Born Crippled

Sermon presented at Oskaloosa First Assembly in Oskaloosa. Iowa on March 17, 2019

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Life’s important stuff.

Another friend passed away yesterday. That makes three in the last two months. Each one left behind a grieving family. They all had unfinished business matters along with projects not done.

The loss of friends and loved ones can remind us of what is really important. Our jobs play a huge role in life, but they are just a means to an end. Hobbies can become a time-consuming part of our life as well as a healthy expression of yourself. Jobs will replace us and hobbies are soon forgotten after we quit them. Memories with family and friends are not easily replaced or forgotten. We can hold onto the memories of loved ones for the rest of our lives.

Find something to enjoy about today. Look forward to tomorrow. Live without regret. Thank God for friends and family.


Rev. Burt Schwab


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At a loss for a blog to write.

It’s been longer than usual between posts. My attention has been on compiling a book that I started a couple of years ago. The title is ‘Thinking About Beans May Cause Brain Farts (and other absurdities)’. Long title for a book full of one liners and very random thoughts. The content of the book is various humorous posts I put on Facebook over the years.  A few friends, yes I have friends, have encouraged me to create a compilation of funny stuff. I plan to publish in April through Amazon.

Aside from that I have been preparing some new sermons. I am still doing pulpit supply and sometimes sermons are needed on short notice. However, for some strange reason I can’t seem to find anything interesting to blog about. Maybe it’s all this cold weather and snow and ice and now rain. It could be my brain has been frozen by all this climate change. If I quit driving a car maybe the climate and my thinking will clear up. More likely the daily commute to work will become a second job…

There is a glimmer of hope that some day soon the grass and flowers will start to grow again. That should bring allergies, mosquitoes, yard weeds, and pests. Oh the joy of the warm season! For now I’ll continue my semi-hibernation until the motivation returns to write…


Rev. Burt Schwab

P.S. I am off social media for a several more weeks so please respond directly to this site. Thanks.

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Can you help me?

I have decided to try a new endeavor of writing a book. Most likely it will be a quote a day type of book that features what some call Burtisms or as I call them Burt’s proverbs. For instance It’s weird being the only normal person.

The book will also have a few serious moments along with humorous stories. After all life has both serious and laughable moments.

Those who know me in the offline world frequently see the less serious side of me. As an example at a recent annual physical my doctor asked how much coffee I drink a day. I replied seven cups is normal. She told me that 3 cups of coffee or less a day is recommended. In a serious tone I asked if there was someone I could write to about this.

If that made you smile then you have my kind of humor. However on a serious note I do not know anything about having a book published. Can anyone give me some insight? Pretty please? I’ll let you read the book when it’s done…


Rev. Burt Schwab

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1810 Emerson House (a review)

Different from my regular posts, this one is a review of 1810 Emerson House, a bed and breakfast in Beloit, Wisconsin. For more information click 1810 Emerson House and on Facebook search for 1810 Emerson House bed and breakfast.

1810 Emerson House is owned and operated by Beth and Tony Bonasera of Beloit, Wisconsin. Beth is a quiet, petite, caring lady that truly thinks about the well-being of others. Tony is an extrovert with a huge heart, Sicilian heritage, a cheerful smile, and a love for cooking. Together this married team live out their gift of hospitality whole heartedly. After a stay at their bed and breakfast it is easy to leave feeling like you made new friends.

A personal note about Tony and Beth Bonasera is they remind me of a passage from the Bible. Romans 12:6-8 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.


This is the dining room and like all the rooms of this house the details and elegance is amazing. Visitors are surrounded by fun and unique décor that add to the warmth and grace of this bed and breakfast.


Tony and Beth do an excellent job of treating all visitors like royalty. The breakfast on this stay was a stacker. It was short-sighted of me to not write down the different layers of this breakfast stacker however it was delicious!


The stacker was served with a fresh fruit cup that was almost too pretty to eat.


Dessert was a bread pudding that would rival any fine restaurant anywhere. As a personal favorite I have had bread pudding many times and Tony’s is phenomenal!


Lest I forget the coffee was great too.

Okay so enough about the food…

Beloit is a college town that is also in an era of rebuilding. There are many reasons to visit Beloit, Wisconsin. Quaint downtown with fun boutique shops and eateries. You can see much more of what the town offers at

This was the second time we have stayed at this bed and breakfast and look forward to future visits. If you are planning a trip in or near Beloit consider staying at this bed and breakfast. It is also a great gift idea for someone special, like your Pastor and wife. Follow this link for more information 1810 Emerson House.


Rev. Burt Schwab


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The Lord versus Baal

This is the Audio of a sermon preached at Vining Christian Fellowship on January 27, 2019. This sermon is from 1 Kings 18:20-46.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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A place set apart

my office 2019

Have you got a place set apart for yourself? A place to study, pray, think, or write down thoughts? For many people the idea of solitude is both a desire and strange at the same time. We have trained ourselves to always be surrounded by people either physically or through media. It is exhausting mentally, spiritually, and physically to not have personal time.

Jesus often separated himself physically to connect with the Father. It wasn’t a place difficult to get to or deep inside a cave, rather, it was where he could be comfortable. That’s the kind of place my office is for me. I have my books, computer, memorabilia, a really cool ceiling fan, and solitude. There is no door to my office so I’m not really hiding. I can hear the outside world but here is a safe place to process my thoughts.

Now that the walls have been patched, a fresh coat of paint, and a ceiling fan this room is my personal space. I’ll get around to hanging wall art and decorating as time goes on. Some day this room will mean something else to someone else but until then…


Rev. Burt Schwab

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The long-standing Boy Scout motto is “be prepared”. Some of us live that motto both spiritually and physically. However, there are many who do not prepare for the most expected of events. For instance a snow storm that has been predicted for days. That happened recently in Iowa where I live. The day of the storm several people at work were distracted by the storm. At break times some people were complaining about the after work commute and how dangerous it would be.

I found out that none of the employees in my work area had an emergency plan if their vehicle got stranded on the road. The next morning I wrote a basic cold weather survival kit list. I’ll share that with you here. You may have items to add based on your experience, climate, and comfort level.


Be prepared for up to 12 hours in a stranded vehicle

Renew all items in survival kit annually.

  1. Mylar emergency blanket. Amazon sells a package of 10 for $9. (Need 1 per person)
  2. Disposable hand warmers. (1 set per person)
  3. Bottled water. (Minimum 1 per person)
  4. Toilet paper (The call of nature never waits for convenience.)
  5. Plastic shopping bags (2 per person. Place between socks and shoes if walking becomes a necessity.)
  6. Hard candies. (Quick energy)
  7. Whistle.
  8. At least 1 reflective vest.
  9. Spare socks.
  10. Warm clothes. (At least a coat.)
  11. Cell phone charger.
  12. Note pad.
  13. Mechanical pencil. (Ink does not write when it’s cold)
  14. Puzzle book or reading material. (Helps pass the time)

Most of the items can be stored in plastic bags under vehicle seat.

In the event of becoming stuck in a vehicle during a winter storm your best chances are to stay in the vehicle.

If you have cell service do the following;

  1. Call appropriate authorities for help.
  2. Post to social media your location and condition. Be sure to state that you may not reply immediately to preserve battery.
  3. If you accept a ride be sure to post that information. (I.E. police car, license plate of Good Samaritan, etc.)
  4. Be sure to mark yourself safe when you are.

Until help arrives run the engine only long enough to heat the interior back up and with windows open slightly. Do not walk from vehicle unless it is the last resort or you can clearly see the destination, such as an open business.

When you leave vehicle for any reason, such as help arrived, leave a note on dash with name, phone number, destination, and method of leaving.


Being prepared for an emergency brings peace of mind. By being prepared you can focus on tasks at hand. The same holds true for Spiritual preparedness. An eventual for all of us is a time to die. Being prepared for eternity brings peace of mind and spirit. It also allows you to focus on living in the now without worry of the future.


Rev. Burt Schwab




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I was planning to write a review on this wonderful bed and breakfast we stayed at but got sidetracked with an improvement project.


As you can see from the photo my office is being repainted. Technically I repainted the office already. However my desk is still under a plastic sheet and I am using the dining table to write this post.

This room really needed some upgrades since before we bought the house. However, painting is not my favorite thing to do. In fact it is one of my least favorite things to do. Okay, to be honest I hate painting. It’s messy and time-consuming, hard work. So there it is, the reason I have been struggling with a dark, poorly lit office for almost two years.

office paint 2

The next step is to install a really nice ceiling fan. Actually the fan was the catalyst for the office patch and paint work. The moment I saw that fan I wanted it in my office. Being too cheap to buy it for myself, my wife and daughter got me gift cards for half the price of the fan for a Christmas present.

When it is all done I will have a very nice office to work in. Just a few more days of improvements left on this project. Few people will ever know or see the improvements to my office but I will. It will be a true pleasure to have a space that is tailored to me.

The difficult tasks in life aren’t as bad when you can see future possibilities. Sometimes to be better used by God we have to do some self improvements. Most of the work that goes into preparation to serve God in life will never be seen or appreciated by the outside world. At least you and God will know, that’s all that really matters.


Rev. Burt Schwab

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Living life as a countdown

Have you noticed how many of us live life from one countdown to the next? Wake up and the countdown begins till it’s time to leave for work or school. At the job or class the countdown continues to the next break or day end. Then the countdown to bedtime and often that means setting an alarm… countdown to next day.

It doesn’t end there either. Always looking ahead to the next deadline, weekend, vacation, etc.

shallow focus of clear hourglass

Photo by Jordan Benton on

In some ways our very survival as a species depends on us getting things done in the right time and season. However, most everything we fill our lives with have little to do with survival. It is hard to enjoy life because of the constant pressure of the next event.

What if we learned to live right in the moment we are in? Have a book handy in case you are delayed at an appointment such as a Doctor or Dentist. Use commute time to listen to an audio book, pray, meditate on scripture, or just enjoy the travel. At work or school use those few minutes before break to be productive. Creatively use the moments normally wasted and instead do something meaningful.

We could all learn to enjoy scheduled downtime more fully if we learn to live in the moment. Vacations wouldn’t end so quickly in our minds. Life would be more fully lived.

Rev. Burt Schwab


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