Family

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#Blessing#Challenge

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

As a grandfather, I have a desire to see my grandson more often than I have the opportunity to. He lives 4 hours away and is actively involved in baseball and football (oh, and school) so his schedule is pretty full. Him coming to visit his grandparents is not high on his list of things to do. And it is not high on his mother’s list either. She is a busy, working mom and wife. Neither Jo nor I begrudge that.  We just know our situation is unique and unless God says, “Time to move” we will be here ministering in Spencer hopefully for years to come.

My girls are adults now, each with their own life. Tami, our oldest, teaches Kindergarten in Bloomington, IN. Janna, our youngest, works in Delaware, OH for a car dealership (not selling but as a jack-of-all-trades doing rentals, office work, receptionist, etc). When they were babies I would often go into their room at night and pray for them and pray over them. I prayed a prayer of surrender, i.e. “Father, these girls are yours. Help me never to hold on to them so tightly I won’t give them to you.” Sort of like Abraham and Isaac. I also prayed for their salvation.

The first time I held Braden when he came home from the hospital and I surprised Janna by being there, I went off by myself with the little guy in my arms and prayed for him. I prayed a blessing over him. I prayed for his salvation and that he will grow up knowing Jesus.

All this flooded back to me as I read I Chronicles 22 Saturday night. David is making preparations for building the temple and then calls his son, Solomon, to him. He tells Solomon about why he is not building the temple (he was a man of war), but he also speaks a blessing over Solomon and challenges him as well.  The blessing is found in verses 11-12: “The Lord be with you.” But he also issues a challenge to Solomon to stand strong and be faithful to God. [Verses 12-13].

What a great opportunity we have as parents and grandparents to speak into our son’s and daughter’s and grandchildren’s lives with a blessing to cover them. I’m not into so-called “positive confession” that the name-it-claim-it people talk about. But I am into praying over and for our children and grandchildren.  In our case, being 4 hours away, that seems to be the next best thing to being there.  Who knows how and when God will answer our prayers for them.

#Betrayed#Hurt

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Few things hurt so deeply as being betrayed. The hurt is compounded when it is family.  Joseph knows that first hand. His road to becoming the second most powerful man in Egypt did not start out smoothly at all. But God had his plan, so even when it looks like there is no good to come out of a situation, God has other plans.

When I took a closer look at the life of Joseph through my study, I realized there is so much more than what meets the eye. Before he even got to Egypt he had some mountains to overcome! Consider these:

  • Family history of dysfunction
  • Rape of Dinah (Jacob did nothing but her brothers, Simeon and Levi, did)
  • Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph
  • Joseph’s mouth (telling dreams)

All of this created a perfect storm.  Add in his brother’s hatred fueled by jealousy and you not only have a perfect storm but also a very volatile situation.

My sermon this week is about their betrayal of their own flesh and blood as they take his coat, sell him to a traveling “slave” market, and then lie about his death to their father. To me the ultimate betrayal.

I have not preached on the family much this year so this series on Icebergs (which can sink our faith) is also giving me an opportunity to do that.  Prayers are appreciated.

#Light#Tunnel#StillAlive

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Have you ever heard the saying, “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is an oncoming train”?

Well…it isn’t quite that bad but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are on the last day of our time here and made some great progress. We still have things to do and it will probably be a late night packing things like dishes, etc, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We leave tomorrow to return home.

BUT FIRST! We stop in Columbus, Ohio and have breakfast (IHOP) with Braden, our grandson. I miss the little guy. Although I suspect he would beat me up since he will be 13 in October. 🙂  I’m sure he would have sympathy toward an old man.

We return Sunday to load a Penske truck to take things home to store for a yard sale and to give away. It has been a long, dirty, tedious process but I am not pulling your leg when I say it would not have been possible without your prayers. This is just a short thank you for those prayers. I am humbled you would do that.  It is obviously not over yet, but we can see the finish line in this leg of the race. Jo will have to make every other month treks back to see her sister but that will seem like nothing compared to the past month and a half.

Speaking of Jo…she has been a trooper in this journey with her sister. From dealing with Family Services, Medicaid, funeral planning, etc she has been out of her comfort zone. She has shed plenty of tears but wipes off her cheeks then gets back to it. She has struggled with all the government red tape (and I can understand that); pulling scattered papers together; becoming POA then finding and paying bills as POA; cried a bucket of tears which range from frustration to “I can’t do this”; and is still standing. Your continued prayers for her as she continues down the paper road and loving, caring and visiting her sister who is 7 hours away, would be much appreciated.

Thanks is not said lightly.

#FamilyDysfunction

Friday, July 19th, 2019

I’ve been absent from this blog this week for a reason. While I have some things churning in my mind, I decided to let them soak a bit more.  For example, the crybaby athletes who think they aren’t getting paid enough. The belligerence of Megan Rapinoe, who does nothing more than play a game, but refuses to put her hand over her heart when the national anthem is being played. “Punishing” a soccer player because her faith would not allow her to wear the Pride colors as a uniform. Reading Costi Hinn’s new book on the Prosperity Gospel and the disgust that boils and wants to come to the surface. Yeah…don’t get me started.  I need time.  🙂

So, let’s go to something else. Sunday’s sermon. I am starting a new series within my theme-of-the-year: “Unsinkable.” My original intention was to put this under Heroes (my last series) but I’m going to be spending several weeks, almost two months on this, so I decided to rename it and pursue another angle.  My subject will be Joseph. My series will be called Icebergs.  It was an iceberg that sank Titanic and it is icebergs that will sink our faith as well.  Joseph’s life is one iceberg after another and I want to use them as a catalyst to teach us how we too can overcome those things that will trip us up if we allow them to.

This Sunday, as you can see by the title, is on his dysfunctional family. I plan to trace his family from the beginning to his present state and show how he overcame a lousy beginning to become the patriarch and the man he did.  Your prayers would be appreciated.

#Shepherd#Platform#Integrity

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

In Psalm 78:72 it says of David “With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with skillful hands.”  Some translations use the word “integrity” for upright.  This verse is talking about David’s approach toward the people of Israel. David served the people as their shepherd with integrity. That verse has always been at the forefront of my brain ever since I read it years ago.  It serves as a challenge to me to shepherd the people i serve with integrity.

Maybe that is why I have not cared whether I became “known” or not.  Oh…wait a minute. That’s not true. There was a time I cared a lot…an awful lot. I would hear of friends of mine who were preaching at large churches or conducting meetings in other churches and the “J” word would kick in. (That would be “J”ealousy for those who are unsure).  But then I began to think about time and schedule. I began to be involved in watching my daughters play ball. I wondered about sermon prep. When did they have the time to do that while jetsetting all over the globe? (Then I found out many of them have assistants who do all the research and sometimes even write the sermons).  I thought about the one thing I really like to do as an aside (cycle) and wondered when could I do that? Certainly not on a plane or in a hotel (stationary bikes are another word for B-O-O-O-R-I-N-G!).  Perhaps the biggest revelation in all this was “finding” the verse from Psalm 78. When would I have the time to be a shepherd?  Now, if I wanted to be a CEO-type  then, by all means, have at it! But I wasn’t called to be a CEO. I was called to be a pastor, a shepherd. The day I realized that was the day I quit worrying about what others thought; how big I could get; how “known” I could be; and became satisfied with being a shepherd of the church God gave me to serve.  Amazing how the perspective changes.  My worst enemy (ME) was put to death that day.

I’d rather be found faithful shepherding my sheep in an obscure, out-of-the-way little town than be serving an image of myself being applauded.  I’d rather be here than anywhere else.

#TryAgain#EarlyBird#NeedyourHelp

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Back on January 30th I wrote the following post:

http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=15108

I’m here to ask you for your help again. I’m not much of a fundraiser to be honest.  I would have a hard time making it as a missionary who had to raise his own support and had to go around seeking donations or support. So this is definitely out of my comfort zone.

I’m not going to give you a great big “snow job” about this. I’m not going to beg.  Okay…I would do that if necessary.  🙂  (Picture a dog on hind legs begging. That would be me.)  But only because I believe so strongly in helping those with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). I know of two folks here in Spencer-Marge and Kirby. Marge has had MS since 2000 and they told her she would be in a wheelchair and a home in 6 months. She has had her struggles but she is still walking. Kirby was diagnosed in 2006 and I just found out about it a little over a year ago (so don’t forget that you never know who might be impacted by the work that you do).  Marge has been part of our worship team for several years and Kirby and Ronda have been attending OVCF (Owen Valley Christian Fellowship…the church I pastor) since Easter. Their son, Hunter, is now playing guitar in our worship band.  I know there are more that I am not aware of. In Indiana alone, the MS Society reaches 9000 individuals but based on the most recent prevalence study, there could be another 10,000 people that the Society hasn’t even reached yet!

Like most diseases, MS strikes each person differently. The meds they take affect each one differently as well. The Bike MS or Cruisin’ the Crossroads (as it is called) ride I am taking part in will help raise money to reach a common goal: to end MS forever.  Your contributions will go directly to MS research, outreach, and assistance for those living with MS. For more information on how the society helps people living with MS, you can follow this link to the Navigator program website.   It is a “flat pledge.” In other words, there is no “I’ll pledge 50 cents a mile.” Whatever you pledge is your pledge and you do it directly to the National MS Soceity. I would be honored if you would do it under my name as I try to raise at least $800 for the ride.  Go to that page and hit donate. It is pretty self-explanatory. To date I am at $745. I would consider it a big deal to hit the $1000 mark.

Here is part of what your donation will help happen.

All that to say…if you are able to donate in my name I would be honored. Thanks for reading and donating.

{Note: this post was edited with the help from the MS Society to better explain their mission}.

#Whirlwind#FunTime

Monday, June 10th, 2019

As I mentioned in my one and only post from last week I would be absent from this blog. It was a whirlwind week. We left Sunday after church for Ohio where we promptly got detoured in Indianapolis which took us out of our way.  The state bird of Indiana (the orange barrels used for construction) was clearly evident. They took us about 20-30 miles out of the way.  Monday we took off for PA and enjoyed a great time (Rob did an excellent grille job) with 2 of my younger brothers (I have 3). We laughed a lot. Tami rolled her eyes a lot as she watched the 3 brothers “show off” their humorous tendencies.  Tuesday we drove to my old hometown and saw the house I grew up in, the high school I attended  (which has totally changed), the “projects” where I spent the first 12 1/2 years of my life, where my grandparents lived, and where my mother was living when she went to see Jesus.  What Tommy James sang about in his song Smokey Roads is true. Braden was not impressed at all.  I guess I should have expected that. What 12 1/2 year old boy wants to spend time in a truck looking at relics?  🙂  The house I moved to in the middle of 7th grade and graduated from high school living in. My mom lived here for a few years after my dad left her and now my brother, Garry and his wife and daughter live there.

Eventually we got to our destination after some other stops along the way.  Here is one of our stops. It is called Mount Washington and it overlooks the Three Rivers area.

Finally, our destination.

The Pirates lost 12-5 but we were not there to see the end. After the Braves were ahead in the 8th inning Tami was content to leave. She was bummed, I think, because she missed the Freddie Freeman Home Run in the top of the 9th. I’m glad they won for her birthday present. The Pirates won the next two.  🙂  She left PNC park a happy girl.  I made her ride hooked to my bike rack on the way back to Rob’s.  J/K.  We did make national TV though.

We drove back to Ohio on Wednesday, stayed the night, then drove to Sandusky for the less thrilling part of our trip. Jo’s sister was in the hospital so that is never fun. But we saw she was taken care of and returned on Friday about 7:00.  I was ready for bed for sure!

Our “adventure” in Sandusky isn’t over because there is so much to do now that she is in a long-term facility. So my next few weeks are up in the air. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

 

#Absent

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

I may be absent from my blogs for a couple of days. Not sure.  Tami’s 44th birthday (and yes I gave her age) is Monday. She has always wanted to go to PNC Park in Pittsburgh to see my Pirates play. Actually it would be more accurate to say “her Braves” play my Pirates but this is my blog. 🙂  So for her birthday we are taking her since they are playing each other on Tuesday.

We plan to leave after 2nd service today and head to Ohio. Spend the night and take Braden (our grandson) with us to the game.  I asked him “If you had a chance to watch the Pirates play the Giants who would you root for?” Without hesitation he said, “Giants because the Pirates are in the same division as the Reds.” Same with the Dodgers. Then I asked him if the Pirates were playing the Braves who would you root for? He said, “Neither.” Hmmm. I’m going to have to teach that boy a lesson in grandfatherly-love.  Anyway, we will be staying with my brother, Rob, and his wife Joy, and also have a chance to visit with one of my other brothers and his family on Monday night.

We had planned on returning home on Wednesday but Jo’s sister was taken to the hospital on Friday night so we will drop Braden off then head up to Sandusky to stay for a day or two.  I’m not really sure about posting here or on my other blog. Guess I’ll have to see what transpires as well as internet connection.

I’d appreciate your prayers for safe travel, a good time, and for Jo’s sister.  Thanks.

#Goodman#Worthemulating

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

I was in the presence of a good man last night. I might even venture to say a great man.  My Uncle Bob is the last of the family. My grandparents had 3 natural children and adopted one. My mother was one of those natural children, and my uncles Bill and Bob were the other two. My mother and my Uncle Bill have both moved on to their heavenly home. Both victims of cancer.

My Uncle Bob will be 83 in August. My Aunt Dee will be 82. They live in Arlington, TX and have for as long as I can remember. They have also lived in the Azores, Okinawa, Grissom AF base, and places I can’t remember. He served 31 years in the Air Force and after he retired he served as a postal carrier for 11 years. His knee finally let him down and like his dad before him and his nephew (that would be me) after him, a knee replacement had to happen. Two of his children live near them and one lives in Utah.  The last time we saw them was back around 2011 when they had made a trip to the Northeast (New Hampshire) to see Aunt Dee’s family and then they swung down through to see me and Jo. They were on their way back home when he called Monday night and asked if we could meet up for supper.

Sounds normal doesn’t it?  What is so special about that you may be asking. You see…Aunt Dee has Alzheimers. She started it about the time they came by in 2011. She cannot speak or tell you what is on her mind in any way, shape, or form.  All she does is mumble with an occasional strong-willed sound (like when I tried to help her drink and she wanted to do it herself).  They will soon be married 59 years this year. He takes care of her 24/7. Each morning he gets her up and they go to the mall to walk (he pushes her in a wheelchair).  He feeds her, bathes her, helps her do all that needs to be done. But you know what he really does? HE LOVES HER WELL. We ate at Cheddars last night with them and spent one of the most delightful evenings in memory. We laughed. Reminisced. Talked about family. (My dad was never keen on family so being a close knit one with mom’s was never a priority so we lost touch with cousins long time ago).  Oh yeah, did I say we laughed a lot? It was getting to be 8:30 when we finally said our “Goodbye’s.” He needed to get Aunt Dee to bed so they could get up and make the long trek back to TX.

He has been through a lot watching his bride deteriorate as she has. Screaming all night long. Unable to speak or communicate her love for him. But watching him lovingly rub her shoulder or labor to get her from her chair to the van was proof of something Jo said earlier in the evening: “In sickness and in health. For better or for worse.”  He was a living embodiment of that commitment.

Thank you Uncle Bob for a real live example of someone who loves well. For all time. No matter the situation.

#ReadThis

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

We are so different…she and I.

I’m white. She is not.

I’m a man. She is not.

I’m tall. She is not.

I have no hair. She has tons of it. 🙂

I like rock music. I’m guessing she does not.

I’m a lifetime heterosexual. She was a lesbian.

I write for fun. She writes for her livelihood.

But one thing we have in common. We both believe in the power of redemption that comes from the Cross of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on that cross.

Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been

I have to admit my first thought about reading this book since its release several months ago was I don’t want to read or hear of another “I-was-born-this-way-so-don’t-ask-me-to-change” book.  But after reading review after review I decided to take the plunge and buy it. Then I had to read it after a few weeks on my shelf. (In fairness, I was reading another book at the time).

I. AM. SO. GLAD. I. READ. THIS. BOOK!! I would highly recommend it to everyone. JHP’s way of saying things shows her “wordsmith” talents. I don’t need to be a fan of her style of poetry or music to like the way she says things in this book. Straight-forward.  Non-compromising in her stance. Honest in her discussion of her past (molestation, abuse, drug use and lesbianism). I was impressed when on page 37 she said, “It is important to note that sexual abuse is not what made me gay. Nor did fatherlessness. They only exaggerated and helped direct the path for what was already there-which is sin.”  No blame. No “I was born gay.” Just a note at the bottom of the page stating sin was the culprit. Thank you JHP for that truth.

I tire of those who hate gays. No…make that I distance myself from them. I don’t hate gays; I just don’t believe their lifestyle choice is biblical. I firmly believe same sex action is sin. But hating the person is not Christ-like nor is it ever going to reach someone with the message of the love of Christ.  Just the exact opposite.  Our little community has a very vocal homosexual community. It boasts of having one of the best attended PRIDE festivals in the state, maybe the country. Tolerance they ask for only goes so far until you disagree with them. Recent vandalism against their property was uncalled for. But they are still people. Still people like thousands of others in our community and around the world who need Jesus.  Thanks to JHP’s book, I not only have a better attitude toward them, but I also have a book I can put in their inquiring minds and hands that will show them Jesus’ love.

My plan is to include some of her quotes in another post since this one has already gone on so long. I’d like to think you will look forward to that post. 🙂

I’d highly suggest you buy and read this book. Then pray for opportunities to pass it along or to put it into practice.