Desert Oasis – The Church

“He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.” ​​Psalm 107:35

Gambel's Quail, Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson Arizona

Gambel’s Quail; Sweetwater Wetlands Park; Tucson, Arizona USA. June 10, 2018. ©

In the midst of dry, heat-baked Tucson, Arizona there is a lush, green, water-filled oasis. This birding and wildlife hotspot is called Sweetwater Wetlands. Over 300 species of birds have been listed in this riparian paradise. Having visited three times, I was amazed at the number of birds and other critters that can be spotted in under an hour. It is a place of refuge and provision, even as the Arizona heat soars above 100 degrees.

Sweetwater Wetlands is a man-made wetland created from reclaimed waste water that is pumped into a series of pools and streams. Willows and Cottonwoods provide shade and perches; a thick green, organic covering lies over the water’s surface; gravel paths circumnavigate the cattail, bulrush and willow lined ponds. Based upon the number of bird species, and the number of birders that visit the park, it is a welcoming habitat for all.

American Coot Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Tucson Arizona

American Coot; Sweetwater Wetlands birding; Tucson, Arizona USA. © June 10, 2018.

Even we humans need a welcoming refuge! History has always had its ups and downs; from times of prosperity to periods of drought and devastation. The United States alone, in its relatively brief history of existence, has fought in over 120 wars! And on the personal level, our lives can be filled with the vacillations of economic hardships, medical issues, and relationship dramas. It is for this reason that Jesus spoke the words, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

But just like the man-made desert oasis provided by Sweetwater Wetlands, there is a God-made oasis in the parched desert of this world: that oasis is the church! Through all the riot and uproar of the centuries, the church has always stood as a beacon and refuge for ailing humanity. Like the reclaimed wastewater of Sweetwater, the church is filled with men and women whose once wasted lives have been redeemed, repurposed, and renewed by the blood of the Lamb!

Neotropic Cormorant; Sweetwater Wetlands Park; Tucson, Arizona, USA. June 14, 2018. ©

As the nations rage and people plot in vain (Psalms 2), the church cannot be silent. We must stand together, as the church as has always stood, and welcome the weary into the refuge of the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can quench the thirst of hurting man in this world, and in the world to come.

Isaiah 35:5-7 “Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, Lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song. Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain. Even lowly jackals will have water to drink, and barren grasslands flourish richly.”

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Orni-Theology and The Nest

Say’s Phoebe Nest and Nestling

While working on that last post, Say’s Phoebe and Nest, I got to thinking about that nest. Did you really look at it? Click the photo to enlarge it and really LOOK at it.

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan


What do you see? All kinds of different material. There are weeds, pieces of paper, strings, lint, feathers, and even some “weed-eater” line (blue).

It is amazing what goes into a nest, yet it turns out to be quite comfortable for the baby birds. Each piece of “stuff,” though different, seems to blend together.

Our churches are the same way, or at least they should be. I Corinthians 12 has much to say about the body and the church.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV)

Scripture goes on to name different gifts, then says, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:11-14 KJV)

Weed-eater Line

Weed-eater Line

Just as there are different things making up that nest, the Lord gives us a part to do in the church. Some are good at one thing and others another. That weed-eater line reminds me of those willing to mow and clear out the weeds around the church. Some like to sew things and could have provided the strings. Not all of us can be preachers, deacons or teachers, but the Lord has some talents He has given all of us. It is up to us to be willing to use it for Him.

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-20 KJV)

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:27 KJV)

I think that nest looks a mite “rag-tag” from my point of view, but to that little bird, it is “home” and he seems quite comfortable. We are fortunate that we have a great church “home” at Faith Baptist and I trust you have a great church “home” also. No matter our age or abilities, there must be something the Lord would like you to do. Just be willing and pray for His leading.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)



Christmas Village at Faith

Christmas Village from balcony by Lee

Christmas Village from balcony by Lee

“And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: … (Luke 8:1 KJV)

Yesterday I stopped by our church, Faith Baptist Church, and took some photos of the Christmas Village that is set up each year at this time. Our choir gets a few weeks of rest as the Village takes over the choir loft. They were setting up microphones and other things for tonight. The Village will be the background for our Christmas Candlelight service, which is always very special.

Christmas Decorations at Faith 2014

Jared Malcolm made them, starting with the Church and then the House. Each year another building was added. Now we have quite a village! Jared is now a missionary in Brazil, but even this year he made sure something new was added. He added the “City of Faith” Water tower and a Flagpole while he was home for a few weeks this year.

City of Faith Water Tower and Flag Pole

City of Faith Water Tower and Flag Pole

It has always been viewed by me from my pew, but while taking the photos, I saw a lot of details that I had no idea were there.

Christmas Decorations at Faith 2014 c (8)

The manger scene of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus was made by Margaret Lofton this year for our Christmas float. It is now in the foyer.

Christmas Decorations at Faith 2014

So, trust you enjoy the slideshow of the village, church decorations, and the manger scene.

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P.S. – Thanks to the therapy I have been taking, I actually climbed the stairs to the balcony to take some of the photos. Praise the Lord! That is a great Christmas present.

Lord Bless you as you enjoy this Christmas Eve. May we remember why Jesus came to earth.

Gospel Message



Birdwatching Behavior – Illustration

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

“A few years ago my mom began feeding the birds on a regular basis in our backyard. At first, some of the birds were greedy. They weren’t sure if there would be enough food to go around. The starlings were especially mean, which doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with birds. They would attack the robins, cardinals, and sparrows that came to get a taste. This situation continued for several months until one day there was a noticeable change in the bird’s behavior.

After years of regular feeding from the unlimited supply, the birds appeared to be less greedy with the food. Now they were feeding at their leisure—realizing there would be more food when their current supply was finished. Then, last month, something even more remarkable happened. After all these months of hording, greed, and then cautiously enjoying, the birds began to demonstrate a nobler characteristic. They began calling for one another at mealtime.

Today, when the seed is spread for the birds, one will call for the others to share what they’ve discovered. The greed is less frequent. The jealous pecking is rare. The trees seem fuller these days with the joy of satisfaction from birds that have learned to share. The music of multiple species fills the air. Now they know the supply is unlimited. And as far as their appetite is concerned, it’s inexhaustible.

Just this morning, I noticed a sparrow feeding right beside a starling. Miracles never cease.

Why can’t this happen in the church?

God’s grace is inexhaustible and we ought to be calling other sinners to the fount where we’ve found refreshment and renewal.”

Charles K. Grant (An Illustration from

All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name.” Selah. Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. (Psalms 66:4-5 NASB)