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Interrupted

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

If you saw the last post, it was a description of Sunday’s sermon: Black/white.

Well…it was supposed to be. Until that Sunday morning when God interrupts the thought-process and says, “I want you to go in a different direction.”

So “Black Hats/White Hats” was held over until this coming Sunday. God had other ideas. I want you to know I’m not really into that. I prepare for a reason. I study for a reason. I practice on Sunday morning to an empty auditorium for a reason. I am a firm believer that if people come on Sunday morning to hear “me speak” (to hear a word from God as He has taught me), they need to hear something worth listening to. Half-baked, half-prepared sermons which use the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an excuse for not studying and preparing tell the people they don’t matter and the pastor doesn’t care.  That’s not me. So when I no sooner begin my sermon and I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it all aside and talk from the heart, I don’t jump up and down like Horshack on Kotter saying, “Ooh ooh ooh.”

That is what happened though this Sunday. I no sooner made two comments:

“Along with the fake there will always be a real.”

“Underneath it all we need to see that Looks can be deceiving.”

At that point I told the people to put their Bibles and notes away. I confessed to them that for the past 9 months or so I have been wearing a mask. I wore a mask so when they asked, “How you doing?” my stock answer was, “I’m fine.” Problem is Bill wasn’t fine. Bill was running on fumes.  He was empty.

It took two bicycle accidents to get my attention. The first didn’t work because it wasn’t my fault and I was able to move on too quickly from it. But this second one was a doozy. I’ve written about it here. I’m healing physically, but spiritually is taking longer. If you would like to listen to the podcast of Sunday’s talk, you can link here.

Your continued prayers are very much needed. Priorities need realigned. Relationships need mended and realigned as well. Thanks ahead of time.

Released!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Needless to say, after this post, I’ve been waiting for this day.

WEDNESDAY

MARCH 1

1:20 P.M.

After having the 22 staples removed, a series of x-rays to check on healing, a chat with the doctor, a visit to the therapist (physical smarty pants), I was released to go my own way! I will check back in at the end of the month, but for the most part I am free and clear. The only restrictions are physical pain and movement. I’m allowed to return to the Y (but I have to be smart obviously). No incline bench presses. No shrugs. No…no…no.  I have to be smart he says and I hear the peanut gallery (composed of my wife) saying, “No. No. No.”  🙂

It felt good to be released. To be able to drive my Frontier to the office without being chauffeured. To experience that sense of well-being which comes from something new.

There have been several “something news” which have come as a result of this accident. I’d like to share some of them with you in a future post or two. But time has run out for me on this one. I have a bike to ride.

OOOPS JUST KIDDING.  🙂

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is the xray of the repair. I think it is safe to say no airport security line will be safe for me.

Musings

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Some of you may be wondering where in the world Bill has been? I mean, I was on track with “getting with the program” of regular posts, and keeping you updated on sermons and life. It has been a week since I last posted and I either have a very boring life or something else has happened. Trust me when I say I don’t have a boring life so that can only mean one thing…something else happened. I wish I could say it was something as minor as a computer glitch or time constraint or something small. But I can’t. Perhaps a picture can paint a thousand words:

Last Friday, the 17th, I was 3 miles from home after riding about 15 miles when I hit the pavement. My mind has blacked out what happened. I don’t know if I hit a stone; a manhole cover that was slick on its end or something else. The next thing I knew I was flopping down the hill like a rag doll. My bike is mangled in some way but I have yet to see how badly. My collarbone was broken in four places (surgery done this past Wednesday); I have three broken ribs; multiple contusions on my body and a huge hematoma on the back and right hip that is uncomfortable. I did a face plant as you can tell. The next two pictures will tell that story.

Without the helmet, I would hate to even think of the results. Not only is the outer shell cracked and bent as you can see, the inner shell is also split. I seriously do not understand the silliness of riding without a helmet- bicycle or motorcycle. Male/female vanity doesn’t stop pavement. Who knows what Jo and my family and church family would be dealing with now if I had chosen not to wear the helmet. Years ago I made a decision to never ride with someone who didn’t wear a helmet. No helmet=no ride.

I’m going to write more as the week progresses and I get a little more acclimated to a schedule. In the meantime, would you mind praying for me and I recuperate? Pray for Jo & Tami as they put up with my stubbornness of wanting to do things. Pray for Janna, Jason, and Braden who live 4 hours away. Pray for the church family. And pray for Ryan who is preaching again this weekend in my place.

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.

Struck

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

As I mentioned in the last post, it was Jo’s birthday. I survived the caning I received for telling her age, but other than that I have come out of it relatively unscathed.

We did go see Hidden Figures. What a moving picture! I was born in 1952 and even though I grew up during the age of segregation, I was basically naive. My mother was not a segregationist by any stretch so I was taught all people were worth something. I was never allowed to use the “n” word in her presence, nor was I allowed to make fun of any handicapped person. (Kids can be cruel you know?) I grew up living in the projects, low income housing units built for the steel workers in the 20s, I believe. Improvements had been made but I was still a son-of-the-projects.  I look back now and remember the separate housing units for the black people (that’s one of the names they were called. That and colored people). But I can also look back and realize some of my friends were black kids. I played sports with them. I went to school with them. I was affected by, but in the dark when the riots of ’69-70 hit home to my little town of West Mifflin, PA. I grew up in a high school that was about 1/3 black so I was not out of sorts like so many whites and blacks were. In fact, while former friends were fighting and calling each other names outside before school, I stood inside with Jeff Goldblum (yes him…a Jew); John, a white Catholic; Bruce, a black with concert violinist aspirations; and me, a white Christian. So I knew of difficulty with the races but isolated myself against it.

The movie, Hidden Figures, showed the ugliness and inequality of the whole racial situation. It was, to me, a blight on our country…to think of the Civil War and the freeing of slaves as basically a non-event in our nation’s history. I was struck by the way people were treated.

If I were you, I would make plans to see the movie. Go prepared to get angry. Go also with Kleenex because there are both happy/laughing moments, and also weepy moments. Above all, go prepared to be struck by the reality of God’s love for every individual…no matter the race or color.

66

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Yeah…I committed the unpardonable sin.

I told the age of a woman. Remember those admonitions? “Never ask a woman how old she is.”  Besides, it has been my experience most of them will “lie” and say “29” or “39” or some such silly number. Especially when they have a 20 something child.

Specifically I told the age of my wife…today…she turns 66. I have a staff meeting this morning and she will sleep in a little but this afternoon she wants me to take her to see Hidden Figures at our local theater (we are crashing a homeschool private showing to do so). She saw it Saturday with some friends and asked if I would take her to see it again. Following that we will be meeting Tami for supper at Texas Roadhouse (unless she changes her mind…which I understand is a woman’s prerogative).

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We had a great day yesterday. The leadership has been telling the people they had an important announcement to make for several weeks now. I understand now it made some people rather nervous. At the gym this morning one of the guys (who was unable to be there) asked me about the announcement. When I asked him what he thought it was, he said, “Usually one of two things. Either the building program is getting started or you are leaving.” I told him I wasn’t going anywhere. We did announce the money has all come in for not only the youth addition but we will also be able to pay off the mortgage. We will, by God’s grace, be totally debt free! That was a reason to rejoice and clap…and we did!

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Woke up this morning to cold weather and a dusting of snow. We can’t complain though. Plus I’d rather have a dusting any day than have to shovel for hours. Have a great week! I’ll be back!!

Virus

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

These days it is not unusual to hear “you have a virus.” And so those dreaded words hit us like a ton of bricks because most likely they will also mean quarantine in our bedroom (at best our house), loads of fluids, and many moments of sleep. (Hmmmm I am wondering if one can fake a virus for some blessed sleep?)

But my absence from this blog and other blogs has not been because of a virus. Least, not mine. Other than having the aches and pains and need for sleep like many other 64 year old codgers, my life has been infected by another kind of virus. One, in this case, which was even more insidious than the physical kind.

MY. COMPUTER. HAS. A. VIRUS.

A bad one. Last Thursday I spent over 1 1/2 hours waiting while my server spun emptying or deleting or writing emails. It spun seemingly endlessly as I tried to type. “Mozilla not responding” or “Word not responding” became permanently etched in my screen (or at least my psyche). More than once I asked someone if they had a gun or a baseball bat. A scan started on Sunday morning for malware revealed almost a 1000 viruses-brought on by a screen saver and a download of Chrome. So repair was started. And I waited. And I waited. Tuesday morning it finally said the Repairing disk was done. Yeah, in a pig’s eye. The whole process started all over again and when I tried to run a malware scan it said the program didn’t exist. Say what? Infected is what Ryan, the techgeek, said.

He ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie!  So he told me to switch computers and he will take mine home to perform surgery on it. It is so nice to have a computer that works. No hesitation in mail. No spinning and waiting. I have to go a little out of my way for sure since this one does not have my Bookmarks nor recognizes my Username and Password exactly. But we can deal with that since the. computer. works.

Hence, this post after an absence of over a week. Lots has happened. I hope to bring you up to “snuff” as time moves on. As for me…I am glad my computer is feeling better.

Christmas2016

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

godsgiftofchristmas

I have been virtually absent from this blog and others’ blogs as well. A comment here or there. A post here or there. I’ve had some time to re-evaluate how I feel about a lot of things, but in this case, Cycleguy’s Spin. Curiously, instead of slowing down, life picked up speed. Things which seemed second nature to me suddenly became more laborious. I chalk it up to the wreck on November 7th and the life-pace change which took place as a result. I have not been able to sleep horizontally (in my bed) since November 7th. My recliner has become my favorite place to spend my restless evenings trying to grab some uncomfortable sleep. That has lessened pretty much (for which I am grateful) but I still haven’t been horizontal.

The wreck. 6 hours in an ER getting x-rays. A huge dark purple hematoma developing on my hip which eventually moved down my leg to blow up my knee, then my calf and lower leg, and then finally my ankle/foot.  A visit to an Urgent Care Clinic. An ultrasound to make sure of no blood clots. Finally a reference from a PCP to a general surgeon for a possible slice and drain of the hematoma. After two weeks of Lasix and heat compresses and God’s amazing machine called the body, the surgeon has said no surgery will be required. YES!!!My body is absorbing it.

Add to that mix two weddings, a funeral, a growing & involved church in the community and the recipe is for busyness. The church is preparing for a Christmas breakfast for our community, plus a Christmas Eve service and one on Sunday morning. Fortunately, they are identical. I had planned on taking a Tuesday and going off to a retreat center for some solitude but even that blew apart.

My grandson is now with us for a few days. (Yeah, that brings peace and quiet). 🙂 But he is a joy to have around. And joy is something we all need. That, after all, was the message the angels carried to the shepherds that first night: “I bring you good news of great joy.”

So that is what I wish for you this Christmas season. A season of JOY.  My next post will be after Christmas so please have a blessed and joy-filled Christmas. And thanks for hanging in there with me.

Update

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

My presence on my blog and anyone else’s for that matter is not disinterest…trust me. I have taken the time to read other blogs but not comment. There is a reason.

Just read this post.

I thought I would give an update on my status with a comment from my sermon. It is still surreal at times when I allow myself to think about it, how close I came to having a total life change. I’ve calculated that change to be about 2-3″ in length. His mirror hit me on my left butt cheek (sorry if that offends you) and spun me up and then down. The injuries were bad enough to give me a huge hematoma on my left hip and blacken my whole left leg and thigh down to my knee and cause swelling to my foot. (I have pictures!  🙂 )  The reality I have faced it this: 2-3″ to the right and I am either paralyzed or dead.  So, I tell people I am bruised and sore but alive. I took one day away from work and God has given me the strength to get through the rest of my tasks: office work; a wedding rehearsal/event; preaching twice; attending White Christmas, a musical we had bought tickets for in the summer at the IU Auditorium with some friends; and continuing this week with all my work and another wedding coming this weekend.

I still believe God’s hand was on me. Some have asked about that. Sunday, I said this: “God’s love is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.” God doesn’t get up every day asking, “How can I make Bill happy today?” I didn’t do that with my children; He doesn’t do that with His. I do believe His is a transforming love. I will not always understand the “why” of an event. That really is not my place anyway. According to Romans 8:29 His purpose is “to conform me to the image of His Son.” No matter what that takes…that is what I long for. This, as I see it, is just one more step in my adventure through life.

So there’s the update. Please understand that I am reading but have very little time to comment. But I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of encouragement and prayer. I’m not ignoring anyone. it is where I find myself right now. 

Involvement

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

I interrupted my posts from last week to interject one about Sunday’s sermon.  I’d like to finish that series of posts with this one. For the purpose of review you can see the others:

Mission

Vision #1

Vision #2

#3: To be involved in our community.

It is easy-as a church and as individuals-to bury our head in the sand or to put our hands over our eyes and say, “It doesn’t happen here. If so, I don’t want to know.” The church needs to stop hiding behind its walls and stained glass windows (which we don’t have) and get involved. Change won’t happen unless we do. We will bemoan the fact “our town is going to hell in a hand-basket” but really have no right to say that unless or until we do something to stem the tide.

Speaking for OVCF, we have no desire to be one of those churches.

It used to be (and I’m ashamed to admit this) but my world was secluded to the church and church people I was called to shepherd. I did very little, and cared very little, for those outside the church walls. How ugly is that? Then I harped on the people to invite their friends and neighbors. I look back now and say, “Why? Why would I invite anyone to hear me?”

Everything changed when I moved here…gradually. I fell in love with the people of the church first, and by proxy, the town. But then I started making myself available in the community. I’m a member of the Chamber of Commerce board and other ventures. We have an annual Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas breakfast where we serve the community free. I’ve recently taken a deep interest in human trafficking and will be talking to a local judge who is spearheading the task force as to what we can do. Next Sunday, the 6th, OVCF will be partnering with two other churches in the community to do our Day or Service. The church building is a registered Safe Place venue.

I could tell you so much more. Huh, maybe I will in the next post. GET INVOLVED. DON’T HIDE BEHIND WALLS.