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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.

Fools

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

This past Sunday I spoke about the verse where Paul says, “We are fools for Christ’s sake.” While the fool is not a complimentary term, I went another way with it. I went with the idea that God embraces the ridiculous.

I love to talk about my two daughters. Seldom do I get the chance to brag about them, so today I want to brag about my oldest, Tami. She recently wrote a blog that I want to highlight and ask you to check it out. She says it very succinctly and, if I may brag, very well. I’d like to ask you to read it here.

One of the things I did was change the word fool to the word crazy. I started with this video. With that thought in mind here are some of the crazy people and highlights Tami also mentioned (just in case you didn’t read her post):

Abraham– Obedience is easy when it fits into our plan or our scheme. Abraham was willing to obey even though it was crazy.

Namaan- Sometimes we are asked to take steps of wild obedience where we have no clue where it will end. Stop too soon and we miss out on God’s phenomenal blessings. (Note: Imagine if Namaan had stopped at #6)

Gideon- It doesn’t matter the size of the army or enemy coming against you when God is fighting your battle for you.

Hosea– Though we fail; we are not failures. Though we are unfaithful; God is faithful. Always.

As Christ-followers we are often asked to do bizarre-appearing actions. Some might actually call us crazy. But I’d rather be called crazy for stepping out of the status quo than be bored to tears and bore everyone else along the way.

 

Counterfeits2

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

In my last post I mentioned 3 things which can become idols to us.

Keep in mind: an idol is a representation of what we honor, esteem, pay allegiance to, or worship. Idols tell us we can’t live without them.

The first three were:

  1. Stuff
  2. Money
  3. Sex

The three I’d like to mention in this post are not listed as 4-6 because they are less prominent or because they are less of an issue.  We all struggle with things that want preeminence in our lives. The following three should also be included in the list:

Idol #4: Technology. It has been interesting to me to listen to all the “talk” about the political garbage (I could use another word for it) on FB and other media venues and I breathe a sigh of relief that I am not on any of them. I have chosen ON PURPOSE to not be on any site. I know people who can’t live without their phone, iPad or tablet, or some form of technology in their hand.  Technology can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

Idol #5: Beauty. I will be the first to admit I see nothing wrong with taking care of yourself or seeing a nice-looking male of female walking toward me. But there is no denying it has become an idol in our culture. How much more subjective can it be than to have an Annual “Sexiest Man Alive” issue or “Beautiful People Issue?”

Idol #6: Entertainment. I will acknowledge the need for diversion. But sometimes we spend entirely too much time in front of the TV or computer screen. I’m thrilled that one of the things Jo & I have never done is have a TV in our bedroom, nor does her iPad make it there. TV. Music. Playing games. None wrong in and of themselves, but when they begin to take over common sensibilities “Houston, we have a problem.”

There are the 6 I used this past Sunday. There are, obviously, more. But hopefully, you get the point.  🙂

Counterfeits

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Last week I ran out of time in my consideration of idols. My last post, in fact, stated that I would list some idols we have today. Then time slipped by, life got hectic and I failed to finish my thought. (That happens a lot lately. Is that a sign of old age?) 🙂

So…what are some idols we have. Pastor Timothy Keller calls our idols “counterfeit gods.” He calls them “anything more important to us than God, anything that absorbs our heart and mind more than God, anything we seek to give us what only God can give.” So here is a list…albeit a short one…and an incomplete one.

Idol #1: Stuff. We live in a materialistic society. We like our stuff. But is it necessary? What place does it have in our lives? Questions to ask: do I really need all this stuff? If God asked me to let it go, could I?

Idol #2: Money. J.D. Rockefeller was once asked, “How much does it take to make me rich?” His answer: “Just a little bit more.” Tragically, our society has bought into this trap. I’m sorry to say many televangelists live off the pockets of others and become wealthy.

Idol #3: Sex. The statistics of internet use of pornography are staggering. It is more toxic and addictive than any other drug. Men and (more and more) women who would never think of taking meth, heroine, coke, or some other drug, find themselves enslaved by this drug.

My next post will list the next three. Absorb what you read here. Then ask yourself some hard questions. I already have and will continue doing so.

BeingThere

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

One of my favorite quotes by Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary to the Auca Indians, is “Wherever you are be all there.” Lately I have had trouble being here. Shoot, I’ve had trouble being anywhere. It seems like I’ve been going a thousand different directions lately. Then I read this:

“When George Mallory was once asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously answered, ‘Because it is there.’ But in a personal letter to his wife, Ruth, he revealed even more about what drove him to climb the mountain. ‘Dearest,’ he wrote, ‘…you must know that the spur to do my best is you and you again…I want more than anything to prove worthy of you.’ George left a meaningful legacy that proved worthy of history’s remembrance. But George’s son John wrote something that has challenged me. Proud of his father but sad too, John wrote, ‘I would so much rather have known my father than to have grown up in the shadow of a legend, a hero, as some people perceive him to be.'” (The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine-p.78)

I’ve noticed (as I’m sure you have also) life goes in seasons. Busy. Not busy. Crazy busy. Not so busy. Steady. Lull. You get the point. Today is one of those crazy busy seasons. My mind has wandered. I stopped and got both Jo and me a Polar Pop (yeah I know it isn’t good for me) and almost made it to the office before I remembered I had her pop. Sheesh!

So this small section out of this excellent book stopped me dead in my tracks. As Tim Hawkins says in his video, “I need to be centered.” Watch him. He is a hoot.

I’m preaching to myself here. Maybe you too?

Brrrrrrr

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Chilling.

Not the weather. Least not yet. 🙂 I, for one, am not looking forward to the colder weather. But I know it is going to happen. Just not yet…please!

I’ve been writing this week about the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in when it comes to our children. And even last week. I guess I’m like a lot of people: something gets under my skin and I can’t stop scratching it. I finished Make It Zero last night (Tuesday) and have been wanting to write this post all day but time has not been a commodity for me. I have a few minutes before my Wednesday night 66 class so I thought I would give you some statistics that have me chilled to the bone.

70% of all sex trafficking victims were former foster children.

More than 100,000 children are currently trafficked for sex in the United States.

In 2014, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline received reports of 3,598 sex trafficking cases inside the United States.

The average age of a child when they first are used in prostitution is twelve to fourteen years old.

Do those chill your bones? They should. I can’t get the children out of my mind. Sorry for the preoccupation I seem to have. No…I’m not sorry. I sense outrage. I sense sorrow. I sense something needs to be done. But what?

What can I do? What can one person do? Not a whole lot. But it is a start. What can you do?

My daughter sent me a link to this upcoming movie. I am trying to get it here at our local theater. Check out the trailer.

Musings

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

I’ve had this post ruminating around in my empty head all day. I had an impromptu staff meeting. A surprise counseling session. An Owen County Chamber meeting. Some errands and a much-needed 18 mile ride (although I slogged through it so go figure). I finally have a chance to sit down and type.

I read this statement this morning in my Psalm devotional book:

Never measure God’s unlimited power by your limited expectations.

Then I read the story of Joshua and the Israelites as they carried out their mandate from God about taking the land (Joshua 10). They came to the aid of the Gibeonites (who had deceived Joshua & the leaders but with whom Joshua had made a covenant) first. Then they continued taking the land God had given them. To their eyes it looked impossible. They had limited resources.

What Joshua, his leaders, and the Israelites had to ask themselves is this: will I trust God? I read the Crossway Men’s Devotional Bible on this passage and it asked this: Will I be a big God-er or a little god-er?

Here are my thoughts and you can take them for what they’re worth: If I limit God by my expectations, I have basically become a little god-er. If, however, I believe in God’s unlimited power, then I become a big God-er.

Those were my musings this morning…August 3.

Idols

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

THIS IS NOT A REVIEW! So please don’t look away just yet! 🙂

I’ve just started reading a new book of mine: Gospel Treason by Brad Bigney.

Product Details

The subtitle is “Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols.” I’ve had to read several sections over and over-not because I dozed off while reading, but because I have struggled with grasping what he is saying as it applies to me. The following is an excerpt:

“God is not our Sugar Daddy in the sky. He’s not some cosmic Santa Claus looking for ways to make us more comfortable. He is look for ways to make us more like Christ, so He wants to show how you respond when you don’t get your way…Think about it. When do you grow the most-when you’ve got a husband (wife) who’s just the way you want him (her)? When do you become more like Christ, and cry out to Him in desperate prayer as you search the Scriptures-when your whole world is ordered just the way you want it? No. It’s when your husband (wife) isn’t what you want him (her) to be; it’s when the job isn’t that you had dreamed of, when your health fails, when your children rebel. That’s when God meets you and conforms you to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.” (p.23)

Those words made me pause and think and pause and think some more. Easy road? Not on His watch! Any thoughts?

Envy

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Can envy be sinful?

Can envy be not sinful?

The answer…I think…is yes to both. Depending, of course, on the attitude in which it manifests itself.  Please stick with me as I do some thinking out loud. Then you can castigate agree with me.  🙂

I was speaking with someone recently and I said, “I want to say this carefully lest you misunderstand me. I envy your husband.” Relax…it wasn’t a sexual talk. Not even close. I stated I am envious because he has accomplished far more in his short years than I have in my long years. Where he is at his age, I wasn’t even close. In fact, at 63, I’m still not close…and never will be!

My brother, Rob, has a fantastic voice. While I was the athlete and excelled in my chosen sport, Rob excelled in music. Guess who is still singing and who is no longer playing? If your answers were Rob and me (in that order) give yourself a virtual high five. I am envious of his ability.

As stated I am envious. But I rejoice in their success. Jealous? No.  (Okay just a little). I can honestly say I agree with what the Bible says about this: “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” I rejoice in my friend’s success and I cannot tell you how proud I am of my brother.  (Beyond proud actually).

I do think it is high time for many of us to quit “wishing and hoping” for more of what someone else has and be content with what God has given us. I think we can be envious without being sinful. It is when it becomes a driving force, begins to cloud our vision, and leads to comparison that we need to check our emotions at the door and straighten some things out.

Your thoughts?

ManUp!

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

familymatters

As you can probably figure out my sermon this Sunday is about and for men. I know that leaves out a significant number of those who will be here but never fear! That other significant number will be praised the next week. (Mother’s Day for the uninitiated…or if you happen to have forgotten). I am a firm believer that much of the “success” of both a marriage and a home depends on the man of the house. Sadly, we live in a time where men have abdicated the leadership role of the family and have become more invisible than ever.

In fact…I have three somewhat familiar initialed words to describe many husband/fathers today:

MIA– Missing In Action. They are missing in their marriages, their homes, their jobs, and their interactions with others.

POW– Prisoner of War. Many men are held prisoner, hostage. Some as a result of their own battles from the past and some as a result of current battles like lust, greed, desire for things, power, etc.

PDY– Present for Duty. This one is familiar to military people. It stands for one who reports for duty. This man shows up. He is accountable. He’s there. He is a difference maker.

It is not easy being a husband/father/man who shows up. We need to ManUp!

Interestingly, we scheduled a Men’s Getaway at our church camp for Friday night/Saturday morning. We have a great getaway planned. But I’m going to ask you to pray for us please. And then would you please include Sunday? Along with everything else, we have a Day of Service planned…mostly all outdoor activities. Oh yeah…90% chance of rain. So we have been praying for it not to rain or to hold off until we are done. 🙂 Join us won’t you?