Friday, October 30, 2009

Gonna try learn Spanish

This is my new goal, adventure. I had a couple of years of it in high school, but I didn't care and didn't pay much attention.

I have a couple of things in mind. One is rather obvious: if I am going to make regular trips to Honduras, then it would be very helpful to be able to communicate at least a little bit. The other thing is that we have an increasing Hispanic population in our area. I don't know of any church that is reaching out to them. I am thinking that a good ministry would be to offer English classes, using Bible stories. Of course whoever leads this work will need to know some Spanish. These two ideas could work very well together.

Someone loaned me some Spanish CDs, so I have been faithfully listening to them as I drive around. I'm going to bite the bullet one of these days and purchase a copy of Rosetta Stone.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fixed the Links!

I think I fixed the links from a couple of posts ago. And I think I added some. You can hold your Ctrl key down as you click to open thes up in new windows, or least I think you can. I guess it depends on what you're using. Oh well...

Regeneration Store
Help for Honduras
Bryantsville Hunger Relief Project
Faces of Honduras
Bagging and Shipping Corn

When pastors' silent suffering turns tragic

Interesting article! Click on the title to see it.

Sorry about the links in the previous post. Blogger is doing some weird stuff lately, and of course I probably don't know what I'm doing! I used to be able create links flawlessly, so not sure what the problem is. Hey, you can always cut and paste.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good Week so Far

Sorry I've been absent from here for a few days! I've been active elsewhere. You can check out to what I've been doing. Especially check out the new photo albums on the "links" page. I also copied all the news from last summer's trip on to a page called "in the news."

We shipped a load of corn yesterday, and this is what I said to the church via email about it:

Yesterday was a really good day. We finally shipped a load of corn and lots of other stuff to Honduras. Several people helped out, including Gary Spear, Nobe, Ron Peck, and Steve Gilstrap from our church family. This load of corn+ represents a “bringing together” of several things and people. It brings together the Bryantsville Hunger Relief Project [ ], the Regeneration Store [ ] and our Help for Honduras [ ] mission work. How? A lot of toys and clothes came from the store; we could not sell them for various reasons. Those things, along with the corn, will be distributed by people we know to Hondurans that we are getting to know. Several people from our church family also collected things and gave things that are now in the container on its way to Tegucigalpa.

We had a really good class tonight. We discussed our passage for Sunday - Ephesians 5:21-33. I hope things go well Sunday! There is a lot of interest in the passage. I'll spend most of the tomorrow working on my sermon. I could end up doing the same on Friday.

I'm now in taper mode for the marathon; running 8 tomorrow and 8 Saturday and then a few miles next week. The big day is November 7.

Need to stop now...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Dream

It happened again last night! It seems that it happens about once a year or so; maybe more often. I have this dream, and while it's different each time, it is basically the same.

Last night I literally jumped out of bed and said, "What am I going to do?" Fortunately Kedra slept through this. In my dream I had this extremely important event/thing that I was in charge of, but somehow no one has told me what I am supposed to do or anything else.

I can never quite figure out what the event is, but it seems like it is a life or death situation. All I know is that I wake up so frightened, so afraid, that my heart is beating out of my chest. I am terrified. I say to myself, "This is not real," but it takes me a while to convince myself.

I think last night's dream was due to this morning's assembly. I went to bed not knowing exactly if the Honduras team was going to take care of everything or if I was going to speak. But I wonder if there is something deeper within my soul that is not settled, not at peace.

The dream reminds me of the parable in Matthew 25 - The Virgins not being prepared for the wedding. All I know is that I do not like this dream and the way it makes me feel.

I feel confident in my salvation, but this dream gives me some insight into how those are not most feel in those quiet and real moments of life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

McKnight's view of the Conference on Preaching

This is pretty neat! Scott McKnight was amazing. How do these guys get so smart?

Click on the title to see what he said.

Helping Honduras

Fun at the corn barn.

From Help for Honduras - BHRP Corn and Supplies

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Not Again!

My computer has another virus that has shut it down and made it inaccessible and unusable.

There is never a good time for this to happen, and now is no exception. Oh well.

Our team in Honduras is doing wonderful work and having an amazing time doing it. Life-changing.

We had a really good class last night discussing our text. We focused a lot of being light in a dark world. I didn't think the conversation would end up there, but I am glad it did. It was rich.

In addition to a sick computer I have a flat tire to deal with this morning. Late afternoon yesterday I took the trash off and came home with a hissing tire. At least I got home first. Ben took it off for me, and now I have a trip to Tieman's this morning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

See Yourself Truthfully

You continue struggling to see your own truth. When people who know your heart well and love you dearly say that you are a child of God, that God has entered deeply into your being, and that you are offering much of God to others, you hear these statements as pep talks. You don't believe that these people are really seeing what they are saying.

You have to start seeing yourself as your truthful friends see you. As long as you remain blind to your own truth, you keep putting yourself down and referring to everyone else as better, holier, and more loved than you are. You look up to everyone in whom you see goodness, beauty, and love because you do not see any of these qualities in yourself. As a result, you begin leaning on others without realizing that you have everything you need to stand on your own feet.

You cannot force things, however. You cannot make yourself see what others see. You cannot fully claim yourself when parts of you are still wayward. You have to acknowledge where you are and affirm that place. You have to be willing to live your loneliness, your incompleteness, your lack of total incarnation fearlessly, and trust that God will give you the people to keep showing you the truth of who you are.

From Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Help for Honduras

The week's off to a good start!

Our first non-summer Honduras mission team is on the ground and working hard and well. Click on the headline above to check it out. Or click . While there be sure and click on "latest news." [If you don't want to leave this page, then hold down your Ctrl key while clicking; it should open up a new page for you.]

Today is my last 20 miler before the marathon. I'm taking off this morning to get it done. Twenty and then taper for the big day on November 7. The schedule called for the last 20 to be last Saturday, but I was in Nashville. I did do an unpleasant 10 miler Saturday morning; it was cold, misty, and windy.

Hopefully I can return later and write some more about some more. Lots going on in my head...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good conference

The Conference on Preaching at Lipscomb was very enjoyable. The scholarship was outstanding, and the instruction was stimulating. It was great seeing old friends and being back on Lipscomb's campus. I have a lot of fond memories that originate there. I met Kedra there, and I baptized Luke there. There are many others but those are the highlights of course.

I played a couple of minor parts at the conference. I had the priviledge of introducing one of the speakers, Glen Pemberton, who is an Old Testament scholar in the area of Wisdom Lit. I also got to be a part of meeting that is striving to link the church and university. The group is looking for ways to bridge what happens in theological training with what takes place in churches. They are looking for churches where students would serve as interns in their final year of training in the Master of Divinity program, which is 3+ year degree.

The conference was about Wisdom. I will preach a series about it at the beginning of the year. Stay tuned!

Wisdom in the Flesh

Our text this week is Ephesians 5:13-21. Click on the "comment" button below to see it.

Clearly it is a continuation of the thought expressed in verses 3-12 which tells us to not be influenced by the culture around us, even as we live in it. It takes a lot of wisdom to pull that off! It seems that a key may be being other-directed. And being filled with the Spirit. Not necessarily in that order!

What do you see? What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lipscomb Bound

I leave this morning for Nashville. I'll be attending a conference on preaching. Yes, I know, I should pay careful attention.

Hopefully I'll get to have dinner with Luke this evening.

Monday, October 12, 2009


A guy bought my lunch today! That was nice. He said it was Pastor Appreciation Month and that he was buying my lunch in honor of it. I told him that our church doesn't call me by that term (which is fine with me), so I told him that I had rarely been appreciated during the month. He laughed, and so did I.

Last week a guy split a bunch of my fire wood. I didn't even know it for a few days. He told me it was because it was Pastor Appreciation Month. I like these friends that didn't grow up in my faith tradition!

One year at Oakland City University one of the clubs decided to honor me during the whole month. Every time I would show up on Mondays and Wednesdays to teach my classes there would be some token of appreciation. It was usually cookies or candy. Their appreciation was heavy, like 5-7 pounds for me.

It's nice to appreciated.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not even a hint?

Read Ephesians 5:3-12.

I can't get anything to paste in here right now, so we are without the text. You can read it in your Bible.

This text is really difficult follow! In a sexually-saturated society it's hard to live without even a hint of sexual immorality. Right?

What do you think?

Pretty good weekend

I had a pretty good weekend. How about you?

Friday evening Rebecca, Ben and I took Kedra out for her birthday. We took her to Olive Garden. Lester and Maddie surprised her by joining us. We had a wonderful time.

Yesterday I went for a 20 mile run with my training partners. Lester joined us for the last part, which was really nice. He is running quite a bit and running well. I ended up with 50 miles for the week. That feels pretty good. I am thinking more and more that I am going to give the Boston qualifying time a shot; makes me nervous.

After some late-morning pancakes and bacon wonderfully prepared by Kedra, we all headed out to watch Ben play football. It was a good game. Muddy! Ben's team lost on a last second pass for a touch down. Ben almost intercepted it. The pass was slightly too high, so he tipped it. It went right into the hands of a player standing in the end zone. Booooo! Oh well...

We came back for a nice brisket meal. It was the brisket that I smoked on Friday. After the meal Lester and Maddie headed west to see her folks. I spent the rest of the day watching college football and napping.

Today was church. Church is puzzling to me right now. I think everything is going well, but our numbers seem to be decreasing. Can I confess that I find that discouraging? Faithfulness is the key I believe.

Colts and Titans tonight! Go Colts!

Friday, October 09, 2009


Pretty rainy out there!

I am multi-tasking this morning. Sermon. Slide show. Life Group discussion guide. Blogging. I am also smoking a small brisket. Yes, it is a beautiful day to smoke. I'm using my small smoker this morning; didn't get the beast out today. Don't want it to get wet. Me - that's a different story. I do have concerns, however, that I could melt.

Yesterday I managed to get a 10 mile run in. I started early while it was still kinda dry, but by about 5 miles it was rainy. I just kept going, figuring that once you are soaked it doesn't make much difference. I'm sitting on 30 miles for the week and plan to run 20 tomorrow. If I get it done, then that will be my first 50 mile week in forever. It will be a good psychological boost for the marathon.

Sermon prep is coming pretty well. I think it might be a good one! Usually when I think that there is a lot of sleeping going on from about 11 to 11.22. We'll see. The thing that keeps coming out is that we are to be like God. Imitators. Created to be like him. Pretty serious stuff. This privilege becomes the motivation for living a life that deals appropriately (like God) with truth telling, with anger, with language, and productivity.

OK, back to smoking and sermon stuff. Yes, you can say, "We'll I know a preacher who likes to smoke while he prepares sermons."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gotta Stay outta Russia!

Well, the doctor said the reason my computer is getting sick is my love for Russian reading! Or something like that.

Part of my morning ritual is to read newspapers from various places around our country and from around the world. One of my favorite stops is the Moscow Times (English version of course), but I guess I will give it up, along with The Turkish Daily News. The doc says these foreign sites, especially Russian ones, are notorious for making surfers sick.

The doc asked me, "Why don't you want to read that stuff anyway?" I guess it's because I've been there and hope to go back again. I just like to see what's going on in daily life in Moscow and Istanbul. I also like to get a view of what they think is important in this world. I find all that interesting, along with a foreign view of our culture. A long time ago I learned in sociology 101 that you cannot really know your own culture until you experience another one. True.

Farewell Russia!


Wednesday. Already.

I get my computer back today. I sure am glad. It's clear to me that I am too dependent upon it, but I'm not sure what else to do. I found myself over the last couple of days wanting to email people about things, but I didn't have the addresses. I wanted to look up things that I have written in the past, but they were not easy to access on old back-up files. Oh well... All will be well by midday. I am way behind on lots of things, but I will catch up.

Last night we went to Rebecca's volleyball game. It was senior night, and the team played really well. Afterwards there was a nice reception for the senior girls. Since Rebecca is a junior she and the other juniors were in charge of organizing gifts etc. It was all very nice.

During the game I was sitting near some friends. One of them is an old high school classmate. He jokes around constantly; very entertaining. He got up and was headed to the concession stand, and as he started he looked at me and said, "Do you want a drink?" I joked with him and said, "I don't drink." He laughed and said, "I'm going to the concession stand, not my car." He then looked at me very seriously and said, "You know I have never had a drink; not one in my entire life." He went on to laugh and say, "I'm the one who used to drive our drunk classmates around." I found the revelation of his abstinence very refreshing.

Today is a busy one. Run. Pick up computer and catch up on my usual computer things: templates for Sunday, email Text Experience Sheets, answer emails, initiate things with email, etc. Teach at Oakland City; test day today - easy for me! Visit a few folks. Get ready for WEM. WEM. Teach class. I need to make several phone calls...

Got a call yesterday at church from an old friend who now lives in Africa. We were friends a long time ago when he was a student at Lipscomb. He was recently kidnapped in Africa and was delivered by the hand of God. He is in Nashville and called the church office yesterday while I was out. I will try call him today.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I know this sounds crazy, but I love a rainy day like today. Looks like it's going to rain for a while. I'm holed up in my office at home with my Bible and books studying our text for this week. I still don't have my computer, so I am at a little disavantage. I'll survive.

Today is Tempo Tuesday. For the last several weeks I go to meet one of my running partners for a 5 mile tempo run. Today was no exception. We warm up for a little over a mile and then "temp" - a sustained run at a pace slower than a 5K but faster than marathon pace. We've been running ours at 7.45. They are getting easier. I think I could have run several more at that pace today. This is very encouraging to me. Rethinking the Boston Qualifier thing...

Well, I better dig into the text (again). The challenge of this particular text is how much it covers. It talks about lying, anger, speech, stealing, and being imitators of God. How can we cover all that in 22 minutes? The bottom line, as always, is to treat others the way God treats us. Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness.

Acknowledge your Powerlessness

There are places in you where you are completely powerless. You so much want to heal yourself, fight your temptations, and stay in control. But you cannot do it yourself. Every time you try, you are more discouraged. So you must acknowledge your powerlessness. This is the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous and the treatment of all addictions. You might as well think of your struggle this way. Your inexhaustible need for affection is an addiction. It rules your life and makes you a victim.

Simply start by admitting that you cannot cure yourself. You have to say yes fully to your powerlessness in order to let God heal you. But it is not really a question of first and then. Your willingness to experience your powerlessness already includes the beginning of surrender to God's action in you. When you cannot sense anything of God's healing presence, the acknowledgment of your powerlessness is too frightening. It is like jumping from a high wire without a net to catch you.

Your willingness to let go of your desire to control your life reveals a certain trust. The more you relinquish your stubborn need to maintain power, the more you will get in touch with the One who has the power to heal and guide you. And the more you get in touch with that divine power, the easier it will be to confess to yourself and to others your basic powerlessness.

One way to keep holding on to an imaginary power is by expecting something from outside gratifications or future events. As long as you run from where you are and distract yourself, you cannot fully let yourself be healed. A seed only flourishes by staying in the ground in which it is sown. When you keep digging the seed up to check whether it is growing, it will never bear fruit. Think about yourself as a little seed planted in rich soil. All you have to do is stay there and trust that the soil contains everything you need to grow. This growth takes place even when you do not feel it. Be quiet, acknowledge your powerlessness, and have faith that one day you will know how much you have received.

From Henri Nouwen in The Inner Voice of Love - A Journey through Anquish to Freedom

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monday again

Wow, do the weeks fly by or what?

It's hard to believe that it is Monday again. It's OK. We had a very nice weekend. Friday evening Ben and I are were home alone; everyone else was out doing something somewhere. I tried to stay awake, and he did homework. ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday I got up early and started on a 20 mile run by myself, and then I joined up with other training partners. It was a really good run -- a confidence builder. I am averaging over 40 miles a week right now and hope to get 50 this week. One more week of hard training after this one and then the taper begins. The big day is Saturday November 7. [] I am trying to figure out how hard to run this marathon. I don't think I am quite ready to run a Boston qualifier, but I am not sure. I am going to think really hard about it for the next 32 days.

After the run on Saturday Kedra, Ben, and I went to Butler and watched the football game. Lester was up in the press box filming, so Ben and I sneaked up there while Kedra and Maddie froze out in the elements. Oops. Oh well. We had great seats, and it was an awesome game. Butler won on a last second field goal, beating San Diego, a powerhouse in Division I 2a. Butler is now 5-0.

After the game we went to 5Guys and Fries, a really good hamburger place. Ben then spent the night with Lester and Maddie. He and Lester went to the Colts game yesterday after church. We were able to persuade Lester (joined by Maddie) to bring Ben all the way home. It was a very nice little surprise visit with them; short but sweet.

My computer got really sick Saturday evening. Dr. Todd has it. I hope it pulls through.

Our new series of teaching, I think, got off to a good start yesterday. Everyone seemed to receive it well, and we had a good discussion in our Life Group last night.

As soon as my computer gets fixed I will post the text for this week. If you want to go ahead and look, then it is Ephesians 4:24 - 5:2.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Roman Polanski and Gentile Culture

In our text this week, Ephesians 4;17-24, Paul urges, actually insists, the Christians leave behind their past lifestyle, which seems to be the Gentile culture of sexuality and sensuality.

In class last night we were trying to identify marks of the Gentile Culture.

Is there any better picture of the Gentile Culture than the one being shown with the Roman Polanski case? It's amazing how many people, especially Hollywood elitists, are saying, "It's no big deal."

Here's a good article about it:

I've seen several articles that talk about the different approach that would be taken if this were a priest.

Finally Made It

I'm reading through the Bible this year, and I finally made it to the New Testament! Familiar territory.

The last few weeks/months of Old Testament prophecy -- major and minor -- have been pretty tough reading. My eyes would cross and my mind would wander. Hey, I persevered through it; probably some good legalism helped.

Life is really interesting right now. Busy. Different. Can't quite get motivated to write about it.