donloyw's Journey Notes
Volume 17

December 2017

Dying to Get Ahead

Friends seeing me recently for the first time in a long while hugged me and exclaimed that I was a miracle. They were referring to a report they heard that I had a stroke almost two years ago, but which actually was vertigo-type loopiness and nausea, a reaction to taking caffeine enhanced pre-workout supplements which overstimulated my heart.  I was set back for several months, but recovered – not because God chose to “miraculously” heal me, but because I stopped taking those damned caffeine enhanced pre-workout supplements.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17L30

Careless Parenting Confusing Children

Without Christ (his Life renewed in us each day), every marriage is subject to failure and heartbreak. Attempts at remarriage can have increased risks. Lost influence with children can be the most disappointing. A man lamented recently that his children called their new stepmom their “dad’s wife” and that her children called him “uncle.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17L23

Meeting Carole, Seeing a Cow Up Close for the First Time

I came upon a cowbell while walking thru J.C. Penny at the mall. I looked around to show Carole but couldn’t find her, so I rang the cowbell. She told me later she heard the cowbell but didn’t want to believe it was me. I told her I could use it at home when I needed her. She asked why a cowbell. I said because I grew up in the city and she on the farm and that I had never seen a cow up close until I met her.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17L16

When Pastoral Support for Experiencing God Becomes a Premium

I dreamed the world was hit by a natural disaster of some sort resulting in massive destruction. As I looked around I saw a large church building, damaged but still standing. A large crowd of people was gathered around it. When I inquired, a group stepped forward to ask if I would be their pastor. I awoke thinking that the time will come when the ministry of GracePoint to support hurting people for experiencing Christ will be a premium value, different from the entertainment and socializing the Church clamors for today.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17L09

Silly Humor at the Wife Return

Trying to be a hit with the checkout lady this week at the mall, I asked if the black shirt I was showing her came in black. I told her my Wednesday humor was not that good but that I could come back on Friday. She laughed and said she thought it was pretty good. I asked if she took returns. She said she did. I said that was good, that I would go get my wife.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17L02

November 2017

In the Dentist Chair Learning to be Nice

Years ago I began learning to be careful what I say to people when I told a young, newly-hired dental hygienist that I was a runner. She said she used to run but didn’t any more. I told her there should not be anything we ought to do that we “used to” do. Suddenly she became very aggressive and set my mouth on fire.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17K25

Best Laid Plans to Get Eaten for Thanksgiving

I asked a staff member at the gym this week if service animals were allowed. She said yes, although one lady brought her poodle because she did not want to leave it at home alone. I asked her if she had heard of matching pajamas for snuggling with dogs. She said I would not want to know what her dog did in her bed. She said she read about a lady who slept with a python. When the python stopped eating, she took it to the vet who asked for more information. The lady said there was nothing else to say except the snake just stretched out each night beside her. The vet suggested the snake was sizing her up for a meal.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17K18

Little is Much When God Is In It!

Jesus was supported by Provisions that flowed from his Father, yet he was poor by worldly standards (so are the best of ministers). When a recent report identified the wealthiest ministers, my name wasn’t among them. So just to aggravate Google, I asked, “What is Don Whisnant’s net worth?” Google understood me to ask “What is my old whiskey bottle worth?” So I asked again, “What is the net worth of Don Whisnant?” Google answered “God! What’s in it?” 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17K11

A Loser Getting It Right About God

The older I get, the more embarrassed I am about my youthful ignorance. When I was a youth, some considered me to be a child prodigy, but as it turned out, I was more turned around and upside down than they thought. I thought I could do anything, but in my arrogance, I tore up more than I fixed. Most tragically, theologically I thought God was in a power position over me and that his relationship to me was based upon what I could do for him. For the past almost thirty years I have been learning that God is in a support position beneath me (like a vine) and that his relationship to me is based upon what I will give him opportunity to do for me.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17K04

Competing so my neighbor doesn’t get uppity 

The tree guy I hired did a good job. I told him to put his sign in my yard. He said it didn’t help because neighbors tend to compete. He was right. We tend to compete because we have trouble with the possibility that someone else may know more, have more, or do more than we do – especially if they try to act all “uppity.” It’s an insecurity issue we have, rooted in our unmet need for confidence that we are valued (not the same as valuable), especially by God. In Atlanta, dead branches from a tree on my property sometimes fell on my neighbor’s lawn. I liked to ask him when he planned to pick them up. He would laugh and say I could do it when I mowed his lawn.  

October 2017

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17J28

Blessed Not to Have a Crooked Nose

People with unmet temperament needs (for leadership support in the home and Church with regard to information, affection, and decision-making) become either fearful (insecure so that they are offended by advice) or angry (including otherwise good church-going people and even ministers, especially performance types). So, in my early years, I was angry. I had not experienced enough of Christ to be able to forgive like Christ forgives – that is, to withhold punishment and minister to the brokenness (Ephesians 4:32). I was not a bully or aggressive towards anyone, but people did well not to aggravate me or get in my face. I was a fighter and knocked the daylights out of at least a few people. Others saw the look in my eyes and backed down or got away. But given the times I was outnumbered, if not outsized, I was Providentially watched over not to have gotten killed or injured. My dad was not so blessed. He told me the reason his nose was crooked was that, as a young minister, he took on a man who got in his face and the man broke his nose.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17J21

Celebrating Contentment and Health

I won’t tell how old I am, but can report that last year I was a year younger than I am now, and also that I am contented and, by all reports, healthy.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17J14

Bantering, Having Fun Picking on People

We Melancholies sometimes think too deeply, get tense, and seek relief through humor, even at someone else’s expense. We may also be trying to be a hit. Or it may be because we are happy! Whichever, on the way out of the mall this week, I asked the little lady at the check out if she had a layaway plan for my $3 purchase. She laughed and said she didn't. I ask if that meant she would need the full payment today. She said she did. “Even if I promise to come back tomorrow?” I asked. Her laughter encouraged my nonsense. I said I was having trouble remembering where I parked and asked if she remembered which door I came in. She laughed again and said I made her day. I may not have but her sweet nature brightened mine.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17J07

September 2017

Dreaming About Heaven Living in a Mansion on a Hill

During a recent post exercise nap, I had a short dream that I lived in a mansion on a hill and it was filling up with happy people coming in. I was just beginning to lead the excited gathering in singing “Isn't Jesus My Lord Wonderful!” but I woke up when a man entered to discover he no longer needed his wheel chair.

“In Heaven there are many mansions which God has prepared for us” (John 14:1).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17I23

Losing sleep dreaming about leaving church members high and wet

I dreamed last night that a former co-pastor and I were flying a plane filled with church members. At some point we decided we needed to take care of some business on the ground, so we parachuted out of the plane. When our business was done, it occurred to us that the plane was flying out over the ocean without a pilot. The rest of the night I tossed and turned in and out of my sleep worrying about how I could get back to the plane before it crashed.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17I16

GracePoint Doing Church the Old Fashioned Way

Before assisting me, the receptionist said into the phone, “Bye, I’ll see you at church tonight!” I asked if she were one of those “mid-week go to church” persons. She said she was and asked about me. I said I wasn’t, that I pastored a grace renewal church which follows the model of the first century church in the book of Acts - that is, we meet five and six days a week, sometimes twice a day, with different groups of two and three members in order to provide support for learning how to make wise choices for health, especially to experience Christ to a fuller measure each day.” I told her she would need to make an appointment. She looked interested, but confused.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17I09

August 2017

A Dog Gone Way to Make Life Better

I dreamed this week that I was visiting a neighbor. He excused himself for a moment leaving me with his little dog. But the little dog irritated me (gave me an allergy). When a sales person came by, he said he loved the little dog and wished he could have it. I told him if he wanted to he could take it. So that took care of that.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17H26

“They must be dating! And so happy, they’re holding hands and counting dates!”

The mall kiosk saleslady wanted to comment on Carole and me holding hands as we passed by.

“First date?” she called out.

“No!” Carole answered, “28!”

“You’re counting!!!” the saleslady said.

“Years!” I said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17H19

Carole Insists She Wouldn't Be Not Fair for Us

Carole said she would be back later. I asked her if she was slipping out for nefarious reasons. She insisted no, that she was definitely not having an affair. I said good because that would be not fair for us.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17H12

AKA Ron and Shirley

My neighbor spoke to me when she walked past our house recently. “Hello!” I said, but I called her by the wrong name. I was embarrassed and quickly apologized. Then I told her that while Carole and I were walking recently, we came upon a group led by favorite fellow-walker who came to know us as D and C to help her remember our names, but that, on this occasion, she said to her group, “These are my old walking buddies, Ron and Shirley!”

When we first moved to our neighborhood, an elderly neighbor came over to introduce himself. I said we are Don and Carole Whisnant. He said he had a hard time remembering names. I told him to remember D and C. He said that wouldn’t help. Recently he stopped by to chat and to say that we might soon be family because his granddaughter was getting married to a Stedman. “But my name is Whisnant,” I said. “Oh!” he said, “Well then that won’t work will it?”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17H05

July 2017

Forgetting Where to Put What, When, and Why!

I supplement with lots of antioxidants, so will be disappointed if my mind fails. My memory seems to be okay - enough to quote a growing number of Scripture, about 300 verses. But I may have some short-term memory issues. For the first time several months ago I pulled away from a gas pump without removing the nozzle. I have not worried too much about that until yesterday when Carole stopped me from walking out of Burger King carrying my food tray.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17G29

Sanctifying the Small Intestine

Noting in the news this week that an aging politician called President Trump “Bush” for the fifth time, I remember not too long ago in a presentation on health I repeatedly called our small intestine the New Testament.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17G22

Finding Myself a Misfit for the Modern World

I enjoy some modern day conveniences, but they are not necessities and have certainly not added to my contentment or experience of Christ. There is no place I’d rather be than home, no place I need to go I can’t walk to, and no need to be there faster than a horse can take me. And nothing which has not been available to mankind since the beginning (John 1:1-3) enhances my experience to read the Scripture in order to hear and experience Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17G15

Missing Out Knowing Everything When I Was Born

I learn new information almost every day. Most of the helpful information I know now I learned after I was 40. (Either I was really dumb or I have become extraordinarily smart!) But I have a friend who did better than I. He says he knew everything when he was a teenager, and that he had looked forward to being a father so that he could teach his son. But he said he missed out on that because, when his son was born, he already knew everything.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17G08

Living Long Enough to be 100 If I Don’t Die 

My wife assured me that if I lived long enough I could live to be 100. Especially if I do what my friend did: He skipped his 69th birthday. He thought it was an achievement to be 70, but not wanting to chance he would live that long, he decided to go ahead and celebrate it a year early. He could be 100 in a few more years. That is, unless he dies. I remember a minister friend forewarning his church that if they lived long enough they were going to die.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 17G01

June 2017

Becoming a Zero Trying to be a Hero - Again

If we attempt to attain a goal or status that is not God’s redemptive plan for our lives, we can expect that the outcome will not be good, but will result in brokenness and failure and loss, taking us back to the starting point – and even further back.

That happened at Babel, you know, when the attempt was made to build a tower that reached to the heavens. The result was loss.

It has happened to me at least twice, once in my earlier ministry when I attempted to be a hero for Christ - with the result that I became a zero, and most recently last year in my exercise routine when I, with disregard to my age and family history (genetics), attempted for several months to improve my strength and endurance using caffeine enhanced pre-workout supplements.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17F24

Disappointed Making the Same Mistakes Experiencing the Same Results

I accepted my first pastorate as a 22-year-old in a church which had 7 deacons and trustees who were grieving the retirement loss of a seasoned pastor. I had church growth skills but did not understand leadership. The church attendance boomed, but the deacon board did not appreciate my disregard for them, so they resisted me. So I resigned.

Later, God allowed me to try again in an almost exact circumstance. Again, although the church attendance grew rapidly, I had learned nothing, so experienced the same outcome. I resigned again and started a new church which became the state’s fastest growing Sunday School. But I still did not understand leadership, so I lost my marriage and consequently resigned the church.

Who was wrong? I was. The deacons in both churches were not worldly or self-serving, but godly. So was my wife. They had given me opportunity to invest/serve the church in a way that would win their confidence and gain an opportunity for influence. But my goal was to be the world’s best Christian (a Champion for Christ) and to be the hot shot pastor of a large and fast growing church.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17F10

May 2017

Called to Greatness Only In My Dreams

I dreamed last night that I was called on in the 7th game of the World Series to pitch the last inning. I struck out the side and became an instant hero - at the game and in all the news reports. What precipitated such a dream, I do not know, because I learned many years ago that God does not call us to become heroes to be celebrated in the world, but to be made holy (useful) in redemptive service to others.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17E19

April 2017

Silly Dream Refusing Money for Sharing Solution

I dreamed last night that I had discovered a solution to the world’s problems. It was the simplest of solutions, derided especially by religious thinking people, yet somehow it was being considered at a meeting of the world’s most famous philosophical and religious minds. One solution after the other was presented and considered with much ado, but then rejected. The solution I offered was the words of Colossians 1:27 and Revelation 3:20 written on a small piece of paper. Reluctantly, the solution written on the little paper was considered, but then surprisingly it was accepted. I was offered more money than there was money in the world (which was, my wife said when I shared this with her, “a lot of money!”). But I explained I could not take the money because the solution was not mine but God’s which he had revealed to me. Demonstrating how it worked, I walked to the front of the esteemed gathering, bowed my head and invited Christ to live in my heart. Then I woke up.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17D15

March 2017

Feeling Bad About My Dislike for Dogs

I had a weird dream last night about a dog. This morning I have been recalling my encounters with dogs (usually during morning runs through neighborhoods, but also on other occasions) - that I have been
  • bitten once in a frontal attack by a dog in a pack;
  • gummed by a toothless dog which I didn’t hear or see coming from behind;
  • charged at too many times to count - ignoring the loud little ones but charging back at and sometimes kicking the big ones, resulting in
    • some dog owners’ cursing and threatening me (one telling me I was “less than a human,”
    • being applauded by an irritated next door neighbor who shouted to me,”Good for you!” when I kicked their neighbor’s charging dog; and
  • chased in my van (when I was just a kid preacher) while making pastoral calls. (Once when finally tired of one particularly irritating dog, I slammed on brakes and heard a thump. On my next visit the dog hid when it saw my van. I also thought I noticed a bare spot on its head.)

But my dream last night mostly reminded me of a little dog in Atlanta who began following me around a high school track. After several laps, to my disbelief, it continued to follow. I tried to shoo it away but it continued to follow. After a lot of laps (I forget how many), I got worried the little dog might pass out, so I left the track to run in a neighborhood where I finally lost it.

In my dream last night a dog was following me every place I went. I finally managed to get away, but the dog found me and was distraught. It began talking to me like a human, fussing and weeping that I had abandoned it. In my dream I began to feel very bad for my behavior and sad for the unhappiness of the talking dog which had taken on the face of a person. When I awoke, I still felt bad and understood a little better people’s attachment to dogs.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17C09

February 2017

Me and Ronnie! And Nancy!

I dreamed last night that I was buddies with Ronald Reagan. He identified me as a resource for some purpose – maybe for spiritual support. But then, when he was gone out of my dream (probably dead), his wife took a liking to me. Only she did not look like Nancy; she favored a female Ronald Reagan (a forerunner of Bruce Jenner, maybe?). And she was really old. Anyway, her liking for me turned flirtatious. I’m glad I woke up. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17B04

January 2017

A Passion for the Preaching at the Old Baptist Tabernacle

The snow measured 9 inches on Saturday morning with a low temperature of 8 degrees during the night. Of course, the churches in the area were closed today. But at the old Baptist Tabernacle in Danville, Virginia 50 years ago, I don’t remember any Sunday or Wednesday church service ever being cancelled because of the weather, even though it sat at the bottom of a hill. That’s because, what went on there was not boring church programs, but life-changing preaching which no one wanted to miss. Of course, many wisely did not attempt to attend during the severest of ice and snow storms, but I was willing to drive as far as we could, then walk the remaining distance so that I would not miss the experience. I was never disappointed.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/Journey Notes 17A08