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Dreamer

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Found on the inside of a yogurt cup:

I have always been a dreamer. But truthfully, I have not always known what to do with those dreams. Growing up I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I had no clue about training, sports camps, hitting camps, and all the extras. Then I wanted to be a professional basketball player, but again my knowledge was limited. I didn’t know about year-round training, lifting weights, strengthening my body and amping up my ability. I realized some success in college and was even told I was scouted my Junior Year (if you can believe what my father was told), but I was nowhere near good enough.

Dreams require a price to be paid. Dreams require bigger dreaming. Dreams require big goals. I’m proud of both of my daughters. Have I told you about my grandson yet?  🙂 I’m excited to be a part of their dreams.  Next week, Saturday, November 4th, Tami, our oldest, will fly to Phoenix for a Revelation Wellness retreat. It serves as a wellness effort but also will allow her to be certified as a wellness consultant. Her health issues have made her sensitive to other peoples’ needs for good health.  I’m proud of her as she has saved her money, paid for this trip, and will soon fly to chart a whole new experience for herself. She is pursuing her dreams. I couldn’t be more proud of her for trying something out of her comfort zone and spreading her wings.

Think Big. Dream Big. Those are two good phrases which describe Tami’s venture. You go girl!  And while you are it, would you please say a prayer for her as she travels and while she is there? God has been gripping her heart with the simple truth of His Word as she has studied for this class. Pray she will continue to listen. Thanks.

Eatingandsuch

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

I’d like to continue my travelogue for a post or two more. Eating is a staple of any vacation…unless you are on a dieting vacation where you watch all you eat. That was my kind. I watched it from my plate to my mouth. Besides Aunt Catfishes we also ate at Joe’s Crabshack.

We have heard a lot about Joe’s but have never eaten there. It was a long walk down the beach to Joe’s but well worth it. I had shrimp and fish and Jo had fish and chips. Interesting fact: I asked our waiter if they had any hurricane damage and he said, “No. The windows are hurricane windows and stood the test.”  That certainly can’t be said of all the buildings around there.

On Thursday we took the suggestion of one of the men from the church and visited Ponce Inlet. They have a famous lighthouse there, a beautifully build brick one as you can see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ponce Inlet is named after Ponce de Leon, an early traveler and founder. The lighthouse had 203 steps and in the 85+ degree heat neither Jo nor I were willing to tackle walking the steps, especially with the $7 each price tag. So I settled for 3 souvenirs I brought back for Ryan, Diana, and myself. Here they are:

They are to remind us Jesus is the Light of the World and we shine His light for Him to be seen. The above picture on the right tells you a little bit about the lighthouse.

We were going to eat lunch at…are you ready for this name?…”Down the Hatch” but it was closed due to the hurricane damage it sustained. They catch the fish and bring it in and cook it right on the spot. I was sort of disappointed but that’s the way it is.

We weren’t the only ones who wanted to eat. As we walked away from Joe’s I saw these birds lined up along the top of the railing. I don’t know if they were looking for some unsuspecting person to play “bombs away” with or whether they were looking for food to scavenge. I told Jo they looked like they were getting ready to pounce.

And finally, don’t let them kid you they don’t have something for everyone. We were able to get Braden a t-shirt which said, “Legends are born in October.” Don’t have a picture of that one. But I do have a picture of one made just for me because they knew I was coming!

I know…sick. But had to have some fun along the way. Tomorrow will be my last travelogue journey. We had a tremendous week. I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride.

 

StormsaComin”!

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Wednesday brought 25 mph winds and high surf. It also brought a fantastic view of a brewing storm. I’m going to put them one after the other so you can see.

Four different views but all of the same storm. The storm which never hit us. The first one was to my right and you can see the rain in the storm. The building is Joe’s Crab Shack. The other three were pictures of the storm as it developed. I’m not sure if it went north of us or if it just stayed out at sea. I never heard. But it was a powerful and beautiful sight to behold.  You can see how the storm out at sea kicked up the surf.

In that first picture someone asked if that was garbage. The answer is No. The stuff stacked to the right is some type of sea plant…seaweed maybe (?) left over from Irma’s surge. The white mounds were foam left when the waves came ashore, stopped and retreated.  The foam collected and then just stayed there. It was really strange.

Storms all around us but they never came at us. Sort of like life. There are times others are being hit by storms and we see the gathering clouds but then we find ourselves never being hit. Of course, there are time we are hit but that does not change the fact that God is in the whirlwind and the storm. Psalm 46 seems appropriate right about now, particularly verses 2–7.

Good lesson for us all to remember. “God is a very present help in time of trouble.”

Stay tuned next week for more pictures and hopefully more lessons. The weekend is coming and my next post will be about Sunday’s sermon. I know…you are waiting with baited breath for that one! 🙂

JesusContinued

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Francis Chan once wrote:

We all see problems in the church. We don’t need another book to point them out. We need the faith to believe that the solution is really quite simple: the Holy Spirit.

What he says is absolutely true. While no follower of Christ would deny His existence, I’m willing to bet there are millions of church-goers across our nation who have no clue who the Holy Spirit is, nor could they confidently say they have experienced His presence in their life.

We set ourselves up for this you know? The benchmark of success in churches has waffled-no make that bee-lined- from purpose and lives being changed to attendance and sometimes the offering. Far more than we would like to admit many churches adopted the “entertainment” mentality of the 80s-90s, i.e. entertain the people or they will get bored with church and go to the one that does it best. We became a church nation of church hoppers looking for the next, best fix.

Who got lost? The Holy Spirit. What go lost? Well, in the words of Bono (whose music I’m not really a fan of) but with whom I can agree on this: “Religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building.” We can preach without Him. We can have discussions about the Holy Spirit and not have a clue of His powerful effect on a person’s life. And, of course, there are those who can make wild claims of the Holy Spirit’s work and be totally empty or lying or a heretic.

This Sunday, as part of the “Hills” series, I am preaching on the Holy Spirit, or as J.D.Greear calls Him: “Jesus, Continued.” His thought, which I will be focusing on, is “The Spirit inside you is better than the Jesus beside you.”  I’d appreciate your prayers for me and for the folks who listen.

HOLE

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

We had a fantastic weekend! I’m still trying to catch up after being gone most of last week and then hosting Matt & Laurie Krieg from Hole in My Heart Ministries.

There are obviously several issues that are hot buttons in our culture. The immigration debate. The ACA debate. The stand/sit/kneel debate. And the homosexual debate.

It is the latter in which the Kriegs find themselves. They have first hand knowledge. I first heard of them about two years or so ago when I heard Laurie give her testimony via a vlog. We have been working ever since trying to make a way for them to come to OVCF. We finally did it!

Laurie was a practicing person in a same sex relationship. She never told how long her relationship lasted…that is not important anyway. She talked about feeling worthless growing up, even though she had loving parents and had a loving family (she is #9 of 12). But somewhere along the line she still found herself with a hole in her heart that she believed a female could fill. As has been stated by Augustine: “There is a God-shaped vacuum (hole) in everyone of us only God can fill.” Eventually Laurie came to see the emptiness of her “idol” and its lifestyle and settled on the biblical truth of “one man for one woman.” The process wasn’t and isn’t easy. She and Matt have been married for 8 years now and have 2 children. She admitted she still struggles with same-sex attraction but chooses to submit that to the lordship of Jesus every day.

And Matt? Not same sex attraction. He had an attraction for women…the celluloid kind. Matt was addicted to porn. Like Laurie, his struggle still happens but he chooses to submit that struggle to the lordship of Jesus.

They both spoke on Saturday morning from 9-12:00. I conducted an “interview” on Sunday morning and then they spoke to the Jr/Sr High youth Sunday night on “Identity.”

It was a good weekend. A long one. I tiring one. But a most excellent one. I’d like to recommend Matt & Laurie and their ministry, Hole in My Heart. You can find out more here. They bring a compassionate speaking, writing and counseling ministry to the table of this debate (they prefer to call it a discussion). No compromise. Truth with compassion. I encourage you to check them out.

RidingaBike

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Welcome to story #3 in my Safety Week. I had surgery Monday so decided I would get some help this week. I tell my story here. Dave tells his story here. Today I welcome Floyd from theregoI. Over the past 3 or 4 years we have been blogging, Floyd and I have become online friends. I respect his thoughts and comments. His story here is actually 2 stories…both which have had an impact upon him. So I’ll turn it over to him:

I don’t know too many people that don’t remember the day they learned to ride a bike. It was dangerous and painful for the majority of us. The pavement is pretty unforgiving… So are ’65 Pontiacs. Lucky for me I hit it and not the other way around.

Another milestone in life is learning to drive a vehicle. In both milestones, we learned to drive rules to keep us and others safe and alive, but rules get broken. Lives too.

When I was in high school Shawn McCarty was the BMOC, (big man on campus). The difference between him and other typical BMOC’s is that Shawn was kind and genuinely humble. Some decades later Shawn and I worked out together at the same gym. When my wife peddled the Tour De Tucson and Scottsdale, Shawn and his group of riders looked out for her. Shawn protected her like his sister.

My wife and I had just finished a thirty-mile ride when we heard about the guy that had been hit and killed on his bicycle a few days earlier. He had been riding east on Thompson Peak Parkway by himself. The driver veered out of her lane and into the bike lane where she struck and killed my friend Shawn…

My wife and I were peddling up Pacific Coast Highway and got separated at a light. I was ahead and missed the turn to the marina. With zero chance of finding her and without my cell, I peddled back to the house and called her. She was forty-five minutes out. At fifty minutes, I called and started pacing. At fifty-five minutes and no answer I went to the street to look for her.

My wife called me at the one hour mark… she’d been hit by a car on her bicycle.

The elderly woman that hit her as she was crossing the street was doing fifty miles an hour. An eyewitness said her bike did five 360 degree spins in the air before she landed and skidded across the intersection into a curb. Divine Providence allowed my wife to walk away with some knee issues and a spine that’s been recently screwed together.

When you see someone on a bicycle, remember the first time you learned to ride, the wind in your hair, your senses fully alive. And thank God you weren’t hit doing it. Never mind the six degrees of separation, everyone, whether they believe like us or not, on bicycles, you’re related to. We’re all of One blood. Let’s treat each other like it.

No one should have to maimed or hurt on a bike ride. Give ‘Em Three Feet.

Thanks Floyd. I certainly can’t and don’t disagree with that sentiment. Don’t forget the bear giveaway and the T-shirt giveaway. For more information check here.

Lynn

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

This is a week of “Safety Posts.” Mine was yesterday. Today, I want you to meet David Waechter. I met David when I got involved in 3FeetPlease. I asked him to write a blog post to tell his story and why he got involved in 3FeetPlease. Here is his “heart” story.

What happens when your best friend, confidant, mentor, “sister” is ripped from your life in a tragic and unnecessary accident?  What happens when a piece of your heart is shredded; never to be replaced?  What happens when you look her in the eyes, hold her hands, and lie?  What happens when your family triples in size because you made a promise?  For me, that answer was to become the living definition of “lost”.  I no longer had a direction or a desire to move forward in my life.  They call it extreme PTSD but it’s so much more.

The last words I told my friend before she took her last breath was that we would be fine and that “she could go”.  I’ve never told a larger lie in my life and I still regret it; though I know she understood when I told her that I was just giving her permission to join Him and to do His work.  The ER surgeon, other medical professionals, and even the Hospital Chaplain told me that what I was witnessing was a miracle.  Lynn should have been gone the moment the car collided with our bikes yet she held on for several hours for my daughter and me to get to the hospital.  She lasted less than 20 minutes after we got there.  They told me that she needed to hear my voice.  The truth of the matter is that Lynn was waiting for me so that I would know it was OK; not the other way around.  She was the stronger of the two of us.  She was the rock of our collective families and she was simply continuing in that role until the very end.

I’m often asked why I “lead” the 3 Feet Please movement.  I’m not good at meeting people, I don’t like marketing, and I’m horrible at trying to make an advocacy process work – three skills very necessary to be successful at this.  So why do I do it?  The simple answer is Lynn.  I owe it to her to make sure other families do not go through what we have.  People who drive cars needs to understand the damage they can do by making a bad decision.  In an instant, a bad decision can destroy a life and all those who loved that life.  I need to play a major role in stopping that from happening to others.

I’m still horribly lost and probably always will be to a point.  But, I’m also finding that this path is taking me somewhere I would never have gone on my own and I’m learning a lot more about myself and others along the way.  I’m meeting some amazing people with some amazing passions.  I’m also meeting some very sad people who have experienced similar tragedies and I do my best to offer them comfort and an empathic ear.  It’s a much different life than I thought I would have at this point in my life, but I’m going to figure out how to have an impact and how to make a difference.  The reality and the beauty of what we do is that those we save will never know that they were saved.  The will simply make it home safe because some driver was educated and made the right decision.  In this case, ignorance is truly, wonderfully, bliss.

Please give cyclists plenty of room when you drive.

Don’t forget a comment enters your name for a bear and the possibility of winning a T-shirt. See here for details and pictures.

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. 🙂