Gentle??

Written by cycleguy on August 27th, 2015

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Have you ever wondered what we did without the internet? Google and Wikipedia specifically. Whenever I thought of this word “gentle” I had a weird thought go through my mind. Are you ready for this” GENTLE BEN. Remember him? If you are old enough you remember him as a bear on TV and in the movies. Check out Wikipedia for more complete information. Gentle or no gentle…there simply ain’t no way I’m making friends with a bear!! Or a whale. Or a lion. Or (fill in the blank of any other wild animal). :)

The fruit of the Spirit I’ll be preaching on this week is Gentleness. I’m calling it “The Unasked For Fruit.” Why? Because nobody wants to be known as gentle. Ask Rhonda Rousey to take on the nickname “Gentle Rhonda.” Ask Chuck Norris to do the same. See what I mean?

In actuality, the word for gentle is also the word meekness. Yeah, that doesn’t help much either. But meekness is a really cool word. It means “power under control.” It was used of a horse whose body was so powerful and yet could be controlled and even tamed. Sort of like this movie.

Meekness does not mean weakness. In fact, a meek person is actually pretty strong. My next post will share with you some of what I learned and will present this Sunday. Thanks for your prayers.

 

Consider

Written by cycleguy on August 26th, 2015

I’ve been reading The Emotionally Destructive Relationship (EDR) by Leslie Vernick the past week or so. I have found it slow-going, not because the book isn’t good but my schedule is whacked right now. I had a few moments to sit down and read some on Tuesday night and read the following two thoughts. I share them with you for your consideration.

First some background: Leslie is writing about the consequences of an EDR and its effect upon an individual. Under Emotional Effects she wrote this:

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you’re in a relationship that lacks mutual caring, safety, honesty, or respect, and you regularly feel anxiety, fear, shame, anger, or despair, then your emotions are warning you that you are in a destructive relationship.  (p.51)

Under Generational Effects:

Children learn how to see themselves, others, the world, and even God through their parents’ eyes and actions. Children pick up on what makes life worth living for through the behaviors they witness at home, including destructive behaviors or attitudes not directed toward them. For example, many young boys living in homes where their fathers abuse their mothers learn that men have more power than women do. They observe that the way to get what they want is to threaten, force, or hit someone. They may even think God entitles them to act this way because they’re men…” (p.58)

I actually used the latter one in a conversation Wednesday with someone. It also comes down to breaking the cycle. it starts with me, with you, with our children, with those we know whom we can teach and model for.

What are your thought?

 

 

Stone15

Written by cycleguy on August 25th, 2015

Politics.

They belong in the public arena not in the church. Oh let me explain myself a little more. I’m not talking about speaking or not speaking up about injustice, etc.

Politics don’t belong in the church. You know…church politics. It is a basic fact of life they should not be involved but man will be man so…

I read a really funny article the other day. You can read it here. Even funnier sadder were some of the comments (Please make sure you at least see the one about Hippocrates. I was just glad I had nothing in my mouth when I read it).

Part of church politics is the feeling “I have a right to say whatever I want to say to the pastor. After all we pay his salary.” (I’d be interested to know how much they contribute but that is a rabbit trail). I digress. Part of the church politic thing has caused many people to wear masks…and yes that includes the pastor himself. Pretense is real.

I have often told the people here not to put me on a pedestal. I am not interested in taking God’s place. I think they have seen me fail enough to know that ain’t going to happen! :) On any given Sunday pastors across the land can be counted on to wear a mask, a mask that everything is alright. WHEN IT’S NOT! Truth is: many pastors are hurtin’ units and could stand to have some good old-fashioned words of encouragement. Authenticity is hard to come by these days knowing a job may be on the line.

I’m glad I serve a church which has people who allow me to be real. I hate politics of any kind. I am not impressed by what a person wears, drives, lives in, or makes. Just be real. Question: how do you treat your pastor? Do you encourage or discourage? 

This is part of my random posts on this book.

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Plurals

Written by cycleguy on August 24th, 2015

An English lesson?

No, definitely not. I’ve always wanted my blog to be different. Not weird different where people roll their eyes more than use them to read. I like to have fun and do fun posts. I like to get serious and probe church activity and actions which confuse frustrate me. I like to post a music video or two at times and make people wonder about my sanity (or in the mind of some-confirm my not-so-normal state of mind). I like to post about upcoming sermons. I like to make people laugh, even if it is laughing at me. I like to challenge and don’t mind being challenged or thought whacked for my beliefs (but my respondent will go nameless).

I also like to teach. Bible truth for sure. But I like to inform, and all the better if it is somewhat obscure or unknown.  I believe every pastor, teacher, caring person needs to be aware of cultural trends. We hear and read about the generations:

  • G.I. Generation (1904-1924)
  • Silent Generation (1925-1945)
  • Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Gen X (1965-1979)
  • Millennials (1980-2000)

Each generation had its own unique characteristics. Good and bad points. Pluses and minuses. Enter a new generation: The Plurals. (Sounds like it ought to be a follow-up to The Croods, but I’m not joking here; I’m dead serious). Ryan, our youth pastor, forwarded me this link. For the purpose of education and ministry, I link it to you. Please take the 5-10 minutes or so to read it. You’ll be glad you did.

So…did you know about the Plurals? How do you think we can reach them? Trust me when I say “Hard Sell” won’t work.

 

Celebrate

Written by cycleguy on August 23rd, 2015

One of the hardest things for many to do is to celebrate someone else’s fortune.

Either we don’t care

OR

our competitive juices get to flowing

OR

The ugly green monster rears its ugly head.

The Bible says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” I’m afraid many of us do the opposite. We weep with those who rejoice and rejoice at those who weep. We have trouble seeing someone get ahead or enjoying something we ourselves want. And if someone gets ahead of us competitively…well there is just no reasoning with us.

That is why the video I am asking you to take a look at stands out so much. You may not care much for baseball. This video comes from the Little League World Series. What the young man batting does is phenomenal, but the real “star” of the show is the pitcher’s reaction. Watch it here.

Being a baseball lover, I absolutely love the action. The hit. The teammates. But this pitcher’s response is priceless. Maybe the church can learn a thing or two on how to rejoice in others’ pleasure.

What do you think?

 

 

SemperFi

Written by cycleguy on August 20th, 2015

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“Always Faithful.” The touchstone of the Marines. Have you noticed most Marines will even have “Semper Fi” as their last words to each other?

Webster defines touchstone as “a fundamental or quintessential part or feature.” Synonyms listed in Roget’s Thesaurus are “standard, gauge, yardstick.”

To me, if there is one attribute or characteristic of God which stands head and shoulders above the others it is this one: His Faithfulness. I’m not a hymn person but there are two which still speak volumes to me. One is When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, especially at Communion time; and the other is Great is Thy Faithfulness (I even “put up with” the King James English). :)  The latter hymn finds its basis in Lamentations 3:22-24. The faithfulness of God is a touchstone, a cornerstone, upon which our faith is built. If God is not faithful, then what we are doing is a waste of time. If I can expect Him to dump me at first glitch, then I’m in deep trouble.

The ancient patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Noah, and others-all expected God to keep His promises, especially the one of His Faithfulness to them. No matter the circumstance, God was faithful.

My Sunday message is on the fruit of the Spirit: faithfulness. In my next post I plan to show the traits of faithfulness as found in the life of Daniel. Until then, I’d appreciate your prayers.

 

Unselfishness

Written by cycleguy on August 19th, 2015

“But made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant…” I suspect you recognize that as a Bible passage. More specifically, a passage from Philippians 2:7 and it refers to Jesus divesting Himself of His place in heaven next to the Father’s throne to come down as a baby.

I’d say that was an unselfish act.

“Loving people means divesting ourselves of our status.” (p.172)

Unselfishness is not the easiest quality to have. Another word I’d like to use here is Humility. Yeah, that’s not easy either. No matter what word you use. My “bent” is selfishness. My natural self is wrapped up in me. The Bible calls that “my old man.” (And no that is not my father or me).

Divesting myself of myself is so hard to do. I want to be other-focused. I want to be not-so-selfish. I want to love like Jesus loved. Even though He was a king, He gave it all up.

I have to wonder how much I’m willing to give up for others. Or give up with no strings attached. No ulterior motives. What I’d like to think I would do and what I do are often at odds. Doggone that old man! 😀

It is hard to be unselfish. But to follow Jesus we must be. How are you doing in that area?

This is my last post using Unoffendable.

 

Rules

Written by cycleguy on August 18th, 2015

I spent the day driving to and from Lafayette, IN (Purdue University…or as his mom will say, “Purdon’t. She went to Indiana State so there is just a touch of friendly rivalry there. Just a touch).  All in all it was a pleasant day. The wicked storm which looked to be brewing north of us, which caused me to stop and try to tarp the items in my truck, largely bypassed us. The rain held off as we unloaded. Purdue students did all the unloading and transporting the luggage to his room. The lunchtime pizza was excellent.  Anthony’s girlfriend, Mallory, was a good sport and fun to have along (she heads to IU tonight). The drive home was uneventful except for a slow down of traffic due to a detour because of an Interstate bridge being worked on. I am now sufficiently tired and find myself wishing I could lay down but since it is only 5:10 p.m. that would not be a good idea. :)

That means my brain is not firing on all cylinders at the moment. But I had a thought from Unoffendable I wanted to share. So I’m going to post it and let your minds give it some thought:

Rules are wonderful. Rules bring wisdom into our lives. They help us live better. They spare us from pain. BUT rules don’t change anyone’s heart, ever. Grace does. (p.167)

That saying alone is worth the price of admission to this book. If people (legalists) could only grasp that truth, maybe they would stop trying to force rules on people. Imagine the impact if churches and pastors and people grasped the real truth behind Brant’s statement.

Rules don’t change people. Grace does. No argument here. Any thoughts?

 

IAm

Written by cycleguy on August 17th, 2015

I am helping one of our young people move his “stuff” to Purdue University where he begins his Freshman year possibly pursuing a career in Pharmacy, so I will be out of the office most of the day. With that in mind, and since I am at home without the book I needed to write this post, I have decided to put my blog and “reputation” on the line.

I have in the past written about being an old school “rocker” in my listening pleasure. That is not to say I don’t listen to other types of music. I do. Well…except for country, rap, R&B, and opera. I will admit to listening to more of the arena rock and “hair” band style. I like worship music as long as it has some beat to it and does not drag.  Right now my headphones are playing Neal Morse worship sessions. Neal is also a prolific singer/songwriter. People who know me know I like Stryper and other music that makes me move and “play and sing” in the truck.

Recently I have renewed a “love affair” with what is called ProgRock. Think Kansas (Carry on Wayward Son and earlier). One of my favorite groups is called Theocracy. I became aware of them this past winter while working jigsaw puzzles and my DVD player was on the fritz. Matt Smith, their singer/main songwriter, is a creative genius. One song which is head and shoulders above others is called I Am. I’m not even going to discuss it. I’ll just ask you to listen to it here. Before you go there, I know it is not many, if not most of your cup of tea. I know that.  If you don’t like it, at least go to the 5:40 mark and listen to 7:08.

I realize it is not a preacher’s normal type of music. But rumor has it I am not normal. :) Just sayin’. I’ll be back tomorrow with a more palatable post for most of you. Meanwhile, please don’t brand me a heretic.

 

Behavior

Written by cycleguy on August 16th, 2015

We hear it a lot: “You guys are such hypocrites. You say one thing and do another.” Sadly, that is often true. We take pride in our independence and shrug those remarks off with “Well, God knows I’m human and I’m going to make mistakes.”

True.

But what a lousy way of justifying actions which don’t back up words. In his book, Unoffendable, Brant Hanson writes this:

“I suspect this (we don’t really believe God loves us) because our behavior gives us away. After all, what we believe isn’t what we say we believe; it’s what we do. And what many of us do. And what many of us do, as far as I can tell, is strive and strain and push and pull and work and even anguish to try to somehow win favor with a Father who’s already pleased with us.” After saying he could spend hours on radio (Air1) talking about grace over law, he would still have “Christians lined up to tell me it’s not really quite true, that the real issue is that we need to stop sinning right now and work harder…We ‘believe’ God loves us, but we suspect it’s provisional, based on whether we ever get our act straightened out.”(p.128)

Last week I posted a saying I saw on a church sign: “He pleases God best who loves Him most.” Now you see why that saying is so destructive? It puts a qualifier on God’s love. To believe that saying is to say God’s love and acceptance of us is based on rules and how well we fulfill them. It also puts us into a competition.

This “God thing” is not a competition with each other; it is team thing. Any thoughts?