It’s no secret we are overtly “dog-people” at Every Nation New Jersey. Cat people are welcome and I suppose through the cross of Christ we can be reconciled together (I’m joking….but not at all). I recently saw a heart-warming feature on the Sonoma-Marin Fair’s annual “World’s Ugliest Dog Contest” .

The contest isn’t a cruel mocking of the ugly, rather, it’s a celebration of a deep beauty. The beauty of LOVE and RESCUE.

Meet the 2014 winner “Peanut”:




Peanut was severely burned as a puppy by abusive owners. Her eyelids and lips were literally burned off. She spent much of her early life in an animal hospital until Holly Chandler came onto the scene. Holly fell in love with the dog and rescued her.

Meet “Josie” the 2014 finalist:



Josie was born in a ‘puppy mill’. She lived in a cage for most of her early life, her purpose was to just keep having litters of puppies. When she stopped producing, she was sent away to an animal shelter to be euthanized. Linda Elmquist had other ideas. She saw beauty underneath all the years of abuse and rescued her.

Meet the 2007 champ and New Jersey native “Elwood”:




Elwood was rescued by the NJ SPCA after his owner almost killed him, because he was too ugly to sell. Years of abuse and neglect took its toll and Elwood was left to die at an animal shelter. That is, until Karen Quigley came into his life. She rescued the dog and called him her own. She even wrote a children’s book about him, “Everybody Loves Elwood”.

Their story is much like ours. A story of RESCUE. Trapped in the muck and mire of sin, God sent a rescuer, His Son Jesus.

Psalms 40:2-3

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…..”

God rescues, saves us, loves us, and BEAUTY BEGINS! The transforming power of the gospel story…..our story!

(And yes, all dogs do go to heaven)