Sunday Meanderings

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Relief

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Welcome to my Sunday meanderings.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes things just seem to pile up?  We have those seasons when stuff happens, in spades. Not every once in awhile but what seems like an onslaught. As many of you have experienced, it isn’t just one thing; it is a myriad of things.

Cancer diagnosis in friends. (A complication in one came in while I was showering this morning).

Marriages falling apart.

Deaths of friends and the funerals which follow (3 in the last month).

A three-week old baby requiring open heart surgery.

A host of other “beat downs.”

Plus one very tired pastor who needs a break (which is coming).

I’m preaching about HOPE this morning. Hope in a forever home. Good thing I believe in that. If my hope is not connected to forever, my hope will somehow die.  For hope to be hope it must carry with it the promise that all which is broken will be repaired, and that it will remain repaired forever.

I’m glad I have Someone to lean on. If I didn’t I don’t know how I would handle this onslaught right now.  Maybe that is why I have chosen two songs for this week. They are throwbacks. The singer is Mark Farner, former lead singer for Grand Funk. His conversion is a great story but his music is timeless. His lyrics are clear so you shouldn’t have any trouble listening and understanding. So check out this song then go to this one.

Have a great week bolstered (as I am and will be) by the truth I serve an amazing God who understands.

Meanderings

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

This is a Sunday meandering post. So many thoughts going through my head I don’t know what to do with them all.

It all started out on Friday when I visited the hospital on my day off to see an older lady whose husband went to be with Jesus about a week or so before Christmas. They would have celebrated 50 years this Spring. She has been extremely lonely but continued to go on. Until last Sunday night when she found herself in the ER and ultimately admitted (I will withhold medical condition). Surgery Monday didn’t tell them much (translated: nothing). She has been in and out of Progressive/Critical Care all week long. Saturday (yesterday) I was in the hospital visiting a very sick woman and her family.

I also visited another man whose condition has worsened over the past couple weeks. The good thing? I was able to lead him to salvation. The interesting thing is he is stone deaf and his hearing aids weren’t working. I tried three times to talk to him but he could not hear me. So, one morning as I prayed, I asked God how I could reach him. I typed it out and left it with him. After having it read to him, he had his wife sign on the line (he could not grip a pen).  Yay!!

Saturday was a day of interruptions…all day. Long story short: I was unable to sync with the sermon so I decided to do my New Morning Mercies for Sunday a night earlier. Pay dirt! As I journaled it was liked God was saying, “Here is your sermon for Sunday.” So I got up at 3:15, came to the office, and wrote a sermon. Although it is somewhat unsettling, I have learned not to argue with God. He was there today.

Our Resurrection Sunday service went well. We had 296, but more than that, we had a good spirit.  So many thanks have to go around. WOW!  People came early to help set up.  Abram Farm Event Venue had a wedding until 12:00 last night so we could not set up until this morning. But in about an hour all chairs, tables, and things were ready to go. The Worship Team was excellent! Everyone who could helped clean up. It was a great day to be part of OVCF and part of the church. I even think the sermon went okay (so I’m told).  Out of the music set was the song I want to feature this week. I am not a fan of Hillsong but I do like Brooke (Frazier) Ligertwood. Here is her leading worship with the song.  Brooke is a real popular pop singer in Australia.  Here is one of my favorites by her.

Well…I sure was long-winded. That’s what happens when you meander. 🙂 Have a great week!!

Appreciation

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

I am writing this ahead of time….with anticipation of showing appreciation.

For the past 4 or 5 years the staff (Diana, Ryan and I) have shown our appreciation for our volunteers of the past year by having a celebration in their honor. Our modus operandi has been to have a catered meal; an evening of fun and hilarity; I walk around during the meal telling each volunteer how much they are appreciated; give away door prizes; and just have a general evening of fun and relaxation. Our volunteers are honored.

So this year we have decided to mix things up a bit. No catered meal. No church building. The rest will stay the same. We decided to go to our local theater for our appreciation night. We will still have the door prizes and giveaways…with a twist. We will be showing a movie: The Incredibles. Why? Because we think our volunteers are incredible! The best on the planet! Instead of a catered meal we are providing every person a ticket for a free popcorn and soda.  As I mentioned we will still have the door prizes and giveaways, but as they leave they will receive one more thing of appreciation.  I can tell what it is since it is a surprise, but I’m not posting this until the night starts. It is a specially baked cookie of The Incredibles logo. Just one last thing to remember the evening by.

Image result for the incredibles logo

Every organization, especially every church, relies on volunteers to get things done. I guarantee the things which get done around here would not get done if it were not for our volunteers. It is so much bigger than any 3 people co0uld pull off.  So, if you are reading this as part of OVCF, thanks for volunteering. If you are reading this from elsewhere, I thank you for volunteering in your church or organization.

How do you volunteer?

WHEW!

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Life can be so many things.

Sometimes it is running so fast you seem to barely be able to catch your breath. WHEW!

This past week has been like that. As I mentioned in this post, we took off Monday for Sandusky, OH to see my sister-in-law.  We arrived home late afternoon on Thursday and immediately started doing laundry. I have developed an allergy to some common chemicals which means I have to take my own towels, bedding, etc and the first thing we need to do is wash them when we get home. Friday was catch up day suspecting this weekend would be super busy.  I was correct. We hosted Matt & Laurie Krieg from Hole in My Heart Ministries (more info to come).  So slowing down has not been an option.

Jo is making plans to return to Sandusky sometime this week to see her sister (who has been moved to a rehab place where they can clean and dress her wound, administer antibiotics, and give her therapy for walking). She will be there 6 weeks. All that with a view to our leaving for a much-needed vacation on October 2nd. Someone in the church graced us with a timeshare as a gift so we are taking advantage of that! I’ll share more about that in a later post.

I am thoroughly expecting the WHEW to turn into an Aaaahhhh (sigh of contentment) during our time away. Thanks for being patient with me while away, but most of all for praying for Jo’s sister. She is not out of the woods by any stretch but is making strides toward healing.

Homecoming

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Maybe Homegoing is a better way to say it.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15

Saturday. September 9th. 4:00 PM. Mike Murphy went home.

Mike fought a valiant battle. He remained upbeat as much as he was able until the disease robbed him of the ability to show it. He lost his physical strength. He lost his ability to verbally communicate. Eventually the cancer which had spread throughout his body robbed him of his ability to even breathe.

But throughout the ordeal, which really wasn’t long compared to some, Mike maintained one very important thought: “I know whom I have believed and I know He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him for that day.” Mike’s attitude soon reflected the same I saw in my late mother: He would fall asleep and wake and with disappointment say, “Oh, I’m still here.” He wasn’t in a hurry to leave Sheila, his wife of 17 years. (I married them in June of 2000 in Terre Haute, IN). He was in a hurry to see Jesus, the One who loved him, saved him, gave him the love of his life, and would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Mike is home.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for Mike and Sheila. She needs your prayers now as she makes the necessary preparations for his celebration. They have asked me to speak at his funeral. I’d appreciate your prayers for me as I prepare my remarks. That, of course, means my presence here and at your place will be up in the air.  I’m sure you will understand if I don’t make it by to comment.

I’m glad I can approach Mike’s funeral with joy (mingled with sadness of course), but joy because I know where he is spending eternity.  I cannot say that for all funeral services I do, nor am I happy when I do one where the person has rejected God’s love and invitation. The odds are 1 out of 1 that we will die. Are you ready?

Chew

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Chew on this some. Jo read it to me first and I asked her to email it to me. It is from Ann Voskamp:

I don’t have much to say or to add. I’d just like for you to chew on this for awhile. Then if you care, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.  And sorry I couldn’t edit out the header and junk at the bottom.

Someday

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I was sitting in my chiropractor’s office Friday and since I had forgotten to bring something to read (DUH!), I picked up a Men’s Health magazine. I ran across an article about a trainer named Bobby Maximus. (Sort of reminds me of Gladiator.  🙂 )  I give you that, not as a stamp of approval on Maximus, but as a “give credit where credit is due” thing. Anyway, they had some sayings which Maximus is fond of using.  Several of them struck a chord…one I’ve heard before: “Do what’s right, not what’s easy.”

But the one that stayed with me so much I wrote it down and use it now is this:

There are 7 days in a week. ‘Someday’ is not one of them.

It is easy getting into that mode-whether we talk about our physical condition; our exercise program; a relationship we want to cultivate; a goal we want to realize; and especially our relationship with God. I don’t really need to go into detail as to each of these modes, so to speak. We all know how it applies to our physical condition or an exercise program, etc.

I do find it somewhat disconcerting when I consider how I have used the “Someday excuse” when it comes to cultivating my relationship with God. “Someday I will have that Quiet Time.” “Someday I will pray.” “Someday I will learn that verse.” Someday. Someday. Someday. And Someday never gets anything accomplished.

I’ve written about my two bike wrecks. No need to go into them again. If you want to read about it go here. But those two wrecks have taught me some serious lessons…one of them is don’t use “Someday” as an excuse to get things done which need done. Don’t keep putting things off.  For example, Jo & I are in a much better place than we have been for years, largely because of this philosophy.  Talking more. Hugging and snuggling more. Kissing more. I’ll stop there. 🙂 🙂  (I know Tami…TMI)

Don’t keep saying “Someday.”

Thoughts

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Random thoughts from Sunday:

Any time I have gone away, I have always tried to come home either later Sunday or sometime Monday or Tuesday. I was reminded again of why. We went away from Wednesday through Friday. I made it home in time (45 minutes to spare) to take tickets at the high school basketball game. I slogged through Saturday’s preparation for my sermon. While the sermon was done physically, the spiritual part of me needs Saturday to get it in gear. Nope…didn’t happen. I like coming home the early part of the week since it means I will have time to prepare myself. Today was one of those days when it was a “little bit of me and a whole lot of God.”

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A few thoughts from Sunday’s message are pertinent to Christ-followers:

“Our salvation is the most important thing about us. If we have it, we are wealthy beyond belief. If we don’t, we are most to be pitied.” James McDonald

An unchanged life is a sign of an unchanged heart.  (Me)  This debunks the myth that I can live anyway I want and still call myself a Christian.

Real knowledge is not knowing something; it is in knowing Someone, a Person…Jesus Christ. (Me)  All the knowledge in the world will amount to nothing without a personal knowledge of Jesus.

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I have been asked to consider something wa-a-a-a-a-y out of my comfort zone or even my “desire” zone. I’m not at liberty to say what it is, but if you wouldn’t mind saying a prayer, God knows what it is about. Interestingly enough, Tami (my daughter), has approached me with an opportunity she has which will require stretching. You might want to include her. I hope to link to her blog this week as she writes about it. Thanks ahead of time.

There is some Sunday meandering for you. Random I know.

TESTS

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

I disliked taking tests. Maybe dislike is the wrong word. Maybe hated is a better one. 🙂 Actually, I didn’t mind the essay kind. I could “blow off” and hope I said enough to make my point. I didn’t mind multiple choice because somewhere along the line I might remember and get the right answer. I disliked strongly (how about that choice of words) the True/False kind.

One of the biggest struggles I run into among fellow Christ-followers is the assurance of salvation. Too many are always questioning “Am I saved?” “If I die today would I go to heaven?” “How can I know?” While I personally have questions about what is called Eternal Security, I don’t believe a follower of Christ ever has a reason to doubt their salvation. Based on what you ask? Well, Sunday I gave two tests to ask as you seek to figure out not only your own, but who might be preaching a strange gospel. Here are two from I John:

  • Belief in God and the certainty of sin. [1:5-6,8,10]  False teachers and doctrinal errors are spread when there is uncertainty about God and sin. John tells us “God is Light.” He also tells us “in Him is no darkness at all.” Ever since the Fall man has tried to excuse sin. We call it a “mistake” or a “failure” or a “disorder, illness, or addiction.” Call sin what it is…sin.
  • Belief in forgiveness of sin and confession. [1:7b,9] That verse 9 stands like a rock for me. We can deny it. We can argue. But we cannot erase that verse from the pages of Holy Writ. What is written is written. Way too many followers of Jesus live in the past and think they cannot be forgiven. The tense used for forgive is one which not only shows past forgiveness but specifically present forgiveness. And since my tomorrow is actually today, forgiveness is always there.

I’m sure you can think of more. But these are huge to the freedom of every follower of Jesus. What do they say to you?

Recap

Monday, October 24th, 2016

The church’s 12th anniversary celebration is now history. One service. A packed auditorium (even with over 15 regulars gone). A good spirit. A so-so sermon. 🙂 A great pitch-in dinner. And a good offering to go toward our new (and modest) youth addition (which will wait until at least the Spring to be started).

It is always strange when things are changed around. Instead of two services at 9:00 and 10:45, we had one at 10:00. We’ve been announcing it for over two months so I’m thinking most, if not all, got the memo. We had every available space used with 155 chairs. The spirit was excellent. We prayed it would be and the folks came expectant and excited. We have some fantastic cooks so the pitch-in was good. My only beef is because I go last-on purpose-there was very little meat left I could eat. Very little anything for that matter. But there was chocolate!! I’m okay with that.

The offering was over $7100. That puts our Youth Addition Fund over $86000. Our goal is $140,000 as we intend on paying cash for the addition. We thank God for His goodness and the generosity of the people.

The sermon was so-so. Ryan and I both preached, with him adding his thoughts from the Youth Pastor side of things. We will need to reevaluate and streamline I think.

All in all it was a “most excellent day.” For those of  you who pray for me/us every Sunday, thank you so much! We prayed before everyone showed up that God would be praised and glorified and the fame of his Name would be spread. Our prayers were answered.

I hope to share some of my sermon thoughts over the course of this week with you.