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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.

Hope

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Confession Time: I am not a fan of The Wizard of OZ. Never have been. You know the story I’m sure. Dorothy wants to get back to Kansas (why I ask?). The Tinman wants a heart. The Scarecrow a brain. The Lion his courage. The wizard is supposed to give it to them, but he is nothing more than a balding professor who is great with a sound and light show, but has absolutely no idea how to meet their needs. To make a long story short, he tells each of them to look deep inside themselves for the answer. That sounds like a bunch of junk we hear today. The correct terminology is “Balderdash!”

Someone has said, “A man can live 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about 8 minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.” I’m not sure how accurate that really is but, in essence, he is saying if we take away hope we have no reason to live.

My sermon Sunday finishes my time in Luke for 2014 with “The Miracle of Hope.” It focuses on the miracle-working power of Jesus to heal and raise the dead in Luke 7:1-17. Jesus gave hope to two who had none. The centurion’s servant, who, according to a parallel account in Matthew 8, was a paralytic and in severe pain. The other story was even deeper pain. It is the story of a widow whose only son had died (the epitome of grief in that day) and was being carried to be buried. Lost the husband, then lose the son. No hope left.

But Jesus steps in and gives hope where none is found. Just as He does today. He still instills hope when all seems hopeless. What a tremendous message we have!

First, Happy Thanksgiving Day if you are reading this Wednesday night or Thursday.

Second, if you can squeeze in a prayer for Sunday I would appreciate it.

I’ll be back Sunday night/Monday morning with a new post!

SPEECH!

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

I mentioned in this post that Jo & I went to the local County Fair. We went three straight nights so we were “faired out” by late Thursday. One of our young ladies gave a speech at the Fair and after listening to it via Jo’s FB account, I wanted to share it with you. Her name is Kelci Wood, a 13 year old at Owen Valley Middle School. She won Grand Champion in her division and Reserve Grand Champion overall. She had 3 champion hogs, one 3rd place hog and a 1st on her Holstein cow. She also received Grand Champion modeling her consumer clothing, with Reserve Grand Champion on both her consumer clothing notebook and religion poster. Her consumer clothing will go to the state fair as well. She is representing Owen County at the State Fair in August where she will give her speech again. She was beaten by a Senior in the speech so she received Reserved Grand Champion with a special mention from the judge. Here is her speech:

I challenge you, as an audience, to think of someone you know of who has made an impact on this world. (Pause)

People such as Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr. might have crossed your mind but what about someone like Adolf Hitler who unfortunately impacted the world in a negative way?

My name is Kelci Wood and public speaking is one of my favorite projects so let’s talk about speeches in general. Ghandi, King, and Hitler all gave speeches. These speeches were made to persuade the masses of their own perceived truths. This spring, I was fortunate enough to attend a function with speeches given by Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Locally, I got to hear Medal of Honor recipient, Sammy Davis, speak twice. Also recently, my father had me watch a speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. All of these men had important messages to give but if their speeches would have been horrible, no one would have listened.

I learned a lot from each of these speeches. In particular, Admiral McRaven’s speech spoke to me personally. He expressed in the commencement speech to the University of Texas graduates the 10 factors needed if you want to change the world. I feel these are important enough to repeat today.

1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed every day. By doing this, you have accomplished at least 1 task a day and hopefully most days that will be the 1st of many accomplishments.

My Dad thinks I should make my bed every day because of McRaven’s speech.

2. Find someone who will help you paddle. You cannot change the world alone.

In 4H, we are surrounded by people to help. You cannot have a club by yourself. You cannot have a fair with just one person. Therefore, you cannot have 4H without a group of people to paddle the boat.

3. Meter a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their feet and flippers.

I am a swimmer so I understand the flipper part well. Not just in swimming but many times, someone with heart will succeed over someone who may be good at the task initially or possibly stronger.

4. Push forward even if you do not like the task at hand. Many times, I have to shovel the pig pens. I do not like it but it has to be done!

5. Realize you will fail.

Last year, I failed by misreading the public speaking time limits, but I learned from that. We will all fail in 4H, in school, and in our lives but we have to overcome those failures and learn from them.

6. Sometimes you have to slide down obstacles head first!

This is coming from an Admiral who was a Navy Seal. Obviously, most of us will not have to slide down obstacles head first in our lifetime, but in order to make a difference, we might have to go out on a limb and it might seem scary!

7. Don’t back down!

There will always be people telling you that your ideas won’t work or you are not good enough. Don’t listen. Just keep SWIMMING!

8. You must be your very best in the darkest moments.

As many adults in this room can attest to, not every moment in our lives are going to be full of sunshine. We have to learn to overcome in the dark moments as well.

9. Believe in the power of HOPE!

And

10. Don’t EVER give up!

4h teaches us many of the points that McRaven touched on in his speech and that is why I have shared with you today.  His speech ended up being shared all over the world because of modern day technology and will end up making an impact on many young people’s lives.

On a smaller scale, 4H allows us to make an impact on younger youth and in our community. Thank you!

I know this post is longer than normal, but I THINK IT IS WORTH IT! Well done Kelci. You know you will have at least one member outside your immediate family rooting for your trip to the state. 🙂 I made no changes except a few grammatical ones and spacing to fit the blog.

What do you think?

Back

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

I’m back from my mini-vacation to Ohio in destination only. I did want to leave you with a couple thoughts for the weekend.

First, thanks to all of you who read and commented on Kari’s post on Depression. It is the first of five to be posted over 5 weeks. I am indebted to her for her willingness to not only sit down and write them, but to also monitor and respond to those who did comment. I “approved” the comments and that was it. Thanks so much Kari for a great first post and for your diligence in responding.

Second, even though I took my computer for when I was had down time or in-between time, I chose not to “live” with my computer. That meant I glanced at some blogs but commented on none. It seemed strange actually, but necessary. It was Kari’s posts on balance she has been writing which convinced me I needed to do this. Hopefully none were offended by my absence on your blogs. 🙂

Thanks again for your patience. I look forward to interacting with you next week. Have a great weekend.  You can read about this week’s sermon on my other blog (if I get it written).

Sin

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Let’s talk sin.

No!

Yes.

Let’s talk sin but in a little different light than the “you shall not”‘ variety.

Okay.

I’ve been reading 3:16, Max Lucado’s book from a couple of years ago. With my emphasis on the Gospels through The Great Adventure, I am considering a small group experience this summer based around the book. Max is breaking down John 3:16 into little bite-sized chunks and I recently read a great story about sin.

A Chinese Christian understood the point given in Isaiah 53:6: “The Lord has put on Him the punishment for all the evil we have done.” Before her baptism, a pastor asked a question to ensure she understood the meaning of the cross. “Did Jesus have any sin?” he inquired.

“Yes,” she replied.

Troubled, he repeated the question.

“He had sin,” she answered positively.

The leader set out to correct her, but she insisted, “He had mine.”

As simple as it sounds, that is the truth. Like the person we read about convicted of a crime, serves time and years later is pardoned because the real perpetrator confesses. Not just pardoned, but innocent. Easter is over, but not the reality of it. There is still a “whoever” in John 3:16.

Live free knowing the punishment for your sin has been taken care of on the cross. Have a great weekend!

For info about my sermon Sunday, check out my other blog.