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Belonging

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Everyone wants to belong to something. To be included. No one wants to be an outcast. Loner. Bullied. Called “different.”

This past weekend Jo attended a Ladies Retreat at the church camp we send our kids. She was telling me about hearing a fantastic workshop speaker.  This woman has had CP all her life and has struggled with fitting in. Bullied for her “difference.” But someone loved her and accepted her and showed her Jesus. During her workshop she asked the ladies to listen to a song. Jo played it for me last night. I like what it says so I am including it here for you to listen to.  It is a new song and a new group to me, but the words spoke volumes. I’ve included two versions here for you:

One of just the video.

One with the lyrics in case you have difficulty understanding the words.

It is important to remember that everyone matters to God.  Keep that in mind as you make your way through the week. Keep an eye out for the wounded one. The one no one wants to be around. The one who people look away from. I know I’m praying I do a better job of that myself.

 

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.

Astounded

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

I have moments where I am totally astounded by God. They may come in different ways.

Hearing a song.

Participating in worship.

Listening to someone tell how God intervened in his/her life.

Watching a life being changed only by the grace of God.

Through the laughter and love of little Sophia (Jo & I are mamaw Jo and grandpa Bill) even though not related.

Through the love of a wife who continues to astound me with her grace toward me.

I could go on. But none astound me as much as God. Each day I awaken to new mercies. Each day I awaken to a new sunrise (eventually), new sights, new beginnings, new awareness, new direction, new hope. Again…I could go on.

But I am most astounded by the unconditional love and grace of a God who blesses me with more than I certainly deserve. In about an hour and a half we will enter into our corporate worship. I will sing praises. I will preach His Word. And I will anticipate being astounded by God. It is fitting that this song be the one I choose for this week. I hope it will speak to your heart and set your mind right for the week.  The words are easily understood but if you do have difficulty, they are included in the video description (hit SHOW MORE).

MAY GOD LEAVE YOU ASTOUNDED TODAY. MAY HE LEAVE YOU AMAZED THIS WEEK.

Fences

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

My apologies for not being here more often this week. Little did I know how “life was going to happen” and would change the color of my week. Nothing bad. I did drive 3 hours ( 1 1/2 each way) to attend the funeral of someone’s mother) but that was actually a refreshing time by myself. Jo had surgery last week so she was unable to make the trip with me. She gave me permission to turn my music up loud and listen away.  🙂 🙂 So I did! I even played air guitar and sang out loud!! Yeah…I was by myself and windows were up.

I wrote a devotion this morning about fences for my other blog Be Transformed. Writing in my journal every day while reading New Morning Mercies has been a phenomenal exercise in discipline for me.  I tend to be a pretty self-disciplined person but this has taken me to a new awareness of its importance. I read New Morning Mercies each day; journal; send it to my Band of Brothers; and then post it on Be Transformed.  Call this shameless promotion if you want to, but I’d like to invite you to read the post on Fences. I also invite your response.  You can purchase New Morning Mercies by going here.

Now…I’d like to invite you to join me at Be Transformed to read and comment (if you like).

Anthem

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

We are often told we need to set goals.

We are often told that a goal-less person is an aimless person.

In some respects I agree with that. I will be the first to admit I have never had 1-3-5-10 year plan. Even in church life, I can’t say I have planned that far ahead. I know, for example, what my theme is for the year. I then try to focus my sermons around that theme for the year. This year my theme is Uncharted so every series I preach I try to keep that theme in mind. The first two “Transformed” and “True North” fulfill that goal. I have in mind, but not on paper, where I want to go next. I used to have the whole year of sermons planned and seldom deviated from it.

But an anthem is deeper than that. An anthem says, “This is what I believe in and, if necessary, will die for.”  It is more than a code of ethics. It is a foundation. It is a “here I will take my stand” statement. The song I picked to feature today is called “The Anthem.” I have chosen the one with the lyrics.  Hope you enjoy it.

Have a great week.

Oh…by the way? I will take my stand on the truth in this song.

EvenIf

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

This past Friday Jo and I drove to Ohio to see our daughter, son-in-law and Braden, our grandson. It had been since Christmas and we needed our “Braden fix.” I am also keenly aware that there will soon come a day when Grandpa and Mamaw will not be the people we are now…you know…someone to look forward to seeing. So I/we want to take advantage of that now.

Last weekend probably the closest lady friend Jo has in the church took her to see MercyMe in concert at Lafayette. Linda bought her the ticket for Christmas; Tami paid for her 1/2 of the hotel room; and I saved money for her to eat and spend however she wanted to. She had a blast and was thoroughly impressed by MM. So…on our way to Ohio we listened to their CD. It included the song you will have a chance to listen to.

I’ll be honest: I cannot listen or watch this song without tears in my eyes. While I don’t sing, I stand before people week after week as “God’s spokesman.” I’m supposed to have it all together. But what if I don’t? What if I’m struggling with my trust? Can I echo the sentiments of this song?  One thing for sure: this song kicks in the teeth of the health-wealth people who say God is going to make everything okay. G-r-r-r-r-r.

Anyway, enjoy the song. Let it minister to you today, this week. Pass it along to someone who needs to hear it.  For the backstory behind the song, listen to this.

OOPS

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

What a shame! Maybe I ought to say, “What a shame we make mistakes.” The one good thing is that we all do it. No one stands alone. I’m not talking about sin.  We all do that as well. I mean, mistakes. Forgetting to do something. Failing to do something. It wasn’t blatant. Inadvertent might be a better word.

I did that. Just yesterday. Since the first of the year I have posted a music video which tells a story or a truth every Sunday/Monday. I failed to do that today. I know you are extremely disappointed. I can see it in the tears which roll down your cheeks even as you came here to watch. I’m so sorry I ruined your day. But then again, if watching a video I post is the highlight of your day I think I would be correct in saying, “You need a life.”  🙂  I mean, I’m honored I would have that much influence but…

Anyway, Saturday evening I received an email from Tami (my oldest in case you don’t know) and she said, “I was searching Apple music and saw this song. I thought it would fit.” Now…even as I post this I have to say I am not a fan of Rend Collective. Ryan, our youth pastor, thinks they are fantastic. But what does he know? He’s 1/2 my age (literally) and likes weird music (rap included). I, on the other hand, have the most excellent taste in music. 🙂  Anyway, I thought I would honor Tami in this post by including this song.

Enjoy. And you should be able to figure out why she thought it appropriate.

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.

Religion

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

One of the values of my new blog, Be Transformed,  is the emphasis it places on grace. Actually, since it focuses on the daily devotions found in New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, it is really only fair to say NMM places an emphasis on grace. I do invite you to join me there-not only in the discussion but also in the daily reading.

But this post is not a plug for Be Transformed.  It may appear that way, but it really isn’t. However…  🙂  Back in October I read a devotion by Derwin Gray called A Never-Ending Climb. I thought it was really good so I clipped it for future use. I saw it again today and decided it was a good one to use today:

Religion, or works-based righteousness, paints a picture of a god sitting atop a high peak, waiting for us to scale the mountain through our good behavior or adherence to religious principles. The more “good” we do the closer we come to approaching our god. If we do something bad, however, the god on top of the mountain turns Zeus-like and throws a lightning bolt to strike us and knock us back down the mountain. After the electric shock wears off and our singed hair stops smoking, we dust ourselves off, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and start the long trek all over again.

Long story short: the trek of works-based righteousness is a never-ending hill climb. One step up and two back. That to me is what religion is like. To give another picture it is like the hamster in the wheel. “‘Round and ’round it goes, where it stop nobody knows.”

Get off the treadmill. Be done with works-based religion. Get on the GRACE track.

Sea

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

It is easy to feel somewhat insignificant. I believe it is often at the root of much of what ails people, even to the point of taking their own lives. It is sad so many have gotten to the point of not caring. I ache each time I hear of someone who finds their life so overwhelming or so trivial or so uninspiring that they decide it isn’t worth living. Frankly, we haven’t helped that out very much. We idolize people who shouldn’t (like no one should be). We cast aside those who appear to be “less than worthy” of our attention. We lose sight of people being important, no matter who they are. We use people and then wonder why in the world they end up lost and in a world of hurt.

The Christ-follower has the greatest message in the world…the message of a loving God who gave His only Son to give meaning and purpose to life-to lives deemed insignificant. Sometimes I want to shout it from the housetops or take someone by the collar (in love of course… 🙂 ) or look someone straight in the face and say, “You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to feel this way. I know Someone who loves your brokenness and has a way to make you whole.”

For my song this week I want to share an old one from around 2003. I’m on a Kutless kick right now and if I was to choose my favorite song by them it would be the one I’m asking you to listen to. I hope you will take a moment to listen to and read the lyrics. YOU MATTER! YOU ARE IMPORTANT! BUT SO ARE ALL THOSE OTHERS IN THE SEA OF FACES.