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Sunday, May 17th, 2015

I attended a two-hour workshop Sunday afternoon on “Let’s Talk Suicide.” Given that my ministry seems to be involving more counseling on Sexual Abuse as a child and its after effects; Depression and its many-fingered alter egos (one of which is feeling like, attempting and/or fulfilling suicide), I thought it would be a good workshop to attend. I highly respect the two teens who were willing to tell their story, and respect the other panel members (2 professionals, one school liaison, and one Suicide group prevention leader). I hate to admit there was nothing game-breaking for me. No A-HA moment. No “Bright Idea” time.

But there are several things I know which were solidified:

Suicide is a complicated thing. Whether it is “telegraphed” or done as a spur of the moment thing, it is heart-wrenching either way. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it’s cause or a pattern to its fulfillment. It is no respecter of persons. While some talk about it; some act. While some give a warning; some give none. While some seem to have the “world by its tail; some are bullied and feel like a “Loser.”

Most people are not conditioned to help…least not professionally. I know I’m not. But there is one thing I CAN DO and so you: BE THERE FOR THEM! Young or old. Male or female. Rich or poor. Athlete or nerd. BE THERE! Listen! Care! Give them your time. And if I may be so bold: don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t promise you won’t say anything to an authority when someone speaks of suicide. I like what one of the panelists said: I would rather someone hate me because I said something, than for me to feel guilty because I didn’t and they carried out their threat.

That advice- BE THERE– isn’t just for this subject. It is for all concerns people have. I am finding I don’t have to have the answers. Often that is not what the person is looking for anyway. Very often they are simply wanting someone to listen.

What are your thoughts?


Sunday, May 10th, 2015

It was quite a weekend for the Grandi clan. Well…there are only two of us now but we still include our girls in our lives upon occasion. πŸ™‚

It was a weekend of celebration for us.

A young lady from the church graduated from Indiana State University on Saturday. Having been here since November of ’05, I have watched this young lady grow up. I have watched her weather a number of storms, one of which was the unexpected death of her father about 5 years ago. She gave me the honor of performing her marriage this past summer. She has given me an even greater honor of calling me “the closest thing I have to a father” and in notes and cards reminds me of her love. She graduated Magna Cum Laude yesterday.Β  Jo & I were unable to attend the graduation but were able to meet the family for lunch afterwards.Β  Today, she and her husband, Bob, leave for a cruise for their delayed honeymoon. Way to go Tiff!

After lunch we attended a birthday celebration for a 90 year old lady who embraces “the honor of age.” Loretta was a good supporter of my ministry in Terre Haute (13 years) and I know prayed constantly for me. She remembered my favorite hymn is “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and an incident which shows how God works even in the smallest things. I requested that hymn be sung for that week’s upcoming sermon and she said, “Oh, already picked.” πŸ™‚ She and her late husband, Jim, were two of the finest people one would ever want to meet. (They did pretty well with the offspring also).

Finally, but certainly not least. I celebrate Jo. She is a plain woman. Just my kind. No frills. Willing to accept the simple life we have had to lead. No flashy dresser. Like me, clothes from WalMart. But she loves me. She loves our girls. She adores Braden (our grandson). She loves OVCF. She loves Jesus. And she loves Superhero movies. Which is where we spent part of our afternoon…watching Avengers 2 for the second time (her suggestion). Yeah…she’s okay in my book. πŸ™‚

How was your weekend? Anything celebration worthy?


Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Image Consultant.

Have you ever seen Disney’s “The Kid”? Bruce Willis plays an image consultant. He tells people what to wear or do with their hair, etc in order to “get ahead” in their career. Sadly, his own life is a mess. (It is a great movie though with an interesting twist).

This past weekend an event happened in Major League Baseball. Alex Rodriguez (aka A-Rod) hit his 660th career home run. That is news worth shouting about…except if you are the New York Yankee brass. Because of A-Rod’s tainted past (admission of PEDs and full-season suspension last year) they have refused to publicize it or to honor a $6 million clause in his contract. They have removed him from any publicity and never once said anything about his accomplishment in the media. Reasoning? Bad media image by A-Rod.

Frankly, I don’t care. In my mind neither should he since he is still earning multiple millions per year for playing baseball. If I was his consultant I would say, “Let it go. It looks better.” After all…that’s what an image consultant does. Right?

In our media-saturated age, image consultants are invaluable (to some). Athletes. Movie stars. Politicians. CEOs. Even religious leaders. Make a mistake? Have your consultant clean it up for you. Do something good? Have your consultant do the requisite publicity. ( I realize there are some good men/women out there who do things for the right reason).

What about those of us who follow Jesus? What kind of image are we sending?


Sunday, April 26th, 2015

You know on that big eye chart in the doctor’s office there is the big


at the top of the chart? I can’t see it. Yeah, that is how blind I am. πŸ™‚ Except when I wear my glasses.

I am so grateful for all of you who take the time to comment. The weekends are hard for me. Friday is my day off so I am fortunate to even turn on the computer. Saturday is usually busy studying, but I do try to take the time to respond to comments. This Saturday was different. I am a Board member of our local Chamber of Commerce and volunteered to help at an event we were involved in. Friday I had ridden 23.5 miles (in wind), cut my grass for the second day in a row, and spread insect killer pellets (grubs, worms, etc). So by the time I was done at the event I was pretty tired. The computer never even got turned on.

So I would like to take this post to respond. (Hope you don’t mind). I deeply (and I mean deeply) appreciate all of you who say you will pray for me. That being said…I preached this morning on our new Mission/Vision. You can read about that in this post. Our previous Mission statement was “To win the HEART of Owen County.” HEART was an acrostic: Hear Truth. Exalt Christ. Accept the Imperfect. Restore Relationships. Teach Service.

About 6-9 months ago, Ryan, our youth pastor, thought out loud about “wish we could do something about the Mission/Vision statement. Make it more succinct. More memorable. More on target.” The young whippersnapper didn’t know I had made that up. πŸ™‚ It went along for a couple of months when I was in my office one afternoon reading/daydreaming/snoozing when it hit me. I got out my Moleskine journal and started writing some things down. We went to lunch and I shared it with him for his thoughts/ideas. We tweaked it some. Two weeks later we got back together and tweaked it some more. We brought Diana into the mix and tweaked it some more. Then took it to the other leaders and tweaked it none at all. They liked it. I shared it this Sunday.

Mission (what we are supposed to do): To connect people to Jesus.

Vision (how we plan to accomplish that):

  1. To be passionate pursuers of Jesus [Phil.3:10]
  2. To be models of truth and love [John 8: 1-11]
  3. To be involved in our community. [Luke 10: 25-37; Matthew 25:35-46]]

As you might guess there is more to say, but this post is already way too long. For those who commented: I hope this “broad post” is a satisfactory thank you.


Sunday, April 19th, 2015

My 8 1/2 year old grandson sort of epitomizes the following quote:

There are people who prefer to say ‘Yes,’ and there are people who prefer to say ‘No.’ Those who say ‘Yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have, and those who say ‘No’ are rewarded by the safety they attain. Keith Johnstone quoted in “Living a Life on Loan”

At 8 1/2 he has more bravado than brains. That is not a slam; it is a fact. He seems to know no fear. During his recent visit we took him to a skate park (he is learning how to skateboard) and while initially intimidated by the size of the kids, he became fascinated as he watched them. Fortunately for me (since I have never skated) one of the men from the church “just happened” to come by. Dan had skated from age 14-25. He gave him some tips then with my blessing took him inside. He taught him how to do a ramp (Braden fell a couple of times because he insisted on doing it his way). As we left he wanted to do a more challenging ramp (which he did). That evening he texted his mom and asked if they would take him to a skate park “in Columbus or Ohio somewhere.” Oh yeah, he also asked if he could go down the big ramps (the bowl). Mother smarts took over and told him he needed to practice more.

That adventuresome spirit is often missing in many of us. We settle for Blahville.

The extent of my adventure these days due to my age and an arthritic knee seems to be limited to my bicycle and watching God do amazing things. All in all that is not a bad trade-off. Broken bones from trying to skateboard or refreshed spirit from watching God work. I’ll take the latter if you don’t mind. πŸ™‚Β  Case in point: three people were baptized yesterday- one young person and 2 adults. Yeah, I’ll take that any day.

And how has your adventure been lately?


Sunday, April 12th, 2015

My age? My body wishes. πŸ™‚

My wedding anniversary years? Wrong again. 42 this June.

The number of points I scored in basketball games? Several times actually.

40. A number of much more significance to me than to you. I hinted at it here.

April 13 is the 40th anniversary of my ordination into the ministry. In the tradition I was raised in, we were able to preach and do “ministry things” before our ordination, but the ordination was the “official” day. I chose April 13th because it was also my late mother’s birthday. She went to be with Jesus in 2004 and if still alive would be 83 today (April 13). (She is celebrating a muchΒ  better birthday now).

Anyway, 40 years seems like a milestone to me. I look back and wonder where the years went. I also wonder how in the world I made it this long. πŸ™‚ I was so young, brash, arrogant, and foolish. I can’t even begin to count the mistakes I made. WOW! How I survived is a tribute to God’s patience and grace for me.

And the support and love of a good woman. Jo took seriously the vow which said, “Where you go, I will go.” Because go we did! Ministries of 2 1/2 years, 5 years, 14 months, 16 months, 3 years, 13 years, 5 years and now 10 at the current church. And I can say unquestionably this is the BEST place I have ever been.

I honestly had no clue what to expect when I said, “Yes” to full-time ministry. I have no clue what the ensuing years may bring. All I know is when I am done I want to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I pray I have impacted lives for Jesus. Encouraged people to not give up. To live the greatest adventure anyone can pursue.

BTW: don’t applaud; just throw money. πŸ˜‰ I broke it down while riding yesterday. $1 x 40=$40. $5 x 40=$200. $10 x 40=$400. And if you really want to go big… Nah…I don’t want to sound greedy. πŸ˜€

P.S. Little did I know the church would have a cake and a card celebration for me today. I was humbled, honored, and totally blown away by their surprise. I hope to soon have a link (see below) where the slide show they showed can be viewed. You might laugh and not even know me. πŸ™‚

Have a great week!Β  Laugh a lot. It makes people wonder about you.


Update —

Link to Uploaded Slideshow


Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Today is well…Resurrection Sunday.

Tomorrow is well…Monday. Another day in the calendar. Another first day of the work week.

Will it be as always? Will the lesson from Sunday change the outlook on Monday? Actually, that is the question which should be asked each week.

This coming Sunday I will be resuming my study in Galatians and I read something this past week which knocked me for a loop. So much so that I actually rearranged my sermon schedule to preach another week on Galatians 2:20. After reading this I couldn’t help but do it:

Jesus Christ identified with us in our death in order that we might be identified with Him in His resurrection. We give Christ all that we were-spiritually dead, guilty sinners-and Christ gives us all that He is-resurrected life, forgiveness, righteousness, acceptance…Christians are continually trying to change their lives; but God calls us to experience the exchanged life. Christianity is not a self-improvement program. It isn’t a reformation project. It is resurrection! It is new life! And it is expressed in terms of a total exchange of identity. (Bob George quoted in Everything-p.78)

To put it another way: Christianity is more than a changed life; it is an exchanged life. Mine for His. It is only when that is done does the lesson from Sunday change the outlook on Monday (or any other day).

Have a great post-Resurrection Sunday week. πŸ™‚ Make a difference in somebody’s life.


Sunday, March 15th, 2015

As in “you have a big mouth.”

As in “do you always speak before you think?”

As in “does your mouth always engage before your brain?’

Guilty as charged. Growing up I was not allowed to be “mouthy” towards my parents. I paid the price for doing so. The day I thought I was “too big for my britches” was the day my dad decided a lesson was definitely needed in humility. Yeah…you get the point.

Being an extrovert, I tend to speak first before thinking. As I have gotten older, I have learned to “engage brain before mouth.” I got myself into a lot of hot water by my failure to do so. There is a verse of Scripture I needed to listen and learn: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Ps.141:3) Reading in Proverbs recently revealed the following:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” 15:1

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” 12: 18

There are more, of course. I’m sure I could retire on the interest alone if I had a dollar for every ill-spoken word I have said in my 62 years. But that cycle can stop…and stop it must! Maturity has hopefully given me some wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep my mouth shut. But I know I still speak out of turn.

I plan to explore this strange phenomena of our speech this week. I hope you will join me. Meanwhile, what do you do to curtail your words?



Sunday, March 8th, 2015

I plan on being tired tomorrow. πŸ™‚

All for a good cause though. Not just because the time changed. We moved our clocks ahead this past weekend so they say we lost an hour of sleep. I don’t know. I was raised on Daylight Savings Time and don’t see what the hoopla is all about.

That is not why I plan on being tired.

Once a year the staff “puts on” a Volunteer Dinner to say thanks for all our volunteers. We invite everyone who volunteered in any way, shape, or form to come to the dinner. We have give-aways. We laugh a lot. We have the meal catered. I spend a lot of time simply going to each person and thanking them for their service this past year. No one brings anything. Cooks anything. Pays anything. It is the staff’s way of saying “thanks for all you do.” After two services on Sunday, we will spend most of the afternoon decorating and getting ready for a fun evening.

So I plan on being tired. But it is a good tired. A tired from thanking those who keep this train running. Way too often people go unrecognized and “un-thanked” for all they do. This is our third year of doing this and it is one of the things the staff loves doing the most (besides having staff lunches). πŸ™‚ Volunteers are the lifeblood of any organization, especially the church.

For those of you from OVCF who read this: thanks for the bottom of my heart for all you do.

Does your church have a recognition for its volunteers? Are you a volunteer? Do you hear a “thank you” from the staff?


Sunday, March 1st, 2015

They got it right!


They said we were going to get 2-4″ of snow. They were right-only they missed (I am guessing) by about 4-5″. Snow started about 7:00 Saturday night (on that they were also right) and continued all night and it was still snowing when I woke up at 4:00. Here it is almost 8:00 and it is still snowing. We cancelled our first service last night and were going to have just one. With this much snow and the roads a mess we cancelled the second as well. In my 9 1/2 years here this is only the 2nd time we have had to do so.

The weather is so unpredictable. We had been having a really mild winter until just over a week or so ago. Then BAM! Our kids get two weeks for Spring Break-the first a built in snow day week; the second a set week. Reckon they will lose that first week now. πŸ™Β  But that is Indiana in the winter time. No complaining here. I’ve realized I can’t change one thing about the weather-rain, snow, sleet, ice, sun-so why complain? All it gets is a grumpy attitude.

And I refuse to be a grump.Β  And I am thankful I have a 4×4. πŸ™‚

I called this post Unpredictable1. It was not what I was planning on writing. That will come tomorrow in Unpredictable2.

Does the weather get you down or do you pretty much go with the flow?