Huntington pastor publishes book of poems based on Ten Commandments

Watch out what you write to your lover-spouse for Valentine’s Day and birthdays. For the Rev. David Ballinger, it led to an interest in writing poems, which led to his first book of poems. Ballinger, lead pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntington, recently published Poetic Meditations for Successful Living.

The 124-page book of poetry is based on the Ten Commandments, plus other Christian themes. In these poetic meditations, Ballinger ponders thoughtfully and sometimes humorously about God’s character, commandments and grace.

About the book, Ballinger says, “the poems are spiritual meditations that lead to wholeness and successful living in our relationship with God and other people. In the Bible, God encouraged Joshua to meditate day and night on God’s special revelation in Scripture and then he would have good success.”

Whether or not the poems will bring success is unsubstantiated, but the book is an enjoyable read and has the potential for adding that special poem to a sermon or meditation.

Ballinger told the Huntington Herald-Press that “he never would have guessed his spiritual medications would lead to a book of poetry. But after each sermon, he would delve into the deeper meaning of each of the Ten Commandments.

“I would get these thoughts and try to write them down and put them in a poetic form after each sermon,” he said.

Poetic Meditations for Successful Living is available online at (his publisher), and

Indianapolis UM couple release new book titled Forgotten Mission

INDIANAPOLIS – Stephen and Marcia Graham, long-time members of Edgewood UMC on the south-side of Indianapolis, have co-authored a new book titled Forgotten Mission: The Untold Story of Augusta Force. It is a fictional soldier story with a Christian theme based on a World War II mission into Japanese-occupied Papua and Dutch Guinea that was in fact forgotten.

Stephen’s Uncle Russell, the main character of the book, was a junior officer on MacArthur’s staff in the South Pacific and the Executive Officer of Augusta Force, a small Allied task force of American, Australian and native Dutch Guinea troops.

To use Marcia’s words from the back cover of Forgotten Mission, Russ and Augusta Force are plunged headlong into hostile territory. Unprepared for the formidable rigors of razor sharp kunai grass, swarms of mosquitoes, impassable swamps, raging rivers filled with crocodiles, deadly malarial fever, starvation, not to mention the ever-lurking Japanese, the men are quickly overwhelmed. Nerves fray, tempers flare and mistakes are made. Facing death at every turn, the coupe-de-grace comes when it gradually dawns on them that theirs is a forgotten mission.

He is forced on an inward journey to confront his own fears, insecurities and self-reliance. Witnessing both heroism and self-sacrifice throughout the ordeal, Russ learns to surrender himself to the Grace that rewards him with real friendships and unexpectedly, even love with a wonderful Australian nurse named Bunny.

The book is available on