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BREAKTIME!

Monday, November 20th, 2017

I remember my grandfather talking about break time. He worked for USS (when it was still a viable entity) as a welder. He looked forward to breaks. Those were the days before cell phones when breaks were spent laughing and eating. Not like now. Pull that phone out and start texting and maybe take a bite between texts. Grandad used to pack his lunch and I would sometimes be there when he did. Two slices of Roman Meal bread with ketchup only in between them. I’m not sure if it was because of frugality or because he just liked it. I can think of better things to put between two slabs of Roman Meal bread (which I still like a lot) than ketchup. Jo thinks it is hilarious (and makes sure others know) that I sweat (nose and forehead) when I use ketchup. (Note: My uncle (grandad’s son) just reminded me about the mustard-between-two-slices-of-bread sandwich).  Memory is the first thing to go.

Anyway…grandad looked forward to taking some time to ease his tired muscles and joints from the grind of welding by relaxing. He was an avid Pirate fan and would listen to the night games if he worked the night shift with his transistor radio connected to this huge battery by a gumband. (Go look up Pittsburgh-ese for what it is).

I’m taking grandad’s suggestion. I’m pulling away for a few days. I have a couple busy days leading up to Thanksgiving, but the biggest plan is for Thanksgiving Day. The church is serving a dinner from 11-1:00 to the community. We have done it for the last 4 years and each year it has grown. What has really grown…and this is the part I’m directly involved in (Jo does the meal)…is delivery. So far we have over 40 deliveries of Thanksgiving meals to make. It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun. The people pitch in to help. I get to organize and send them out. All the folks have to do is call in for a meal and we will “jimmy John” them their meal.

The best part of the week though is Friday. Janna and Braden will be coming in for the weekend while Jason works on their bathroom. I think that is a pretty good trade-off!! I’d say Jason can take all year but I don’t think that would fly very well. 🙂 They will be here all weekend. Yeah…I will be preoccupied.

I’m going to pre-program my weekend post. It will come out White Friday. (Why do they call it Black Friday anyway? Because you lose all your money?).

Anyway, have a great Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for many things: Jo, Tami, Janna, Braden, Jason, OVCF, my family-at-large, my friends, and for you.  Blessings to all and to all a… Oops wrong holiday.

Otherwise

Monday, November 13th, 2017

I used the following poem in my sermon yesterday. I think it says what needs to be said without a bunch of commentary. It was written by Jane Kenyon and was quoted in Alter Ego by Craig Groeschel (pages 151-152)

I got out of bed on two strong legs.

It might have been otherwise.

I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach.

It might have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.

All morning I did the work I love.

At noon I lay down with my mate.

It might have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks.

It might have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day.

But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.

Kenyon wrote this poem in 1993, upon learning that her husband, Donald Hall, had cancer. Ironically, it was Kenyon, not Hall. who died a year later after a fierce and swift battle with leukemia. “Otherwise” came unexpectedly. But Jane Kenyon didn’t miss the blessings of God in each day. She learned the art of gratitude.

As I said, no commentary needed. Enjoy the blessing of today!!

Dubious

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Some memories are, shall we say, dubious. My post today is in memory of one of those dubious anniversaries-ones that remind you of something you are not so fond of.

One year ago today this happened to me.  The date is today. The day is yesterday. So I guess it depends on how you look at anniversary’s as to how you will see this. Doesn’t matter though. It happened and it began a spiral downward in the health department but it also began a very, very slow process of spiritual awakening and renewal (which actually took on a more earnest effort in February.

I wanted to ride yesterday and today but the weather has not cooperated (nor has my life). I was busy from the time I got up to the time I laid my head on the pillow yesterday. Today, we host Dine with a Doc and then Jo and I are taking off for Sandusky, OH to visit her sister. Things are really improving there and we need to help her get a new washer/dryer (and be there for the delivery) and get her duplex ready for when she comes home.

I wanted to ride past the scene and stop for a moment of gratitude for God’s protection. I realize some will say, “Well, if God protected you why did He allow it to start with?” Fair question and all I can say is, “I don’t know. He could have but chose not to.” But I also don’t think He put His finger on the driver and said, “Hit him!” Some people are either just evil or distracted. I consider His protection because it could have been worse. He missed my spine by two inches. I shiver at what the two possibilities are with that. Yes, I just had surgery in July which was required due to a bone fragment laying on a nerve in my spine, but the reality is I could have been paralyzed with 2 more inches. So, in my case, I relish God’s protection.

The saga is ongoing. I suspect they will never find who did it. I am okay with that. He/she has to live with it. Will I ever be back to the way I was? No. Physically, I now have limitations. Mentally, I sometimes relive it and realize how close I came. Spiritually, it began a good process. It still has not been settled with the insurance company (and who knows when that will be? I refuse to get a lawyer.) So it is before me. Or is that behind me?

No matter how you look at it though, it is a dubious anniversary. One I’m grateful to be celebrating. And I can also say I love Jo more today than I ever have. She’s my “knight” in shining armor. I put her through the wringer this past year and she stood solid as a rock. Cried a bit. Okay…a lot. But she stood strong next to me. For that, I will always be grateful.

Jo’s sister does not have wifi so I may be out of the loop for the next couple of days. I’ll use my phone to approve comments but I despise using it to make comments. Please be patient. And thanks for your prayers.

Jumbled

Monday, November 6th, 2017

I was looking for the correct word to adequately express my thoughts and mind this Monday morning. I ran several through the “grinder” then realized jumbled is an adequate description.

Friday was anything but my day off.  I think I ran more…okay drove more…than I normally do in a normal work week. Saturday we put our oldest on a plan for Phoenix, which I wrote about here. I haven’t heard from her personally but Jo has seen some pictures on FB (which she has not shared with me. Hmmmmm), but I know she is having a fantastic time.

Yesterday (Sunday) was our Day of Service. Let me rephrase that: it was our Day of UNservice. You read that right. All week long we kept our eyes on the weather report. I let others tell what was coming; I finally looked on Saturday. I’d like to echo Doc Brown in Back to the Future when he said, “Since when can the weatherman predict the weather?” but I can’t say that this time. Oh wait…they were somewhat inaccurate. They said, “Large hail is possible.” Yikes! We didn’t get the hail but to make a long story short, we watched it start to rain Sunday morning and then watched it continue to rain until almost midnight. At times I thought “Oh man! We could have done our thing” but then about that time the skies opened up for 100 thousandth time. We still had lunch with the church we were partnering with (The Connection) then their Associate and I decided we were going to shoot in a different direction. Service like we were going to do is not and cannot be confined to a “special Sunday event.” So we challenged those who had signed up for a certain job to connect with a couple others, contact the people who we were going to serve, then make arrangements to do so within the next two weeks. Within 15-20 minutes all the people were taken. WAY TO GO OVCF AND CONNECTION! To add to that we had some “bigger ticket items” we were going to serve: the Cunningham Dog Kennels (rescued dogs) and Sue Whitman’s Horse Angels (rescued horses). They are both on board with us coming another time.

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we plan. But that’s okay. Service will get done…just not at the time or the way we thought.

After the “failed” Day of Service, I did come home later and ride 45 minutes inside. My thoughts were jumbled…but I did sleep well last night.

Celebration!

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Who doesn’t like a good celebration? Or for that matter, who doesn’t like a good reason to have one?

This Sunday, OVCF will celebrate our 13th anniversary. We have not gone overboard with it. That will be saved for #15 I suspect. Our plan is simple: have one service that morning. Follow that with a pitch-in dinner hopefully using the shelter (if the weather cooperates). Eat until we can’t eats no more!

Ryan and I will be presenting our Mission and Vision. We tag team well and it makes for a nice break. They don’t have to listen to me ramble on. Nor do they have to listen to Ryan do the same. I’ll talk about the Mission (To Connect People to Jesus) and the first two points of our Vision: 1) To be passionate pursuers of Jesus, and 2) To be models of truth and love.  Ryan will pick it up from there and talk about 3) To be involved in the community. He has a Power Point presentation of the teens helping at IDES in Indy just last week.

Then we will answer a few questions the people posed to us about your future building and our current construction. All in the purpose of update and accountability.

Looks to be a great day! I’d appreciate your prayers for us as we celebrate what God has been, is doing, and will do.

RestAway

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

This has been “one of those years.” I’m not complaining, mind you, but informing.

November 5th: my first bike wreck. I was hit by a hit ‘n run driver on my left cheek. The lower one. 🙂  Seven weeks were spent sleeping in my recliner because I could not lay down.

February 17th: my second bike wreck. This one I have no clue about except it ended up in a broken collar bone, 3 broken ribs, a face plant and a split helmet. Yeah…thank God for the helmet.

February 22nd: surgery to repair the collarbone. More sleeping in the recliner.

July 24: Back surgery to correct back from November 5th hit ‘n run. The previous 2 months I was unable to sit in a chair or couch except for the dining room table. I slept 2 hours at a time then roamed the house between sleeping spots.  The surgeon cleaned out arthritis, shaved some spurs, shaved the disc, and found a bone fragment resting on a nerve. A sweet relief almost immediately. I still have some residual (and may always have it) but least I can sleep in bed and sit in my recliner!

Enter a friend. “Bill & Jo, (name of husband) and I, would like to give you a gift and hope you will accept it. You have been through so much and we feel led to offer you a week at a timeshare. You pick the time and the place and we will make the arrangements (and pay).” She hands us this h-u-g-e book of possible places-from Alaska to Hawaii and from coast to coast- and says, “Choose.” Since Jo has never seen the beach (except as a little girl) and it doesn’t matter to me (I wanted Alaska) we chose Daytona Beach after our first choice of Destin was not available.  I told someone several weeks ago we were going to Florida “if it was still there.”

We fly out Monday morning, October 2nd from Indianapolis, and will come back home Monday, October 9th.  If something good can come out of something so ugly as two bike wrecks and 2 surgeries, it has. Jo & I have reconnected in a way we have not known for some time. Like many marriages, we had allowed things to build up and take the place of meaningful communication and time with each other. We loved each other but had allowed other things to take precedence.

People have asked us, “What are your plans this week? What are you going to see? Where you going to go?”  The answer is easy: we have no clue. We have no agenda. No preconceived plans of where to go and what to do. Rest. Reconnect. Relax. Restaurants. Read. That’s it. If something strikes our fancy…then we will do it. It will be the first time in 44+ years of marriage we will be taking a vacation where we know no one.

So…I am unplugging all week. I’ll see you when I get back. I am unconcerned about things back here. Ryan and Diana will be fine without me. Ryan will be preaching Sunday. Until then…I will see you later…here or in the air.

 

WHEW!

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Life can be so many things.

Sometimes it is running so fast you seem to barely be able to catch your breath. WHEW!

This past week has been like that. As I mentioned in this post, we took off Monday for Sandusky, OH to see my sister-in-law.  We arrived home late afternoon on Thursday and immediately started doing laundry. I have developed an allergy to some common chemicals which means I have to take my own towels, bedding, etc and the first thing we need to do is wash them when we get home. Friday was catch up day suspecting this weekend would be super busy.  I was correct. We hosted Matt & Laurie Krieg from Hole in My Heart Ministries (more info to come).  So slowing down has not been an option.

Jo is making plans to return to Sandusky sometime this week to see her sister (who has been moved to a rehab place where they can clean and dress her wound, administer antibiotics, and give her therapy for walking). She will be there 6 weeks. All that with a view to our leaving for a much-needed vacation on October 2nd. Someone in the church graced us with a timeshare as a gift so we are taking advantage of that! I’ll share more about that in a later post.

I am thoroughly expecting the WHEW to turn into an Aaaahhhh (sigh of contentment) during our time away. Thanks for being patient with me while away, but most of all for praying for Jo’s sister. She is not out of the woods by any stretch but is making strides toward healing.

Absence

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

After a funeral this past Friday an hour away.

A trip Saturday about an hour away for an 11:00 (I was originally told 10:00) graveside service.

An afternoon at Spencer’s Apple Butter Festival where the church had a booth.

A Sunday which includes preaching 2 services, a birthday party of one of the young boys who only wants Pastor Bill to show up (his dad’s words), and a Grace > small group study.

I will heading out Monday for Sandusky, Ohio. Jo’s sister lives there and is in the hospital so I am taking her to deal with all of that. She is meeting her brother, who has already made the trip from Alabama. She does not have wifi and I’m not too sure about her internet, so I am guessing I will be incommunicado at least through Thursday. If I can make it to a Panera Bread I will try to add some “highlights” to your life. 🙂

If not, I’d like to ask prayer for our travels and also for what needs done there (which at this point we aren’t sure of).

Admission

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

I don’t think it is just a “man thing.”

Nor do I think it is just a “woman thing.”

I do, however, think it is a “human thing.”

What is that you ask?

Admitting we are wrong.

Who me? Admit I’m wrong? We make all kinds of jokes about that. Who hasn’t heard the old standby? “I thought I was wrong once…but I was mistaken.” More arguments and fights could be avoided if someone…the guilty party(ies) would simply admit, “I was wrong. I made a mistake. I’m sorry.”

Like I said…most arguments and fights could be avoided if someone would voice those three magic words: “I was wrong.”

I read an interesting line this past week from a book called The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine. I started reading it several months ago…got waylaid and sidetracked…but after lunch with a fellow pastor this past week, I decided it might be a good thing to keep reading it. Glad I did because I read this:

Because we are right on one thing, never means that we are right about everything or even about what matters most. (p.109)

I can attest to that. I’d like to believe I am right…not just once, not just twice, but all most of the time.  I will occasionally slip up and admit my mistakes. 🙂 The point he makes is during a discussion in Luke 7 involving the Pharisee’s inability to recognize that truth. He wanted to judge instead of love.

Hi… I’m Bill and I’m a sinner…

 

Guest

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Grace is given in so many different ways. I have been spending a good part of the summer talking about Grace on Sunday mornings. Forgiveness. Failing to seek revenge. Releasing bitterness. Stopping complaining. And accepting God’s gift of grace to us just to name a few.

This Sunday we will be hearing about Grace through the words of someone else. Will & Theresa Reed, who have spent the past two years in Mundri and South Sudan, Africa, will be our guests this Sunday. Will & Theresa went to Mundri as missionaries with Serge. They had barely settled in when war broke out and they found themselves having to leave quickly and settle in South Sudan. They came home on furlough early summer limping-not physically but spiritually. Lots of debriefing and counseling for their tattered hearts/souls and through that they were advised to not return to Africa. Will will be seeking employment in this area and they will raise Ellie (born in Africa) with the help of friends and family. While in Africa Ellie had sleep issues which I’m sure contributed to Will & Theresa’s  emotions and stamina. They are a beautiful, young couple and I hope we are able to be a grace-filled place for them this Sunday.

Will has preached twice here before and has done a superb job. I look forward to hearing him again; seeing Theresa and Ellie; and laughing over lunch. I know they would appreciate your prayers as they transition to life in the states. I’m praying we can be grace to them while they are visiting.