Friendship

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Refreshing

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

This past Friday night I honored Jo.

Now…before you get to thinking, “My. my, what a great husband,” let me tell you how I did. You may also change your mind from “what a great husband” to “what a cad.” Okay…maybe not that bad, but you may change your mind.

Friday is my day off. It was anything but a day off as we had a chiropractor appointment, had time to eat lunch and then headed to Terre Haute (almost an hour away) for a funeral visitation of a fine, godly man who died quickly from cancer. His son owns the Nissan dealership where I buy my vehicles. Anyway, we rushed back after that to go to the local theater to see a movie.

A movie I had no desire to see whatsoever. But one she wanted to see. I wanted to honor her so I went.

How was I supposed to know I would come away refreshed? Laughing? Feeling good? And wanting to see it again?  Yeah…I wanted to honor her with the wrong attitude.  But I am so glad I did!!! Some of her movies/musicals I cringe at seeing (like Beauty and the Beast) but this is one time I chose to go.

The movie?  Actually a musical. Here’s the big moment… The Greatest Showman. Exceptional movie with fantastic music. The core meaning of the movie stands out: All lives matter.  Hmmm seems like I know SOMEONE who taught us that.

My song for today? Here is one of them from the movie. Please take the time to listen and read the lyrics as you do.  In the movie the character she plays has PCOS. Hers manifested itself in a full beard. The lyrics speak even louder when you know that.

We might actually go see it again this afternoon. Hard to beat a free movie.

Tested

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

In last week’s sermon I talked about True Love. You can read more about it here. But you know as well as I do talking about love, defining love, does not a lover make. The real test of love is when love is put to the test.

Despite all our learning or lack of it; despite all our high-falootin’ talk or lack of it; despite our rhetoric or lack of it; everyone one of us knows we will not get along with everyone. Wishful thinking. Dream thinking. “Not possible” thinking actually. “Ain’t going to happen” thinking.  Yeah…I hate to be the one to burst the bubble, but we will not be able to get along with everyone.

So…how do we keep the peace?

So…what do we do with enemies? With those who want to make our life miserable? In fact, that seems to be their mission in life. How are we supposed to act and react to our enemies?

My sermon this weekend will get down to that nitty-gritty. When you have been abused, walked on, used as a doormat or a ladder, had lies told about you, or have been stolen from…what to do? How would love respond?

Romans 12: 14-21 is not an easy passage to deal with but it can’t be skipped over either. I’d appreciate your prayers for this weekend.

I’m posting this early because Jo and I will be heading to Evansville, IN to see one our young men play one of his last two games in Indiana (Saturday is the other). He graduates from Maryville College in St. Louis this year. So we will be out and about and I will be away from a computer. I’ll have my phone to approve comments, but I despise typing anything of length on my phone. Have a great weekend!

SecondDay

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Well…I hope your 2018 has started out well. Mine was uneventful I guess. New Year’s Eve found me in bed and asleep by 10:30. Hey! Don’t mock me! That is one hour later than normal. 🙂 🙂  I knew I didn’t have to get up at my normal 3:45 time so I actually stayed up to read some. But alas! I am not an all-nighter. Never have been…never will be (unless pressed). In fact, I’m not even a late-nighter. My girls laugh at me. Okay…Tami does. I’d say, “She’s a school teacher what does she know?” but I’d get thumped pretty good by all the teachers (and her). Seriously, I have never been a late night person except on rare occasions. Getting older hasn’t changed that one bit…except going to bed earlier.

Speaking of Tami…she is moving out this weekend into her own apartment. 2 1/2 years ago she moved back to be closer to us and Janna (really Braden but same family). 🙂  But she took a very significant pay cut to do so. She moved in with us until she could sort some things out, plus find a place she could afford. They are distant in Bloomington and Elletsville, as well as few and far between in Spencer. But thanks to the generosity of a couple who built their own house, they are renting Tami their old apartment. It has some big rooms, nostalgic points (it is a renovated apartment in “downtown” Spencer). Downside? A million steps to get there. But I’m happy for her. She will have her own place, a place to call her own. And space she doesn’t have at our house.

Teaser: “I don’t have to have it all figured out. He does. There is no way for me to know all that will happen anyway, so why work myself up over that? Why worry and be fearful over what I cannot control? I cannot understand it all so why spend my days and valuable time in fear and misery because I don’t and won’t? No…I need to rest in His perfect, sovereign knowledge.” For more check out my other blog here.

Have a good day my friends. Here it is -9. So stay warm also.

Alone?

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Something concerns me. I’m not totally sure what to do about it actually. Maybe it is more than just a concern too. It is an ache I don’t know how to take away.

Just recently our community was hit with the death of an 8th grader.  She died while sleeping. Rumors abound (as you can imagine). Rumors I refuse to be a part of. So far they are just rumors since no one knows how or why she died. I hate rumors. I despise talk without substantial proof. I’m sure you know what I mean.

Here is my concern. The death of a teenager, or anyone for that matter, is a “killer” to me. But what about those who are left behind? This is the Christmas season where people are wishing good cheer, joy, happiness,  and all those other wishes to people they see. But what about those who dread this time of the year? They hole up in their house or bedroom and have no desire to get out, see anyone, laugh, spread good cheer, nor any of those other “feel good” things.

Do we see their hurt? Do we feel their loneliness? Do we sense their desire to be left alone? Christmas is a particularly hard time for those who have lost people they love-spouse, parent, friend, child-so what do we do with and about and for them? The first of “everything” is the toughest-first Christmas, first holiday, first anniversary, first birthday.

So…I guess what I’m saying is “keep your eyes open” to those around you. There are many lonely, hurting people right out our back door. People who may not even know it, but people who need a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement, a card/note, or some other form of acknowledgment. What they don’t need is someone harping on them or criticizing them. Lend an ear. Lend a hand. Lend a smile. Lend a heart.

This song is not a “Christian” Christmas song. But it does talk about memories.

Otherwise

Monday, November 13th, 2017

I used the following poem in my sermon yesterday. I think it says what needs to be said without a bunch of commentary. It was written by Jane Kenyon and was quoted in Alter Ego by Craig Groeschel (pages 151-152)

I got out of bed on two strong legs.

It might have been otherwise.

I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach.

It might have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.

All morning I did the work I love.

At noon I lay down with my mate.

It might have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks.

It might have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day.

But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.

Kenyon wrote this poem in 1993, upon learning that her husband, Donald Hall, had cancer. Ironically, it was Kenyon, not Hall. who died a year later after a fierce and swift battle with leukemia. “Otherwise” came unexpectedly. But Jane Kenyon didn’t miss the blessings of God in each day. She learned the art of gratitude.

As I said, no commentary needed. Enjoy the blessing of today!!

Dubious

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Some memories are, shall we say, dubious. My post today is in memory of one of those dubious anniversaries-ones that remind you of something you are not so fond of.

One year ago today this happened to me.  The date is today. The day is yesterday. So I guess it depends on how you look at anniversary’s as to how you will see this. Doesn’t matter though. It happened and it began a spiral downward in the health department but it also began a very, very slow process of spiritual awakening and renewal (which actually took on a more earnest effort in February.

I wanted to ride yesterday and today but the weather has not cooperated (nor has my life). I was busy from the time I got up to the time I laid my head on the pillow yesterday. Today, we host Dine with a Doc and then Jo and I are taking off for Sandusky, OH to visit her sister. Things are really improving there and we need to help her get a new washer/dryer (and be there for the delivery) and get her duplex ready for when she comes home.

I wanted to ride past the scene and stop for a moment of gratitude for God’s protection. I realize some will say, “Well, if God protected you why did He allow it to start with?” Fair question and all I can say is, “I don’t know. He could have but chose not to.” But I also don’t think He put His finger on the driver and said, “Hit him!” Some people are either just evil or distracted. I consider His protection because it could have been worse. He missed my spine by two inches. I shiver at what the two possibilities are with that. Yes, I just had surgery in July which was required due to a bone fragment laying on a nerve in my spine, but the reality is I could have been paralyzed with 2 more inches. So, in my case, I relish God’s protection.

The saga is ongoing. I suspect they will never find who did it. I am okay with that. He/she has to live with it. Will I ever be back to the way I was? No. Physically, I now have limitations. Mentally, I sometimes relive it and realize how close I came. Spiritually, it began a good process. It still has not been settled with the insurance company (and who knows when that will be? I refuse to get a lawyer.) So it is before me. Or is that behind me?

No matter how you look at it though, it is a dubious anniversary. One I’m grateful to be celebrating. And I can also say I love Jo more today than I ever have. She’s my “knight” in shining armor. I put her through the wringer this past year and she stood solid as a rock. Cried a bit. Okay…a lot. But she stood strong next to me. For that, I will always be grateful.

Jo’s sister does not have wifi so I may be out of the loop for the next couple of days. I’ll use my phone to approve comments but I despise using it to make comments. Please be patient. And thanks for your prayers.

Reflections

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

I had every intention on posting this immediately but life got in the way. Plus…I needed time to process the weekend. So much was going on that my head literally “swam.” (I am still suffering from some vertigo so that is not far from the truth). 🙂

My day Thursday was highlighted by picking up a new friend at the airport. His name is Dave Waechter and he is now the leader of “3 Feet Please,” the advocacy group for giving cyclists three feet of safe distance when being passed. Dave and I hit it off immediately. He likes pizza. He loves ice cream. He loves cycling. He loves to talk. And even though he is a very intelligent man, never once did I feel he talked down to me. He is involved in IT consulting and has been with the Suicide Prevention Network in Tempe since it started. He has a good and kind heart. The death of his friend, Lynn, by being hit by a car while cycling has deeply affected him but he is using it to make things happen. The big disappointment (besides not being able to ride this trip) was his daughter, Nina, his cohort in cycling was unable to come with him. Dave fit into our family like we have known each other all our lives. Jo & Tami felt very comfortable with him. And I was particularly thrilled he enjoyed being with us Sunday and felt very at home.

Sunday was the really big day I wrote about in this post. Our celebration was super and, I believe, God-honoring. Ryan and I both talked to folks who were here. You can listen to the podcast if you’d like by going to the church’s website and clicking on the podcast. Because we both spoke it is a bit longer than normal. What I wish is you could have been here to listen to the people singing their praise. WOW! I literally stopped to listen and felt emotions well up within me. I honestly believe the people were “heart-engaged” and not just lip-engaged. We had some great food afterwards, along with laughing and joking, and a good time being with people. And the weather? WOW! I’m not sure we could have asked for more ideal weather. 70s. Sunny. A slight breeze. Just an all around beautiful day.

To bring even more drama into our weekend, we all attended the New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center banquet on Saturday night. Sunday night Dave and I went to our local theater, the Tivoli, to watch Luther.  This is the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation and Martin Luther started it all with his 95 Theses nailed the Wittenburg Church door.  I took Dave back to the Indianapolis airport at 5:30 this morning.

So I had a full but very good weekend. Thanks to all who were praying. Thanks to Dave for taking the time to come and visit. Here are two jokers joking:

Yeah…we are a tad bit strange but you gotta have some fun! Thanks for joining me today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RestAway

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

This has been “one of those years.” I’m not complaining, mind you, but informing.

November 5th: my first bike wreck. I was hit by a hit ‘n run driver on my left cheek. The lower one. 🙂  Seven weeks were spent sleeping in my recliner because I could not lay down.

February 17th: my second bike wreck. This one I have no clue about except it ended up in a broken collar bone, 3 broken ribs, a face plant and a split helmet. Yeah…thank God for the helmet.

February 22nd: surgery to repair the collarbone. More sleeping in the recliner.

July 24: Back surgery to correct back from November 5th hit ‘n run. The previous 2 months I was unable to sit in a chair or couch except for the dining room table. I slept 2 hours at a time then roamed the house between sleeping spots.  The surgeon cleaned out arthritis, shaved some spurs, shaved the disc, and found a bone fragment resting on a nerve. A sweet relief almost immediately. I still have some residual (and may always have it) but least I can sleep in bed and sit in my recliner!

Enter a friend. “Bill & Jo, (name of husband) and I, would like to give you a gift and hope you will accept it. You have been through so much and we feel led to offer you a week at a timeshare. You pick the time and the place and we will make the arrangements (and pay).” She hands us this h-u-g-e book of possible places-from Alaska to Hawaii and from coast to coast- and says, “Choose.” Since Jo has never seen the beach (except as a little girl) and it doesn’t matter to me (I wanted Alaska) we chose Daytona Beach after our first choice of Destin was not available.  I told someone several weeks ago we were going to Florida “if it was still there.”

We fly out Monday morning, October 2nd from Indianapolis, and will come back home Monday, October 9th.  If something good can come out of something so ugly as two bike wrecks and 2 surgeries, it has. Jo & I have reconnected in a way we have not known for some time. Like many marriages, we had allowed things to build up and take the place of meaningful communication and time with each other. We loved each other but had allowed other things to take precedence.

People have asked us, “What are your plans this week? What are you going to see? Where you going to go?”  The answer is easy: we have no clue. We have no agenda. No preconceived plans of where to go and what to do. Rest. Reconnect. Relax. Restaurants. Read. That’s it. If something strikes our fancy…then we will do it. It will be the first time in 44+ years of marriage we will be taking a vacation where we know no one.

So…I am unplugging all week. I’ll see you when I get back. I am unconcerned about things back here. Ryan and Diana will be fine without me. Ryan will be preaching Sunday. Until then…I will see you later…here or in the air.

 

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?

Broken

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Several years ago I read a book by Ed Underwood called When God Breaks Your Heart. Ed had a severe case of leukemia which manifested itself in skin pealing from his body in scratch-defying itching, a bloated body and countless other problems. In one chapter entitled Snake Oil (aptly titled due to the subject matter) he included several quotes. One was “Christians tell me they don’t know what to say, and then they open their mouths to prove it.” Another was “Hurting people are petty people.”

There comes a time in everyone’s life when strength is gone. We find ourselves on the last bit of will or desire to do much of anything, even living. Life falls apart and sometimes we just don’t know what do, where to turn.

I like what the late A.W.Tozer, a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor once wrote:

It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.

My sermon this Sunday is titled “More Power to Ya” and my original plan was to show this video. While driving to Ohio this past Monday, I heard this song on my Spotify. I’m using it instead.  Prayers would be appreciated.

I made over a four hour trip yesterday (Wednesday) to visit with a couple I married back in 2000. I received word that Mike had cancer all through his body. He has asked me to perform his memorial service so I went to visit but also to talk about that service. I’d like to ask you to pray for Mike and Sheila. The pain for him will become excruciating and the loss will be numbing for her. Thanks.