Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It’s not quite winter yet, but it surely how has felt like it, thanks to hurricane Sandy. The cold wind brings to mind these words.
"Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude."
They come from Amiens, a character in William Shakespeare’s, "As You Like It." While nature can be harsh and cold, it is nothing compared to human ingratitude.
Of nature, Amiens continues to sing, "That dost not bite so nigh as benefits forgot: Though thou waters warp, they sting is not so sharp as friend remember'd not."
Ingratitude, ungratefulness, a lack of saying "thanks," really does sting, doesn’t it? We all can recall, probably with a great deal of passion, when and where someone did not properly thanks us for something we did. It’s easy to get focused on those times. It’s the stuff of bitterness.
Let’s do the hard work and really examine our own lives, instead of pointing at others. Let’s look for pockets of unexpressed gratitude. It’s easy to overlook the help and kindness of others, isn’t it? Who do I need to thank? And for what?
Colossians 2:6,7 — So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
|It's about like that at times|
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
John Wooden tells this story in "A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court."
We had a team of mules name Jack and Kate on our farm. Kate would often get stubborn and lie down on me when I was plowing. I couldn’t get her up no matter how roughly I treated her. Dad would see my predicament and walk across the field until he was close enough to say "Kate." Then she’d get up and start working again. He never touched her in anger.
It took me a long time to understand that even a stubborn mule responds to gentleness.
I guess I’m still trying to understand that! I need these reminders.
Philippians 4:5 — Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
1 Peter 3:15 — . . . In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . .
Colossians 3:12 — Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I’m going to strive to be gentle today.
Tapering for the Monumental marathon continues. I ran 5 miles last night in Bedford with my buddies. It felt like a marathon death march, which is fairly normal. I'll run 4 more today, and since the weather is cruddy, I will go back over and run with my friends. Don't underestimate the power of a community to keep you on track. Good sermon in there somewhere.
Yesterday was good, and I got a lot accomplished. I have a lot going on right now. The Give Thanks 4 race is starting to put a little pressure on me, so I had to give it some attention yesterday. There is a lot to do to put on race like this. I'm glad I have some good help in getting it all done. We'll end up using around (at least) 25 volunteers to pull it off. We are still accepting $100 sponsors, so if you want your business to get a lot of good exposure, just let me know.
I helped a few people along the way yesterday. I try to remember that the mundane things often have eternal significance. I loaned an old couple $10. They have trouble making it all the way through the month. Somehow they always pay me back. I had a good lunch with a friend and a peer. We talked about our life and work and our life's work. I told him that endurance athletics has kept me going in ministry. It shows me that I can keep going through the pain and problems, pushing toward the finish line. He was needing some encouragement. We always need encouragement. The 24/7/365 on call status wears on you.
Today is more of a study day for me. I spend a lot of time reading and studying. I consider both to be vital to the life of our church. It's a priority for me, and I think it needs to be for someone in the role I am in. I enjoy it, which is good!
OK, time to get after it! Don't blow away today.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Remember man as you pass me by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you will be
So prepare for death and follow me
Underneath those words an unknown passerby scratched this reply:
To follow you I'm not content
Until I know which way you went
That’s clever, funny, and right, isn’t it?
And it raises a good point on this Monday.
Just who or what are you and I following?
Jesus in Luke said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
We know where he is, and that is where we want to be.
I’m going to do my best to live like him, following him this week, knowing there may be pain involved. Will you help me and join me?
|Walking the line|
How was your weekend? I think mine went pretty well. I don't recall any bad experiences. Friday was a wet day, so I stayed inside most of it. I took a little time off in the afternoon, and then we had an extended family gathering that included a trip to Texas Roadhouse. It was good.
Saturday morning I ran my last 10 miler before the Monumental Marathon, which is Saturday. We had a fairly good group for the 10 miles. The weather was a little on the cool and windy side, but it wasn't too bad. Tapering is the theme for this week. I'll do 5 today, 4 tomorrow, 3 Wednesday, and then rest on Thursday and Friday. I wish I could tell you that I was excited and eager to run the marathon.
Why am I running this marathon? Well, that's a question I've been asking myself lately. I don't plan to go to Boston in 2014, so it is not to qualify for it. Lester backed off his qualifying attempt weeks ago. If you remember, I said I would try qualify in case he did. My original intent in running a fall marathon was to keep me fit and focused on a distant goal. That distant goal is Ironman Panama City in 2014. It is the first weekend in November, so I am looking at something 2 years off.
I want to keep my running fitness level high in the spring and fall, focus on the swim in the winter, and build the bike miles in the summer. That's the plan, so that's why I am running a marathon. Sounds good! I know I can run the distance, so now it becomes a matter of how hard to push.
Rebecca was able to Skype us on Saturday. We don't have enough bandwidth at home to handle the video portion very well, so we went to my sister's house. It was so good to see and to hear Rebecca. She is doing well and only has about 6 weeks left. She has had so many life-changing experiences already.
I guess I better get started on this week, so I'll jump off this and onto something else. Thanks for stopping by.
Friday, October 26, 2012
A despondent woman was walking along the beach and saw a bottle on the sand. Picking it up, she pulled out the cork. Whoosh! Through a big puff of smoke she saw a genie!
The genie said, "I grant you three wishes, but be aware that for each thing you wish, your mate will receive double."
"Why?" the woman asked. "That bum left me for another woman."
"This is just how it works," replied the genie.
The woman shrugged and then asked for a million dollars. A million dollars appeared at her feet! At the same instant, in a far-off place, her wayward husband received twice that amount at his feet.
"And your second wish?"
"Genie, I want the world’s most expensive diamond necklace." Instantly the woman was holding the precious treasure, and, in that distant place, her husband was looking for a gem broker to buy his diamond necklace.
"Genie, is it really true that my husband has two million dollars and more jewels than I do, and that he gets double of whatever I wish for?"
"Yes, it is absolutely true. He gets double of what you ask for."
The woman thought for a moment, smiled, and then said, "Okay, genie, I’m ready for my last wish."
"Scare me half to death!"
I’m thinking along these lines: I’m glad we don’t have genies like that. And this is a pretty good thought also:
Proverbs 20:22 — Do not say, "I’ll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.
Have a great weekend and go to church for Heaven’s sake!
They had basically nothing but they were all so happy. Where I slept, there were only two beds for a 4 person family so my parents and the 3 year old slept together and my 11 year old brother slept on a pad on the concrete floor. And they only had 2 chairs in the house and they always gave them to me and the other student and they would either stand or sit on the floor.
Rebecca has 2 more weeks were her family in Costa Rica, and then she has a 4 week internship with a school. She'll be staying with a different family for that. I think she is getting very comfortable with her Spanish. She said she had a hard time in northern Nicaragua because the people spoke with an accent and didn't finish their words, dropping letters. (Sounds like around here - ha ha.)
OK, let's get going today and enjoy the weekend. Easy day today for me. Hopefully. Then a 10 mile run in the morning, plus nothing eventful for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
She said, "Without a doubt, it’s fear."
Many fear lots of things! Is being stuck one of the biggest fears? STUCK! "Things will never change; it’s hopeless." "I’m never going to get out of this." "I’ll never not grieve again." "I’ll never be happy again." "Everything is falling apart, and I’m beyond recovery." That’s fear.
And it is FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real.
It’s a lie from the father of lies. If you think that your life is beyond repair/restoration, then you’re wrong. If you think that your best days are in the past, then think again. If you think it’s impossible for God to bring good out of bad, then you aren’t paying attention.
It’s often said there are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible, one for every day of the year. That’s probably right. God, if you are his, does not want you to be afraid.
Psalm 34:4 — I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 27:1-3 — The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
|Just reporting. You decide.|
Today I am finishing up my stuff for Sunday. I'm in pretty good shape this week, so I hope to have some time late afternoon to work in the yard and around the house some. I need to get a little more firewood organized. That might happen also. I must get up on the house and blow leaves out of my gutters. Before I get to that, I have several things to do, places to go, people to see. You know, all the usual stuff.
Yesterday was a good day that was filled with all the usual stuff also. I got a nice little run in early in the morning. The rest of day unfolded nicely. I helped a few people along the way, I think, and that's always good.
We had quite the spirited class last night. We talked about the recent debate in Indiana, the one where rape and abortion were discussed. We had a good conversation about all that, and as you would expect, there were differing opinions and ideas about it. The class went over by about 20 minutes. I dismissed but hardly, if anyone, left.
I hope you are have a great day today! I plan to.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Maybe this belongs to Zig Ziglar? "Everything that happens to you in life has the potential of making you bitter or better."
We get to choose, and sometimes it is such a hard choice! There IS injustice. Some things ARE NOT right. It happens. It stings and stinks. Life is often not fair.
What are you going to do? Bitter or better?
It’s much easier to be bitter, because it’s hard work becoming better. It requires faith that God is working in the injustice to shape and conform you into something better, something closer to his pure image.
You know, there is only one letter’s difference between bitter and better. Bitter has an I in it, and that may just be the key point: there is a much greater chance of bitterness if I focus on that I, as in Me, Myself, and I.
I become better when I focus on what God is wanting me to become.
Yesterday was unusual, since a lot of it was tied to a funeral. Funerals themselves are not that long, but preparing for them takes a while, and then there is often a meal following, like yesterday. It adds up to several hours, and I would say those are the some of the best spent hours of the week. Most preachers much prefer funerals to weddings. Funerals provide real opportunities to truly minister. Weddings? Not much spiritual focus, usually. ha ha. Don't take me wrong! I enjoy most of the weddings I do. OK, I'll quit digging.
Some other significant things happened yesterday as well. I finally got my race association to get our Give Thanks 4 online registration up and running. The race is only 4 weeks from tomorrow. Yikes! There is a lot to do, and we've already done quite a bit. We are changing our T-shirts this year and seeking more sponsors. Ask me what a $100 sponsorship gets you! That's what we are after: $100 sponsors. All profits from the race go toward helping the poor.
I went to Bedford last night to run with my friends. That is always encouraging and helpful. Last night was no exception. I can tell I am in taper. My legs feel like concrete poles and a pedestrian pace seems like a race. Oh well, this is the way it works.
Last night I went to the school board forum. Interesting. I've been asked several times to run, but I don't think I would like many aspects of serving. There are so many people running this time, that I'm not sure who will win. There were a couple of people last night that really probably eliminated themselves. The rest seemed pretty similar.
Today is going to be filled with lots of things, and for the 3rd night in a row, I won't be home until 8:30 or later. Those are long days for this old man. I guess I better get going. Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
What if some of the folks who interpret the Mayan calendar are right? It means we have less than 2 months to live. These people say the world is going to end on December 21 of this year.
I’m not concerned about the world ending on December 21. BUT what if that is The Day?
What would you do if you knew you had less than 2 months to live? What if you have only 2 weeks to go?
Someone once asked St. Ignatius (1491-1556), "What would you do if you knew that the world was going to come to an end tomorrow?" Ignatius replied, "I would go on doing what I’m doing now."
That’s a really good answer, when you think about. We should live each day as if it were our last. In fact, it could be.
Jesus said this (in Matthew 24),
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
He also said this:
Be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Hey good morning! This photo was taken Sunday evening from Stumphole Bridge. The leaves along the river are not as pretty as those on the surrounding hillside, but they are still nice to look at.
Wasn't yesterday wonderful? And today looks really good too. I ran a little yesterday morning, and it was so pleasant. I am going to wait and run with the group this evening in Bedford. It may be around 80 degrees. We are not doing speed work, so I should be OK.
I have a funeral late this morning, so I will be involved in that most of the morning. We are supplying a meal for the family, so I will eat very well today for lunch! This sounds bad, I know, but it is a nice day for a funeral. The whole process is harder if it cold, wet, windy, etc. It's nice to have pleasant weather. It just seems to make everything a little better.
Yesterday was busy but good. I had an unusual number of meeting yesterday, the last one ending after 8 p.m. My brain was full and my body beat. I did not sleep well. I'm sure Kedra will talk to me about this later, because I remember waking up shouting in horror at something. She calmed me and and asked if I was OK. Weird. I don't usually do such things.
Oh well, I need to get going...
Monday, October 22, 2012
Many wrap perfectionism in a desire to please a perfect God. Certainly we are not encouraged by God to lead sloppy, sinful lives. What are we to think? John Wooden said this.
"Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts."
The bottom line is that we rest securely in the forgiving grace of a loving God, striving to live a life that brings glory to him. Strive to be perfect, but please don’t be a perfectionist. There is a big difference.
Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. The free gift of God’s grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. (Romans 3:23,24)
Work hard all day (and all week) to do your best, and then rest well at night, resting in the grace of a God who loves you more than you can comprehend.
Good morning Monday! Hey, how was your fall break? Yes, I know some of you, most of you?, did not experience such a thing. Oh well, life is simply not fair. Speaking of that, my Internet at home is not working well at all. In fact, I’m thinking this post is going to be late and will have to wait until I get to my church office. I have a new modem on the way. It should arrive tomorrow, and then life as we know it can go on.
OK, let’s see, I did not post a couple of days last week, right? Wow, I wish I could remember all the great things I did and experienced in detail, but I am having trouble recalling it. Must have been the routine, mundane stuff. Yep, I think that’s what happened.
We did go to Charlestown Friday night to end our football season. It was ugly. So ugly that I don’t even want to write the score. This season was a disappointment for sure, and it’s good that it’s over. Ben played well this season, but it’s not about him. He is glad it’s finished, I think. He can resume a little bit of a normal life. I drove the bus Friday night. We didn’t get home until nearly midnight.
Arriving home at such late hour meant for a very short night for me. Why? Because our 20 mile run was scheduled to start at 6 a.m. Saturday. I went to sleep about 12:30 and work up around 4:30. I usually get 7 hours of sleep, so I went into the run a little deprived, which is OK. I didn’t have a great 20 miler, but I managed to go sub 9 minute miles on a day when I didn’t feel that great. It was a little cool, damp, and windy Saturday morning.
After the run, I came home and cleaned up. We needed to go to Vincennes for a wedding. Lester’s wife, Maddie, has a sister named Hannah, and it was Hannah’s wedding day. Hannah has been to Honduras with us a couple of times, and I also know her through family gatherings. She is wonderful young lady, not unlike her sister Maddie. The wedding and the reception went well. It was a great day, and we were back home by a little after 8. It was great to go to bed Saturday night.
Sunday was filled with the usual activities, but Sunday evening was different. We gathered at the Dillman’s for a fire, food, fellowship, and fun. Keith knows how to make a fire! Hot, hot, hot! The drive there and back was so nice as well.
Rebecca is unable to communicate with us presently. She is living in more primitive conditions, I believe. She should return to a retreat center in the next couple of days. She is still Nicaragua for a few more days. She will return to Costa Rica at the end of the week. She is now past the halfway mark of her experience there.
OK, busy day, busy week, awaits.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
That’s the term the FDA uses to refer to the amount of contamination allowed in our food.
For example, here are some of the allowances:
30 fly eggs per one hundred grams of pizza sauce.
60 insect fragments per 100 grams of chocolate and/or 1 rodent hair.
30 insect fragments and/or 1 rodent hair per 100 grams of peanut butter.
I’m not making this up! The FDA admits that our food will never be totally pure, so we allow a certain amount of defect.
There are all kinds of ways to apply this disturbing knowledge, but let’s do this.
Let’s make it personal and humbly confess we are all defective. Here’s the good news: God loves us anyway, and through a relationship with Jesus (who had no defects), redeems us, saves us, and sees us also as having no defects. Why? Because he loves us.
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18,19)
Do you believe that? Have you told God how much you love him?
|Rebecca with her Costa Rican sister|
That's why, in part, I drove to Bedford last night to run a few miles. We have a wonderful group of people who run together. I didn't feel like running last night, but the power of a like-minded community keeps me on track. It was a perfect evening to run.
My day started out in the dentist's office. I broke a tooth, a big one, number 19, I think they said. It was big and a bad break. (Too much ice crunching and too many atomic fireballs over the years.) I've always done pretty well as a dental patient, using my learned tolerance for pain and my ability to distract my mind, but I was really dreading this fix. It went OK, but the Dr. was concerned about its depth, so he really numbed it. It took a while, but we got it fixed. It hurt and gave me a headache later in the day but all is good now.
Rebecca made a long trip to Nicaragua yesterday; 9 hours. She was able to quickly check in via a text message to Kedra. She will be there for 10 days, staying with another local family. She had to fill out a paper before leaving Costa Rica, indicating whether or not she could handle living in a place with no running water in the house, etc. She may end up in a fairly primitive setting. She seems prepared for that. I think being in Honduras a couple of times will help her. She is doing really well.
Yesterday was a busy day. The dentist appt. took a little longer than I thought it might. I took a few minutes to recover and then took off to see some people in Bedford. I sat for a while next to a man who is on his death bed, literally. He's ready. He was fading in and out, but we were able to talk a little. Death is interesting thing. Even Jesus struggled with the thought of dying, and he had a deep faith that he is Father would raise him from the dead. Several have said to me over the years, "I'm not afraid of being dead. It's the getting there that bothers me." True.
Wow, I have rambled on here this morning. I won't keep you any longer. Enjoy the day. Do some good for someone in someway.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Love this week, deeply, carefully, and intentionally.
|Crazy people on the loose|
Hey! You made it through the weekend! Me too. It was a good one, and now here we go again. A new week awaits us.
The biggest event for me this weekend was our 20 mile run from Bloomington to Avoca. I used our church van and loaded up everyone at Avoca at 6:30 Saturday morning. On the way up, we dropped water and Gatorade at 3 spots. Mike J. was kind enough to be our support guy, bringing the van back and checking on everyone all the way back.
There were 12 of us who ran various distances at various speeds. Most of us did 20 miles. Two guys are missing from the picture above. Mike's daughter's boyfriend and his friend, Purdue Tri team members (young and fast), ran faster than everyone else. They ran themselves right out of the picture!
It was a beautiful morning to run. It was a little dark at the start, but daylight appeared pretty soon. The leaves in the rock cuts along the way were simply beautiful. I felt pretty good most of the time. I was a little concerned at the start, because I could still feel my 12 miler from Thursday evening. The 20 miler would be a test of my fitness level in some ways. I think I passed, so it now becomes a bit of a confidence booster. That was my 3rd and best 20 miler of this training cycle. If you are interested in details, then here they are. One more 20 miler and then taper time.
The rest of the weekend was filled with the usual things that include family and church family. OK, that's the weekend report. Let's get this thing going...
Friday, October 12, 2012
|Green way in Huntsville|
Hey, good morning! I hope you are doing well today. I'm in Alabama, where it is 5 a.m. I've been up for an hour, so the locals will think I am crazy. What's that? OK, fine! Be that way.
We had a good trip down yesterday. Uneventful. It was good to see Kedra's parents. Her dad, who had a pacemaker put in on Monday, seems to be doing pretty well. He is limited on activity right now but doing OK.
After we got here yesterday afternoon, I took off for my 12 miler, which went really well. The running funk seems to be over. Good! Kedra's parents live in southeast Huntsville, which is blessed with a wonderful green way system. It goes all the way to the Tennessee River, which is only about 6 miles from their house.
I knew they were working on extending the green way last summer, so I was excited to see that the new section is now open. It is now within 1 mile of Kedra's parent's place, so I hopped on that for a while last night. It was pleasant running weather and a beautiful view.
Today we head back north. We are going to meet Luke in Nashville for lunch, before heading to Mitchell. Ben has a football game tonight at 8, so we have plenty of time. Tomorrow is the big 20 mile run from Bloomington to Oolitic and then back to Avoca. The hills will be alive with nutty runners.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Do you remember these words from an old Alabama song?
I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why
I could have written those words! You too? What’s wrong with us?
It is that "busyness" seems to be the cool thing? We like to preference our comments with, "I’m so busy. . ." or "I know you are busy, but. . ."
Sometimes I wonder if we are really as busy as we think we are. Some are, for sure, but I think it’s more a state of mind.
We have crossed over from being "human beings" to "human doings." I think God likes both, but your doing needs to come from your being (in a relationship with God).
Stop for a few minutes and go through this with me:
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and
Slow down, take a breath and BE today! Then Do. Intentionally, carefully, and not hurriedly.
(I’m talking to myself, as usual.)
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
"The least important fact of life is the score at halftime."
I like that quote, and I think it was during the Super Bowl that I heard it. I wrote it down and then found it yesterday.
It speaks to a very important idea: as long as there is life, there is a chance to change, to come back, to keep growing, to start over.
Sometimes people get stuck, stuck in deep ruts and feel there is no hope for change. We feel like the present, greatly influenced by past mistakes and failures, keeps us from doing anything different. The game is over. Not true!
We have to deal with past failure, but we cannot dwell on it. There are many things that we need to forget, as we focus on the future and strive for a goal.
Paul, in Philippians 3, talking about moving toward a glorious future, says this.
. . . I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Press on! Press on.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
How about a few thoughts on prayer?
Prayer is. . .
. . .love’s tender dialogue between the soul and God. (John Richard Moreland)
. . .opening ourselves to God so that he can open us to others. (Louis Evely)
. . .the possibility to affect everything that affects us. (E.M. Bounds)
. . .putting ourselves in the hands of God. (Mother Teresa)
. . .the key of the morning and bolt at night (Unknown)
. . .the link that connects us with God. It is the bridge that spans every gulf and carries us safely over every chasm of danger or need. (A.B. Simpson)
. . .the first step to meeting any challenge. (Ron Hehl)
. . .the central avenue God uses to transform us. (Richard Foster)
Let us pray.
Monday, October 08, 2012
Is there an anger that is healthy? Aristotle said that healthy anger happens when it is expressed:
with the right person
to the right degree
at the right time
for the right purpose
in the right way
Think through those for a second. That’s really good advice!
We know anger happens. Hey, even Jesus got angry, really angry at times, and he didn’t sin with it or because of it. How about us? Well...
Let’s remind ourselves of a couple really important passages, one from James 1 and another from Ephesians 4.
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."
But what if it happens?
"‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
Unreleased, unresolved anger really gives the Enemy an opportunity to destroy you. We need to deal with it, and old Aristotle lays out a pretty good plan.
Friday, October 05, 2012
A man left his cat with his younger brother while he went on vacation. Arriving back, he called his brother to make arrangements to pick up the cat. The brother simply said, "The cat died while you were away."
The man was very upset and yelled, "You should’ve broken the news to me better than that! When I called today, you should’ve said the cat was on the roof and wouldn’t come down. Then when I called the next day, you could’ve said that he had fallen off and the vet was working on him. Then when I called the third day, you could’ve said he had passed away."
The brother thought about it and apologized. The older brother accepted his apology and then asked, "So how’s Mom?"
The younger brother hesitated and then said, "She’s on the roof and won’t come down?"
OK, I’m not sure what kind of application to make with that?
Maybe that what we say is important, but how we say things is also important?
Let’s just smile and head into the weekend! I hope you have a good one, and go to church for Heaven’s sake!
I guess through dumb luck, or I would prefer to believe by the leading of God's Spirit, I have done many of the things that Dan suggests to avoid burnout. There are days and months where these activities have kept me afloat.
I have always believed that my role is beyond the walls and even the membership of the church. I have lots of meaningful connections beyond them. Honestly, there are times where I feel that I am doing my best work and ministry in those places with those people. God will be the judge of all that, but I feel good about what I do in the community and beyond. It is often a source of encouragement.
OK, enough of all that. Let's get this weekend going...
Thursday, October 04, 2012
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
David said that in Psalm 30. We all have problems, struggles, and, at times, live with broken hearts.
It’s easy to allow these things to dominate and consume us. At some point, we must turn our focus away from ourselves and toward God’s love and faithfulness.
Old Jeremiah, not the bullfrog but the prophet (ha ha - sorry), sure had a hard time. He watched in horror as his countrymen and his city were destroyed.
Jeremiah had warned them to change their ways. They didn’t, and to make matters worse, they rejected, tormented, tortured, and silenced him.
Jeremiah was angry, angry with God and everyone else. In Lamentations 3, amidst some strong accusations and complaints against God, he turns his focus back toward God’s love.
Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
There really is joy in the beginning of a new day, if we are aware of God’s loving presence, no matter what.
This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Have you seen it? Maybe you saw it when you last looked into a mirror.
The face of a broken hearted person.
I see them a lot. I see them at the end of funerals, when a man says good-bye to his wife of 60+ years. I see them when parents bury a child, and I see them in the courtroom, where the painful past is relived in the present. I see faces of the brokenhearted a lot.
I saw one the other day at a public event. I watched a woman I barely know watch her ex-husband walk away holding hands with a new girlfriend. I can only imagine how broken her heart is. Her face said it was very broken.
We’ve all experienced a broken heart, and some live with them. It shows on their faces.
To them, to us, I share these wonderful reminders of God’s presence.
Psalm 34:18 — The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 147:3 — He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Thank you, Lord.
Good morning! I'm kinda craving Chinese food. Already. It's only 6 a.m. Did you see the news about roadkill being served in a Chinese restaurant in, of all places, Kentucky? No, it was not cats or dogs! You'll have to read the article to find out what it was.
OK, so what's up with you today? Ready for some sunshine? Maybe we'll see it today. Tomorrow is supposed to be super, but by the weekend, some models are showing highs in the 40s. Ouch! I guess it's the balance to the hot summer. Who knows?
Wow, yesterday was an exciting day for me. I had 2 great meetings with good men, good business men, pitching some of my ideas and thoughts about missional entrepreneurship. They both quickly took it places that I had not thought of, which was what I had hoped would happen. I'm glad to be a catalyst. We are going to put together a group of 6-7 people to do some brainstorming. Should be fun and exciting.
I had a nice 10K run yesterday morning. The wind I woke up to died down, leaving a still, damp morning. I actually like running in the conditions we had yesterday morning, and I had a pretty decent run. Today I will do a few more miles, and then tomorrow, I plan to do my 20 miler. Jim S. needs a partner in the morning, so I look forward to taking the morning off to spend some time with him.
Today I will continue to study some for Sunday and, as usual, visit a few people today. Hanging around nursing facilities and hospitals keeps me thankful for my health. I realize I am of an age that things can suddenly change. I guess they can do that at any age, but the chances increases as your years increase. I'm thankful to be healthy and able to participate in endurance activities.
I hope you have a great day! Really, I do.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Why does it seem that God is so silent when we most want to hear from him?
C.S. Lewis, in Till We Have Faces, says this:
"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"
"You are yourself the answer." Do you believe that? Pretty hard isn’t it? God says nothing because his promised presence is enough. Faith says, "He is the answer. He is sufficient."
Silence does not mean absence.
On the cross, Jesus, quoting Psalm 22, cries out words that sometimes we feel and own, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
The silence of God is painful, and the referenced Psalm 22 appeals for God to be present in crisis.
And He is.
The same God who was silent on Friday was not absent. He was working a plan, and he raised Jesus from the dead on Sunday morning. If you follow Jesus, then he promises to raise you too.
Please don’t mistake silence for absence.
Be still and know. Find rest and peace.
Well, here you are again. Do you not have a life? Ha ha, just kidding, I'm glad you stopped by for a little while on a cool, windy, damp morning. It's not as damp as last night, when I proved what several have said about me over the years. "He doesn't have enough sense to get out of the rain."
No, I don't. I could have run yesterday morning in the dry, knowing full well that the afternoon and evening would be wet. But I love my running friends and wanted to be with them, so I opted to wait. I opted to get wet, really wet. The heaviest rain of the whole day came during our little 5 miler. Heavy rain and big puddles, really big puddles, equals one wet old runner. Oh well, toward the end, I opted to channel my childhood desire to splash as hard as I could through the puddles. It was actually kind of fun. Sick, I know.
Yesterday was another super productive day. I've been on a roll lately, and I'm going to ride this wave as far as it takes me. I know that at some point I will cycle back through to struggling to get things done. I've been around long enough to know how all this works. Take what you get and as it comes. Presently, I am getting beyond my weekly routine into new areas of activity.
For example, today I am meeting with a couple of people to brainstorm some about starting a business or businesses in our little town that can employ some people. As I mentioned last week, we already have a non-profit organization in place, and we have empty buildings around town. It's a matter of figuring out what to do. Today I meet with a couple of people who have good business brains and have been very successful in different ways. They are both eager to talk.
I had lunch with another minister yesterday, and he, too, has been talking some with others about this idea. He found a lot of interest from a guy who has been successful in other places and has considerable capital, I believe. Missional theology basically says, "Find out what God wants to do in your community and help him." I have begun initial exploration with a fairly new idea called missional entrepreneurship. We'll see. Hopefully this will go somewhere someway. It certainly will be a "God thing," if it happens.
Another busy day awaits, so I best be getting on it!
Monday, October 01, 2012
"We don’t realize that God is all we need until God is all we’ve got."
Bad things happen to good people. All the time. Why?
I don’t know, but I believe the essence of faith is trusting God with all mystery and unanswered questions. I also believe that he is very interested in what happens to you, but I think he is even more interested in what you become as a result.
God is redemptive, working in the bad to make good, to make you better not bitter. That requires faith and a certain mind-set.
A long time ago, Paul said this (2 Cor. 1):
. . .We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
As this week unfolds, no matter what’s going on or what happens, we have a God who loves us and wants us to rely on his resurrection power. Wow!
Stay focused and encouraged!
|Luke water witching|
It was a really nice weekend, one of my favorite weekends of the year. I took some time off on Friday afternoon and relaxed pretty well. That was followed by another rough, disappointing football game. Luke came home in time for the game, so his presence helped mitigate some of the pain and frustration of football loss.
Saturday was race and parade day. I went to the Persimmon 5K not very motivated. I told a friend that I was running it because, "I know if I don't, I will regret not doing it." Great reason to run, right? Oh well, as the race grew closer, I felt decent. Then I saw a couple of people that I didn't want to beat me. Better reason to run harder, right? Well... Anyway, I took off and ran pretty well. I finished faster than last year and won some hardware. My 21.24 placed me second in my age group. I think I could have won it, but I didn't know who was in front of me. He wasn't that far ahead of me. Next year!
The Persimmon 5K is a great race and a really nice atmosphere. I enjoy the fellowship with lots of runners and the once a year folks as well. We have a really good running community, and running is a great supportive sport. You usually don't hear trash talking amongst runners. My decent race is helping motivate me to get training harder again. Monumental is 4 weeks from Saturday, so I still have this week and 2 more to train hard, followed by a 2 week taper.
The rest of Saturday and the rest of the weekend was filled with family fun. Luke told us that an old fellow taught him how to water witch last week, so he wanted to show us how it worked. He wanted to know where our water lines were. I said, "I'm not going to tell you. You find them." And he did! It's such a strange thing, but it works. He found them at our house and at my dad's place as well. I did 2 minutes of research this morning and found that the practice is quite controversial. All I know is that it worked at our place. We joked about Luke getting a college degree and now he can water witch.
We got to speak to Rebecca last night! She was able to Skype Kedra's cell phone. She's already been in Costa Rica a month and is doing very well. She is really enjoying the experience. Her call was well timed. Kedra was really missing her this weekend. Me too.
I hope your week goes well. I need to go finish my weekly "to do" list and hope that I can get to the majority of it. I'll just tackled what I can when I can and see what happens.