Friendship

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Requests

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Every once in a while nothing needs to be said except “Help!”  I’m not in that boat at the moment but I would like to ask your help by praying for several folks.  That is the sole purpose of this post today.

First, one of my blogging friends, Martha Jane Orlando, has been going through a tough time lately with her husband, Danny. Martha blogs here and if you go to this particular one it will take you on a four-post ride and what she has been experiencing with Danny. I have continued personal correspondence with her and Danny had surgery, developed an infection and had to return to the hospital so the infection would clear up and then have another surgery.  She has been incognito in blogland because of it. Please keep Danny and Martha in your prayers.

My brother, Rob, and his wife, Joy, head to Italy Monday (May 15th) to do mission work until July 3rd. Working with some missionary friends, they will be teaching English to folks, but will be using a Bible-based book to do it. So the opportunities for sharing Christ are immense. There is a great opportunity to meet with these folks one-on-one. They are excited and anxious all at the same time. I saw Rob a week and a half ago and he seems to be returning to better health. Please pray for he and Joy: their safe travel, their health while there, their opportunities for sharing Christ, and just an all-around good trip.

I have some very dear friends from the church who have had to move for various reasons. They need to sell their old house so they can “release that worry.” I love this family a lot and ask you to pray for them in this new venture. I know they would appreciate it also.

I know there are others to pray for. But I would be remiss if I didn’t ask prayer for me. Two bicycle accidents have taken their toll on my body, but the one in November (where the car hit me) has lingered a lot longer. Getting hit at 55-60 mph on my left cheek (missing my spine by 2″) has left its mark. I’m now painfully dealing with what they believe to be a sciatic nerve issue. I’m praying for healing without surgery. I’d like to ask you to join me.

So…how can I pray for you?

{Note: my next post will be recap of Mother’s Day}

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.”

Evolution

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

In my last post, I showed  a picture of my new steed. 

Two items are in that picture. Yes, the new bike but please take note of the T-shirt. Last November I was hit by a car while riding. For Christmas my daughter, Tami, bought me this shirt. Actually, she had it made just for me. She thought she was being funny. (In reality, I gave the okay). 🙂

Then on Friday, February 17th, I had another accident, an accident of the I-don’t-know-what-happened variety. I did a face plant (I split my helmet in three places); broke my collarbone in 4 places; broke 3 ribs, suffered multiple contusions; and still am dealing with a huge hematoma on my right hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all is well and healing. I still do not know what happened. Shortly before the accident Tami had ordered me a new T-shirt made by the same people. She ordered one (hi-viz yellow) and I ordered one. The hi-viz green one had some stitching issues so she ordered another. Here is the green one:

But Tami’s “evil” friends were not done. Along with the hi-viz green (sense a color scheme here?) T-shirt they sent another one. “Tami, your dad seems such a good sport we wanted to make a T-shirt for him.” And below you see the T-shirt my daughter and her evil twins designed for me.

This was following my opening the package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The is a better picture after I “settled” down and got the look off my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, I think it is funny. Laughter is good medicine. I certainly can’t change what happened for either accident. So…I can choose to wallow and whine or laugh. I choose the latter. I’m wearing the “stunt” one to preach in this morning. Might as well get others to laugh with me (and they will).

And one final message for my daughter and those “evil” twins. I know where you live Tami. Thanks for being good sports. And I wear a lot of T-shirts so keep the cycling ones coming. 🙂 🙂

Interrupted

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

If you saw the last post, it was a description of Sunday’s sermon: Black/white.

Well…it was supposed to be. Until that Sunday morning when God interrupts the thought-process and says, “I want you to go in a different direction.”

So “Black Hats/White Hats” was held over until this coming Sunday. God had other ideas. I want you to know I’m not really into that. I prepare for a reason. I study for a reason. I practice on Sunday morning to an empty auditorium for a reason. I am a firm believer that if people come on Sunday morning to hear “me speak” (to hear a word from God as He has taught me), they need to hear something worth listening to. Half-baked, half-prepared sermons which use the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an excuse for not studying and preparing tell the people they don’t matter and the pastor doesn’t care.  That’s not me. So when I no sooner begin my sermon and I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it all aside and talk from the heart, I don’t jump up and down like Horshack on Kotter saying, “Ooh ooh ooh.”

That is what happened though this Sunday. I no sooner made two comments:

“Along with the fake there will always be a real.”

“Underneath it all we need to see that Looks can be deceiving.”

At that point I told the people to put their Bibles and notes away. I confessed to them that for the past 9 months or so I have been wearing a mask. I wore a mask so when they asked, “How you doing?” my stock answer was, “I’m fine.” Problem is Bill wasn’t fine. Bill was running on fumes.  He was empty.

It took two bicycle accidents to get my attention. The first didn’t work because it wasn’t my fault and I was able to move on too quickly from it. But this second one was a doozy. I’ve written about it here. I’m healing physically, but spiritually is taking longer. If you would like to listen to the podcast of Sunday’s talk, you can link here.

Your continued prayers are very much needed. Priorities need realigned. Relationships need mended and realigned as well. Thanks ahead of time.

Struck

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

As I mentioned in the last post, it was Jo’s birthday. I survived the caning I received for telling her age, but other than that I have come out of it relatively unscathed.

We did go see Hidden Figures. What a moving picture! I was born in 1952 and even though I grew up during the age of segregation, I was basically naive. My mother was not a segregationist by any stretch so I was taught all people were worth something. I was never allowed to use the “n” word in her presence, nor was I allowed to make fun of any handicapped person. (Kids can be cruel you know?) I grew up living in the projects, low income housing units built for the steel workers in the 20s, I believe. Improvements had been made but I was still a son-of-the-projects.  I look back now and remember the separate housing units for the black people (that’s one of the names they were called. That and colored people). But I can also look back and realize some of my friends were black kids. I played sports with them. I went to school with them. I was affected by, but in the dark when the riots of ’69-70 hit home to my little town of West Mifflin, PA. I grew up in a high school that was about 1/3 black so I was not out of sorts like so many whites and blacks were. In fact, while former friends were fighting and calling each other names outside before school, I stood inside with Jeff Goldblum (yes him…a Jew); John, a white Catholic; Bruce, a black with concert violinist aspirations; and me, a white Christian. So I knew of difficulty with the races but isolated myself against it.

The movie, Hidden Figures, showed the ugliness and inequality of the whole racial situation. It was, to me, a blight on our country…to think of the Civil War and the freeing of slaves as basically a non-event in our nation’s history. I was struck by the way people were treated.

If I were you, I would make plans to see the movie. Go prepared to get angry. Go also with Kleenex because there are both happy/laughing moments, and also weepy moments. Above all, go prepared to be struck by the reality of God’s love for every individual…no matter the race or color.

Treasure

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

When someone mentions treasure our thoughts most often turn to financial things.

But there is another kind of treasure…one (sadly) I’m not very good at most times. The reference is found in Luke 2:19 where it says that after the shepherds visited the baby and then left, Mary pondered or treasured these things you her heart. That word has always intrigued me.

As I probed what it meant to “treasure” something in your heart, I knew exactly why I was so bad at it! 🙂

The expression “treasured these things in her heart” has more to do with the emotions and the heart, than the physical organ beating in our chest. It literally means to keep something alive or to savor.

I think we all tend to do that. It is called memories. I have them. You have them. Good and bad. I have memories of Christmases in the past which were good. Waking up on Christmas morning to find a tree, a running train, and more than I ever dreamed of under the tree. I can also remember the Christmas my dad was about to walk out of the house.

These days I treasure my Christmases. As we get older, the awareness becomes more apparent that Christmas memories are to be treasured. I like what Tim Keller says, “The treasuring is not so much a technique as an attitude.” The sad part (and am I alone in this?) is that treasuring is getting harder to do. I’m really having some difficulty focusing this Christmas. Maybe it is the accident. Maybe it’s the volume of work. Maybe it is preoccupation with things to do. But I do need to slow down and treasure my memories.

How about you?

Some have asked for an update on my accident. I continue mending. I am totally grateful to God for His healing. I found out the good news that my auto insurance is going to cover the medical bills. That is a huge relief. I go to the general surgeon this coming Monday for a follow up on the hematoma and whether she will remove it or continue hoping my body will absorb it. Continued prayer would be appreciated. And thanks.

Loneliness

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

godsgiftofchristmas

That word…loneliness…seems to be so empty. Drafty. Lifeless.

For many, Christmas is one of the loneliest times of the year. They feel like they are home alone. When the movie Home Alone first came out, I was not a fan. It just didn’t turn my crank, so for years I never watched it. One day, I think we were at a friend’s house, and they wanted to watch it. I found myself chuckling then laughing at the gags. It was almost like watching the old 3 Stooges, only updated with modern antics.  The story centers around a young boy who is left behind when his family heads for vacation and his attempt to keep the thieves away from the house. What ensues is an adventure in comedy that keeps you laughing.

What isn’t funny is how many live lives of quiet desperation in today’s media saturated world. Busy but alone. Surrounded but isolated.

That is what is so good about the name Emmanuel (God with us!). Not only is it a beautiful name for God’s Son, it also explains one of the great reasons for Christmas in the first place.

There is more. Guess you will have to come Sunday to hear it. But just in case you can’t, I will give you this preview:

  • The glory of Christmas means we are far more precious to God than we could ever imagine.
  • the glory of Christmas means there is far more to celebrate then we thought.
  • The glory of Christmas means we will never be alone

Those alone give us reason to celebrate Christmas. I hope you are not one who spends time alone. Find friends. Find others who are alone and get together for a Christmas dinner. Go visit a nursing home.  You will find others just like you-dreading the holiday because of some memory. You can have a mutual “pulling-out-of-the-doldrums” party.

Until then, I’d like to ask you to pray.

 

Thanks

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

As I write this it is a rainy Wednesday. The day before the world in general (with a few exceptions) will focus on Thanksgiving. True, some find football a whole lot more fun, but not this boy. My Thanksgiving Day will consist of the following:

The church serving our community a lunch from 11-1:00 at the local Lion’s Club (their building is in town and the church building is not). We will also deliver a whole bunch of meals.

I have two traditions that I have done for years. I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Santa Clause” sometime Thursday. Well, our local theater is going to show “IaWL” on Sunday for free so I will go to that. So Jo and I plan to watch “White Christmas,” one of my other staple movies during the holidays.

I’m guessing a nap might be in there somewhere.

I will take some time to be thankful. My recent car/bicycle accident has me a bit more reminiscent than normal. To be aware that only 2″ separated me from either permanent damage (paralysis) or even death, tends to wake up even the sleepiest soul. I’m not going to rehash the scene. You can read it here and here.  Unfortunately, even though my memory wants to erase the event and forgive the perpetrator, my body keeps reminding me of it. On Monday I go to a general surgeon who will take a look at the giant hematoma on my left hip where he used me for a bumper car. I had to go to Urgent Care last week, and when nothing happened and things got worse with the rest of my leg, I went to my family doctor Tuesday. The surgeon will decide if it is be drained (can you say knock me out?) or let it go. It will be 3 weeks to the day that it happened. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember because my body reminds me.

However, I am also impressed by God’s amazing design and how it heals. The bruising is lessening (it has moved from my hip to my thigh/hamstring, to my knee, to my calf and now to my foot. The painfully sore bruised shoulder muscles (inside) have healed enough to start lifting weights again. I have yet to be back on my bike. Not because I’m afraid but because of the discomfort of this hematoma.

I’m thankful I’m alive. I’m thankful I have a family who was concerned. I’m thankful for a marvelous church family who showed me in spades how much they love me. It has been my pleasure to love them for 11 years. In less than a week they showed me what I meant to them. *Tears on cheeks right now* I am thankful for you, my online family, who have said you would pray for me. I believe you did. I still pray for the one who did it. Not for vengeance but so I can forgive them.

This has gone longer than any post I have written in the past 4 or 5 years so it is time to shut it down. 🙂  Thanks for listening. Thanks for your prayers. Be truly thankful this year.

Timeless

Monday, October 10th, 2016

I have arrived safe and sound from a weekend in Ohio. I wrote about it here. I had a fantastic time. My right arm is a little sore of throwing a football countless times to a never-tiring grandson whose imagination goes wild. He had us in stitches several times during the weekend. I hope and pray his imagination never goes on the fritz and dies.

I’m a little rushed knowing what is facing me the rest of the week. A C-section delivery, a lunch appointment with my my wife and daughter, a Day of Service meeting at 5:00 and a movie to make popcorn for as a “Master Popper” at 6:00. (Yeah I’ll be a bit late). Wednesday is another non-stop day even though the kids are on Fall Break. And, of course, I need to find time to ride or work out. You know…the important stuff. 🙂

When I got back home I had a birthday card waiting for me. He included a saying in it:

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Henry Ford

While I may not agree it is the greatest thing in life, it is certainly a very important part of it. I turned 64 Sunday. I have no clue how long God has me living on this earth, but I don’t want to waste away. I don’t want to stop learning. I don’t want to stop reading. I don’t want to stop enjoying life (my adventure). This sums up my thoughts (a gift from my secretary):

adventure-box

That is timeless. What are you waiting for?

Retreat

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

There has been a lot said over the past couple of weeks in the blogs I read about needing a rest. Some are taking a hiatus from blogging. Some from their phone. Some from all media (not a bad idea actually). Some would like to take a hiatus from their job but find that sort of impossible to do. 🙂  You know…no work=no eat. Small things like that.

Monday afternoon Ryan, our youth pastor, and I took a hiatus. We got away for the afternoon. We prayed, We talked. We planned a sermon we are presenting together. We talked some more. It was a well-spent 5 hour hiatus.

Several things were captured in my brain:

  1. Hiring Ryan 3 years ago was absolutely the best thing we did. His heart and spirit are continually pursuing God. His love for the young people of the church is evident and they are responding to it. We are a great team (all three of us) and I love and love working with Ryan and Diana (our church secretary).
  2. Getting away was absolutely essential. I needed it. We needed it. Church life has been at breakneck speed and it is taking its toll on our time as staff. It was the first uninterrupted 4-5 hours we have had in a long time.
  3. I need a personal get away. I realize I am not as young as I used to be and can’t keep up the same pace I once did. But this is ridiculous. The “backburner” has become all too often the go-to for me. I have 4 books on sex trafficking I need to read plus some others I need to review. That issue is front and center for me right now. No time=no reading. Bill is not a happy camper with that scenario. I do get to leave this Saturday for Ohio to watch my grandson play football but that will be go-go-go all weekend. He plays on Sunday…my 64th birthday. I told him has to play well and win for my present. 🙂

It is not good to stay “strung tightly.” I need to heed my own advice. Here are some pictures from the Retreat Center in Quincy, IN we went to. The second picture is Ryan with our friendly visitor who spent most of his time outside on the porch doing what most of us desperately need to do: taking a nap. 🙂

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