranging pro-life presentation to a group at St. Peter’s Catholic Church downtown. Coming up in July (that we know of) are more preaching dates at both Wellspring and Herman. And yes, your prayers regarding these responsibilities are deeply appreciated as we ask you to pray for my careful Bible study and preparation, for Spirit-directed delivery, and for the receptivity of the audiences. Thank you.

Oh yes; two more points here: 1) Please know that we would be delighted and honored to speak at your church or group. Just zip us an email or give us a ring. Topics could include any one of many pro-life subjects, but our talks also run the range of biblical exposition to literature, of spiritual disciplines to history, of the culture wars to our conversion testimonies…you get the idea. And 2) We have the best times at our Sunday afternoon church services but, to be honest, we could certainly utilize the visitation/friendship ministries of more Christians. We arrive about 2 and visit with the early-comers while we set up the screen, projector, pulpit, and speaker. Then we start the service promptly at 2:30, finishing no later than 3 or 3:05. (Within that brief time, we have prayers, a 10-minute sermon, three remarkable song videos featuring gospel music from all over the world, and communion every first Sunday.) The “after glow” ministry then involves visiting with our 12-20 congregants over coffee, lemonade, and cookies for anywhere from 30-45 minutes. We would absolutely love you to join us for that outreach, even if it is just for maybe one Sunday afternoon a month or whenever. Again, just give Claire a call if you’re interested.

And about the writing? From June’s Vital Signs Blog entries, I would most recommend The Panther Patrol’s Last Mission or Confessions of A Boy Scout Dropout; Quickly, Name 8 Reasons to Oppose Planned Parenthood; Your Sins, Your Enemies, and Your Fears Will Be “Cleared Away,” and, from The Book Den,“Keep Your Hands Off It” — Sherlock Holmes and the Suicide.

* Book Discussions. The Vital Signs Ministries Book Brunch on Saturday, June 24 was exceptional as 12 of us enjoyed delicious brunch items (muffins, coffee cake, mini breakfast burritos, donut holes, and hot drinks), engaging fellowship, spiritual enlightenment, and a stirring call to action for the Lord as we discussed C.S. Lewis’ classic novel, That Hideous Strength.

* The Vital Signs Ministries Website. This site continues to serve the Church and the pro-life movement with enlightening articles, helpful how-to resources, and the provision of a continual link to Vital Signs Ministries blog. One of the newest features there is The Top 5 posted every Saturday, a compilation of my five most recommended articles of the week. (The website’s URL address is

* Letter-writing. The latest quarterly letter-writing events hosted at our home were on June 20 with one in the mid-morning and the other at night. The turnout was disappointingly low this time around – only 6 at the brunch meeting and just 4 in the evening. Nevertheless, that small but enthusiastic company wrote a combined 93 letters and cards! Way to go! Details about the people we wrote to, the pertinent addresses, and even a few sample letters have been posted on Vital Signs Blog and the VSM website. Please check them out because you might be spurred to lift a few prayers and write some letters of your own. And that would be fantastic!

* Public Pro-Life Witness. Our public presence outside abortion businesses is now in its 40th year. My, oh my. Yet, as long as the barbaric scourge of abortion pollutes our world, we will remain committed to opposing it – peacefully, prayerfully, and persistently. And while we use the pulpit and correspondence and social media to fight against abortion (both surgical and chemical), we also believe it imperative to publicly signal our opposition to the killing of the innocents at the very places where preborn boys and girls are killed. Thanks to all of you who stand alongside us…and for all of you who stand with us in prayer.

* “When Swing Was King.” We have added another senior facility to our schedule, thus making it 11 places in Omaha and Lincoln where every month we bring to our audiences the blessings of music and memories, fun and friendship. In some of these places, we must deal with a very sad lack of support from staff, a situation made all the more frustrating because “When Swing Was King” is remarkably professional and organized, wonderfully relevant to the residents, therapeutic on several levels, and often the most popular program in their whole schedule. Plus, there’s a bonus in that we come free of charge! So why we can’t get facility officials to help us promote the program, set things up, keep from moving us at the last minute, and so on, is way beyond us. Your prayers would be most helpful here too.

* Networking. We have always been “good connectors,” but it seems we are more involved than ever with other pro-life and Christian ministries. For instance, I’ve been very involved this past year with the Business & Professional People for Life. I’m on their board; I’m supplying articles for their website and newsletter; and Claire and I will be the speakers at their quarterly luncheon on September 7. (We hope you can make it. More details later.) And we have signed up to help Nebraska Right to Life at their State Fair booth in Grand Island later this summer.

* Pastoral Care? Vital Signs Ministries is a para-church outreach: it is not a church and so one wouldn’t naturally assume that we would feel the responsibilities of a pastor. Still, Claire and I do seem to be doing a lot of shepherding ministry these days. In fact, friends who are genuine pastors have been complementing us on our pastoral engagement. We haven’t really looked at our life in this way — it just seems to us to be friends helping friends — but it’s true that there have been quite a few hours spent recently in hospitals and emergency rooms, rehabilitation centers, senior living facilities, coffee shops, or simply the living room of our house (and others) where we are called upon to provide special encouragement, biblical advice, prayers, and sometimes physical assistance. So, though this hasn’t exactly been part of our job description in past years, it certainly seems like the Lord has added it nowadays. We therefore thought it right to let you know and urge your prayers for us to include these tasks.

*A Bit More. Finally, there are a few other things that have required our attention this last month. Our spiritual disciplines. Our prayers together. Helping set up a block party for our neighbors. The lawn work. Having our carpet of 16 years replaced by flooring, thanks especially to Claire’s skilled and very conscientious brother Kevin who came up from Lincoln over several days to complete this big job. (It looks terrific!) The weekly Zoom calls with my family. Hospitality outreaches. Obtaining some extra care for my little sister in Wichita.

And then there’s the dealing with aging bodies. In that last category, June saw me at the dentist, the eye doctor, and my every-5-year visit to the gastroenterologist. I also had my driver’s license renewed where honesty compelled me to mark my hair color not as “light brown” but as “white.” And Claire? Well, she’s holding up quite well. She had a check up with the ENT to determine if a lump on her thyroid is still the same. Good news – there was no change. He set her next appointment five years from now. She also saw the dentist about slightly bleeding gums but that has been resolved.

We both deal with a few other health matters (sinus, my eyesight and balance, Claire’s diverticulitis), but we try to be sincerely grateful for whatever God brings our way. And we are working to be good stewards with whatever state of health we’re in. For example, we are now in the 9th year of our strict Paleo diet. And we tightened that up this past year with a modest approach to intermittent fasting – eating only between 8 AM and 6 PM. Claire is working out on the Total Gym and often accompanies me for half the distance of my prayer walks. For my part, I’m back to the long walks (5.5 to 8 miles) and biking (16-18 miles) as I train to commemorate my 72nd birthday on July 5 with another Colorado 14er climb. And yesterday the scales informed me I had reached my lowest weight since I was in my mid-twenties. Very encouraging.

So there you go — a very “newsy” letter that describes June’s activities, previews a few things coming up, and even fills you in on the state of our health. And within that list of stuff, you should find plenty to pray for! Know that we will be profoundly grateful to God — and to you – for each and every one of those prayers. Please accept also our ongoing appreciation for your generous support of Vital Signs Ministries.

But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only.