What We’ve Learned from Eileen Fehlen

Since the sudden passing of my mom, Eileen Fehlen, I and the rest of my family have received literally thousands of messages, calls, notes and…the most prevalent of all…Facebook messages! We love Facebook.

Each message and memory posted has been special, but there was one that really captured the essence of my Mom. If you knew her then you’d probably agree with this list. If you didn’t then it’s a great glimpse of a great gal. The following was on Mom’s Facebook page from a wonderful woman named Molly Holknecht, who is a leader at Stanwood Foursquare Church.

Here it is:

• Everyone needs Jesus

• Pie and prayer restore body and soul

• When you see a need, find someone to meet that need

• Meatloaf can be edible

• It’s OK to come to worship with pink hair and a leather jacket

• When in doubt, call everyone “Honey”

• Expect the unexpected, then watch God work

• Hugs are always appropriate

• Love never fails

• Buy yourself a red, Mustang convertible for your birthday

• If you have leftovers and a package of noodles, you have dinner

• The garage is the perfect place to butcher a deer

• We were created in a garden, so plant, grow, harvest and eat

• The Good Samaritan is not a myth or theory, but something to be lived out

It’s the Mormons. Don’t Hide.

I had an encounter that is fresh in my mind (as of only 10 minutes ago), so I want to jot it down in this blog post. It has to do with my conversation with two Mormon young adults at my front door. Before I go any further…I am making no statement (direct or indirect) regarding Mit Romney’s bid for the presidency of the United States. I have no comments to be made to that end. This is only a retelling of a simple story with interesting implications.

I saw two similarly dressed young men walking on my street while I was washing dishes (yes, my wife is away this week but that’s besides the point…I DO wash dishes!). Immediately my defenses rose up and I gave thought to hiding and ignoring the knock on the door. I even told my kids to not answer it (don’t judge me…we’ve all done it before). Minutes passed with no knock. I thought I dodged a bullet.

Then two figures darted in fronts of my kitchen window, bounding towards my front door.  They saw me! Uggg. Knock. Knock. I know who’s there.

Rather than ignoring it though, I opened the door and greeted them kindly. We talked about the erratic weather and then they introduced themselves as Elders So-and-So. If they are the “elders” then I don’t feel so weird being called “Senior” Pastor.

Before they could launch into their presentation, I invited them in for lunch (I was just making a sandwich). They had already eaten and declined. I then asked them if they were a part of the “Ward on Eola Drive” Yes, indeed they were. I went on to describe that my church is right across the street from that Ward and that I am the pastor. I love what transpired next.

They said: “You are the pastor of the Foursquare church?”

“We know that church. Wait, you’re the pastor?”


“We hear that’s a fun church.” the young man said.

I replied: “Yes, it is. We kick it up.”

“That’s what we hear. There must be a lot of people that go there because so many folks we talk to on our walks say they attend that church.” said the other young man.

“Well, yah, lots of folks come to West Salem Foursquare and we do have fun together.” I replied.

Our conversation wrapped up with them asking if there was anything they could do for me. I should have mentioned that my wife is out of town visiting family, and that the laundry was piling up something fierce, but I didn’t.

I thanked them. Smiled, and then sent them on their way to knock on the doors of other West Salem Foursquare folks (ok, that’s wishful thinking…but we do want to reach our entire city, right?!?).

If they should knock on your door, keep these few things in mind:

• They are people loved by God.

• They want to serve and be helpful.

• They are on a mission to communicate a particular message. I believe that message is contrary to the whole of the Bible. But, they are not the devil so don’t treat them as such. Show love. Invite them in for a sandwich if you are comfortable and strong enough spiritually to have tough theological conversations.

• They are trained to refute, debate, and argue specific points and you and I may feel like we’re ill-equipped to do that without getting buried. If you’re new to Jesus, I don’t recommend getting into those discussions – you’ll probably loose or feel stupid.

• If you say “I’m a Christian” then they are told to say, “Us too” and attached themselves to a number of key tenants of our Christian faith. That’s all fine and dandy, but there are simply too many aspects that don’t line up with Judeo-Christian beliefs to say “We’re the same.”

• Be kind. They will know we are Christians by our love, not by the way we snarl and slam the door on them. I have to bet they get a bunch of them on any given day. Don’t be that person.

• Lastly, I love how they defined our church as “fun.” That made me smile. Grace should look and feel like that.

At the end of Route 66

Here we stand at the very end(or beginning) of Route 66. Drive 2448 miles on this road and you end up in Chicago. This reminds me that life is a journey, and these are the people I want to make the trip with most!


Solid Foundation

Luke 6:47-49 says “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.

Jesus equates the person that hears his words and does them to a well-constructed home on a firm foundation.

That person dug deep and laid the foundation of the home on a solid rock. The imagery is rich and clear: our life is the building and the foundation is Jesus Christ.

Will this kind of home be standing although it is blasted with wind and waves?

Yes! Why?

Because it is well built.

Here are a few questions for you:  Who is your foundation?  How deep did you dig?  What is the condition of your spiritual home?

I encourage you to dig deep into Christ. He is our solid rock…all other ground is sinking sand.