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Refreshment

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

My idea of refreshment and your idea of refreshment could be is probably different. For some it is a sit down in front of the TV. Or maybe it is a lawn chair or hammock and a good book. For others it may be yard sales (can you say gag?). Or maybe it is a quiet evening with your spouse or children or someone you love.

Mine? Well can you spell B.I.C.Y.C.L.E? Yeah…I know. How can that be a refreshment? “That just makes me tired thinking of it.” I respect your wacky haywire feelings.  I really do. I live with someone who shares your thoughts. She would just as soon my bike would turn to be covered in mothballs as to be able to be ridden.

Of course, she and I disagree. Good thing love overcomes HER crazy thinking. You know? I have tried to get her sane but no-o-o-o-o-o-o. I think I am getting an award for being the most patient person when it comes to listening to others’ thoughts about me riding a bike. 🙂

I rode this morning (Tuesday). It has been sweltering…like in the 90s with humidity in the stratosphere. I went to the Y yesterday because I knew I planned to ride today. I rode early this morning because I was heading to our church camp where we had 18 campers and faculty involved in camp and wilderness camp. I left at 6:15 as soon as it was light enough to safely ride so I could back to the office by 8:00 then head home for a shower. About 7 miles into the ride (about 6:45) I took these pictures. I took them while riding so they aren’t the best. And yes, I was on a back road where I saw no traffic. There are some simple pleasures an early morning ride gives. Some refreshment one can miss. I saw this and thought of Lamentations 3:22: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your way of refreshment? What time of the day is your favorite?

Cowardice

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

A coward is defined as “a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.”

Cowardice manifests itself in a variety of ways, as you know. I’m not going to list them. Fear is huge in many peoples’ lives but I don’t necessarily want to lump all fear in the same dump as being a coward.

I despise the use of “anonymous.” Letters to the editor are not printed if they are not signed by name. No blog I know of allows anonymous comments. I have received my fair share of anonymous letters and notes and until I learned that it was a coward who wrote them, they bothered me. Greatly. I mean, I would spend waste hours trying to figure out who wrote it dependent on the subject matter.  I would lose sleep over it, wondering who didn’t like me? (That was one of my great big weaknesses…always wanting to be liked by everyone).

I have already told you what I think of people who write anonymous letters (see highlighted words above). I received an anonymous text from someone recently. It came from someone not in my contacts and when I texted back and asked, “This is who?” I received no response. Yeah…cowardice. The text was not about me (for once). It was sent to me about someone else at the urging of a third party. Talk about being complicit to unbiblical actions!! How do I know? I went to the person whom it was about and that person was able to tell me. Frankly, I deleted it as unwanted junk.

So I say this to all my readers: please, if you must pass along something take ownership. Cowards send anonymous tips, emails, texts, letters, or voice mail. If it important enough for you to pass on, it is important enough for you to put your John Henry to it. And oh yeah…try the Biblical approach. Go to the person of whom something is being said. I do believe the Bible speaks about gossip and passing along information, be it true or false. Try considering reading Ephesians 4: 25, 29, and 31.

There. I’ve said my piece. And I sign my name to it.

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?

 

 

Why?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

I’m reading a book right now called Notes from the Valley by Pastor Andy MCquitty,  subtitled “A Spiritual Travelogue Through Cancer.” No…I don’t have cancer that I know of. But so many people whom I love and care about do. Andy is no different than “regular” people. Just because he is a pastor does not mean he did not ask the same questions other do.  Many people expect pastors to be “above others.” They don’t want a pastor who is better than them or thinks he is better than them. They don’t want a pastor who thinks more highly of himself than he ought to.

But…

They also expect him to be above the fray. You know… he should never ask or question God.  He should have perfect faith. Never a doubt. Never a fear. Never a raised voice in anger toward God.

May I let you in on something? Get your head out of the sand! I put my pants and shirt on the same way you do.  As much as I wish I could sometimes, I don’t tear open the buttons of my shirt (sort of hard since I wear t-shirts so often) to reveal a Captain America logo. Or a giant “S.”  I/pastors have feelings just like you. Just like your cancer-ridden friend.  Just like your friend whose parent’s mind is being ravaged by dementia or Parkinson’s. Just like you when you have heard of another friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. Or a baby born with physical problems.

Just like you Pastor Andy asked, “Why?” “Why me and not him?” Just like you your pastor struggles with having answers to unanswerable questions.

And just like you I am sometimes astonished God answers a prayer when I least expect it or in a way that is not on my radar. What prompted this post? Several things. I’ve already told you about my friends. But I also have been reading in Acts as I read through my ESV Reader’s Bible and read the story today of Peter’s release from prison by the angel. He goes to a house where they are praying for him and the servant girl is so astounded she leaves him outside. When she tells the people praying they say, “No way. No. No. No.” (my version). And when she convinces them to take a look they are astonished God answered their prayer. I chuckle at that. Not because of their lack of faith, but because “been there done that.” (Full story in Acts 12:6-19)

So ask “Why?” Go ahead. Ask away. He will not turn a deaf ear. But let it lead you to the One who can answer it.  But I have also learned there is a better question to ask. Instead of why, the better question is “What now? How do you want me to respond?”

Understand?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

I’ve said here before in my blog that I lack some things. One of those is “super intelligence.” I am not a deep-thinker by nature and often get bored when the subject goes deeper than a) I want to go and b) I am able to understand. People will ask me questions which “go beyond my pay grade” i.e. beyond my ability to understand and explain. There are certain mysteries I accept without feeling like I have to have a PhD to “sign off” on.

One of those is God. I am often asked hard questions, at least hard ones for me. I can’t say I have ever had one of those “dark nights of the soul” where I questioned everything I have ever been taught and came out on the other side more convinced than ever of what I believe. My “dark night” (no not Batman) is more related to having questions about suffering, and why things happen that I don’t have an answer to or see no sense in.

I’m currently reading a book by J.D.Greear called Not God Enough. While it is different from my normal fare, it has been a great book. An understandable book (for me). I’m almost 100 pages into this 200+ page book and I’m finding some good, thought-provoking stuff. Perhaps the best way to describe its approach is to use his opening statement of Chapter 1:

A god small enough to be understood is not big enough to be worshiped. Evelyn Underhill

There is no way “under God’s green earth” that I can or will ever understand God, what makes Him tick (except His love for me), or how He operates.  But the good thing is I don’t have to!! I often tell people it is okay to have doubts. True, doubt can drive you backward into disbelief, but it can also drive you forward into real faith. 

I will never understand all there is to know about God (nobody can). All I know is I believe He is who He said He is. He is the great I AM (as He told Moses). And for that, I make no apologies, nor do I need any letters after my name.

Saying

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

As I wrote in my journal about  yesterday’s New Morning Mercies and posted on my other blog, I took a look back at my journal from last year on March 17. Evidently I had been reading and studying about Bill Johnson back then. As I write this now, it suddenly hit me why I was studying him, Bethel Readding and what is called the New Apostolic Reformation.  (See yesterday’s post here for more information on that).  We were losing someone to that method of thinking. Someone(s) I love had become enamored by the teaching of Bethel and were in the process of leaving. In fact, it was real close to this time last year they left to pursue other avenues.

I found the following quote during my study and I had copied, printed, and paper-clipped it in my journal:

A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.

The source? Charles Spurgeon. The year? I couldn’t find it but he lived from 1834-1892.

Quite prophetic don’t you think? And challenging. And convicting.

Your thoughts?

Appreciation

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

I am writing this ahead of time….with anticipation of showing appreciation.

For the past 4 or 5 years the staff (Diana, Ryan and I) have shown our appreciation for our volunteers of the past year by having a celebration in their honor. Our modus operandi has been to have a catered meal; an evening of fun and hilarity; I walk around during the meal telling each volunteer how much they are appreciated; give away door prizes; and just have a general evening of fun and relaxation. Our volunteers are honored.

So this year we have decided to mix things up a bit. No catered meal. No church building. The rest will stay the same. We decided to go to our local theater for our appreciation night. We will still have the door prizes and giveaways…with a twist. We will be showing a movie: The Incredibles. Why? Because we think our volunteers are incredible! The best on the planet! Instead of a catered meal we are providing every person a ticket for a free popcorn and soda.  As I mentioned we will still have the door prizes and giveaways, but as they leave they will receive one more thing of appreciation.  I can tell what it is since it is a surprise, but I’m not posting this until the night starts. It is a specially baked cookie of The Incredibles logo. Just one last thing to remember the evening by.

Image result for the incredibles logo

Every organization, especially every church, relies on volunteers to get things done. I guarantee the things which get done around here would not get done if it were not for our volunteers. It is so much bigger than any 3 people co0uld pull off.  So, if you are reading this as part of OVCF, thanks for volunteering. If you are reading this from elsewhere, I thank you for volunteering in your church or organization.

How do you volunteer?

Silence

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

I have been reading a new book by Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock called The Way Back: How Christians Blew our Credibility and HOW WE GET IT BACK. There has been a lot of underlining and highlighting as I’ve read because of how true so much of what they write has been. It has been informative. Convicting. Educational. Challenging.

They quote English crime writer Dorothy Sayers from the 1940s. She warned of a fast-approaching church that would be too comfortable and tolerant to make any waves:

In the world it calls itself tolerance; but in hell it is called despair…It is the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive only because there is nothing it would die for. (p.101)

Long story short; there comes a point in time when we have to make a stand. The church (as a whole) and many Christ-followers have bought into the “tolerance agenda” of the vocal minority. But one thing is true: the truth doesn’t change. Whether we agree with it or not; whether we can stomach it or not; whether we try to debate it away or not; that fact still remains. The Truth is the truth.

I was quite intrigued by this quote: “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much to you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? “  Now…here’s the kicker. That quote is by magician and entertainer (and atheist) Penn Jillette

Maybe…just maybe…our silence is deafening.  Maybe we ought to stop bowing down to the “tolerance police” and start standing for Truth. Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

 

Choices

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Life is full of choices. Some are easy. Some are hard.  Take for example these pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which one would you choose? The one on the left is from our (mine & Jo’s) vacation in October to Daytona Beach; the one on the right is from January 15, 11:00 a.m. looking out the back door of the church building. My truck has been sitting there for close to 5 hours. I have already shoveled once.

Or maybe you prefer the one on the left as to the one on the right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same vacation. Same time and place for both.

That is not a tough choice is it? Unless, of course, you love snow and are one of those adrenaline junkies who likes snowboarding, skiing, or the more sedate making of snow angels. I do like the warmer weather because I can do the one hobby I enjoy doing. But I also choose to live in Indiana where the weather does funny things.  Only in Indiana could it be snowing like it has since about 8:00 last night and then by Friday be sunny and 37.  (Least that is what they predict).

Life is a bunch of choices. Again…some are easy; some are not. Choosing to follow Jesus seems the most logical, but there are many who don’t. Choosing to have the promise of heaven and eternal life seems like a fantastic deal, but some don’t think so. I choose life. I choose love. I choose eternity with the Father.  How about you?

I also choose not to be miserable when faced with this kind of weather.  I can’t change it so might as well live with it. Correct?  And for your information: this picture is for Floyd. He made a comment last week about it being 77 where he lives. Talk about rubbing it in!!!  See what you are missing, Floyd, by living in Arizona and not Indiana?  🙂 🙂 🙂

Run

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

In my message Sunday I talked about God bringing dead men back to life (spiritually). One of the essentials of that is allowing God to “breathe” into us. Ezekiel 36 talks about how God wants to take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. Then in chapter 37 we find the amazing story of dead men’s bones coming to life.

It is not easy to stay strong. It is not easy staying committed. It is not easy making time for the Father. That is one of the reasons why I am doing my other blog Be Transformed. Being transformed takes place on a daily basis. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime hyper-jacked event. It is not an emotional experience. To be candid I see it as a “daily plodding.” Not that I see having a relationship with Jesus as a daily plod, but that I see a relationship as a daily “work in progress.” “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” the Bible says. That is not a works-based salvation; it is an awareness of the need for awe and respect and reverence for God.

Since I have my other blog to write some serious thoughts, I want to be a little creative with Cycleguy’s Spin. I’m thinking of calling Monday’s entries “Music Monday” where I share a song that “speaks” to me. Given my state of mind right now spiritually; my focus in my sermons and blog; I’d like to ask you to listen to this song.  The lesson is “pointed.”

I’d like to hear your thoughts.