Friendship

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Sides

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

“The ink is black, the page is white…” so sang Three Dog Night. (I will not forgive you if you haven’t heard of them).

“A child is black, a child is white…” (Same song as above, just different dance)

Innocent.  Guilty.

Fire.  Ice

Rock music.  Country music (cough cough). Or is the real music vs non-music? 🙂

Wisdom. Fool.

Yin. Yang.

Two sides.

Two sides to every story. Wise to remember that. Being friends with someone puts that ability in danger, especially when one is louder than the other. Or mud is being slung. Or lies being told. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Maintaining a rational view and seeing both sides is often hard…and gets more difficult as the situation escalates.  It is natural to see only one side or to take sides. Anger kicks in. A sense of justice kicks in. A desire to strike out heightens.

But the Bible speaks about wisdom and words of wisdom. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” Pr.10:11.

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” Pr.12:18-19

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Pr.17:27

There are two sides to every story. In every aspect of life. Choose wisely if you must. Otherwise, stay calm and don’t be swayed by lies.

Words

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

In case you didn’t read my other blog for today (May 9) …yes that’s a hint…I used a quote I had read in another source I use for my Quiet Time in the morning.

When words become weapons, our relationships soon become casualties. (May 9-Our Daily Bread)

We will often use phrases like “He likes to open mouth and insert foot” or “The mouth gets involved before the brain gets engaged.” How about this one: “The mouth often speaks before the brain is consulted”? (I know that’s bad. I just made it up).

But do consider the import of that statement. Maybe there is something to the idea that James 1:19 lists “Be quick to hear” first before “slow to speak and slow to anger.”

I seriously doubt any of us would just outright murder someone. But the Bible says if we hate our brother we are a murderer. Don’t you think the same thing can be said about the one who plays war games with his words? Slash. Slash. Dice. Mince. Cut. Chop. We are capable of doing all those with our words. Even sarcasm is dangerous when used with regularity or used when someone perceives we are serious.

Maybe it is time to STOP! Time to WEIGH OUR WORDS MORE CAREFULLY! And then really do what the Bible says to do: SPEAK ENCOURAGING WORDS.

Those are my thoughts this Wednesday afternoon. What are yours?

 

 

Recap

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

The Spring of ’18 Day of Service is history. Several things to note:

We served more people than we ever have. We not only did individuals, we were a tremendous help to the organizations we lent our hands and back to. You can see which ones we helped by going here. It has been a long winter, especially for the kennels and Horse Angels. MyPath needed spruced up and cleaned up, especially with the recent flood of about a month ago. The same goes for Cooper Commons (a park) and the county fairgrounds. We were also able to help some local people by cleaning out gutters, cleaning up garbage, raking leaves, and just generally sprucing some things up.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. I prayed for the rain to hold off until at least 4:00 and it bypassed us completely.  I’m not vain enough to think my prayer made a difference but I’d sure like to believe it did. 🙂  I actually think the rain formed to the east of us. But I’LL TAKE IT!  Made for a great day of work.

With the combination of OVCF, The Connection, and the Owen County Chamber of Commerce, we had about 70 volunteers. As you can imagine that was much larger than just a church of our size could do, so it was good to partner with the other two.

I believe we made a difference for those we helped. And that is what it is all about. I received some texts Sunday night from people we helped. Made me feel good. I know we are not to do service with that in mind but it never hurts to know you have been appreciated.  One of OVCF’s “prongs” of our vision statement is “To be involved in our community.” I like it when we can say, “We are.”

Next up, Lord willing, is the Fall Day of Service planned for November 4 (probably).

Service

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

I haven’t been very active here or at other blogs this week. There is a reason for that.  It is called

DAY OF SERVICE

Ever since 2009 (with a few years in between) and now, we have had an annual, and sometimes semi-annual Day of Service. We go out and serve in the community in various ways. We do oil changes and minor repairs in the Fall but this year is extra special. First, here is where we are serving:

MyPath-a trail which is only part of the proposed trail from the Y to McCormick’s Creek State Park

Horse Angels– a horse rescue farm run by Sue Whitman, a local vet

The Brown-Cunningham Kennels– Gary and Becky rescue dogs and have quite an operation for 2 people

Cooper Commons and OC Fairgrounds– flood waters play havoc with both places. We plan to help clean up

Local people who need help with yard work and other minor repairs and clean up

The exciting part of this for me is the involvement of two others: The Connection-a community church (they have been our partners for 3-4 years); and the Owen County (OC) Chamber of Commerce. I am on the board of the Chamber but Cassandra Toth is our new Executive Director and she wanted to get involved in some way with cleaning things up in OC. When I told her what James (one of the pastors at The Connection) and I had planned she jumped on board with us.  Here is the really cool thing: we met yesterday (Wednesday) and compared notes, etc. We have over 70+ people helping. 70+!!!

2 churches + 1 chamber = making a difference

What a phenomenal event it would be if it became a county wide Day of Service! All sizes, shapes, colors, makes and models coming together for one day to help clean up the town of Spencer and the county as a whole. Little baby steps though to start. The weather is supposed to be good (you can pray for that). But I can’t wait to make the rounds from 1:00-4:00 this Sunday to see what is happening!!

And if you are involved in OVCF, we will only have one service this Sunday at 10:00.

Relief

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Welcome to my Sunday meanderings.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes things just seem to pile up?  We have those seasons when stuff happens, in spades. Not every once in awhile but what seems like an onslaught. As many of you have experienced, it isn’t just one thing; it is a myriad of things.

Cancer diagnosis in friends. (A complication in one came in while I was showering this morning).

Marriages falling apart.

Deaths of friends and the funerals which follow (3 in the last month).

A three-week old baby requiring open heart surgery.

A host of other “beat downs.”

Plus one very tired pastor who needs a break (which is coming).

I’m preaching about HOPE this morning. Hope in a forever home. Good thing I believe in that. If my hope is not connected to forever, my hope will somehow die.  For hope to be hope it must carry with it the promise that all which is broken will be repaired, and that it will remain repaired forever.

I’m glad I have Someone to lean on. If I didn’t I don’t know how I would handle this onslaught right now.  Maybe that is why I have chosen two songs for this week. They are throwbacks. The singer is Mark Farner, former lead singer for Grand Funk. His conversion is a great story but his music is timeless. His lyrics are clear so you shouldn’t have any trouble listening and understanding. So check out this song then go to this one.

Have a great week bolstered (as I am and will be) by the truth I serve an amazing God who understands.

Image

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

There is no doubt we live in an image-conscious world. Fat-shaming. Body-shaming. All kinds of shaming going on. Cyber bullying has become a pastime for many. Plastic surgeons are in high demand to fix this, tuck this, remove this, do this, do that.

Whatever happened to Psalm 139: 13-16 and the reality it teaches? Before you jump all over me, I agree we ought to take care of ourselves. I don’t cycle and lift weights for nothing. But to body-shame someone because they don’t meet “our standard” of loveliness is just downright wrong. Sinful even. And to feel less than beautiful because of someone else’s standards is not right either.  Because of back surgery I am limited in what I can do for my core muscles. I was not allowed to do anything for almost 3 months. My stomach is not as flat, toned and defined as it once was. But that hasn’t stopped someone from commenting about it. I laugh it off but what would that do to someone who was less confident or didn’t know the uphill battle I face trying to find ways to exercise?

That is why this song was so insightful to me this past week.  If you have trouble with the lyrics I have included the lyric video of the song here.  I hope this helps set your week on a good path.

Suicide

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Warning. Spoiler Alert. This is not going to be a fun post to read. Or write for that matter.  This is not a fun subject, a joking matter, or something to be taken lightly. Everyone of us has probably, in some way, been touched by suicide. Either we are survivors of it (those left behind) or we know someone who has threatened suicide or someone who died of suicide.  As a pastor I would love to say it has never touched a church I have pastored or affected someone in the church. I could give you statistics but that would belabor it.  Because I am a pastor, and because I want to reach out to the survivors, I felt a definite need to “read up” on it. I feel God definitely led me to a book called Grieving a Suicide by Albert Y. Hsu. A few months after his wedding, Dr. Hsu’s father took his life. No doubt depression played a major part in his father’s actions after a major stroke three months earlier.

What makes this book so helpful is his personal involvement in it. It is not a clinical “this-is-what-is-wrong-with-people” approach. Nor is it a book which condemns people to hell who take their life (I won’t do that either). What I especially liked about the book is it can be read and understood by the common person. Like me. I have no visions of grandeur about my intelligence. I like things simple. Dr. Hsu does that. He doesn’t back down from the hard questions but neither does he get heavy-handed. The ones who won’t like this book are those looking for proof of condemnation. If you are one of those, go looking at the comics. I prefer not to cross swords or paths with you.

Here is one example of down-to-earth teaching: there is some discussion about the use of terms-committed suicide vs  completed suicide. I have always use the former but there is someone in the church who uses the latter. His thoughts? Survivor’s react against the former saying it sounds criminal. I’ll grant that now. The latter, he says, “sounds like a laudatory accomplishment…It comes across as somewhat clinical and cold.” (p.169)  His suggestion? “My dad died from suicide” or “my dad took his own life.”  He also recoils against describing suicide as “successful.” (p.170).

I simply cannot recommend this book enough. It is also interspersed with excellent and informative items like “Warning Signs of Suicide”; “Facts About Suicide”; and others. It is helpful if you are a survivor and are looking for help, and it is helpful if you want to help someone. Check out the right sidebar of my blog for more information on the book.

Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One's Search for Comfort, Answers, and Hope

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.