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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.

Safe

Monday, September 12th, 2016

After last week’s session with our local judge on sex trafficking, I decided to continue reading a book I started several months ago and laid aside (and I’m not sure why).  The book is called Make it Zero by Mary Frances Bowley. It is divided into 5 sections:

Zero Poverty

Zero Hunger

Zero Isolation

Zero Abuse

Zero Trafficking

I started the Zero Abuse chapter last night and it began with the following quote:

Darkness cannot drive out the darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are some chilling statistics that come from the book:

A report of child abuse is made ever ten seconds.

The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations-losing an average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children.

There are more chilling stats to add but that is enough.

The overreaching question is this: where is the love a parent is supposed to have for their child? Obviously missing for many.

My heart bleeds for little children-the innocent victims of a broken society. It still comes down to Dr. King’s statement. It starts with each one of us being the light, sharing our love. And ultimately, us pointing people to the ONE who said, “I am the light of the world.”

 

Reviews

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Occasionally I will post a book review. After two fairly “heavy” posts, I decided a diversion was necessary. So I’m going to post three reviews at a time. One I read over a period of several weeks. One I read while on vacation. And one I read awhile ago but needed to wait for the right time.

First up: the one I read over a period of several weeks. The Comeback by Louie Giglio

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Most Christ-followers in today’s generation know who Louis Giglio is. Passion Conference. Chris Tomlin. Matt Redman. Passion City Church in Atlanta. Best known for years as the founder/leader of Passion Conferences and the music which followed, Louie is also a pastor and author. The Comeback is his latest. It is filled with stories of people who had second chances in life. I found it helpful and encouraging to read. Not a lot of depth in biblical teaching but there was enough to find my book marked up pretty well. If you are looking for a book with excellent stories and some good (but sometimes trite) teaching, you won’t go wrong taking some time reading this. There is a corresponding Study Guide/DVD series which goes along with it for use with a small group.

One I read while on vacation: The Trail by Ed Underwood

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I loved this book! It is not your typical sit-right-down-and-underline-while-taking-notes type of book. Ed writes it as a parable of a possible real life adventure. Wanting to know God’s will seems to be at the top of many Christ-follower’s lives. Ed writes this as an engaging story while teaching eight principles for illuminating the path ahead. It is not mere pablum or trite “Christianese.” Even though I am currently not seeking God’s will about any kind of professional change, the principles apply to all areas of life. Ed has written several other books which I highly recommend and this one is no exception.

The one I read awhile ago: Note the Quote by Floyd Samons

If I have a blogger to name whom I have come to know and love over the years it would be Floyd. We have personally corresponded with each other through the years. I have found him to be the genuine article. He blogs here. His writing is always fun and engaging. Sometimes surprising. Always with a point. This short book contains various quotes from his blogs over the years. Quotes on Wisdom, Inspiration, Reflection, and some Lighter ones are included. As I read it I checked those which I particularly liked. I plan to review it from time to time. It is a self-published book of 47 pages and you can get it from him directly. Go to his blog and follow directions. 🙂

That’s enough for now. I’ll return with more books at various time. So…what are you reading that you think I ought to latch on to?

Pain

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

I reiterate my previous post’s statement: One of my nominees for Book-of-the-Year is this one:

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I’ve lost both my grandparents. I’ve lost my father-in-law (whom I loved and respected dearly) in 1998 while having heart surgery. I’ve lost my mother-in-law in 2001 to heart failure. I’ve lost my mother to cancer in 2004. I’ve lost countless friends in the churches I have served.

But I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child…of any age. King Theodan (from Fellowship of the Ring) could understand because he expressed it: “No father should bury his son.” My best male friend buried his youngest son in 2006 after an accident.

The pain of that loss has to be like a hot iron left on the skin…only this one goes deep into the heart. This book is Levi’s (and his wife, Jennie) adventure through this minefield of losing their five year old daughter, Lenya. I’ve reviewed the book here. And wrote two other posts here and here. This is my final post…I think. I’d like to encourage you to get the book yourself and read it.  I’d like to leave you with something Levi wrote and Jennie said:

Pain is a microphone. And the more it hurts, the louder you get. Suffering isn’t an obstacle to being used by God. It is an opportunity to be used like never before. Levi (p.108)

God isn’t scared of what you’re scared of. Levi. (p.165)

God wants to turn

your mess into a message,

your misery into a ministry,

your pain into a platform

and your chaos into a crown.

-Jennie Lusko (via Diana’s research)

I’m not sure I can say much to add “good” to that. They are the ones who have lived through the “hell” of losing their child. If you have, maybe you can relate.

There you have it.

Potpourri

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Every once in awhile I have multiple things going through my thought process for writing, but each one seems to be not quite enough to write a blog about. So I combine them into one. Today is one of those days.

In the “I just read this” department:

I’m reading a book called An Unquiet Mind-a book about manic depressive/bi-polar people. Thankfully I am neither but it was recommended by Linda Stoll so I thought I would check it out. The author writes this:

Spending a lot of money that you don’t have-or, as the formal diagnostic criteria so quaintly puts it, “engaging in unrestrained buying sprees”-is a classic part of mania.  (p.74)

Yikes! I sarcastically thought there must be a lot of people who are fitting into this category. Truth is many of us-although certainly not bi-polar or manic-spend way beyond our means. The reasons for that vary, but it is a sign of a “divided heart.”

In the “for the pastor/church” department:

I’d like to suggest you read this and tell your pastor/leaders about it. I’m pretty sure Jared is dead on. Least for me he was.

In the “you know there would be music in this post” department:

I have been fascinated with this singer for the past month or so. She has given me a new appreciation for Celtic music, as well as female singers. Check out this song (includes lyrics on screen) and this one. And for a completely different tune.

Okay…that’s enough rambling. After reading…and listening…you are now allowed to get back to work. 🙂

Observations

Monday, February 1st, 2016

I wanted to post this Sunday night like I normally do but thought better of it. Sometimes judgments/decisions/observations are often made too quickly. I’ve seen people (but never me…aaaah yeah) make hasty decisions/judgments based on the heat of the moment and have it turn out all wrong. Whether it is euphoria from a “mountain top high” or a hasty or ill-advised decision while in the valley or when despondent, neither is good.  Several things happened over the weekend-some of which I asked prayer for-and I thought I would write about them.

The highlight of my weekend had to be Saturday. My young bride of almost 43 years turned into her official “I’m retired and I can collect Social Security” self. Some of her favorite people surprised her at HuHot Mongolian Grill. You read that right…Mongolian Grill. This from the woman who can’t stand to eat Chinese. I ask that age old question: who can understand a woman? 🙂  The main ones missing were our family in Ohio. But we had a good time.

If you read this post from last week, you read about our “chance” encounter with a young man and his family. I had the honor of welcoming them to our worship Sunday (not publicly) for the first time, and then had the privilege of taking them to lunch with Ryan (techgeek) and my oldest, Tami. Jo flew the coop for the afternoon. We had a wonderful lunch at Chicago’s Pizza and even better conversation. A good thing: I am having lunch with their pastor Tuesday. He is a dear friend and I certainly don’t want to lose his friendship because we didn’t talk.

I asked prayer for a local church which is blowing apart in this post. There were about 11 people from that church visiting with us Sunday. I refuse to be a sheep-stealer so my philosophy will be to give it time and see what happens. Meanwhile, I have told a couple they are more than welcome to worship with us, get their bearings, some much-needed healing, and then decide what they want to do. You might want to include Church X in your daily prayers. I would also ask for prayers to handle the whole thing wisely.

I’m working on a sermon series which will take all of March and April. I started on it Monday. I read a quote I want to leave with you…and I plan to discuss it in another post (very soon). Here is the quote:

Faith is to the soul what swallowing is to the body-and the health of the body is largely dependent on what is swallowed.

Thanks for hanging in there with such a “wordy” post (long past my norm). Have a good day.

Disaster

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Think disaster and you think something B-I-G happened! Actually, it seems to be happening more every day.

However, let’s bring it home. What do you do when a disaster happens closer to home…like when it happens to someone who has been unfair to you?  Several years ago someone I know who lost her job due to the unfairness of the person in charge. I know this to be true. The person in charge was dishonest, a bully, and a philanderer. My words to the one I knew: “Pride goes before a fall. Remember those words. Someday it will happen.”

Several weeks ago she emailed me and said, “Do you remember when you said, ‘Pride goes before a fall?’ It happened. So-and-so was escorted out of the building.” Why? For the reasons mentioned above (except for the philanderer because they didn’t care about that).

What I was happy to see was no gloating by the person I knew. Only sadness. I was reminded of that event when I read the following quote in Our Daily Bread this morning:

The lizard is not as mad with the boys who threw stones at it as with the boys who stood by and rejoiced over its fate.

Rejoicing over the fate of someone is not the way Jesus would want us to react. Proverbs says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.” (24:17)

Let’s be careful how we react to others’ disaster, especially if they have been “unfair” to us. Any thoughts?

 

21

Monday, September 21st, 2015

All sorts of things can be represented by 21. But in this case it is a chapter in the Bible. I have a system (for now) that I am using to read the Bible. I started last July or August with reading the Old Testament. I am currently in Ezekiel. I’m not sure which is worse: Leviticus and Numbers or Isaiah through Ezekiel. But to give myself some variety I have also been reading certain section of the NT several times before moving on and also some chapters out of Psalms. Every other month I read the book of Proverbs. A chapter equals the day of the month.

Today (Monday) I read chapter 21. Found some interesting verses there which I wrote in my journal.

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (v.2)  I like the way The Message puts it: “We justify our actions  by appearances; God examines our motives.” ‘Nuff said.

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” (v.31) We can make all the preparations in the world but ultimately the victory is God’s. I tire of trying to do things in my own strength. I know better, but I often revert to old ways of thinking and doing battle.

There is more, of course. But I’m curious. What is a favorite Proverb of yours?

Exchanged

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. 🙂 Make a difference in somebody’s life.

Original

Monday, March 30th, 2015

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know we often try to mold people into our idea or view of what should be. It is one thing to talk about “not making God fit into our mold”; it is another to then turn around and try to do the same to people. For various reasons, it is wrong.

No one likes to be someone’s idea of what they ought to be. For years society has rebelled against the “Barbie” idea of little girls. We realize not all boys can fit the “superhero” mold.

Why then, do we try to form people into our mold when it comes to following Jesus? Be as I am. Think as I think. Act like I act. Talk like I talk. Dress as I dress. All nice and cookie-cutter like. We ought to run as far away from that as we do a skunk when it crosses our path. That type of thinking smells THAT bad.

While reading Mary DeMuth’s new book, Everything, I ran across a quote I had long forgotten (to my detriment I might add):

Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you. Oswald Chambers

WOW! That hit the nail on the head!! Just as I don’t like to be put into a mold, neither should I expect God to work the same in another person’s life as He does mine. God chooses to work in our lives in different ways. Stop expecting a “ditto” performance.

Have you struggled with this in any way? What have you done about it?