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Progress

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

I like progress. We all do. I like seeing progress. We all do. The state is redoing the main drag through Spencer and I have to remind myself it is called “progress.” I will have to remind myself of that for two years.

OVCF, the church I pastor, has been needing room for the children for several years. We have taken a very conservative approach in that we want cash in hand before moving ahead. With the generosity of our people, two donations, and an inheritance, we were able to move ahead with getting the shell done and the interior framed.  I’ve included some pictures of the outside and the framing. (The addition mimics the old building in looks). In what may be a first, what we estimated we needed and what we had just about equaled each other (to our good).

We do have some money set aside (but not enough) so we met the other night to plan our next steps. That plan is now in place and we will be moving ahead slowly since we have determined not to borrow any money.

I’m excited about the progress. I’m even more excited about the debt-free approach we are taking. I have always contended that big mortgages are an albatross around the neck of a church. A church with a big mortgage is often hamstrung in helping others with simple things. For example, the leadership here has stated “No kid will not go to camp because of finances.” Last summer, and again this summer, we have spent over $3000 sending kids to church camp, giving part-time and full-time scholarships to any who ask for/need it. I like that approach. Just today (Wednesday) I visited camp with Ryan (our youth pastor) to visit 9 campers from OVCF, all of whom received some help, and a couple who received complete help. If one young person’s life is changed, it is worth it.

These are exciting time for us. I hope you don’t mind me sharing some of my thoughts. I certainly won’t mind you praying for us as move along progress.

Grace

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

I have written previously about the book by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies. At this point, there are 5 of us guys who are using it each day and corresponding by email as to our thoughts. Starting next week, there will be 6 ladies (led by my wife)  taking part in a separate email strain of their own. My hope is to get more on board and start new strains. Anyway, on May 9th, Tripp made this statement:

I must always remember the grace I am daily given and extend that grace to the people in my life.

Anne Lamott, the author, once wrote:

I do not understand the mystery of grace-only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

And the rock group, U2 once sang,

What left a mark no longer stings, because grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

The last two quotes were from “Proof” by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones (p.9)

Grace-giving it and receiving it-are an essential part of our daily world. Sometimes we are called on to give it. Sometimes we are called on to receive it.

I love talking about GRACE. For at least the next two months that will be my focus on Sunday morning.  It all starts with this message on waking up to the message of Grace. We are all in need of grace in some way, shape or form. If you live close by, I’d like to invite you to visit. If you live away, or can’t make it, or just read my blog, you can still listen via podcast at the church’s website. In any case, I relish your prayers. Thanks ahead of time.

Any thoughts on grace you may have?

Weekend

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Well…I had a wild and wooly weekend. No, I didn’t grow a beard. Busy. Crazy busy. But a good sort of crazy busy. I had a wedding in Cedar Lake, IN. Lovely place. Lovely couple. Lovely wife (mine). Lovely venue. Beautiful weather. It didn’t have a great start though.

We were about an hour or so away from home when Jo suddenly says (alarmingly), “Bill, we forgot our clothes.” No…we were wearing clothes. We forgot our wedding clothes. Suit. Tie. Dress (hers). Jeans for rehearsal. So I turned around and drove back home. We were taking the slower way the first time…or so I thought. I decided to take the quicker way this time (or so I thought). We got tied up in a traffic jam but fortunately, I knew my way around. Talk about traffic! Friday. Memorial Day weekend. Yeah…you get the picture.

But we finally got there and had about 45 minutes to spare. The rehearsal went well. The meal and conversation was great. Due to my back issue I didn’t sleep well at all, but God was more than sufficient. We visited the Albanese Candy Factory in Merrillville, IN. Talk about a kid in a candy shop!! Gummies everywhere (I don’t care for them). But chocolate????? Oh my oh my!! I sampled a few things then settled on some Milk Chocolate Mint Meltaways. I am slowly…very slowly…devouring them.

The wedding was beautiful. The setting was gorgeous. The weather was super cooperative. We left before the music started for dancing. Not because we don’t believe in it…except for us. The picture below should show you some of the difficulty. The real reason was the time. They are an hour behind us (CST) not EST. Our old bodies did not adjust well to the time change in that short of time.  🙂  So we headed back to the hotel room.

We left the next morning and headed to Terre Haute where we met our daughter, Tami, at Texas Roadhouse. We live streamed a service from Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute, the church we visit when we have a Sunday off. There was no way we were going to make the 9:00 service at MCC. We would have had to leave at 5:00 CST. Thank God for technology.

Monday was a relaxing day. An early bike ride with a friend in the state park. Spending the rest of the time with Jo and Tami. Cutting grass (UGH!). I was one tired puppy when I closed my eyes at 9:30.

So how was your weekend?? And here is that picture:

And just so you know. That may be the first dress Jo has worn in about a year or maybe more. That is my marryin’ and buryin’ suit. I told someone, “If you see me wearing that you know something is happening and you better start worrying.” I bought that suit 13 years ago when Janna was married. The glare off the noggin’ is/was blinding. 🙂

Evolution

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

In my last post, I showed  a picture of my new steed. 

Two items are in that picture. Yes, the new bike but please take note of the T-shirt. Last November I was hit by a car while riding. For Christmas my daughter, Tami, bought me this shirt. Actually, she had it made just for me. She thought she was being funny. (In reality, I gave the okay). 🙂

Then on Friday, February 17th, I had another accident, an accident of the I-don’t-know-what-happened variety. I did a face plant (I split my helmet in three places); broke my collarbone in 4 places; broke 3 ribs, suffered multiple contusions; and still am dealing with a huge hematoma on my right hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all is well and healing. I still do not know what happened. Shortly before the accident Tami had ordered me a new T-shirt made by the same people. She ordered one (hi-viz yellow) and I ordered one. The hi-viz green one had some stitching issues so she ordered another. Here is the green one:

But Tami’s “evil” friends were not done. Along with the hi-viz green (sense a color scheme here?) T-shirt they sent another one. “Tami, your dad seems such a good sport we wanted to make a T-shirt for him.” And below you see the T-shirt my daughter and her evil twins designed for me.

This was following my opening the package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The is a better picture after I “settled” down and got the look off my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, I think it is funny. Laughter is good medicine. I certainly can’t change what happened for either accident. So…I can choose to wallow and whine or laugh. I choose the latter. I’m wearing the “stunt” one to preach in this morning. Might as well get others to laugh with me (and they will).

And one final message for my daughter and those “evil” twins. I know where you live Tami. Thanks for being good sports. And I wear a lot of T-shirts so keep the cycling ones coming. 🙂 🙂

Deathbed

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

7banner

The church was desperate. Years of decline has taken a painful toll. “What we need, ” they said, “is a dynamic new pastor.”

A blue-ribbon search team did everything right to find the perfect leader. Young but experienced, serious but witty, articulate but not intimidating, spiritual but worldly-wise. Now it was time for him to preach the congregation.

When he addressed the congregation, he gave an inspiring description of his qualifications, experience, vision, and plans. His final line summer up his stirring presentation: “With God’s help, I intend to lead this church forward into the 20th century!”

Surprised and a bit embarrassed by his apparent mistake, the chairman of the search team whispered loudly, “You mean the 21st century!”

To which the candidate replied, “We’re going to take this one century at a time!”

OUCH! That’s gotta hurt.

The church at Sardis was on its deathbed. Like many in a similar boat, its best days were behind it. To be honest everything looked good. The reputation was good. They had a name of being alive, but they were dead. They were finding out in this letter they could not fool the ONE who really mattered and saw right through them.

This letter is their last chance. He is offering them an opportunity for a deathbed confession. I hope and pray OVCF never gets to that place. If it does, and I’m still with them, shoot me. (Not really but it would be how I feel with this kind of news). I will be bringing all this and more to the table Sunday. I’d appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

Shortcuts

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

LifeAsAnAdventure2

Life is filled with opportunities to take shortcuts. They always offer the hope of a better way or easier way, but in the end simply wind up often destroying those who take the shortcut. Sad reality? Hindsight being 20/20 tells us we should have stuck to the marked trail instead of taking the unmarked one. As if often the case, the unmarked, unfamiliar trail is the one which often leads to destruction.

Solomon put it well: “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Pr.16:29 (NLT)

During my study for this week’s message I ran across this story of the Donner Party. The shortcut ended up being a long cut.

Today is Father’s Day. While taking shortcuts takes in all of us, it most often is seen in men. A “get-rich scheme” here a tryst there. “I won’t get caught.”

Life offers us three trails: The Broad Trail. The Narrow Trail. And the Shortcut (which eventually dumps us into the Broad Trail.  There is no shame in taking the narrow trail, of having nothing to hide. The shame is in the doing and then hiding.

May we all take the Narrow Trail which leads to life, even if it the long way around.

Unique

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

familymatters

I’m going to jump the gun on this!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

I know there are some woman who truly hate this day. It reminds them of what is not to be. Or it may remind them of what once was. Or it may remind them of when their mother walked the earth. My mother went to see Jesus in March of 2004. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who was also a terrific mom.

Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “No one is poor who had a godly mother.” I can echo that. Although I did not always agree with my mother, as I grow older I realize who much of an influence she had upon me. Or as Mark Twain said, “As I get older I realize who much smarter my parents have gotten.” There are times I want to call her and say, “Now I know mom.”

This Sunday, called Mother’s Day on the calendar, is a special day. It’s a day of celebration. In reality, it should be every day of the year. This Sunday my sermon will focus on the unique design of a woman. We are all one in Christ. Male/female. Slave/free. Jew/Greek. Obviously different but also one. Men and women are equal in value but the woman is unique in design (besides the obvious).

Hope you have a fantastic Mother’s Day…either celebrating the women who have made a difference in your life or being the one celebrated.

Breaktime

Monday, December 21st, 2015

In the past, the month of December, and especially the days closer to Christmas have slowed down for me. Until this year. I have struggled to blog daily because of a crazy schedule which even took me off the road with my bicycle. It has been since the first week of November since I have been outside riding and we have had some phenomenal weather for this late in the year.

But this year has been different…for some reason. So rather than write half-hearted blogs which are thrown together at the last minute, I have made what is for me an unprecedented decision: I’m taking a hiatus for the rest of the year. Along with a busy schedule right up to the day before Christmas, as well as a Christmas morning breakfast for our community, I have my grandson coming in on Christmas day with his mom & dad. They leave Sunday for Ohio and we get to kidnap Braden for a few days. Monday we leave for Ohio to visit Jo’s sister and will be getting back on New Year’s Eve day. I’ll post for the last day of the year and for the first Sunday in 2016.

Until then…I hope you all have a Christ-filled and joy-filled Christmas. I appreciate each one of you who come to my little corner of the world-to read, comment, or just to hang around. See you in a few.

That also means I will be scarce elsewhere as well. Hope you can survive! 🙂

Celebrate!!!!

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

deck the halls3

Who is Jesus? You have to be careful asking that question these days. You never know what you might hear! I’ll be showing this video during my introduction Sunday.

One of the best books I have read which I highly recommend is by former atheist, Lee Strobel, called The Case for Christ. He has also written several other “The Case for…” books which I recommend. But it is interesting reading who people actually think Jesus is.

  • One of a 1000 Jews murdered by the Romans.
  • My personal Higher Power.
  • Jesus was Everyman. He could have been Morris.
  • Jesus was an enlightened being.
  • Jesus is about as real as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or King Arthur.
  • Jesus is a fairy tale, a myth.

There are more but that should suffice as a good enough example. Funny thing: what people think today is really not a whole lot different than what they thought in Jesus’ day. I’ll be giving some examples of that Sunday.

I’ll also be talking about what the Bible says. Phil.2:6-8. Isaiah 9:6-7.

I happen to love Christmas. For years I railed against the commercialism. Said stupid things like if you turn the letters of SANTA around they spell SATAN. I never talked about Santa Claus. True, we do get carried away. And sometimes we idolize some parts of the season way too much. But no matter how you shake it, Christmas is still in the heart. Long story short…it still comes down to Jesus.

My theme for the month is “Deck the Halls.” I intend to celebrate!

Thanks to techgeek (Ryan) for the banner. I gave him the idea and he went with it.

Hey!

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

I’m taking the day off today which also means from my blog. So I’ll just say this:

HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT LABOR DAY!

AND

GO PIRATES!!

See you later Monday night or sometimes Tuesday with a new post.